Review for Little Leaf Eco

Wow, its been a while since I did a review and even wrote a post. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be approached by Maileen of Little Leaf Eco, to review a couple of her items amd I took her up on the opportunity.

I was sent a Stinky Bag for Little Miss and a Kid’s Backpack for Mr Happy. I am always on the look out for new and different things for my children and the chance to review both items has been well received in our household.

A Little About Little Leaf Eco

They are a New Zealand family owned company, with a focus on creating items to minimise waste, help the environment whilst maintaining a high standard.

The creater is a Mum of two boys and finding she was getting tired of lunchboxes breaking halfway through the school year, as well as trying to find the right shape and not always knowing what chemicals were used to create the lunchboxes, her first product the Lunch Tote was born.

Other products by Little Leaf Eco

On the website you can find the Lunch Tote, Stinky Bag, Kid’s Backpack’s and a selection of Wooden Toys.

 

On to the Stinky Bag

The Stinky Bag is designed to be used for sports, swimming gear, gym kits, toys, sleepover items and anything else you can think of. Little Miss is starting school in a matter of months and has weekly swimming lessons so I thought this bag would be perfect for her to try.

We were sent the pink ‘Princess in Training’ bag. When I first showed Little Miss her instantly had a huge smile on her face. She was keen to have a look at the different compartments and started discussing what she could use the bag for.

What interested me most about the Stinky Bag is the bottom zippered section that has been designed to store wet, dirty or used gear separately, ie the Stinky stuff! Plus, the bag has been made so you can put the wet/dirty clothes straight into the washing machine within having to touch them. Tip the opened part of the bag straight into the machine. And the bag is also washing machine friendly (note: I haven’t washed mine yet!).

We have used the bag for swimming lessons and it is perfect! No more having to take a plastic bag to put her wet togs, hat and towel in. The first time we used it, Little Miss had to put her wet things in the ‘wet’ section by herself!

Perfect size to fit everything

There a few pockets to the Stinky Bag also, an outside zip pocket and another one with a velcro seal. Inside the main compartment of the bag, there is a pocket to hold a few small items as well as a label for your child to name their bag.

Separate zip to get into the ‘stinky’ compartment, velcro pocket at the front


Plenty of room inside the bag, two small pockets and a label to name the bag

At the top there is the zip as well as a magnetic button, so you can fold over the top of the bag if you don’t need to fill the bag.

At $59.95 the Stinky Bag can be on the expensive side for bags, but for the size of bag it is worth it. I feel Little Miss will get a lot of use from this when she starts school and because of the design and style of it, I think it will be a favourite bag of hers for a few years to come.

The Stinky Bag comes in three different designs. The two other designs are Super Hero Stinky Bag and Hands Off Stinky Bag

 

Kid’s Backpack

The Kid’s Backpack’s are animal themed and perfect for toddlers and preschool children. They are made with 100% recycled cotton canvas, so lightweight for little people and they have adjustable shoulder straps and I would say they are washable.

There are five designs to choose from, I was given the Blue Dog backpack for Mr Happy. The other designs available are Green Cat, Orange Monkey, Pink Bunny and Red Dog.

Blue Dog Kid’s Backpack $49.95

What I love about it is that it is just his size, easy for him to put on and it can hold his lunchbox, and several changes of clothes for Preschool. It doesn’t have waterproof lining, but its easy for him to open and close.

It also has a handle on the top of the bag, good for hanging up and great for storing the bag at home. Inside of the bag has colourful lining, appealing to young children and has two pockets built inside, always handy to have extra compartments, Mr Happy just loves it. He turns three next month, but I would say that this bag would be ideal from age one upwards, as Little Leaf Eco suggests.

Colourful lining, two small pockets.

So there you have it, my review of two really great Mum-made and of course New Zealand and Eco-friendly products. Little Miss and Mr Happy are proud as punch with their new bags.

Happy Kids with their Stinky Bag and Backpack


Mr Happy ‘modelling’ without realising

Links for Little Leaf Eco

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

NB: I was sent the ‘Stinky bag’ and Kid’s Backpack to review and all views and photos are my own. Some information has been adapted from the Little Leaf Eco website.

