Call Me A Bag Lady

Posted in Simple Life
on April 20, 2016
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I’m going to share with you one of the tricks that help me maintain my sanity in the morning while delivering two kids to school/childcare and getting to work on time (ok, give or take 10 minutes…).

I have a bag for every purpose.

My 6 year old daughter has 7 bags that she uses regularly, and this is not counting her little handbags (School backpack, Lunch bag, Library bag, Swim bag, Music bag, Activity bag, Overnighter/Travel backpack).

My baby boy has 5 bags (Childcare backpack, Snack bag, Swim bag, Nappy bag, Activity bag).

When you come into our house, the first thing you will see is bags… All lined up at the entrance. My kids know where to drop off their bags (yes, basically, plunk it down as soon as they enter, but I’ve designed it so that this is the right spot… maybe that’s another trick in itself!!). She knows where to fetch her reader. I know where to go to unpack the lunchboxes and fish out the wet bathers and soiled clothes. I know where to drop in the water bottles and lunch boxes. BOOM!

I get nice ones for the main bags that get used everyday – the School/Childcare Backpack and Lunch Bag, I actually have personalised bags from Hippo Blue. I let my daughter choose the design because my theory is they will take better care of things that they picked out. For my boy, his carers appreciate that they can easily identify his personalised bag because it’s got his name on it. The latest designs even show a character in his likeness, so they will like that even more! The other bags are either gifts or freebies I received over the years at shops, baby classes, and swim schools.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you! I say, if it saves you 2 minutes in a day, it’s worth it!!


Meet Brett, beloved Aussie author & illustrator of The Adventures You’ll Have

Posted in Hippo Blue
on April 18, 2016

1 What were you like as a kid?

I was pretty quiet, but if there was mischief, I was into it. I had a lot of freedom, and I remember doing crazy stuff with my 4 brothers. We would go out and ride our bicycles in the middle of the night in Richmond, Melbourne. I couldn’t touch the ground on the big bikes so I would lean against parked cars. We would build billy-carts and jump ditches. We taught ourselves to drive. We had a lot of fun. I have a really good relationship with my parents and my siblings.


2 What was your favourite book as a child?

Where the Wild Things Are. I carried it around everywhere. I still have the original copy.


3 How did you get into writing and illustrating?

I just love stories. When I was a kid, I loved story time. When we traveled as kids, I would just make up stories and tell my brothers.

I have always drawn pictures. There was an old lady in our neighborhood, and I used to mow her lawn. She used to do old oil style landscape paintings. We started painting together every other Sunday afternoon. That’s when I got into fine arts. I had a few solo exhibitions in Sydney.

When I was retraining in graphics design, I wrote and illustrated a children’s book called Bill the Fish. It became a really huge success. And that was it. They say, you come back to where you are meant to be, and for me I guess it was children’s books and illustrating for kids’ products.


4 What is it about children’s books that you like?

You get two kids of two different races together, and they will just play. Kids are a clean slate, an untouched landscape. They don’t see any nastiness, they are just possibilities. With the right nurturing, they can be anything. It’s all in front of them.

And it’s fun. Where else can I do octopus eating oranges or fish with spectacles? You can’t get that anywhere. I love all the whimsical stuff. I’m such a big kid myself. That dish needs a hat. I love to see it all come to life!


5 Tell us about how the personalised storybook The Adventures You’ll Have came together?

I’ve always thought about people’s names. If you have a good name, what does it mean? You could be LL Cool J or something common like John Smith. It doesn’t matter what your name is really, but it does matter what you do with the name you have been given. You can take your name to places! Whatever you do, whoever you are, be the best version of yourself. We tried hard to get this message across in the book, without being too preachy.

We also wanted it to work for boys and girls. The possibilities are not just for boys, for girls too. If they want to go to the moon, it’s all at their feet.





6 What are the hopes and dreams you have for your own children?

My hope for them is that they are people with empathy and kindness, that they see a person in need and offer them help. That’s a successful person in my eyes. You can tick off all the boxes – house, money, car… But if you are not a person that people want to be around, you will have no one to share them with. I hope that I will be good friends with my kids still when I’m 90.


What Lessons Can Be Learned from Personalised Books for Kids?

Posted in Kid's World
on April 14, 2016
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Books are some of the most versatile things you can give to a child as a gift. From teaching kids about their letters, numbers, colors and shapes, to helping them understand emotions and actions, to providing lessons about situations and circumstances in life, books are truly educational tools that can also entertain them over and over.

While there are plenty of classic storybooks for children as well as new titles popping up every year thanks to an ever-emerging crop of authors of children’s stories, it can be beneficial to think outside the box every now and then when picking out a book for your young son or daughter to read. One of the most unique kinds of books that you can give a child is a personalised book.

What do personalised books for kids look like?

A personalised book will have a specific story line — everyone knows that kids love fun and happy stories, and children’s stories typically incorporate a positive lesson that they can learn and apply in their own lives.

What makes personalised books different, however, is that they can be made to include the name of the child who will be getting the book. The main character will be named after your son or daughter, and there may even be an illustration of this male or female character with your son’s or daughter’s same hair colour so the child can recognise the character.

