10 Things You May Not Know About Me….

Do you ever wander what type of person is behind a business? What do they look like? Are they married? Where do they live? Do they like a wine….or two!

This is me..the unedited version…

country girl with a wine

Just a country girl with a wine and the latest Lee Kernaghan CD!

  1. I don’t have a middle name. Something that used to irk me a lot when I was a child. Everyone had a middle name! Now, it’s pretty cool as it shortens the paperwork.
  2.  I love cats and I have 5 moggy’s. Each with their own ‘cat’titude and personality.
  3. I started running my own business with a children’s book Party Plan business called The Learning Ladder as therapy for Post Natal Depression.
  4. I married a farmer and live on a farm in regional SA. We have 2 daughters, Georgia 9 and Hayley 7.
  5. I am 44 years old. Born in 1974. The year the Credit Card was invented which says a lot…
  6. I really love reading! I have been reading novels since I was 8 years old, starting with The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. These days I favour James Patterson, Jodi Picoult and a bit of Stephen King.
  7. My stress relief is gardening. I have a massive garden and I love nothing more than heading out to get my hands dirty.
  8. I struggle with forgiveness as I tend to be a once bitten, twice shy. I find it hard to trust once that trust has been broken. I love deeply and I hurt deeply.
  9. I do not like board games or card games but I don’t mind the odd game of solitaire or sudoko on the ipad.
  10. I am doing what I love. Some days are just pure and utter crap. Some days I question my sanity. Most days I enjoy what  do.  7 years ago I registered my business and here I am with 700 products to my biz.
  11. ….and yes, I do like wine. Any wine but preferably a chilled Sauvignon Blanc……with cheese and crackers….

Raising a Highly Sensitive Child

My Sensitive Georgia…

From birth (which so didn’t go to plan by the way and was pretty much a nightmare from beginning to end)  Georgia has been demanding, highly emotional and very aware of her surroundings and the emotions of people around her.  She was what is commonly called a ‘hard baby’ and as I struggled so much with meeting her emotional demands (she constantly cried and was very unsettled) I felt like a very unfit mother and such a failure….hello PND.

Fixing her World…

Georgia is 9 now.  She is highly reactive to her surrounds, highly emotional and asks lots of questions to reassure herself. My heart breaks as I watch her struggle with anxiety and activities that other children her age do without even thinking, such as joining in on team sports.  I constantly try and ‘fix’ her world without becoming a helicopter mum. I did come to the point where I couldn’t do anymore  and was worrying I maybe doing more harm than good. I needed some direction and new strategies so I sought out professional help which was such an eye opener and helped tremendously.  I think at every session I cried. So yes, my HSC already has had a bout of therapy (aimed at kids) to help her work through some troubling thoughts.

One of the 15%…

Georgia is one of the fifteen percent born as a highly sensitive child. She thrives on routine and does not like changes. Her bedroom is her haven, neat as a pin and full of what is special to her. Easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation and the emotional distress of others, she is generally more mentally exhausted by the end of the day than her younger sister.

Georgia struggles with joining in a large group of people, she prefers her circle of close friends and family. Which is one of the reasons why I signed her up to calisthenics. A safe place where not only can she learn new skills, keep fit but also surround her with other girls her age who have similiar interests but without the pressure to form friendships as they’re all focusing on cartwheels, marching and spinning rods!

Time Out…

School days used to end in tears and anger as all of her pent up feelings, stress and anxiety as well as acting the dutiful calm student for 6 hours of the day were released. After her outburst we generally drove home in stony silence. She needs time every day after school to be on her own and recharge her batteries as being around people exhausts her. This is usually done with her head buried in her ipad, squelching her homemade slime or rolling around on the trampoline with her many cats!

It still makes my blood boil when people say to a quiet/shy/sensitive child ‘oh you’re not one of those shy kids are you?’ as if being shy is seen as a weakness and not socially accepted! Being sensitive is a wonderful trait, it is not an illness or a syndrome. Unfortunately, many sensitive children labelled as too shy, too quiet and too sensitive grow into adults (such as myself)  who believed they were not as socially normal as they’re confident, loud as life counterparts. Parents, teachers and such thought they were doing the right thing by trying to change them into someone they were not (hand held high here).