Easter Time with Lulu n Cat

Yay it’s almost that time again, Easter!!!! When I was a kid, apart from Christmas and my birthday, Easter was another holiday I looked forward too.

It meant two weeks off school and lots of chocolate! I grew up with two younger brothers and we all did pretty well for Easter.  We were brought up to wait patiently until Easter Sunday before we could open one of our chocolately treats! (My husband tells me as a child, he was allowed to have his chocolate eggs on Good Friday, to me this doesn’t seem right and I insist our kids have to wait until Sunday).

This year Little Miss is three (going on 13), she will be four in June and Mr Happy is two next month. And this will be the first year I will attempt to do an Easter egg hunt for them. I say attempt, cause I can see it being a tad chaotic. I am really conscious about how much chocolate they should eat/be given at their age, so I have been putting some thought into what they can ‘hunt’ for. I found these cool Playdoh Easter eggs, $12 for 10 eggs which I thought was prety good. The kids, are HUGE Playdoh fans so I think these eggs filled with Playdoh will be a big hit.

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I also have two of Lulu n Cat Easter Bunny Jars one in lime green and the other in blush pink. I think the kids will really like these to collect their mini chocolate eggs and Easter stickers in. Plus after the chocolate is gone and the stickers have been stuck everywhere (usually everywhere but paper!) they will get to keep the jar! They will be a great keepsake, plus they can be used each Easter.

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Emma of Lulu n Cat also lives in New Plymouth, last year I did a review of her cool creations.

I would love to know of any Easter traditions anyone would like to share.

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Cloud Nine Creative

Cloud Nine Creative can be found on the South Island of New Zealand in Christchurch. Lee Sinclair is the lady behind Cloud Nine Creative and most of the items that she sells are handmade. And guess what there is a Sale live now on the website!!!!

I found Cloud Nine Creative during one of my Instagram searches (I’m always on Instagram, yes I’m a little obsessed!). I saw her gorgeous tassel necklaces and just knew I had to have one. I was lucky enough to be offered one in exchange for a review and I absolutely love it.

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Lee sent me some information about herself and Cloud Nine Creative. (The information I was sent is in italics).

When Cloud Nine Creative was started the main product sold was jewellery, but due to a passion of interiors Lee soon realised some of the tiny graphics she was using on her jewellery would work well as larger items. Along with jewellery on the website you can also find cushions, art prints, plates, vases, planters and clocks. The majority of the items sold are handcrafted, and some items are limited edition, to ensure that item is deemed more special. However, the cushions are printed with unique designs and made in the Canterbury studio and the plates and planters are hand painted.

Lee devlops her own products, and uses inspriation from her mood board which is a collection of vlolours and ideas, as well as pieces from magazines that catch her eye. Making things, the planning, the sourcing of items brings her a lot of joy and I think you can see by looking at her work this clearly shows. She tries to source as much material as she can from New Zeland suppliers but at thimes certain things come from overseas suppliers.

Lee explained as a child she has a love for creativity and she was always interested in arts and crafts. This led to pursuing a career in graphic design, and having the opportunity to work in Australia and London for six years, before returning to Christchurch and starting Cloud Nine Creative.

Cloud Nine Creative was fortunate to have not been affected by the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2010. At the time a range of jewellery was created and produced called ‘Love Christchurch Collection’, 20% of the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal. Over $10,000 was raised.

A lot of Cloud Nine Creatives sales are made on line, of course this can bring disadvantages as well as huge advantages. Lee explained that online sales are growing all the time, and if people need something quickly and have it instantly delivered to your front door this is great. However the drawback to buying online is you are unable to touch and feel the product you are buying. Cloud Nine Creative products can be found in boutique stores around New Zealand and there is a pop-up store in North Canterbury. Selling online and via shops, Lee feels is the best of both worlds. heck this link for a list of stockists throughout New Zealand.

For those of you who are Blockaholics like myself, you might like to know that some Cloud Nine Creative’s piece was used in the kids bedroom of the sisters Minanne and Sarah. Here’s the link to The Block Villa Wars website showing you the room. The following photos were obtained from Cloud Nine Creative Facebook Page

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Green Magical Forest Cushion $69.00

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Prints avaliable as A3, A2 & A1

 

image IMG_2080The Leather Tassel Necklace I received is the Cornflour Blue one and retails for $65.00. I love it! I find that it goes with most outfits and really adds a ‘pop’ of colour to your clothes choice for the day. Sure, its a little pricey for some people but I think you get your moneys worth from it. Plus, its always a bonus to wear something that is NZ made, I love to support local businesses.

