Kick Sleep Deprivation in the Butt!

How to Kick Sleep Deprivation in the Butt {via Octavia and Vicky}

How to Kick Sleep Deprivation in the Butt {via Octavia and Vicky}

Do you follow my Facebook page? Or Instagram? If you do you would know that The Night Time has not been great for us lately for the last eleven months. Rocky is not the greatest sleeper <- understatement. Especially lately. There are lots of theories that race through my sleep deprived mind as I battle through the long nights, with the Daddy side-kick fighting along side me. Is he hungry? Did he eat too much? Is it wind? Reflux? A dairy intolerance? Too much sleep during the day? Not enough? Was he not tired enough? Over tired? Each night I try to get it just right, and each night as I put him to bed I wish that maybe, just maybe, tonight will be the night that he’ll sleep  just a little bit better.

I keep on wishing.

Meanwhile, I’m getting kinda good at getting through the day on very little sleep. Sure, I still have my meltdowns, I’m only human after all! But I have learnt a few things about making the most of each day while my brain is fried. Here’s what I have to share about winning the fight against sleep deprivation.

Kick Sleep Deprivation in the Butt!

1. Shower

This may sound ridiculously simple, but the act of having a shower can wash the crazy off me just enough so that I can function for the day. Some mornings, the mornings that we’re not going anywhere in particular, I just focus on getting the kids fed and helping hubby get out the door to work. And then suddenly it’s lunch time and I’m still in my PJs and feeling funky (bad funky). If I make the effort to shower first I feel SO much happier and clear headed, even if it means getting up before everyone else to do it.

How to Kick Sleep Deprivation in the Butt {via Octavia and Vicky}

2. Colour

Get dressed! Throw on a necklace, scarf or top with a pop of colour to brighten your day. Just because you feel like crap, it doesn’t mean you have to look it.

3. Bright eyes

I don’t wear a lot of make up but I am completely addicted to a couple of products that help my eyes go from packing a couple of dark suitcases to light and bright (as light and bright as they’re gonna get after getting woken up every hour!). I adore Benefit Fake Up and Benefit High Brow (not sponsored, just love em). Fake up is a concealer with an in built moisturiser, so it doesn’t go all creasey and crinkly.  High Brow is a magic highlighter that wakes up your face! It’s a soft white pencil that you apply to your brow bone (just under the eye brow). So easy and quick to do, which is awesome cos I ain’t got time to be messing around!

How to Kick Sleep Deprivation in the Butt {via Octavia and Vicky}

4. Feed the monster right

Your sleep deprived self will be crying out for sugar and caffeine, not doubt. But STOP! I have done this so many times and every single time it makes me feel so much worse. Try to have your house stocked with simple, easy, healthy foods that you can eat without too much prep and which make you feel amazing. I love to boil a bunch of eggs at the beginning of the week and eat those chopped up with avocado and sprinkled with soy sauce or tamari. Or try avocado on wholemeal toast, a banana smoothie or fruit salad and yoghurt. Your body will reward you with energy and your mood will be way better than if you’d reached for the sugary stuff. And there’s nothing wrong with a cuppa or two, but maybe don’t have ten. Mmmmkay?

5. Drink up

Water, water, water. Keep yourself hydrated and your mind will be clearer and mood brighter. Honest!

6. Jump

Ok, this is kinda nuts, but on days when I’ve been feeling SO zombie-fied that I can barely keep my eyes open and just wanna crawl into a ball… I do star jumps. Right there in the lounge room. When you’ve got two energetic kids who want to play you can’t just sleep on the couch all day. Get up and start jumping, get the blood flowing and you’ll wake up a little more. I also like to get silly and dance. You can dance along to some of my favourite 80s clips too if you like :)

How to Kick Sleep Deprivation in the Butt {via Octavia and Vicky}

7. Hug

Phone a friend, catch up for a cuppa and a hug. With any luck they’ve got some kiddos that your little ones can play with so that you can both take a mini breather, perhaps even finish your sentences and a hot drink? Or is that just dreaming? Or maybe they have a spare pair of hands to help you get some jobs done or take a moment to yourself.

8. Laugh

Laugh out loud like crazy. Even if you don’t feel like it – soon you’ll be laughing for real and the tension will start to ease.

9. Get help if you need to

Sometimes no amount of jumping, laughing, hugging or boiled eggs can help you feel better. You just need help. Please take care of yourself and visit your GP if the dark thoughts are taking over and you can’t see out of the situation you’re in. I’ve been there too and talking to a professional was the best thing I ever did. It was scary at first, and I cried as soon as I sat down in her office, but it helped enormously. If you can’t face seeing someone if person you can call a support line like Life Line, Beyond Blue or PANDA.

