Travelling with Kooshy Kids

School holidays. They’re here. Just like that. Pretty sure last Monday I was dropping off Avery for the first time at preschool, but apparently not. So here I am. About to embark on my first of many two week periods where I have to figure out how to occupy a school-loving kid.

Naturally, the perfect solution is only 646.6km away. Grandma’s house.

Thankfully, we have many good reasons to make the trip to Melbourne this school break, but the biggest two are our new niece and Benji’s best mate’s new bub. BABIES SQUEEEEEE!

Along with the portacot, the pram, suitcases, pillows, too many toys that won’t get touched, scooters, presents and enough food to feed an army for the trip down, we’re getting a bit smarter and packing a few items that are going to make our life so much easier this holiday, thanks to Kooshy Kids.

On-the-Go Parent Backpack

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Mary Poppins would be proud. You should see the lamp I’ve packed in this bad boy.

I’ve been testing out the On-the-Go Parent Backpack for a couple of weeks now prior to our trip away and it’s become an essential item for all our outings, big or small. Slim enough to fit snuggly attached to your pram, but roomy enough to fit enough nappies for a three day Easter vacation to the coast (we are from Canberra after all), this backpack has been a God send. With more bells and whistles than I can mention here, the highlights for us have been the unisex design, the waterproof material and the inbuilt frame that keeps the bag open for easy access when you’re doing your best to emulate Mary Poppins.

On-the-Go Nappy Clutch

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Love when a nappy clutch doesn’t look out of place next to your latest Gorman purchase

Super slim, yet extra large when folded out, the nappy clutch is yet another essential item for our wriggling, needs to be toilet-trained soon, almost two year old. I can chuck a couple of nappies and wipes in this bad boy and know that I’ve got everything I need to tend to that cute (stinky) little bum whenever and wherever I need to. It’s washable and fits perfectly with plenty of room to spare in my backpack.

Now, there’s one more thing I want to talk to you about, and this is a bloody game-changer.

Unfortunately, I am not lucky enough to be planning a long-haul vacay anytime soon, but when I do, I know what I’m going to bring with me…

Kooshy Kids Kooshion

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Photo supplied because I couldn’t convince anyone to send me and the kids on a long-haul flight to road test the Kooshion

The Kooshion is your perfect travel companion. It inflates to create a flat, flexible space between plane seats for your little ones, giving them that flat bed experience that us adults can only dream of up in Business Class. Lightweight in design and accepted on more than 50 airlines, it’s a must have item for any long-haul traveling.

If you need more info on the Kooshion, head here, otherwise read on because I’ve got some good news for you…

I’m giving away a Kooshion to one lucky reader. All you have to do is:

  • Follow @thejadedmonkey and @kooshykids on Instagram
  • Comment below with your dream getaway location along with your Instagram handle.

Easy!

Competition closes Thursday 19 April 7pm AEST and is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Instagram or Word Press.

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Kooshy Kids, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.   

Smashing School Lunches

There I stand. In the kitchen. Specifically in front of the fridge. Door wide open, hand on hip, foot tapping.

School bloody lunches.

The thorn in every families side.

The Morrison household has had it too good up until this point. Daycare has provided all of the girls meals, which means I’ve never had to give much thought about how to pack a school lunch box. Until now of course. 2018 is here and that means we’re about to be introduced to the wonderful world of Preschool.

I’m not exactly known for my creativity in the kitchen, so school lunches typically send shivers down my spine. I know I’m not alone though. I see you mama. Reading along. Nodding your head.

School lunches are a pain in the bum. Period.

But I’m going to let you in on some classified information. I’ve got a couple of secret weapons that are going to help me in my quest to nail the perfect lunch box this year and not just for Avery. The whole house is covered. Can I get an amen?!

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The Smash Bento Lunch kit is a great set for little ones or for carrying around on the go when you need to pack snacks. It comes with a 450ml drink bottle, a novelty sandwich cutter and stickers so the kids can personalise their set which is guaranteed to keep them quiet for at least 5.4 seconds so you can have a sip of hot coffee before someone starts whingeing. Did I mention it’s only $10 too? Love a good bargain.

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For those of us who like a little more food, then the Smash Lunch Box is for you. Not only does it look cool AF, it also holds a tonne of food (okay, may not actually hold a whole tonne of food, but you get where I’m going. It’s big.) and is insulated so your “tonne” of food is going to stay fresher for longer. Super fantastic for these 40 degree days we’re having at the moment!