There are at least 10 different colour necklaces to choose from via the website and new to the collection of beautiful jewellery are Tassel bracelet sets, these retail for $49.00. I ABSOLUTLY love them, I don’t have one but owning one is on my wishlist.

 

I felt when looking at Cloud Nine Creative website a lot of her pieces were unique and different. Tassel necklaces are quite ‘in’ at the moment and I find her ones are really nice and well made.

You can also find Cloud Nine Creative on Instagram

 

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Let me introduce……Clever Poppy

I discovered Clever Poppy on Instagram, I’m just a tad obsessed with Instagram. (I’m sure some of you can understand the obsession!?)

One day, I was just looking through the search option, (this is a great option to look through if you want more people to follow on Instagram, you can see what others are posting) and I stumbled across Clever Poppys DIY Kit- Easy Watercolour Art. I thought the finish of the work was really lovely and looked like it wouldn’t be too tricky. I love arty crafty things, as some of you may know (hence my blog name), I’m all about the craft. I have too many craft supplies, (so my husband says) but I dont think you can ever have too many?!

The main thing that caught my attention about the DIY art kit is it is something that can be done with kids. My Little Miss, just loves crafty things. And I really like to be able to do things that include both of us.

 

Julie is the lovely lady behind Clever Poppy, I sent her some questions, and here are her answers.

Can you tell my readers a little bit about Clever Poppy, how did you come up the name and a little about yourself:
I have always been passionate about DIY projects and have made many I love over the years. I recently noticed that DIY projects were becoming quite popular in mainstream media, but while most people love the idea, they don’t have the time spare to get sorted to make projects of their own. So I created Clever Poppy to make it easy for people to experience the fun of creating something beautiful for their home. I studied law and graphic design at uni -wish now I had chosen something in the arts field! After practicing commercial law for 4 years and pretty much hating every minute of it, I finally got the courage to completely change tack and moved into a brand experience / promotions agency. I did that for 3 years and learnt a hell of a lot about marketing and project management, and realised how much happier I was doing something creative. Then I went on maternity leave to have our little man Harvey. While I was on leave I gained a lot of perspective and realised I just had to follow my dreams and start my own business doing what I love. I still work part time in promotions but my main focus is Clever Poppy and this will hopefully become full time down the track. Very exciting and I’m loving every minute so far!!

Do you sell your kits anywhere or just on the Internet? 

At the moment I only sell online, but I’m looking into getting them into stores next year. She did feature in some markets in Auckland leading up to Christmas, lucky Auckland!

How long have you been doing Clever Poppy?

I launched Clever Poppy on 7th August 2015, so it hasn’t been very long! I can’t believe that, it feels like I’ve been doing this for a lot longer, but I guess if you take into account all the planning and prep then it all kicked off in March last year.

Where do you hope to see the business in a few years time?

I would love to be New Zealand’s go-to brands for creative DIY projects! I’ve love to have a variety of kits for sale on my website and in stores nationwide. I also would love to do more freelance work developing DIY projects for third parties.

Do you have a favourite DIY kit? 

My DIY Cooper Magazine Rack for sure.

What’s next for Clever Poppy? Are you able to share what you are planning on doing next?

At the moment my focus is on getting the Clever Poppy brand and concept into the marketplace, and testing various kits to see what gets people excited. Next year (now this year 2016) I’d like to focus on developing kits for wholesale, so you can find me in shops around the country. I’m also working on some freelance project where I am developing DIY projects for third parties, so I’m very excited about where that might lead.

I purchased the DIY- Easy Watercolour Kit for $30, I was really keen to give it a go after seeing what others had created. I loved the idea that everything you needed was in the kit and it would be something that Little Miss would enjoy too. It was money well spent in my opinion.