Handle with Care…

A highly sensitive child needs to have special care so their intense feelings and emotions are understood. Treat them carefully so they don’t feel anxious or a failure if something doesn’t work out. Highly sensitive children are highly creative, intuitive, possess surprising  wisdom and have buckets of empathy for others. All of which I see in Georgia every single day.

I am the first to admit I spend a little bit more time emotionally connecting with Georgia than I do with my other daughter, Hayley, who is more than happy to chatter away to her unicorns or to be quite frank, she prefers to spend time outside with her daddy ‘working’ the farm!

Georgia, like me, will be highly sensitive all her life. There is no ‘cure’ for this and why should there be? Like most labels given out, hsc  just want to be accepted for who they are.

The book The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron is the follow up to the author’s internationally best-selling personal development guide The Highly Sensitive Person

It is the first and only book for parents of highly sensitive children.

It provides parents with insights and information so they can understand High Sensitivity, and help their highly sensitive child thrive in the world.

It is important for these children to be understood so they can be helped to avoid the common traps of shyness and withdrawal that many highly sensitive fall into as they develop.

Contains questionnaire for parents to find out if their child has the traits common in highly sensitive children.

Discusses HSC’s at different ages – infant, toddler, school-age and adolescent.…

Cheap Wooden Toys…..would you buy them?

If you’re like me and you have young kids, well you probably have become quite familiar with toy shops. Whether they be the mainstream ones in shopping centres or the little boutique ones tucked away in country towns. You may also have noticed the extraordinary price difference between the larger stores bringing out their own brands of wooden toys and actual wooden toy brands such as Grimm’s or I’m Toy.

 Image result for le toy van

If you are concerned about the manufacturing, ethics, sustainability and above all, safety behind the toys you buy, well,  the cheaper wooden toys would certainly be waving a red flag! As this is a topic I constantly hear whispered about I decided to dig deeper and do a little research into why they are cheaper….and boy oh boy you may just very well never buy that cheap wooden rainbow again!

Inexpensive wooden toys are manufactured from cheap, mass produced MDF and plywood. Both common woods and both bonded together with toxic glues and other adhesive materials, including the toxic chemical Formaldehyde, a known carcinogenic. Top it off with a shiny coating of some toxic paint and voila! You have a toy that is anything but natural and safe! Many of these cheaper toys are made in mass production in poor quality control Chinese factories where quantities reign supreme, regardless of the toxins belching into the air.

Image result for stacking rainbow

Unfortunately, these manufacturers are very clever at making people believe they are purchasing a natural wooden toy. The packaging looks natural with eco friendly cardboard and pictures of trees giving us the impression we are buying a natural toy. They are stacked up on the shelves of trusted mainstream department stores here in Australia so they have to be safe…right?

The ‘real’ wooden toy companies are deeply committed to producing quality safe wooden toys. They choose sustainable wood sources as well as safer water, soy and vegetable based paints, adhesives and coatings. These companies have nothing to hide. Their websites and packaging proudly display the many awards and certificates they have obtained over the years. They do cost more to manufacture and thus the higher shelf price. They are constantly testing for safety and quality and seeking ways to lessen the stress on the environment and our planet.

Image result for stacking rainbow

Some points to remember the next time you are reaching for those attractively packaged cheap wooden toys:

Cheap wooden toys are made from plywood, MDF or chipboard – these woods contain Formaldehyde (poison that your children will be playing with and most probably sucking on).  They do declare that the amount of toxin is well within the safe zone but still, would you want your child sucking on any amount of formaldehyde? Some good brands do use plywood but they have passed numerous and rigorous safety standard tests.

The cheaper wooden toys will have no website with safety and environmental standards, no tests to show they have passed safety tests and no certificates or awards.

Study the packaging and read the small print carefully – manufacturers are very good at pointing out what they think you need to know and very deceptive at covering up what they need to hide.

Remember this the next time you stand within earshot of me and whisper to your shopping partner, I know where we can get wooden toys so much cheaper………

 

 

Wooden Toy Safety

For Peace of Mind….

Toy Safety is the practice of ensuring that toys, especially those made for children ages 0 – 3, are safe, usually through the application of set Safety Standards. There are several regulations and regulators governing the safety of toys in Australia but the Australian Consumer Law managed by the ACCC is the most important of these.