Receiving a personalised gift tells the young one that:

This gift made the giver think of me.

Such a gift would make the child feel wonder and amazement at finding their likeness and their name on the printed book. They may feel that this book is a special one — made precious because it has their name on it — and that the person who gave them is special too, because no one else has given a gift like it before.

No other kid has this exact same item.

The child may feel a sense of pride at being told that this special book is theirs and no one has the very same one, because of their name printed on it.

The person who gave this to me put a lot of thought and love into the choice of gift.

Kids are often showered with presents, and most of the time they receive toys, books, clothes and games that are easily recognisable from TV commercials or trips to the toy stores. When someone gives them a unique personalised gift, however, the child can sense that the giver made an effort to give something different — something that will stand out, and something that the child can cherish because of this very uniqueness.

The character in the book is me.

Seeing his or her name on the book, and an illustration of a child with his or her hair colour, lets the child know that he or she is the character. The child then identifies with the events in the story, acts them out, and applies the lessons learned from the book in real life. A personalised book can effectively entertain a child while teaching positive values and behaviours.


A Gift That’s Truly “Made for Me”

Posted in Kid's World
on April 14, 2016
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When you search for a gift for a child’s birthday, for Christmas, or for any other special occasion — regardless of whether the young one is your own child, a young sibling, a niece or nephew, or a godchild — you’ll usually find yourself in giant toy stores, browsing through rows upon rows of toys in colourful, flashy packaging.

Faced with so many choices, you’re highly likely to allow yourself to be steered toward the “right” gift according to the store’s strategic classifications. Unsure about what the child would like, you simply walk toward the part of the store that profiles the little one best — girl, age 3 and up, dolls/art materials/sporty toys/popular cartoon character merchandise. Anything in these sections, you’re gently coaxed to believe, would be something that the little one will like.

So you just grab a random item, have it gift wrapped, and feel assured that the young girl will be happy with her gift.

Adding a special touch

Sometimes, however, a generic, mass-produced item simply isn’t enough to show the beloved child that you appreciate and care for her. You want to give her something that would be different from all the other gifts she’ll be receiving — something that she can use, enjoy, and cherish for a long time.

Something that she will know is meant for her — and no one else.

Have you ever considered getting her a personalised children’s book?

A book with her name on it — and more

Lots of kids love being read stories by their parents and loved ones. Books contain all kinds of stories — funny ones, scary ones, ones that take them on adventures — so they develop a love for these books that they carry with them as they grow and learn to read. Stories help them visualise things, understand situations, and imagine all kinds of scenarios.

So getting a book where the main character is your little girl (with her name and her hair colour!) is sure to be a unique thrill for her.

Hippo Blue, an Australian-owned company specialising in name labels, stationery and other personalised items, also offers personalised children’s books that your young one is sure to love.

Entitled “The Adventures You’ll Have” and created in collaboration with author and illustrator Brett Curzon, the storybook presents your little girl as the main character on an enriching journey to self-belief. There are fun companions and an assortment of situations in it that teach an important lesson: that the world is hers to discover and that her dreams can be as big as she wants them to be — and that life is beautiful and rich with possibilities.

Your little girl will love this personalised book not only because it tells a wonderful story, but also because it is truly made for her. And from the moment she holds it in her hands, it quite simply becomes — to her and to everyone else — “her” book.


Gifts To Mould Your Child’s Self-Belief

Posted in Kid's World
on April 14, 2016
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Reading is a very important activity for young children. From books, they are able to learn more about the world. Likewise, books help them tap into their imagination, which is a highly crucial component of cognitive development. And most importantly, books — particularly storybooks — can take your kids on thrilling adventures without exposing them to any kind of physical danger or discomfort.

Therefore, if you want your children to be blessed with great imagination (which will help them in their journey throughout life), books truly make awesome gifts.

Storybooks are excellent creations and your children will likely collect many of them as they cultivate a love for reading. But if you’re looking to present something really unique to them – something that they will treasure all their lives — you should consider getting them personalised books while they’re young.

Talented local authors and illustrators can create personalised books; they will make your child the main character and hero of the story. What’s particularly impressive about a personalised storybook is your child, even at an early age, can learn that his existence has value. And, depending on the choices he makes, his life can work for the betterment of others as well; a single action from him can create a huge impact. This moral is imperative in shaping a child’s sense of accountability or responsibility.

Another big advantage that personalised books offer is they will allow your child to build upon presented ideas and make them his own. Every time he reads “his” story, he can expand the complexity of the journey the story’s taking him on. This is highly beneficial in forming more synaptic connections in the brain. So, as real life gets more complicated as he ages, you can be sure he has a deep pool of ideas to work with in order to solve life’s problems.

Also, with a personalised storybook, instead of looking up to other story heroes, your child can make himself his own hero. There’s nothing wrong with having other characters to look up to, but the advantage here is he will learn to rely on himself more than depend on other people all the time. You can empower him by building his confidence in his own personal abilities. The book will serve as an affirmation that he is a wonderfully crafted and unique person.

Lastly, personalised books make fantastic gifts because it’s something that your child can call completely his own. It’s something that he can keep for all his life as one of the early manuals he used in designing his own lifelong tale.