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After the white-out liquid has been applied

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Before the white-out liquid

The kit includes: 5x Designs- ‘Young and Brave’, ‘Love you to the Moon and Back’, ‘Welcome to the Chaos’, ‘It’s cool to be Kind’ and ‘but first Champagne’

Watercolour paper, paintbrushes, watercolour paint palette, ‘magic’ white-out liquid and DIY wooden poster hanger as well as really clear instructions, with photos to assist you step-by-step. I needed to trace the design and apply the white-out liquid but once that had dried I gave Little Miss free reign to paint away.

When we did the ‘Welcome to the Chaos’ design, Little Miss applied pink and red paint and it looked lovely, but then she discovered the black paint! I really wanted to stop her, but I knew I just had to leave her to do what she wanted and in the end the result looked FAB! I used the wooden hanging poster kit to hang it up, and now it hangs in own home.

 

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Little Miss with the lovely red and pink

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The finished result!

 

I have now bought three kits by Clever Poppy and through following her on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest you can keep up-to date with new kits she is either developing or has released. Julie also shares some great DIY ideas you can do at home with the kids or without them.

Just the other day Julie shared that she was looking to add more deisgns to the DIY- Easy Watercolour Kit, I cannot wait to see what deisgns she comes up with.

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Review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs: Hairy Maclary and Friends: Cuddle and Play by Lynley Dodd.

Review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs- Hairy Maclary and Friends: Cuddle and Play- A Crinkly Cloth Book. By Lynley Dodd.

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I was sent the soft, cloth book featuring Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd to review. It arrived in a beautiful gift box, so I think this would make an ideal gift for a baby. I really pleased to receive a Hairy Maclary book, we have quite a few of these books by Lynley Dodd.  My daughter is aged 3.5 years old and my son 20 months, so I felt they were too old for this book and for me to really do the review justice. I gave it to one of my friends who has a daughter the same age as mine and a baby daughter who was born at the end of July last year and I just knew the book would be perfect for a young baby.

The book is six pages long and features the lovable Hairy Maclary as well as his friends, Slinky Malinky and Zachary Quack. The pages are crinkly, and can be scrunched or shaken. And since the book is soft it would be the perfect toy for baby to cuddle.

Photo Credit: Little Treasure Magazine

Photo Credit: Little Treasure Magazine

 

I asked my friend Claire some questions about what she thought of the book and she also took some photos for me, what a star Her answers are in italics  

What were your first thoughts of the book?

The packaging is appealing in the branded presentation box, I would definitely be pleased if someone bought me that as a gift.

What do you think your girls thought of the book?

As my 3 year old is already a Hairy Maclary fan she was attracted to it straight away and was keen to show it to her baby sister.

Who is it age appropriate for?

It is definitely age appropriate for a baby with the soft material and one page makes a rustle sound when you scrunch it so appealing for their sensory development. I could happily leave my baby with it AND let my 3 year old play with it near her as no hard edges and nothing sharp.

Would you buy it for someone else? Eg- a baby shower gift or new baby gift?

A great gift for someone who may already have all the ‘useful’ baby stuff or someone with a sibling that is already a Hairy Maclary fan. My only hesitation would be the price, I would probably want a bit more to show for my money – but baby safe toys always seem expensive for what they are when your looking at it from an adult perspective.

What are the illustrations and content like?

Illustrations were lovely as usual from Lynley Dodd but it wasn’t a story as such just a few lines from the main books.

Anything else to add?

Over all it isn’t something I would buy myself but often those are the things that make the best gifts.

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I found this Hairy Maclary website which is well worth a visit and there are links so you can find shops, or websites if you wish to purchase this book or any other Hairy Maclary books.

 

The book was published 3rd December 2015,  and retails for $25.00

 

Many thanks to my lovely friend Claire and her lovely daughters for assisting me with this review.

 

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Review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs: Karla Goodwin ‘Bluebells Cakery, Sweet & Savoury’

I was so excited to receive a cookbook to review from Kiwi Mummy Blogs, I love food, I love baking and I love eating, win win!

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This book is by Karla Goodwin and it is her second book. Her first book Bluebells Cakery Volume 1 focused on cakes, sweets and savouries, her new book Bluebells Cakery – Sweet & Savoury still has lots of mouth watering sweet treats to try along with savoury items which are perfect as snacks, finger foods and lunches.

