I find that when I shop online (which I do, a LOT) I’m often drawn to the same stores over and over again and more often than not the stores that I return to are those that stock a good portion of the products I already own and use… I think there’s something comforting about finding a store that stocks products you already love, it makes you feel that the people behind it are your kind of people and you know that the products they pick are worth trying.

That’s certainly true of online store Finlee and Me, the brainchild of Brisbane based mum Angela Henderson who is a self-confessed baby and toddler “cool hunter” which means she spends her time finding amazing products to share with Aussie mums (and mums to be). Her online store is packed full of products I have in my home, many that I’ve reviewed here previously and some that I’ve had on my ‘if we ever have another child’ list for a long time, like the Fairy Door that Angela recently sent us for review and I’d always imagined buying if we had a girl.

Pink Fairy DoorI’ve wanted to get a Fairy Door for ever – more for me I suspect than for Dexter who would much rather talk about dinosaurs and cars than fairies so I was more than a little surprised when Angela sent this door with my adorable niece in mind and my son decided that he must have one as well. My niece turned 4 just before Christmas and the gorgeous pink fairy door was put aside for her birthday, she loves it and has been creating an awful lot of drawings (‘letters’) for the fairies.

After weeks of hearing Dex tell everyone who would listen (including four different Santa’s) that he wanted a fairy door for Christmas I finally caved and got him one as well. It’s been funny to watch how differently Dex and my niece approach their doors. For Dexter who turned 4 in mid-January, the fairy door is an added layer of protection – the fairies have joined his dinosaurs and Toothless the dragon in the very important task of keeping his room safe at night. He’s not into leaving them letters but occasionally his toys ‘talk’ to the door. Adorable in his own way and so very different from my niece who talks to the fairies and leaves them letters, wishing they would come out and play with her.

toddlercardDexter didn’t miss out – we have special play date time every week, time put aside to play together and we’ve been loving the Activity Card Set that Angela sent us. Some of the activities are a little young for Dexter and when I come across these I put them aside for a younger family member but as a whole it’s been a great way for us to remind us of activities and find new ways to play. I keep a couple of cards in my handbag and the rest in a box at home and at play time or for a reward Dex picks a card and we do the activity. When Dexter was younger I had a book full of activities but the cards are a much better prompt – small, portable and something he can pick himself. There are some great activity sets at Finlee and Me, including 52 fun things to do on a plane which is an essential for anyone contemplating a long flight with little ones.

balloon ballDex is also a huge fan of the Balloon Ball, he’s not allowed to use a ball inside the house so we often blow up a balloon for in-house play. Which is great until it hits the stippled ceiling and either bursts or starts to leak. The balloon ball allows us to play inside without fear of breaking something or having the balloon burst. We’ve had one for a while and it’s so handy, it folds down flat and is easily popped into your handbag and all you need to do when you want to play is put a balloon into the ball and blow it up. All of the kids in our family love balloon balls, from the babies to the school kids.

There’s some great baby items at Finlee and Me as well – my infant cousin loves the Baby Soft Sensory Box we were sent and I have to confess to wanting to collect all of these fantastic Idea Boxes.

Thanks to Finlee and Me I have a fantastic prize pack containing a Fairy Door, a Baby Soft Sensory Box, a Balloon Ball and the 52 Activities for You and Your Toddler activity card set to give away. To enter simply visit Finlee and Me then come back here and leave a comment to tell me in 50 words or less which product(s) from the store your kid(s) would love and why then use the rafflecopter form below to validate your entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Christmas might be over but as part of the Quilton Most Loved campaign #quiltonmostloved, I get to reflect on some of the more awesome days of Christmas past and Quilton is giving you guys the chance to win a years worth of toilet paper – that’s 208 rolls!

Christmas has always been a time of year filled with happy memories. It’s a time when we get together with the family (both the one we were born into and the one we have chosen) and pass the time with great food and good company.

My nan was one of 8 kids, my grandad one of 15 – we had a huge family so Christmas time as a child was always filled with people (and the associated presents). The yearly round of parties – Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Years Eve was interspaced with dinners for present exchanges and of course the big day.

Christmases as we got older got smaller and then smaller again when hubby and I picked up and moved to the UK – for the years we were away Christmas was a time we were both homesick so we used to travel. One memorable year we spent Christmas Day quad biking through the Sinai in Eqypt which was both bizarre and awesome in equal measure.

In all of those years we were away it’s not surprising that the very best Christmas was the one that we came home for. Flying in Christmas Eve and being picked up by my dad who had told mum he was off to the pub (believable lies are always the best ones ;) ). Months of careful planning and agony as I managed to keep our visit secret from all but my dad culminated in the most memorable few seconds of any Christmas (before kids anyway).

We hopped out of dad’s car at the end of the drive and waited 10 minutes or so before walking up and ringing the bell. The surprise and joy on mums face was so worth the 20-odd hours of travel and guaranteed jet-lag. On Christmas morning we waited until my sisters arrived with their families, hiding until they were all inside the house and opening their presents before walking down the stairs as if we’d never been away to shrieks of excitement and a few tears. Family is so important and we had missed them so much, no matter how crappy we felt being around the world from where we called home on very little sleep, everything else just faded under the happiness of being able to spend Christmas morning with family.

These days Christmas is usually spent with my huge crazy family here on the Gold Coast, or like this year, in Melbourne with the in-laws. Days that are spent so differently on the surface but at heart are just the same because family is the glue that holds everything together.

familyPhoto by Klee Photography

And we are lucky that way – families are not always awesome, my family is no different but somehow when we’re sitting around the Christmas table we manage to shelve all the rest of the crap and share together. That’s my #quiltonmostloved favourite moment – when we’re sitting with the family by blood and the family we choose and sharing the good – good memories, good experiences, good food, good wine and good people.

Share your most loved Christmas moment for your chance to win a year’s worth of toilet paper. To enter leave a comment on the blog to complete the following sentence:

My #quiltonmostloved Christmas moment is…

  • Make sure to include the hashtag #quiltonmostloved in your answer
  • Answers to be no more than 150 words

Entry open to Australian residents only, entries close midnight Friday 31st January 2014 and winners will be contacted by 5th February with winners published on the Quilton Everyday Love Facebook Page. Make sure you check out our disclaimer and the Quilton Privacy Policy. By entering this competition you give permission for your entry to be shared/published on the Quilton website and its social media channels. Good Luck.

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