ALL of the toys sold by Wild Woodland Toys have been purchased through reputable Australian Wholesale suppliers who import and distribute high-quality wooden toys to Australian retailers. These suppliers source the products from overseas (mainly China) from ethical wooden toy manufacturers who only use wood from sustainable sources, as well as using safe water, soy and vegetable based paints, adhesives and coatings.  The paints are non- toxic as are the natural oils and beeswax used to bring out the natural wood grain. All of these materials are certified and non- toxic. They undergo constant rigorous testing for safety in accordance with the strict guidelines for Toy Safety within Australia.

Ethical Wooden Toy Companies tend to have nothing to hide and their websites and packaging usually proudly feature various certificates and awards by safety and environmental organisations.

Traditional wooden toys are made of natural materials by skilled craftsmen, they are not mass produced in toxic plastic factories. As wooden toys substantially cost more to manufacture, their retail prices do tend to be higher. Plastic toys contain high levels of chemicals and toxins. Wooden toys are a much safer alternative as they do not contain these. This is particularly important with babies who tend to put everything in their mouths.

Whilst easy and convenient to purchase in mainstream shopping centres, mass produced plastic toys are designed to over stimulate with their noise and visual distractions. Wooden Toys inspire creativity and imagination in children. They create an environment of peacefulness and beauty as children engage in meaningful play. Wood is a natural texture, inviting children to touch, feel and explore. Plastic is not.

Wooden Toys are kinder to our planet as they don’t require batteries, electricity or even the software that the high tech devices require these days.

There are so many benefits of choosing wooden toys over plastic ones and fortunately, these days, we are finding an increasing rend towards this choice!

 

Afterpay Now Available

 

Buying beautiful toys just got a whole lot easier…

Now you dont have to wait, with Afterpay you get your order now and pay the balance off in 4 easy installments!

  1. Select Afterpay as your payment method. Use your existing debit or credit card.
  2. Complete your checkout in seconds. No long forms. Instant approval online.
  3. Pay over 4 equal installments. Pay fortnightly. Enjoy your purhases straight away!

For more information visit http://www.afterpay.com.au

 

Recent reports regarding mould inside Sophie the Giraffe

As some of you will be aware there are currently reports circulating on various media platforms regarding moulds inside Sophie la girafe.

In a statement received from Vulli (makers of Sophie in France)

Sophie la girafe is composed of 100% natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected. As indicated on the packaging and inside the packaging, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie la girafe with a damp cloth. It should not be immersed in water nor rinsed off, to prevent water from getting inside. 

To date Vulli has not been contacted by (the bloggers) and were not aware of the situation before reading the article. It is thus difficult for us to comment, as we haven’t had the chance to examine the products.  

Based on the assessment the Sophie la girafe quality department can make from the pictures shown in the article, “it is not possible that saliva could cause the type of mould formation shown in the pictures… which leads us to believe that the presence of water inside the giraffe caused the mould. This situation is often seen with bath toys. 

The safety of children and satisfaction of their parents is our main priority. For the past 55 years, we have always strived to exceed security standards and all of our products comply with the most stringent global standards. 

It’s important to note that, as far as we are aware, these moulds do not pose a hazard, although consumers’ concerns at the presence of the mould are understandable.

The bottom line for consumers is that if they respect the cleaning instructions and make sure that no water gets inside the giraffe’s body, there shouldn’t be any issue.

Worryingly the blog article recommends washing and sterilising routines that would strip Sophie’s paint, silence her squeaker, damage the natural rubber (the blog advice is for plastic toys whereas Sophie is made from latex rubber) and leave potentially hazardous cleaning chemicals stuck inside – along with water that would stimulate mould growth!

Autism Awareness Month

Brightly colored handprints arranged in a seamless tile; colors represent autism awareness.

APRIL is Autism Awareness Month. So, what better time to launch a Sensory Range for Special Needs Children.  Many of my products already cater to special needs children but it felt fitting that I dedicate an entire category to this range as there is such a growing  desire to locate these toys easily.