The book was published on November 1st 2015, (wow that’s last year now!). To be honest, I hadn’t actually heard of Karla before, so it has been great to receive a book by someone I wasn’t familiar with. I like the fact that she has a couple of cafe’s,  I would definitely be looking them up next time I head up to Auckland. I have been checking out the Karla Goodwin website and doing my own research.

(The following information was provided with the book and can be found on the Random House website).

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Karla Goodwin is a talented baker behind the boutique Auckland café shop Bluebells Cakery. Karla learned her craft while living in London where she worked in one of the UK’s most prestigious cupcake bakeries, Primrose Bakery.

When she returned to New Zealand in 2011, Karla started selling at La Cigale, Auckland’s French market, but soon opened her own café (in Hillsborough) which quickly grew from opening just two days a week to a seven-day a week business. Due to Bluebell’s growing popularity Karla has recently opened her second store in Eden Terrace, Auckland.

I really enjoy baking and I like recipes that are easy to follow and ones where I can enlist the help of my 3.5 ear old Little Miss. I usually stick to straight forward butter cream icing to decorate birthday cakes and making ganache hasn’t been too challenging. However, this book  has pages with explanations, baking tips and advice, for any budding baker. At the beginning of the ‘Cakes’ chapter there are several ‘How to’ pages, which I really like. The instructions and photos are clear and don’t make fancy cake decorating seem too daunting. In fact, Little Miss has already chosen her next birthday cake several times from the book. There is also a chapter of ‘Condiments’ at the end of the book.

As I looked through the book, I fell in love with the photography, by Tam West. I just wanted to make everything and make it now! In the end I settled for Mini Savoury Scones and the Apple Pies.

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I made the Mini Savoury Scones first and boy were they a hit! They were super easy to make, and the recipe is really easy to follow. The ingredients are mainly things that we usually have in our fridge or in the pantry. The recipe said to include, bacon, and parmesan but there was an option to omit these and add sundried tomato and feta. I decided to add sundried tomato and feta, but I will definitely try the bacon version next time. Since they are mini, you can easily eat a couple, I enjoyed mine with some butter. But you could add some tasty relish or whatever you like really. I also couldn’t wait to sample one so I ate one straight from the oven! I ate one when they had cooled down too and it was just as good.

My parents are currently visiting from England so I had a few more taste testers in the house. My Mum loves them so much she wants to take a copy of the recipe home with her. Even my Dad really enjoyed them, and he is the biggest critic I know. Mr Happy is a fan of these savour scones and he quickly demolished several, and my hubby said he said they were really tasty. I’m thinking these scones will become a go-to snack in our house.

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I love apple pie, especially the homemade variety. The photo in the book looked edible and I thought making mini versions would be a change from making a standard sized pie. Again, the recipe was relatively straight forward and I already had the ingredients at home. I made the sweet short crust pasty myself, easy if you have a food processor! But, if you don’t I’m sure the ready made pastry will be just as good. Whilst I was cooking the apple filling it smelt amazing!!!! Mmmm cinnamon and sugar…… The end result of the mini apple pies looked great, much better than I had anticipated and they tasted delish! I made them earlier in the afternoon so by the time we ate them they had cooled down. Served with some whipped cream, it made a great dessert. The recipe suggested eating them straight from the oven, so at least we know we won’t be disappointed when they have cooled down.

They also proved to be a big hit with my parents, hubby and Mr Happy and Little Miss. I did find however that making the mini pies was quite time consuming and I think you could probably adapt the recipe to make a standard pie, since I had quite a bit of the apple mixture left over. I have put it in the freezer and it wont be there for long as I’ll be making more pies again soon.

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Other treats I want to make soon……

Savoury Muffins, Doughnut Rings, Lemon and Blueberry Scones, White Chocolate and Strawberry Cake and Sprinkle Cake (Little Miss’s current request for her next birthday)

Like the sound of this book???? It retails for $50.00 and you can purchase a copy direct from the website here

You can find Bluebells Cakery on Facebook and Instagram

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NB: I was sent a copy of Bluebells Cakery Sweet & Savoury to review, and all opinions and photos taken are my own.