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To celebrate the release of Disney’s blockbuster The Lion King, Woolworths have teamed up with Disney and are releasing a limited edition Ooshies collection.

From Wednesday (17 July), Woolworths customers will be able to collect a Lion King Ooshie, with every $30 they spend in store or online, while stocks last. The collection will feature 24 Ooshies, featuring 9 favourite characters from The Lion King, including Simba, Nala and Mufasa in original colours and gold versions. There is also a special cub version of Simba and Nala, and a translucent blue ‘Spirit Mufasa’ Lion King Ooshie to collect. You can find more pictures of the indiviuaal characters to collect at the end of the post.

The Lion King Director, Jon Favreau, has brought the story to life in a whole new way, using groundbreaking technology to create a never before seen cinematic experience.

“Our partnership with Woolworths will delight fans as they get to collect these long-treasured characters and introduce the beloved story to a new generation.”

Kylie Watson-Wheeler, Managing Director of The Walt Disney Company Australia

The Lion King is arguably one of the greatest Disney films of all time. Its beautiful storytelling about the circle of life captures the heart of every generation, which is why we are proud to partner with Disney to bring a world exclusive and something special to our customers here in Australia to celebrate the launch of the all-new film. We also know that many Aussies love Ooshies, and this unique Lion King collection is something that Lion King fans will want to keep and treasure for a long time.

Sarah De La Mare, Woolworths Programs Manager

SIMBA
CUB SIMBA
NALA
CUB NALA
MUFASA
SCAR
RAFIKI
SARABI
ZAZU
TIMON
PUMBAA
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“All the research points to a link between exposure to books at an early age and educational outcomes. So reading to your children is more than great fun – it’s also good for them,” – Alison Lester

Alison Lester is a favourite author/illustrator in our house.  Part of the reason why is I enjoy reading her books as much as my children enjoy me reading to them. The first Alison Lester book I read was Imagine, and I was utterly captivated by the book, page by page. Each time my children and I read it, it seems fresh somehow, with new discoveries to be found. I interviewed Alison Lester for Be A Fun Mum and you can find the interview below. 

What is your best FunMum tip?
Let your children stay home on rainy days. Try to say no as little as possible.

Why is reading to a child, from birth, so important?
Apart from anything, it’s a time when you STOP and give your child your full attention. It helps kids learn to read and opens a whole other imaginary world, much more powerful, private and subtle than television.  

How can parents make reading-aloud time fun?
Always read something you like. There’s nothing worse than wading through some boring rubbish trying to sound interested. Be honest with your kids and tell them if you think a book stinks. Make sure you are comfortable. It’s ok to snooze.

Often, storybooks are read at bedtime.  Are there advantages of reading with young children throughout the day?
I have guilty memories of my youngest calling out for a story and finding him asleep when I finally made it to his room. This happened many times, the poor old boy. He’s a strong reader, though. Many houses have a lot going on at bedtime, so daytime reads are wonderful.

Do your children have a favourite Alison Lester book?
I’m not sure.

My daughter (8) asks this question:  Did you name the pinnacle dinosaur in Are We There Yet?
No, it’s a no name dinosaur. Good question though!

My Children’s Top 4 Books

My children are past the picture book reading age, and there are a host of new books from Lester that are worth checking out such as the new release, The Very Noisy Baby. However, our favourites, in order, are as follows:

  1.  
Alison Lester Prints

I only recently realised you can get Alison Lester prints for a range of her books. Below are some of the prints available from Imagine. Check out more prints over on her website.

Can you spot Are We There Yet? in my daughter’s bedroom book stash. You can read more about the relationship my children have with books here: Fostering A LOVE for Books, Even If Kids Struggle to Read.

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Be A Fun Mum by Kelly - Be A Fun Mum - 1w ago

This is one of those little games our family made up that has become quite a hit. It is ridiculous, easy and fun. 

How to Play

A person grabs a random clinker and the family decides on a silly yes/no type questions. For example:

  • Will there be an expedition to Mars in 2030?
  • Is Dad the best World of Tanks player?
  • Will it rain tomorrow?
  • Was the moon landing real?

Then the player bites into a clinker for the answer.

Pink = No. Green = Yes. Yellow = Maybe.

It’s just a silly little game that is fun for a few laughs.

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Be A Fun Mum by Rebecca Senyard - 1w ago

If you’ve taken your kids to see the new Toy Story 4 movie, your kids may have been inspired to make their own Forky toy.

When I took my girls to see the movie last week, they were adamant about making Forky’s new friend, Knifey too. So here are the instructions to make your very own Knifey-inspired toy.

