Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Reivew :: Triangle by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

Triangle by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

"Multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen conspire again on a slyly funny tale about some very sneaky shapes."

Fans of I Want My Hat Back rejoice!  Another Klassen classic for your collection  👊  (yes, I do realise how 👍 that sentence is).  We're big-time fans of Klassen, who has teamed up with Mac Barnett for this hilarious tale.  I haven't encountered Barnett before, but with a string of awards and that collab partner choice, I'm figuring he's an author we need to know about.  We'll be keeping an eye out for him, for sure.

Triangle is everything I wanted it to be.  Beautifully illustrated, as per, with that trademark wry humour we've come to expect from our (I'm gonna call it) favourite children's author.  I love the sneaky shapes.  I love how their sneakiness comes undone.  I love the twisty, surprising humour.  It's funny in a way that's accessible for kids, but really 👌 for adults too.  

This is one beautifully packaged book.  Matte pages, soft corners and a restrained colour palette.  Guys, it's so pretty!  It's pretty hard to say who was more excited when Triangle arrived in our letterbox, the kids, or me 😻.

If you haven't given Klassen a go, I urge you to hunt down some of his books.  Triangle is a great place to start and can be found in stores now.

 Review copy kindly provided by Walker Books Aus.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Review :: Penguin by Polly Dunbar

Penguin - 10th Anniversary edition - Written and illustrated by Polly Dunbar

"A penguin turns out to be the perfect present in this beautiful 10th anniversary edition of an award-winning classic."

Why have I never come across this little cutie before?? It's adorbs!  I immediately recognised Dunbar's illustrations of course (we have Down the Back of the Chair).  She's a multi award-winning talent!  🙌

As you can see, Ben and Penguin are adorable book characters, perfectly epitomising that intense relationship between toddlers and their favourites, be it friend or pet or toy.  Nothing cuter than this type of fierce love.  Dunbar does such a cute job of expressing it too!  The twist at the end is 👌.  The pages in Penguin aren't over-crowded with words and imagery, making this a perfect read for the little ones.  Having said that, Eleanor (at 7) still enjoyed this, and thought it was pretty funny!

Penguin -10th Anniversary edition is available now (if you don't have it on your bookshelf already).

Review copy kindly provided by Walker Books Aus

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review :: Nanette's Baguette

Nanette's Baguette - Mo Willems

"Today is the day Nanette gets to get the baguette! Is she set? YOU BET!"

Nanette's Baguette is fun!  If you love trying out a bad French accent in the safety of your own home, with an audience whose ears are too untrained to tell the difference, then this is the book you've been waiting for!  Seriously though, I was a little dubious at first, having never encountered Mo Willems *hides face*, but I'm so on board now!  Nanette's Baguette is just the right mix of funny and silly and very rhyme-y.

Okay, here's the trickier bit for me.  As you know by now, I'm all about the illustrations (aren't we all, though?).  I was like "yes!" as soon as I saw the cover.  Love the kitsch diner vibe!  I do like the style of his drawings, and Nanette's expressions are perfect.  Furthermore, the paper village is spot on, and I love the comic book stylings.  Buuuut.  I really didn't love the layout.  It's a small thing, but it matters.  The shadow boxes in particular gets a 'no' from me.  I would've been so happy with a white background and comic style frames...

Not gonna let it stop me from loving this book though!  Perhaps I'm totally behind the curve (wouldn't come as a massive surprise), and shadow boxes are back in, along with a bunch of other 90's trends that I'm still not ready for...

Okay moving on, here's a v. cool behind-the-scenes timelapse of the making of, that made me want to DIY a paper village asap.  So.  Cool.

Are you a Mo Willems fan?  Which of his books do you recommend we try next?

Nanette's Baguette is out in paperback now so go check it!

Review kindly supplied by Walker Books

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mangonui - Northland

So I figured out why half of New Zealand heads up the East Coast of Northland as soon as summer hits.  It's super pretty, that's why!  Mangonui is like, the peachiest, perfect, pretty seaside town.