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I’ve saved my favourite until last – the Smash Bento Switch Up. It’s got a detachable insulating liner, you can chuck it in the dishwasher (YAS!!!), the dividers are moveable to customise the size of the individual compartments and it’s leak resistant which makes it pretty much my go to item for Avery’s school bag this year. She’s basically been using it every day since we picked this beauty up and she loves figuring out what she wants to put where. More engagement from her in deciding what goes into her lunch box means she’s more likely to eat it all. Less waste, more healthy options, everyone wins.

So if you, like me are starting to realise that the school year is just around the corner, then head down to your local Big W, check out the Smash range and pick up some items that are going to make your life a whole lot better.

You can thank me later x

This has been a collaboration with Smash Enterprises, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.  

Place mats thanks to We Might Be Tiny

 

The Great Dollhouse Renovation!

My girls were the lucky recipients of a hand-me-down dollhouse from their Mardie and Pardie (is anyone else noticing that none of my children’s grandparents have normal names yet?) a couple of years ago. It’s wooden, beautifully handmade, and very solid.

But kind of old-fashioned.

And as you might have figured out if you’re familiar with my Instagram page, I don’t really do old-fashioned at home.

*cue music* It’s time for a makeover!

I had hinted to Benji for quite a while that the dollhouse could use with a bit of a face lift, but my whinging hinting fell on deaf ears. So there was only one thing left to do – get the job done girl.

With special thanks to Ryobi tools, this is how I made our little dolls house go from drab, to fab.

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“She’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools”

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “she’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools.”

WRONG!

My idea of DIY, is getting stuff out of the shed and then standing behind Benji, loudly offering my guidance on what I think he’s doing wrong as he goes about the task at hand. But this time I was determined to do it myself. I’m a woman, I can do anything!

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Benji: “Are you sure you want to do this?” Getouttamyway Benji.

Using the One+ 18V Compact Drill was easy, but kind of counter intuitive to start with for a thinking girl – “So I have to push the drill into the dollhouse to get the screws out? Huh?” Once my brain got over that little fact, and realised that this was going to make my life approximately 1052 times easier, I got into it and removed all those screws holding the house together quicker than I can make my way through a packet of Tim Tams.

The backing board was next to come off, and that was just a matter of using a little elbow grease and some pent-up frustration. A few strong taps (“like you mean it” according to Benji) and it was off.

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Eek, there’s no turning back now.

It was at about this point – five minutes in, that I got a little bored out in the shed and needed a little something to keep me going. Luckily, this is where the One+ 18V Bluetooth Radio comes in handy. It’s small, lightweight, has AM/FM, aux and Bluetooth capabilities and uses the same battery pack as my drill. Sorry neighbours, but this bad boy is getting turned up and I’m getting my shed-oke (totes a word) on.

Now, the wall of the dollhouse was probably the part of the house I disliked the most and was most keen to replace. To get rid of the old wallpaper, I set my 2000W Corded Heat Gun to low and warmed up the backing enough to scrape that bad boy off. Good riddance! Using my limited computer skills to good use, I made up some wall paper, printed it on card and using 84 2 rolls of double-sided tape, lived out my fantasy of having a house with beautiful wallpaper in every room, in miniature form.

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New versus old… Ugh, get rid of it now!

In hindsight, I should have used PVA to glue down the paper, as the taped paper buckled slightly. If I was a perfectionist, I would have redone it, but it isn’t noticeable to anyone but me, so I’ve left it as is!

Next came the part I was dreading the most, and more than likely was the reason I avoided doing the renovation myself for so long – the sanding. Ugh…

Thankfully though, thanks to the 100W Multipad Sander, the old varnish came off that bad boy fast and easy. I decided not to disassemble the entire dollhouse because I’m lazy like that, which meant there were lots of little nooks to get into. The sander handled these with ease and I was able to sand the timber back to its former glory without too much mess or fuss. Smooth as bruh.

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Super easy to use. Dare I say it made sanding fun? Too far?

Because I’m a narcissist at heart, I decided the colour scheme for the dollhouse would mimic that of our renovation that we’re about to undertake, so off I went to Bunnings and picked up some sample pots of the colours I’ve had my eye on – Dune for the exterior walls and Basalt for the Roof. Snow Peak for the interior walls which I watered down to whitewash the floorboards to show the beautiful wood grain.

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The whitewashed flooring and herringbone “marble tiling”. So chic. So what I wish I could have in my actual big house.

Finally, it was time to put the house back together and see if it actually looked any good…

Drum roll please…

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Time to see if it’s been worth the effort or if I’ve just ruined a perfectly fine dollhouse…

Success! Avery running out to see the finished product and looking at me with delight was a major highlight. “I love it!”