Materials

These craft inspired toys are based on recycling and using what you have in your home. We raided our craft box to come up with Knifey. Your dress might be different because you used green paper instead of yellow, or different embellishments on the dress. Let your kids have creative control over this craft. But, here are the basics for the craft.

Materials
  • Plastic knife
  • Embellishments
  • Googley eyes
  • Yellow pipe cleaner
  • Green pipe cleaner
  • Yellow paper
  • Paddle pop stick
  • Sharpie
  • Scissors
  • Bottle ring
  • Clay in red, white and pink
  • Craft glue (not pictured)
Instructions
  1. Fold the yellow pipe cleaner in half and cut to create Knifey’s hair.

2. Glue hair onto knife and add arms. HINT: Place Bottle ring on knifey, before adding her hair. Add hair embellishment.

3. Glue eyes and mouth.

4 . Cut dress from paper and glue to knifey’s body. Add pink clay hem and paddle pop stick legs, using the white clay.

5. Glue embellishments on the bottom of the dress. Use sharpie to add eyelashes above and below eyes.

6. Once Knifey is made, you can create imaginative scenes with Forky.

Now, all that’s left to make is spoony, and we’ve already covered that on the blog here.

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Recently I attended the Dilmah Australia High Tea Event in Sydney. It was a chilly but fine day, and we started the afternoon with a tea-infused mocktail and meet and greet.

I met some fabulous new people, like Faye Delanty (left) who is the Salvos’ fabulous Eco Stylist and reconnected with old blog friends, like Seana (right) from Hello Sydney Kids. The dress I wore is from a little boutique in Brisbane called Martha’s Vineyard and I’ve had a few ask me about the necklaces I was wearing: they are from Mimco

I love tea so I was excited about attending this event. There is something regulating about taking a moment to stop and have a cuppa. Over the course of the even, I had the pleasure of meeting Dilmah’s founder’s son, Dilhan Fernand (photographed below, left) and his son, Amrit (right) — the second and third generations. What stood out to me when chatting to Dilhan was his passion for three things: the importance of family, the beauty of tea, and the possibilities for social good in business. Dilhan had a quiet confidence about him and it was a pleasure to just listen to him share. I’ve been to a lot of press events in my time, and I noticed an effortless sincerity that’s rare these days.

See, I’m already a tea-lover, but I left feeling inspired by the Dilmah story and approach. Firstly, it’s still very much a family business and it was lovely that Dilhan brought his son with him on this trip. Dilhan explained that Amrit (18) knows A LOT about tea already, and he is starting to learn the business side too. As a parent of a child of a similar age, it made me happy to see father and son together.

Secondly, Dilhan’s love for tea was so infectious, I couldn’t help but see and experience tea in a new way. To him, tea is not simply a beverage, it’s an essence. It captures nature — crafted by sunshine, water and soil. Next time you have a cup of tea, close your eyes and imagine those elements in nature and how they translate into tea. It’s such a treat.

Thirdly, central to the Dilmah brand is the understanding that the business is about human service. So there’s a striving to give back to communities and create opportunities for others, especially those who are vulnerable. I’ll share more about this in a blog post soon. It’s encouraging to hear about businesses striving to do social good. It must be challenging to find the balance in this sphere, and having human service as a center is inspiring. You can read more in their recent Sustainability Report

Tea Tasting

I’ve tried a lot of different tea in my time, however, I often fall back on Black Tea and Earl Grey varieties. I was surprised at other classic teas I had not tried before. Did you know they can produce different teas out of the same plant? In the first tastings, I tried White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and Black Tea, as featured below. Dilhan demonstrated a new way to slurp (rather than sip) tea for its full flavour. You can see his demonstration and my poor atempt in the video at the end of the is post (at 0.26 seconds).

My favourite was the White Tea, which was incredibly smooth. I had never tasted White Tea before because it’s not available in the supermarket (need to order it online) but I loved it so much I have put an order in. Coming in at second was the Oolong Tea. I wasn’t sure when I first tasted it, but it grew on me…a lot. It has a slight honey after taste. Black Tea is classic and always a winner, and the Green Tea too, was lovely. It’s interesting, all the tea I tasted was served without milk (even though I usually have tea with milk) and I really enjoyed it, so I need to learn to brew it like it was done here. I usually use milk to take a little of the bitterness out, but all the tea I tasted was incredibly smooth so I’m working on that. There are brew guides on each tea on the Dilmah website. Just look for this search function at the top of the website and you can browse the range of different teas. 

Another extra fancy tea I tried was the Ceylon Golden Pekoe Tea With Saffron. This probably comes in a very close second to the White Tea. It’s a little more bodied and fragrant than the White Tea, yet still delicate and refined. I have also bought this variety. Tea is one of those little everyday luxuries I enjoy, and it’s lovely to have those extra special blends for those little breaks you want to savour. 