Are you sleep deprived too? How do you cope with it? 

More parenting stuff here >>>

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20 Awesome Baby Play Ideas {and Bumper Baby Toy Giveaway!!!!}

20 Awesome Baby Play Activities {via Octavia and Vicky}

Sponsored by Fisher Price

20 Awesome Baby Play Activities {via Octavia and Vicky}

You guys! Our baby boy is growing up so fast! Rocky is already 11 months old, almost a toddler. In fact, in reality, he IS a toddler. He’s staggering all over the place, he’s got a mouth full of teeth and he’s becoming much more cuddly and much more cheeky with each passing day.

To make the most of the last of Rocky’s baby stage I want to share some awesome baby play ideas with you all. This time goes so fast, I hope these ideas will help you to enjoy this precious time with your little ones too.

Looking for more baby play ideas?
Get your copy of Zero to Two: the book of play.

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

20 Awesome Baby Play Ideas

Gel sensory baby (Paging Fun Mums)
Discovery box play (Just for Daisy)
Rice bubble sensory tub (Paint on the Ceiling)
Water tub play (Teach Preschool)
Sticky paper sensory play (Octavia and Vicky)

20 Awesome Baby Play Activities {via Octavia and Vicky}

Playing with mirrors (The Imagination Tree)
Texture sensory wall (Hands On as We Grow)
Ball and tube play (Octavia and Vicky)
Shaving foam sensory bag (Octavia and Vicky)
Rolling ramp fun (Learn with Play at Home)

20 Awesome Baby Play Activities {via Octavia and Vicky}

Active baby play ideas (Childhood 101)
Ice painting (Laughing Kids Learn)
Sensory bottles for baby (Dirt and Boogers)
The magical cardboard box (Mamasmiles)
Baby sensory tray (Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails)

20 Awesome Baby Play Activities {via Octavia and Vicky}

Montessori baby resources (Living Montessori Now)
Baby play 3 – 6 months (Lessons Learnt Journal)
Crazy baby songs and finger plays (Picklebums)
Tummy time ideas (Nurturestore)
Finger paint (Rainy Day Mum)

Fisher Price Bumper Baby Gear Giveaway!

It has been my great pleasure to represent Fisher Price, they are a brand that I have loved as a child and a mama. I’ve SO enjoyed sharing my parenting reflections, yummy kids recipes and GIVEAWAYS with you all. Now for one final giveaway as my time as a Fisher Price Play Ambassador comes to an end. And it’s a doozy!
Fisher Price Baby Toy Giveaway {via Octavia and Vicky}

The awesome people over at Fisher-Price are big advocates of baby and children’s play, and as their Play Ambassador they’ve given me the chance to giveaway $150 worth of baby toys to one Australian Octavia and Vicky readers:

  • Prize 1: Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends Jumperoo –  There’s so much for baby to discover on this jumperoo – music, lights and exciting sounds reward baby with every jump! A rotating seat gives baby 360° access to toys and activities all around, including a light-up waterfall, spinners, bead bar, roller bar, teether and more!

  • Prize 2: Fisher -Price Rainforest Friends  Tote ‘n Glow –  the Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends Tote ‘n Glow Soother is an adorable elephant character designed to help soothe baby to sleep with a rich variety of soothing lights, music and white noise effects.

  • Prize 3: Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends 4-in-1 Projection Soother – A sweet table top soother provides a variety of options to soothe baby to sleep. Modes let parents customise music and sounds (including white noise!), projection and glowing lights to baby’s preference.

To enter to win all three of these awesome prizes simply leave a comment answering this question:

What will you miss most when your baby isn’t a baby anymore?

Australian entrants only. Entries close 5.00pm AEDST on Wednesday, February 26 2014.

Want more baby play ideas?

Zero to two: The Book of Play is now on sale! It is packed full of fun activities for babies and toddlers. You can buy the e-book anywhere in the world, and it comes with freebie printable puppets and stroller cards. Get your copy here.