*heart swells with pride*

I made this for her. Me. Not Benji. Just me. I must admit, I didn’t realise how proud of myself I would be at the end of this project. It wasn’t particularly difficult, or challenging, but it was something that I would usually make Benji do for me. I feel a real sense of pride in my achievement and I must admit, I’ve developed a bit of a taste for DIY…

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Happy girl, happy Mum

Watch out shed, I’m coming to see what else I can play with next!

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Ryobi, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.   

Ryobi delivers affordable power tools with pro features, all backed by their 6 Year Warranty* and are available exclusively at Bunnings Australia and New Zealand.

* 6 year warranty applies to cordless products registered at http://www.ryobi.com.au. Batteries and chargers have 3 year warranty only. Corded tools have a 4 year warranty.

 

The Jaded Monkey’s 5K Giveaway!

Well, here we are – 5000 followers on my Instagram page!

For some, it may not mean much, but to me it means a whole lot. 5000 people who want me to pop up in their feed (Instagram willing). 5000 people who are interested in what goes on in my life.

To all 5000 of you, I want to say thank you so I’ve teamed up with some of my favourite stores to present The Jaded Monkey’s 5K Giveaway!

Gro Company – Ollie the Owl Sleep-Aid RRP $79.95

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The perfect sleep companion! Playing 4 comforting sounds (Heartbeat, Rainfall, Static White Noise or Brahms Lullaby) and with a gentle warm glowing tummy, Ollie the Owl creates a lovely soothing environment for your baby to drift off to sleep in. The built in CrySensor cleverly listens in and reactivates to help keep them calm should they stir.

  • Suitable from Birth
  • 4 soothing sounds – Heartbeat, Rainfall, White Noise static and Brahms Lullaby
  • CrySensor technology listens in on White Noise and Brahms Lullaby sounds
  • Adjustable Volume – High, Mid, Low (Tailored to suit your baby)
  • Sounds play for 20 minutes
  • Replicates pre-birth sounds
  • 4 different levels of light
  • Light shines for 30 minutes
  • Secure Velcro Fastening – attaches to cot, moses basket, pushchair or car seat

Talk about a Godsend for new babies (and not so new babies. Niamh loves her Ollie!)

Babyink Keep Sake – Hand/Footprint Frame Set RRP $68.00

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Mess Free, Ink- less and safe to use from birth. BABYink® is the perfect way to capture those special hand and footprints!

Wipe. Press. No Mess™ Exclusive COLOUR ink-less printing technology creates prints in vivid pink, blue and soft grey. The combination of the wipe and special paper creates prints like magic! Draw or print on the paper! – It’s double sided!

This gorgeous classic white frame is the perfect way to show off your BABYink® prints.
The frame has a thick white bevelled mat with two cut outs of 5×7″ and glass front, perfect for a photo enlargement alongside your little one’s hand or footprints.

Simply take your prints, customise them with your child’s details (these can be run through your home printer or simply handwritten alongside the prints) and pop them into the frame behind the mat.

Fun and a beautiful keepsake. Win win!

Two Little Ducklings – High Contrast Flash Cards and Milestone Flip Book RRP $66.90

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Created for infants 0-6 months, the High Contrast Flash Cards consist of 15 black and white illustrated flash cards which are designed to aid cognitive development and strengthen eyesight. Each card is laminated and designed with rounded corners to protect them from wear and tear.

The Milestone Flip Book can be used throughout pregnancy, for your newborn baby and also for your growing child. The first two parts of the flip book have the pages 0-9 so that you can choose the number, the second part of the flip book also incorporates ST, ND, RD and TH so that you can use it for 1ST, 2ND, 3RD and 4th etc. The third part of the book has the following pages: day, days, week, weeks, month, months, year, years, today, birthday, day of childcare, day of kindergarten, day of school, Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day and lastly Father’s Day.

We have used this for basically every milestone you can think of. Love!

Tip You’re It! – Interior Design Book: Creative Children’s Spaces by Ashlyn Gibson RRP $59.00

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Our favourite Canberra children’s store – Tip You’re It! wants to help you with your kids spaces, since putting together a creative and inspiring environment for children is perhaps one of the most exciting interior projects, yet also one of the hardest to get right! Creative Children’s Spaces is here to change that.

Packed with fresh and imaginative ideas, Creative Children’s Spaces is the perfect companion for your journey into parenthood.