High Tea – Infused Range

After tea tasting, we moved to the high tea event, which was catered by Peter Kuruvita. I’ve met Peter before at a different event, and I knew I was in for a treat. The tea-infused inspired menu was seriously incredible! Dilmah has many different tea-infusion blends which are fabulous in mocktails or cocktails, and also work beautifully in food. My favourite would be the Dilmah Moroccan Mint Green Tea, which had just the right hint of mint.

Savoury Menu

Roast Duck & Charred Pineapple Hand Rolls | Dilmah Rooibos Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger & Nutmeg

Chicken Pani Puri Grilled Tomatoes, Cashew Cream | Dilmah Premium Ceylon Black Tea

Popcorn Prawn Skewers Aioli & Boondi | Dilmah Ceylon Green Tea

Sweet Menu

Pumpkin Scones with Coconut and Tea Cream | Dilmah Premium Ceylon Extra Strong

Chocolate Truffles | Dilmah Earl Grey Tea 

Creme Brulee | Dilmah Rooibos Cinnamon, Tumeric, Ginger and Nutmeg

Tea Cake | Dilmah Bergamot, Orange, Peppermint and Lemon

Tea Pairings

This gorgeous plate of Sri Lankan Fish Culets, Curried Egg Sandwich and New Yorker Roll with Spicy Sirloin was paired with the Dilmah Dilmah Premium Ceylon Black Tea.

The Chocolate Spheres were paired beautifully with the Dilmah Moroccan Mint Green Tea.

Mocktails

We tried some mocktails made using the Dilmah Rooibos Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger & Nutmeg and Dilmah Rooibos Ginger and Peppermint as a base ingredient. 

We also tried some fancy different ways to serve tea. My favourite was the Luxury Tea Leaf Brewer which you can see featured in the video below at 0.42 seconds. I have put that in my order too! Lots of good tea moments ahead! 

Dilmah High Tea Event in Sydney Australia - YouTube

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Be A Fun Mum by Kelly - Be A Fun Mum - 2w ago

This is one of those little games our family made up that has become quite a hit. It is ridiculous, easy and fun. 

How to Play

A person grabs a random clinker and the family decides on a silly yes/no type questions. For example:

  • Will there be an expedition to Mars in 2030?
  • Is Dad the best World of Tanks player?
  • Will it rain tomorrow?
  • Was the moon landing real?

Then the player bites into a clinker for the answer.

Pink = No. Green = Yes. Yellow = Maybe.

It’s just a silly little game that is fun for a few laughs.

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Be A Fun Mum by Rebecca Senyard - 3w ago

Toy Story 4 has hit the cinemas here in Australia. In it, we are introduced to a new character called Forky, which is a child-created “toy” that doesn’t think it really is a toy. 

Forky was made by the character Bonnie, from a spork. It is easy to create your own Forky-inspired toy at home. I didn’t have any sporks so used a plastic fork instead to create a Forky-inspired character. 

I purchased some extra supplies from Kmart (see below). I bought a selection of pipe cleaners, which included the red for Forky’s arms. I also bought nail stickers which had the rainbow sticker Forky has on his foot. 

Materials
  • Two Red Pipe Cleaners
  •  1 big and 1 small googley eyes
  •  Red Clay
  • Blue Clay
  • White Clay
  •  Thick Paddle Pop Stick
  •  Rainbow sticker
  •  Glue
  • Scissors (not pictured)
Tips
  • If you want to make this project simpler, use a permanent marker for the blue mouth and the red eyebrow
  • Instead of clay, Blu Tack can be used to attach the feet

Instructions

1. Bend the red pipe cleaner to creat the hands. You need to make two of these and then attach them to the middle of the Fork.

2. Roll a piece of the red clay into a small sausage to make the eyebrows (only need a small amount and beware, the colour does run!). Press on to the fork. I didn’t glue this element and it holds well, however a little craft glue would assist in this craft’s longevity. 

3. Roll the blue clay to make the mouth and attach to Forky’s face. Again, I didn’t use glue, but this can be attached using a little glue.

Alternatives:

  • Blue permanent marker for the mouth and red for the eyebrows
  • Blue and red wool/string could also be used

4. Glue the eyes to the face. I used a hot glue gun, but craft glue would be better for little hands. Hot glue can go through the fork prongs and burn little hands. I used this to adhere the eyes quickly. 

5. Cut the Paddle Pop Stick in half and glue together to create the feet. 

6. Use the white clay to adhere Forky’s body on the paddle pop stick feet. Add a rainbow sticker to the right stick as needed. 