We didn't stay all that long.  After gorging on fish and chips at the renowned Mangonui Fish Shop (yum but super spendy) we walked off our full pukus' along the waterfront.  There are some beachy vibe stores, though nothing tempted us, and plenty of cute, old buildings to look at. The heritage trail looked interesting, but everyone was kinda done by that stage (we'd earlier stopped at the very beautiful Matauri Bay).

Definitely worth the visit and we'll 100% be back.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review :: Boo! by Ben Newman

Boo! - Ben Newman

"All the animals are keen to show off their bravery – from the crocodile with his mighty jaws, to the tiger with her scary claws! But who will be the bravest of them all?"

Flying Eye Books is such a pretty imprint.  Another beautiful matte cover, quirky cool illustrations and cute story.  There's a bit of a retro, timeless feel to Flying Eye books which we are lurving!  Boo! massively tickled Garland's fancy.  He thought it was hilaire.  He's five, mind you, which means that Newman has nailed the comedy-for-small-children bracket.  For my part, I loved the bold, stylised illustrations.  Very cool.  The text is minimal so that's another points win, for those preferring the shorter length bedtime tomes.  I can go either way on that one, but it's always best to have a few short-and-sweets' on the shelves, particularly if one child has requested a Magic Schoolbus book, amiright?!

Here's the very cute book trailer if you want to take a sneak peek!

Overall, we adore this book!  It's been strictly on the favourites list since arrival, and it's available now in bookstores, so check it out!

Review copy kindly provided by Walker Books

Friday, March 3, 2017

Book Review :: The Land of Nod

The Land of Nod - Robert Louis Stevenson & Robert Hunter

"Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic children’s poem about dreamland, as narrated by a convalescing young boy, is given new life in this wonderfully illustrated book. Accompanied by Robert Hunter’s bold and beautiful illustrations, this picture book will bring the beloved Scottish author’s work to a whole new generation of young readers."

If you haven't come across this pretty book, you're in for a treat.  If you consider children's books a treat, that is... I do... The illustrations are soooooo lovely!  The Land of Nod is printed on matte pages, with a simple colour palette that is spot on.  Largely blues and pinks, with a smattering of other soft hues.  Very dreamy indeed.  The discerning toddler will love spotting familiar items in the dream scenes, lifted from earlier pages in the book.

The text is short, but a great way to introduce/include a little poetry in your daily routine.  Slow reading is good for this one, further emphasising that dreamy tone (and hopefully priming the scene nicely for sleep).  You'll want to spend a little time on each illustration anyway, so #perfect.

The Land of Nod is available now, RRP $27.99, so keep an eye out in for it.

Review copy kindly provided by Walker Books Aus

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Space Party

Hurrah!  The baby slept some last night!  I feel *almost* like a regular person today, and in celebration of that fact I'm posting some stuff!  

Garland's birthday fell right in the centre of the most whirlwind time.  New baby, summer holidays, all the friends and family... Just... all the things.  A few weeks ahead of his party, Zan quietly suggested that while Garland had agreed to a beach party (coz, summer), he was secretly still hankering after a space party.  I was feeling all the post-baby-don't-leave-the-other-kids-out feels, so I felt I had to pull something out and make this party happen. 

I'm not gonna lie, I did love the challenge.  I immediately started making some party printables, ordered some cute stuff from Pop Roc Parties, and dug out all the spacey things I could find.  We stuck mainly to traditional party food - cocktail sausages, popcorn, fruit kebabs etc, and I made up astronaut packs with Mars bars, Crunchees and Milky Way bars for fun.  We had soda water and milk, galaxy jellies, mini donuts (UFO's), mini pavlovas (Moon Cakes) and scroggin (least popular by a mile).  I decorated some cookies to look like the galaxy and I was and am, total smug about how cute they turned out.  

I had initially planned a moon cake, but saw this Boston bun in the supermarket and was like, um, perfect!  So I made a Mars cake instead, and that was pretty fun. We had these candles from Pop Roc Parties, and I added this Space Shuttle from Toyco as a cake topper.  