Sensory products help fulfill the sensory needs of children with Autism, ADHD, Aspergers and Sensory Processing Disorder. Sensory products strongly stimulate at least one of the 5 fundamental sensory mechanisms in our bodies. Visual, taste, feel, hear and smell. Children with autism and other sensory disorders, in particular,  may lack one or more of these senses or they are delayed. They can greatly benefit from a range of sensory toys and activities. By meeting their sensory processing needs, they will feel calm, focused and organised.

On a much more personal note, I would like to introduce you to my gorgeous nephew, Bailey.

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He has Autism and Global Developmental Delay. Bailey is 10 years old. He was diagnosed at age 2 and since then, his immediate family with the support of us, the extended family, have used and tried many intervention methods too numerous to list here.

Bailey loves many of my wooden toys, one in particular being the Lock Activity Box by MamageniusOriginal Lock Box. It has 10 different latches, locks and doors and gives him hours, and I mean hours, of pure engagement and calmness.

I hope you enjoy the Special Needs Sensory range as much as I have in researching and putting it together. This will be a growing range and I invite anyone to contact me if they wish to see a particular product included that I don’t stock. I would also love to hear your stories and any feedback you may have.

 

 

 

Introducing, Sophie the Giraffe

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Sophie the Giraffe has been around for more than 50 years…

Since 1961, more than 30 million Sophies have been sold in the world!

Her success has been huge in Europe, America and in Canada. She has won numerous awards worldwide.Print

I am so happy to be able to add Sophie to my range. As time progresses, more Sophie products will be added. There is a world of Sophie the Giraffe products out there that I cannot wait to share with you!

 

Born in France in 1961, Sophie quickly became a “must have” in baby’s essentials. Designed to stimulate the senses and soothe teething gums, mothers recognise right away the benefits of this little giraffe for their child.

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Sophie the Giraffe has been a favourite teething toy in France for more than 40 years. Since her creation in 1961, Sophie the Giraffe has wowed over 20 million babies (and parents!) with her natural beauty and charm. These days in France 9 out of 10 newborn babies are given their own Sophie La Girafe.

Most importantly her flexible, renewable, natural rubber materials and non-toxic paint mean Sophie the Giraffe is a safe and all-natural teething toy for your little one. Parents world-wide trust the joy this classic toy brings to their babies.
Image 1
Vulli, a company based in Rumilly in the Haute-Savoie region of France has continued to keep the jealously-guarded secret of how this wonder toy is made. In today’s fast paced world it is unusual to see a high production toy still “tradionally produced” and made by hand: Sophie requires more than 14 manual manufacturing steps.

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Slender, flexible and soft, baby can squeeze and chew her in complete safety. Lovable and amusing, Sophie laughs when her body is squeezed.

  • Made from 100% natural rubber derived from the sap of the Hevea tree
  • Natural Rubber is soft, safe & non-toxic for baby to teethe & chew.
  • Lightweight & easy to grasp for tiny hands.
  • Painted with non-toxic, food-grade paints.
  • Stimulating to baby’s senses with her soft colors & gentle squeak.
  • Bumpy head helps soothe sore, teething gums.
  • Sophie makes a soft squeak when squeezed – such fun for a baby!
  • Slender, flexible & soft – babies love manipulating & teething Sophie.
  • Sophie the Giraffe is Phthalate-Free with No Vinyl (no-PVC)!
  • Born in France in 1961, Sophie the Giraffe is a classic!
  • 17cm
  • 0 – 12 months +

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Plant-a-Tree with EverEarth

EverEarth are designers, manufacturers and distributors of award winning eco-friendly wooden toys and gifts. They have over 45 years experience in the design and production of wooden toys, and ensure that their toys deliver fantastic play value as well as stimulate the child’s natural development.

EverEarth take pride in being pro-active when it comes to using materials that are safe for our environment. All the products are put through the most stringent internal testing, as well as through third party
industry approved testing labs and meeting the required international standards as a minimum. You can support their plant-a-tree campaign by simply purchasing an EverEarth toy.

Wild Woodland Toys stocks an ever increasing range of EverEarth wooden toys. By purchasing an EverEarth product you can join them in the “Plant-A-Tree” forest sustainability initiative. Purchase an EverEarth toy and we’ll “Plant-A-Tree” in your name in their FSC certified forest. Your choices do make a difference. Follow EverEarth on Facebook and Twitter to see the forest’s progress.