Such an easy craft to make with the kids after you’ve seen the movie. 

For some behind the scenes designs from the Toy Story 4 movie, check the Pixar website here.

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Be A Fun Mum by Paula Siddle - 1M ago

Are you looking for a sweet treat that takes minutes to make, is fun and easy for kids to do, does not require baking, tastes amazing and is jam-packed with healthy ingredients? Then look no further than these awesome No-Bake Banana Bliss Balls! They are super easy to make and taste delicious. They make a great snack or treat and are perfect for school lunchboxes! You can even make a batch at the weekend and then store them in the freezer for whenever you need them.

This recipe can also be easily adapted for different dietary requirements. For example, for a vegan-friendly version, just swap out the honey for agave nectar. For a gluten-free option, simply substitute the rolled oats with quinoa flakes. The taste is just as good and they’ll be loved by kids and adults alike.

One of the best things we love about these heavenly bliss balls is that they can be made almost entirely out of pantry ingredients, which means you can whip some up whenever you need another batch. Plus, the dates, honey, vanilla and cacao give them a delicious chocolatey flavour, without the sugar and the guilt!

Here’s how to make No-Bake Banana Bliss Balls:

Ingredients
  • 2 small, ripe bananas
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 20 dried dates
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp pure, unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 cup extra desiccated coconut for rolling
Method
  1. Place all the ingredients (aside from the extra desiccated coconut) in a food processor.
  2. Process the ingredients until everything is blended together without any big lumps.
  3. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat this with the rest of the mixture.
  4. Pour the extra desiccated coconut onto a plate. Roll the balls in the coconut firmly so that it coats the outside all over.
  5. Enjoy the bliss balls straight away or store them in an air-tight container in the fridge.

These bliss balls can be stored in the fridge for several days. You can even pop them in an air-tight container and freeze them. Then just take some out as and when you need them. We find it works best if you take them out the night before and let them defrost in a container in the fridge overnight.  

We hope you and your kids love these tasty little treats!

More Bliss Ball Recipes
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Be A Fun Mum by Rebecca Senyard - 1M ago

These Pom Pom Animal Bookmarks are a fun craft activity to do. It’s also an easy craft to have ready in a bag for kids to assemble at playgroup or daycare.

I remember when I was little, my grandma had a mouse bookmark. It had a felt body and a piece of leather strap with two beads as a tail end for a bookmark. I’ve based this craft on that bookmark I remember from my childhood.

When my daughter and I started this craft, I experimented with our existing supplies to make a sheep. My four year old was quick to point out – sheep don’t have long tails, but mice do!

And so we made two more bookmarks and made them to look like a mouse. I share below how we made the sheep bookmark. 

You can change this craft to make any type of animal. Give your kids free reign with this activity and see what they come up with. Some ideas could be a dog, cat, snake or possum. Think of an animal with a long tail. 

Materials
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun or craft glue
  •  Felt – pre-cut into ear shapes
  •  Ribbon
  •  Big Pom Pom
  •  Googley Eyes
  •  Small pom pom for nose
  •  Pipe cleaners for whiskers
How to

1. Glue the ears

2. Glue to eyes

3. Glue the nose

4. Glue the whiskers

5. Glue the ribbon and you now have a complete pom pom mouse bookmark!

Pom Pom Sheep Bookmark

The sheep book mark follows the same procedure. We added a little black pom pom tail for my four year old’s benefit. 

No more bending the pages or using a receipt to mark your place in a novel. These bookmarks will guarantee a smile every time you use it. 

Other Bookmark Craft Ideas Other Pom Pom Craft Ideas
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Be A Fun Mum by Kelly - Be A Fun Mum - 1M ago

Sponsored

I’m not only good at making lunches for the kids, I would say I’m almost at expert level! Over the (many, many) years, I’ve developed a good system and now my kids mostly do their own lunches. However, over the last couple of years, I have been working at becoming better at doing adult lunch boxes. Recently, my husband went through a super busy time, and I made lunches for him during that period (often using leftovers) which you can see below.

Still, I struggled to consistently plan ahead when making lunches for myself.  I usually did not have enough food during the day (I just ate an apple on the run), or had to fall back on take away options. This year, I’ve been making more of an effort with my own lunch food. Now that the colder months have arrived, we are focusing on those delicious comfort foods in my household, like soups. Winter in Brisbane is my favourite time of year. I love wearing coats and scarves, and finding a warm spot to sit and enjoy food. I’ve put together some tips for investing in easy lunch box food ideas this winter from what I’ve learnt over this past year.