I must admit, I had a quick flick through this book. It’s a great read! You’re lucky I’m not keeping it…

Munchkin – Bottle and Steriliser Bag Set RRP $36.98

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I’ve previously written about my love for the Latch range which you can read about here, but here’s the highlights…

The Latch Bottle does what others claim to do and fail – mimics the breast in movement and function. The flexibility of the Latch nipple moves with your baby without disrupting his/her feeding, which for an easily distracted baby is amazing. The shape of the bottle is easy to hold and big enough to hold a full bottle without being so big that it becomes heavy and cumbersome. The anti-colic valve at the base of the bottle allows the milk to flow without bubbles travelling through, helping to reduce gassiness. There are a range of nipples available, ensuring that the Latch Bottle will grow with your baby from the newborn stage, up until they are ready to ditch the bottle and move to a transition cup.

The Latch Sterilize Bags are small, portable and re-usable for up to 30 uses. Big enough to hold two wide mouth bottles or the parts for a double breast pump and a Cool-Touch grip that ensures you won’t have to worry about burning your fingers!

You’ll take away a set of three bottles and a six pack of steriliser bags. Ah-may-zing.

Mama Body Tea – 2 x Boxed Teas RRP $35.90

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Happy and healthy is all Mama wishes for when bringing her baby into the world!

This is exactly why Mama Body Tea has created an organic and caffeine free herbal tea range to assist women and their babies the healthy and natural way. The Mama Body Tea range is specially formulated to provide support and comfort to women and their babies throughout pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood.

Their organic teas are grown and processed without pesticides or artificial fertilisers, ensuring you are nourishing your body and your baby without any nasty chemicals. This also means workers nor the environment are exposed to the harmful chemicals used in conventional tea production.

I personally love the Digestive tea, but lucky you – you get two teas of your choice!

Seriously Milestones – The Original Baby Milestone Cards RRP $29.95

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Newborns suck right?

We know you’re meant to be totally over the moon in love with them, but…. sometimes, they just suck.

To help share the load, Seriously Milestones have created the baby milestone cards you really need! Seriously Milestones are all about keeping it real, so they love celebrating your babes first poo in the bath, that time they kept you up every hour, and even when they found their genitals!

  • Each pack contains 19 cards to be used as a photo prop or keepsake.
  • The cards are an A6 size and 400gsm so are perfect for photos.
  • Seriously Milestones are made to be used in conjunction with standard milestone cards in that they do not contain similar cards.
  • $1 from each pack is donated to Postnatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA).

Want to find out more about the creator of the most realistic milestone cards on the market? You can do that here.

Amberocks – Teething Necklace RRP $27

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This Raw Cognac and Lemon Baltic Amber teething necklace measures approximately 30-31cm’s in length.

Each bead is individually knotted so if the necklace was to break, only one bead would come free. The screw clasp is designed to break under stress.

Baltic amber works best by being heated by your skin allowing the release of its natural oils. For this reason it’s recommended to wear a necklace where possible to allow the most amount of oil to be absorbed by your skin.

Each amber bead is completely unique. That’s what makes it so special.

So, they look good and help with teething symptoms. Ummmm, yes please!

BasiK Organics – Bottom Balm RRP $24

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Their #1 selling Bottom Balm helps soothe and protect little bottoms. Regular use can even help prevent nappy rash.

Calendula has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, while cocoa butter contains natural antioxidants, is high in vitamin e, and is well known for it’s healing and moisturising properties. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory and healing properties while castor oil is naturally astringent, helping to pull impurities from the skin. It fights infection by inhibiting growth of bacteria and fungi, and has anti-viral properties. Coconut oil helps to increase collagen production and facilitate the healing of wounds, while beeswax is highly effective at locking in moisture and promoting cell development. Tea tree has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, and chamomile is calming and works as an anti-inflammatory.

And have I mentioned how good it smells? Ahhhhhhh

Shop Zaha – Set of Three Bows RRP $22

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Check out this set of three sweet little pure merino wool felt bows on soft nylon headbands, that will stretch as they grow. Handmade by my insta-turned-real-life friend Beck, they are the perfect accessory for your little one.

Colours in set: Mulberry, Dusty Blue and Grey

We have a tonne of these are the girls LOVE them.

Nellie and the Cat – “You’ve got this Mama” Charity Mug RRP $18

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You’ve got this Mama! Exclusively designed for Nellie and the Cat by Tiny Mountain Studio, these charity mugs are very special. They are a reminder that you’re doing your best and you’re doing a great job. Buy it for yourself for those days you need that reminder or for someone special who might need reminding too.