You can visit the Plant-A-Tree website by simply scanning the QR code or by visiting the website
Select the appropriate region
Complete the very basic information register
Forest operations is automatically alerted and will plant tree at the next seed planting session
Your personalised Plant-A-TreeRattle Toy Owl certificate is automatically generated and emailed directly to either you or your child
Regular forest updates will be sent via email

Why I chose to re brand….

I undertook a re brand and survived!

For 3 years I lived, ate, breathed Ladybug Crossing. I was synonymous with it. People saw me or my logo and knew who I was, what I sold, they knew who they were dealing with. I had built this teeny tiny interest into a pretty much solid work at home business.
My logo and business name was everywhere! Facebook, website, flyers, market advertising and the 1000’s of business cards I had given out.
……all GONE!

But why would I re brand? Why would I take the risk? People wont know me. They will look for Ladybug Crossing and not find her. I will lose my gorgeous repeat customers. What on earth am I thinking?

Here’s what happened in the beginning…….

I have always loved wooden toys….always…..I would find derelict treasures of wooden toys in secondhand shops and buy them. There is just something about a wooden toy and the way it looks when it is battered with age, as if it could tell a story or two about it’s previous owner!
I found a supplier, just one. I found a market, just one. I attended. It was outside in 40 degrees. I bought an umbrella for shade on the way there.
I loved it!!
I made $25. However, from the reaction I received from nearly all of the people who walked past my tiny, heat baked stall inspired me to create Ladybug Crossing. There was a niche out there for quality wooden toys and it needed to be filled. People WERE fed up with the mass produced, expensive plastic toys that chewed through batteries and most often than not, ended up at St Vinnies or broken. There was no love in those toys.

I found another supplier, then another. I found a graphic designer. Branding of Ladybug Crossing was done but very quickly as I needed to get back out there!
The business grew to an extent I had never anticipated or expected. It was time for a color re brand and then the website was launched.
It was all working!

….and I LOVED it!

Business was still growing but now I was beginning to separate myself from what seemed a childhood dream of playing ‘shop’. It no longer felt professional. There was this widening gap and when that happened it was time to do some serious rethinking. It is almost impossible to work on, let alone grow a business when you lose that mojo.
I loved wooden toys, I loved the market scene, I loved filling customer orders knowing I was selling them a quality product so what was going on here?

I took a long look at my name and logo. Hmmmmm…nowhere did it give the indication of what my business was about, unless the tagline was there too. I was bored with it too.
OK, so that was the awesome first revelation but oh oh… I need a new name! One that had wood and toys in it and one that had not already been assigned to other wooden toy businesses across the globe. Ohhhhhhhh shit…………….I was stuck. So the whole fandangled re brand thingy was shelved for 3 months as the new name was the MOST important part of the entire process.

As fate would have it, a lass who sells succulents inspired me and the new name just rolled into my mind….
Wild………Woodland………Toys.
I couldn’t help but feel so awfully proud and I knew I was then on the right track.

Timing?
There was never going to be the perfect time to launch a re brand. The graphic design and admin side of things were scooting along beautifully behind the scenes. When Carmen from Ink Pink Design sent through the final logo proofs and I opened them I just about levitated out of the chair! Amazing! Carmen had hit it spot on. Just between you, me and the other 703 subscribers I thought the first proof looked like it had a dead rabbit stretched out around it! However, Carmen adjusted a few things and presto, the logo was born along with the whole re branding theme. I fell in love and I realised then how much I had fallen out of love with my old logo and branding.

Now for Facebook…..the biggie. It takes almost two weeks for Facebook to approve a business name change and as I found out they give you absolutely no warning when the name will change.
At 3.12pm on a Thursday afternoon, up popped Wild Woodland Toys. Oh, goodbye Ladybug Crossing. Then, the emails and comments started, the mobile was bleeping out texts. Um, that was bad timing. i need to do the school run and I have a rather cantankerous 3 year old by my side. So, I did what I do when it all gets too much. I removed myself from all social media and communications and had a day of down time.

You see, not only was I rejoicing in the launch I was also grieving. Ladybug Crossing and I had been partners for so long. I had spent many many hours, many many dollars and so much love building it up……and I dumped it for a new and better model.
It has been the hardest and most rewarding business project I have ever undertaken and the journey is not over yet.

Beautiful, unique wooden toys.