1. Containers

The first thing to consider is storing food and making it easy to pack lunches. Especially in winter, warm food is lovely, but you need the right sort of containers. In the past, I have used the Fuel Lunch Box (pictured above). These are handy because they are microwavable, however the lids do not seal (they just sit on the top of the container) so you need to be really careful what you put in there and how you carry it.

Another option is to use a variety of different microwave-safe containers and place them in a lunch bag. This is a good option, but I find all the containers fiddly and annoying. I think that is the thing: you have to work with what works for you or it’s not sustainable.  

One of the better options I have tried is these sectioned reusable containers by Michelle Bridges – pack of 5. I stumbled across them in the kitchen aisle of my local Woolies. They are portioned which makes packing food easy, and they are microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.

2. Pack food options you look forward to

Taking a nice moment during the day to enjoy food is important and I have been making more of an effort to actually stop. I went through a phase of packing the same food each weekday to make things easy. However, I really missed the variety. For me, having a variety of things to eat is really enjoyable. Having something to look forward to is important.

Soups are one of my favourite foods to eat and they work well for lunches, and you can mix it up too. Either make your own (here are a few recipes: pumpkin soup recipe, chicken noodle soup, meatball soup, chicken and corn soup, lentil soup, chicken enchilada soup) or you can grab the Woolies single serve soups which are easy to pack (I picked up 4 for $10 in my recent shop). They also come in larger 1 litre sizes. There are many different flavours to pick from – I went with Minestrone, Creamy Pumpkin, Pea & Ham and Asian Style Chicken & Corn. Woolworths have also recently released a number of new soups in time for winter and they are so yummy! The new range includes a Hearty Chicken & Bean Soup, Lamb & Barley, Mexican Soup with Chilli Bean, Peppered Steak and Beef & Vegetable Soup which are all $5 each for 500g.

I’m not really a sweet tooth, but I do enjoy something small to nibble on, especially in the afternoons. I tried the Free From Gluten, Dairy Free Chocolate Cheesecake (made with nuts and coconut) and it’s just the right sort of sweet for me (i.e. not too sweet). I cut it up into small sections, and made a batch of apricot balls and put them in a container for the freezer. This will probably last at least three weeks.  I simply remove what I need for that day, and it thaws out by the time I need to eat it.

Even on a day when I have a very quick throw together lunch like this one, that little treat is something I look forward to.

Tuna | Woolworths Green Goodness Salad | Pineapple | Free From Gluten, Free From Dairy Choc Cheesecake

Although I don’t have it very often, having a piece of cheese every now and again is a lovely treat.

Pea & Ham Soup |Cheese | Crackers | Carrot, Celery & Capsicum & Hummus | Strawberries

Another thing I enjoy during winter is flat bread, naan bread or roti instead of sandwiches, because I find it easier to portion control. Simply cut a few strips and add to the lunch box. It’s kind of making a grazing plate, which is one of my favourite ways to eat because you get a little bit of everything. I like these sorts of breads during winter too, because you can heat them up and it makes eating a little more cosy.

Carrot & Snow Peas | Naan Bread | Hummus | Falafel | Apricot Ball | Free From Gluten, Free From Dairy Choc Cheesecake


Kiwi Fruit | Almonds | Naan | Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Strawberries | Roti | Lettuce/Olives/Crumbled Feta | Asian Style Chicken & Corn Soup


3. Use Leftovers

Making a bit extra for dinner is another easy way to make delicious, warm lunches. Bolognese and pulled pork is are especially good because you can use them in so many ways. For example, serve with:

  • corn chips
  • a roll with coleslaw
  • rice
  • pasta
  • a wrap

Turn an easy mid-week dinner into easy lunches.

Woolworths Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder With Bbq Sauce| Vegetables | Corn Chips | Apricot Balls


Seeded Roll | Woolworths Kaleslaw Kit | Pulled Pork | Apple

4. Take Time to Savour it

This is what I struggle with the most! Taking the time to sit and enjoy food (not just eat while I work at my desk). There are a couple of ways I make myself stop to enjoy lunch.

Find a different spot

I find it helpful to find a different spot to where you work. For me, eating in the fresh air relaxes me the most. I sometimes worry that I’m wasting time, but I tend to be more productive after a nice break anyway.

Make it a bit special

Another tip is to use a mug for soup (just pour it in after heating). There is something so cosy about sipping soup from a mug. It’s the little things, like using proper cutlery, or finding a pretty spot to eat.

Enjoy

I find it hard to switch off, so listening to music, reading or watching interesting videos is a nice way to take a moment after I enjoy lunch. So not just eating and moving on, but savouring the food and taking the time to stop. It does me good.

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