Pin the Martian game

Party Favours, tutorial to come

I used black cloth as a back drop and decorated with this oversized moon I used in the classroom a few years ago (it looks like they've changed the design a little).  I also hung a bunch of cute starry balloons from Pop Roc Parties, and of course these space printables.  I do wish I'd printed out two lots and double-sided them.  It was pretty hard to get these pics.

I had the MOST fun making ID badges for all the kiddos, and I'll include the template when I post all the printables for you.  

We played Pin the Martian on Jupiter ('cause turns out Mars was too small for our party numbers...) and Pass the Parcel.  But the total absolute hundred percent highlight was when my brother-in-law dressed up as a froggy alien, and chased them around the lawn while they pelted him with water balloons.  It was everyone's favourite bit.  Hilaire.

I'll be back with printables and a simple tutorial soon.  Peace out x

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kids DIY :: Nail Varnish Geodes

We needed an easy DIY craft activity for Eleanor's Gemstone party, and I came up with this simple and silly project.  The idea was for them to create their own geodes, and use up my old nail polish at the same time.  We flagged the activity in the end, since the kids were so busy playing already (and as they say, don't try to make a happy kid happy).  I had fun trialling the idea though, and decided to share it anyway.

Along with old nail polish (the gluggy stuff seemed to work best and dried fastest), I threw some glitter on too.  They make cute paper weights, or garden decorations (and the polish won't wash off in the rain), and there's little mess to be cleaned up afterwards.  Having said that, lay down newspaper, or better yet, work on these outdoors - because nail polish.

Geodes or no, nail polish is a fun medium to use for little projects like this.  I'm thinking we may end up making some more of these today, since it's sunny out and everyone's on holiday. x

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Free Printable :: Weekly Planner

Click on the image to download :-)

Happy Wednesday!  Here's a little beginning-of-term freebie I put together for y'all (and me).  I always start out with all the best intentions to stay super organised.  Who knows if this will stick.  I haven't purchased a diary this year - until they design a planner that holds only the months of January and February, it's all a bit pointless.  Anyway, we do need to keep track of things somehow.  For instance, I completely forgot a super important medical appointment, just last week, eeep!  

Book Review :: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

The Cruelty - Scott Bergstrom

"A groundbreaking YA thriller following a diplomat's daughter from New York to Europe's criminal underworld in search of her kidnapped father."

I was so grabbed by the premise of this book.  Thriller/whodunnits are definitely a guilty pleasure for me.  It's like the sequel to Taken which I'll also admit to enjoying (and I realise there actually are sequels to Taken, but like, this one sounds better).

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Gemstone Party Printables

Using a drawing tablet hasn't ceased to be fun for me, and I hope to use it even more this year. My skill level is elementary so there will always be flaws aplenty, but I loooove this part of party planning.  It's one little creative job that I can still complete while breastfeeding, yuss!  

For Eleanor's Gemstone Party I made up printable invites, wrapping paper, bunting, food labels and a cake topper.  On a real note, I rarely send out birthday invites.  I think it's really nice to do so and they are sweet keepsakes, but I'm just not that organised.  The invites I made up for this party ended up simply being a creative project to share with y'all, since I never sent them out in time.

Ahead of this party I ordered a roll of gold vinyl from Vinyl Home, and it was super easy to work with. The smallest amount is very effective and I'll for sure be using it for future projects. Beforehand I was nervous that once placed, the vinyl would be stuck for good.  I became super conscious of placing it perfectly, however found it to be quite movable in the end.  It sometimes did lift a little of the paper/ink, so care is required, but I didn't have to be too precious.  Yuss.  I prefer to craft lazily so that suited me juuuuuust fine.

For the next invite I played around with glitter and jewels.  I'm guessing this second version would be the most fun for a child to receive, though I prefer the look of the first ^.  Glitter will always be a favourite.  I think I've already explained the magpie thing...