Zero to Two - The Book of PlayZero to Two - The Book of Play

Multisensory Activities for Learning Letters

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Play dough letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Multisensory Activities for Learning Letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Pebble’s goal for the year is to learn to write and she’s been really keen to practice her letters. We’ve been practising lots of sounds and learning how to write them. One day I set up a bunch of different letter writing stations for her to practice the letter of the day. Now we set them up whenever she’s in the mood to practice. You can set them up easily at home too.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice

Pipe cleaner letters

Make letters using pipe cleaners. Children might use one pipe cleaner to make each letter, or join pipe cleaners together.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - pipe cleaner letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Play dough letters

Make letters by shaping and rolling dough. This helps to strengthen little fingers and hands, as well as learning the letter shape.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Play dough letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Salt letters

Write letters using fingers in salt. We used a small plastic container with a piece of coloured paper sticky taped to the bottom. This helped the letter to stand out clearly when it was traced in the salt. If you don’t have a salt tray try getting outside and tracing letters in the dirt or sand pit.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Salt Tray Letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Rainbow letters

Children use different coloured markers to trace over the letter repeatedly, until they have made a rainbow.  You could also paint rainbow letters with water colours.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Rainbow Letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Giant air letters

  1. Practice tracing letter shapes as large as you can in the air using one hand.
  2. Swap hands and trace letter shapes in the air as large as you can in the air again.
  3. Clasp both hands together and trace more giant letter shapes in the air.

Whiteboard letters

Write letters on a mini whiteboard or blackboard using chalk or whiteboard markers. We have this fancy light up board that Pebble got for her birthday. It’s called a Multi Flash Lights Writing Pad and Australian readers can buy one for just $8 at Kmart (not sponsored).

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Mini Whiteboards {via Octavia and Vicky}

Pebble letters

Pebble letters for Pebble! Children shape the letter out of pebbles or dried beans. For children who are struggling to form the shape you could draw it underneath first so that they may trace it.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Pebble letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

All of these activities are also great for older children who are practising their spelling words.


  • make sure children have correct pencil grip when writing using pencils, markers or other writing tools. Here’s a great video for teaching children pencil grip:

  • model the correct letter formation again and again, and provide lots of templates for tracing and practising.
  • make it into a game and have fun!

Do your children love practising their letters? Or is it like pulling teeth?

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Zero to Two: the book of play

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

I’m feeling so very excited to be able to share Zero to Two: the book of play with you all. I was thrilled when Cathy from NurtureStore asked me to be a part of this book, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have. Rocky and I have been having a ball with all the ideas.

What will I find in ‘Zero to Two: the book of play’?

Take a sneak peek at what’s inside with this video:

How to I get a copy of ‘Zero to Two: the book of play’?

  • Zero to Two: the book of play is an ebook. You can download your copy on any device (computer, tablet, phone) from anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW! You can print it on your printer at home, or read it straight from your phone, computer or tablet.
  • get your copy for just $8.99 (USD). Don’t worry about working out the exchange rate, it’s all done for you when you get your copy. You’re welcome :)

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

Garden Treasures Play Dough

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

One of Pebble’s favourite things to do is collect treasures from the garden. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not finding her garden treasures in my pockets, her bags, on shelves and random containers around the house (even in the fridge!?!). They are very meaningful to her, and she pretends with them in lots of different ways. Sometimes they’re part of her fairy world, or perhaps ingredients for cooking, other times they are presents for her friends.

One gorgeous summer morning we took a basket out into the garden and had a hunt for garden treasures together. Pebble delighted in finding leaves, twigs, flowers, gum nuts and seed pods, chatting about them all the way. Colour was very important to her and she noticed the slightest variations in colour from leaf to leaf. We gathered flowers with tiny petals and the smallest gum nuts, then giant seed pods and miniature pine cones.

When we were all done with exploring we took our collection inside while we made some play dough. Together we poured, stirred, kneaded and rolled, until we had the perfect consistency of soft, pliable play dough, just begging to be played with. We took the play dough and garden treasures back outside and sat in the shade. Pebble started immediately ‘cooking’ with all her bits and pieces, creating a delicious dinner. Then her play segued into making a pot for holding flowers, one that dries hard (apparently), and placing flowers just so.

We kept the play dough and garden treasures and revisited them throughout the week, each time they took on new meaning through imagination and were added to with more garden treasures. It was lovely to see how the simplest ingredients lead to magical play and watch as it unfolded over time.

Garden Treasures Play Dough (No Cook)

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

You will need:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • approx. 2 cups boiling water
  • food colouring (if you like, we left ours natural)
  • garden treasures: twigs, leaves, pine cones, rocks, grass, flowers, seed pods, bark. Whatever you can find in your garden!

To make the play dough:

  • combine the dry ingredients
  • combine the water and oil (and food colouring if you’re using it) and stir into to the dry ingredients until a dough forms.
  • knead until smooth and stretchy (careful, the dough will be hot!)
  • store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

What’s the weirdest place you’ve found one of your kid’s collections in? Anyone else found gravel in their fridge?!

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Looking for more play inspiration?

Pretend Play Inspiration - 11 fun ideas {Octavia and Vicky}

Invitation to Play Picture Frames and Loose Parts