$5 from each mug sold goes to Love Your Sister to help with their fundraising for cancer research.

As of 30 June 2017, over $2000 has been raised for Love Your Sister! Talk about giving you all the warm and fuzzies!

Modern Monty – Arctic Silicone Teether RRP $18

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The Arctic Teether is designed to be extra practical and soothing for your teething bub. Made with only 100% food grade silicone beads of the highest quality. Their beads are certified to be free from BPA, Lead, Cadmium, Phthalates, PVC and Latex and will not absorb odours or support the growth of mould, fungus or bacteria. AND, the most exciting feature of this teether is it’s ability to get wet!

Available in 12 Modern Scandinavian inspired colours – it’s your choice!

There you go, that’s it! Total prize value is $485.68. Holy moly, talk about a good one… To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, head over to my Instagram page for all the details.

Good luck!

Feeding Made Simple – Munchkin Latch 

Flashback around 9 months ago. Breastfeeding isn’t going great the second time around, I’m desperate for a break, if only for a couple of hours and I’ve been pumping my heart out to build a stockpile so I can go out and get that alone time I so badly need.

The time has come to get those precious few hours to myself and surprisingly, Niamh doesn’t take to the three year old bottle we’ve pulled out of the back of the cupboard. I watch 150ml of breast milk get poured down the drain. A couple of days later we try again, this time with a different bottle we’ve gone out and purchased from the local supermarket. Same result. another 150ml of that precious milk, down the drain. Third time’s the charm right? No, no it’s not. More milk down the drain, along with it money from another failed bottle purchase and finally, there goes my sanity too. Glug glug glug. You know the saying, “There’s no use crying over spilt milk?” Ignore it if you’re talking about expressed breast milk. Cry away.

Next thing I know, I’m sitting in a crumpled heap, crying my eyes out proclaiming, “I’m never going to be free!”

True story. I kid you not.

I thought feeding babies was supposed to be easy?

Thankfully ,things got better after that point in time, but I’ll never forget that feeling of helplessness. Anyone who has a baby who is fussy with bottles will tell you that trying to find the right one can be one of the most stressful times in a tired, frazzled, new family’s life.

Thanks to this experience, I’m always in search for products that are going to make my life easier and the transition from breast to bottle to beyond a non-event for Niamh and for the rest of the family too! Here are a few of my new favourites;

First up – Munchkin Latch Sterilize Bags 

Wow. Just wow. For both of the girls, I had the largest monstrosity of a steriliser that took up the best part of a cupboard in my kitchen, not to mention a lot of space on the bench in those early days where EVERYTHING needed to be sterilised ALL THE TIME. Not anymore! Enter the Latch Sterilize Bags. Small, portable and re-usable for up to 30 uses. Big enough to hold two wide mouth bottles or the parts for a double breast pump and a Cool-Touch grip that ensures you won’t have to worry about burning your fingers (something I did plenty of with ol’ Bertha that I previously mentioned). These bags were a welcome change in our house. Farewell Bertha. You’re services are no longer required.

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Most Importantly – Munchkin Latch Bottle 

The Latch Bottle does what others claim to do and fail – mimics the breast in movement and function. Niamh took to the Latch nipple with ease. The flexibility of the Latch nipple moved with Niamh’s movements without disrupting her feeding, which for an easily distracted baby is amazing. The shape of the bottle was easy for her to hold herself (she’s a fiercely independent woman you know) and big enough to hold a full bottle without being so big that it became heavy and cumbersome. The anti-colic valve at the base of the bottle allows the milk to flow without bubbles travelling through, helping to reduce gassiness. There are a range of nipples available, ensuring that the Latch Bottle will grow with your baby from the newborn stage, up until they are ready to ditch the bottle and move to a transition cup.

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Lastly – Munchkin Latch Bottle and Valve Brush 

This was Avery’s favourite product in the range (no surprises there really). The size and shape of the brush ensured that she was able to clean the bottle, nipple and anti-colic valve with ease. The suction cup bottom was also a big hit for Avery (because, fun), as well as for me (because, germs). Lastly, and one of my non negotiables – it’s dishwasher safe. Hallelujah!

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Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the Latch range. It’s functional, easy to use and does what it promises to. It helps that it’s easy to look at and is fun for older kids to get involved in the cleaning side of things. I’ll definitely be recommending the Latch range to my new Mama friends.

You can learn more about the Latch range here or just head straight to your local Amcal Pharmacy to pick yours up!

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Munchkin, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.