An Interview with Kylie from Octavia and Vicky

Kylie is a fellow Adelaidian blogger of Octavia and Vicky, she was actually the first of which I connected with. A random google search about a year ago lead me to a list of blogs, I clicked on hers and found her facebook page. She was asking her followers to share if they were parents, teachers or bloggers so I introduced myself as being all three! Kylie has offered great advice to me along the way and we hope to meet up in person soon.

Kylie keeps busy with her two children, her teaching commitments and running various blogs.

Welcome Kylie! I'm so pleased to have you here.


1. I love the story of how you came about your blog name. Would you mind sharing the story with my readers?

When I in my first year at school I wrote a story called ‘Octavia and Vicky’. My mum always kept it and I loved looking at it over the years. For me it represents so much of what I love today – children’s literature, teaching, childhood, family and treasured memories. You’re welcome to read the original story on my blog.

2. When and why did you start your blog?

I’ve always loved writing and sharing stories. I’ve dabbled in blogging ever since I first had a computer in my hot little hands! Octavia and Vicky was created after I’d spent a couple of years writing a personal blog, with photos of my daughter and little bits and pieces about our day. I wanted to make a blog that was more professional but still had a personal touch. I went from Blogger to Wordpress and Octavia and Vicky was born! These days I’m teaching more and my blogging focus has shifted. I also write a class blog, maths journal, digital citizen ship blog and research journal. You can find them all here.

3. My readers may not know, what is an International Baccalaureate School?

The school that I teach at is an authorizied International Baccaulreate (IB) school. The IB focuses on developing the whole child as a learner both in the classroom and beyond and has a strong global focus. My favourite thing about teaching in an IB school is using an inquiry method. Inquiry gives children the opportunity to develop deep understandings, higher order thinking and puts children’s questions at the centre of learning.

4. Favourite subject you teach?

I’m not sure if I’d call it a subject, but inquiry is my favourite method of teaching. We use inquiry across the whole curriculum, maths, English, science etc. I love learning with children and supporting them to drive their own inquiries. I also love finding ways to use digital tools to support children’s learning and make global connections. Just recently we had some interesting chats with a class in New Zealand through our class blogs.

5. What activities are Pebble (5) and Rocky (2) loving at the moment?

Pebble is a maker, she loves to create with anything and everything but especially boxes, paper, crayons, textas and sticky tape! We go through a LOT of sticky tape. Rocky loves anything outdoors and is a bit obsessed by cars and trains.

6. I’ll have a similar age gap to you with my second one comes along. Any parenting advice for me to prepare Miss M for the new arrival, or any tips on how to make life work with two kids?

Have some independent activities ready for Miss M to do while you’re doing all those necessary (and lovely) baby things, like feeding. I made some busy bags for Pebble for those times. We also bought a present for Rocky to give to Pebble when he was born, which she played with at the hospital when she visited.

7. Do you have a favourite place in Adelaide to visit with the kids? 

We have some awesome local playgrounds that we love to visit. With Rocky being 2 ½ I love any playground that has a fence around the perimeter! Otherwise we like to try different places all the time and don’t stick to just one. This school holidays we’ll be visiting Monarto and the Central markets.

8. Tea or Coffee?

Tea, white, no sugar. I’ve just recently discovered Turkish Apple tea which is delicious. No milk in that, though!

9. Favourite blogger? 

That’s a very naughty question! I have a wonderfully supportive group of blogging friends, the Aussie Kid Blogger Network (AKBN). Christie (Childhood 101) introduced me to the group and I can’t imagine blogging without them. You can follow them by using the hashtags #akbn and #playmatters

10. Favourite Quote?

I’m a quote addict and have many saved to Pinterest! I have them stuck outside my classroom on the windows and pinned up next to my workspace at home. The first one that comes to mind, though, is one that got me through those looooong sleepless nights and crazy days of newborns and toddlers:


You can find Kylie here

Thank you so much Kylie! Lovely to have a fellow Adelaidian blogger here for the day! All the best with your teaching, blogging and of course parenting adventures!

Lauren xx

5 Fun Activities to do Indoors This Winter

Brrr it's chilly these days! It's right smack bang in the middle of winter, play cafe's are busy, it's too cold and rainy to play at the park - which doesn't leave many alternatives. So I tried to come up with some winter warming activities to keep Miss M busy at home.

Indoor Cubby

Firstly, we made this cute and cosy indoor cubby. I'm sure we've all done this growing up (my mum used to make ours over the old fashioned clothes horse!). She loved playing with her 'friends' in here (that's what she calls her teddies and dollies). Fairy lights made it extra special and cosy!

Indoor Obstacle Course

Little bodies have a lot of energy and when they can't run around outside or climb on play equipment, you may feel like they're bouncing off the walls inside the house. An indoor obstacle course is a great way to give them an outlet for their energy in a safe way. All I did was put some painters masking tape along our hallway and encouraged Miss M to jump, balance and follow the shapes. You could also add hula hoops or cushions and have something special like a tent (or treasure) at the end.

Dance Party

Another way to use up some of that energy and get those bodies to warm up is turn on the music and have a dance party in the lounge room! Here are some music games I love to do with 3-6 year olds

  • Musical statues or bobs
  • Musical colour search (when the music stops find something the colour...)
  • Musical groups (a great whole class dancing game - when the music stops make a group of... this many children)
  • Musical pairs (when the music stops find a partner and follow instructions eg elbow to elbow, knee to knee, back to back etc)

Cooking Activities

Kids love being involved in the kitchen, so crank the oven on and warm up with some tasty treats this winter! Christie at Childhood 101 has a fantastic bank of recipes designed to get young children involved and help in the kitchen (such as cookies, muffins, cheese puffs and snail scrolls!). The age of your child will obviously affect how much helping they can do (Miss M at 2 years old can tip pre-measured ingredients into the bowl and tries to have a go at mixing). School aged children could almost cook the whole meal themselves (under supervision of course).

Winter Craft

Stay tuned for my next post of 10 Winter Craft Activities to keep your little ones entertained inside on those cold wintery days.

Stay warm Aussies! So jealous of other parts of the world enjoying warmer weather than us.

Lauren x

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Small World Play

Just wanted to share the link to my latest guest post over at Childhood 101...

If you haven't heard of small world play, and want to find out how to get started, or you are simply just a fan of this well known and loved book - you'll definitely want to check it out.

Here's a sneak peak :)

And, here's my previous 'Bear Hunt' post with some other activity suggestions to bring this story to life!

Lauren x

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show {Review}

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar makes his way off the page and onto the stage.
4 timeless stories, 75 magical puppets"

On Saturday Miss M and her 1 year old cousin had their first experience at the theatre. We went to see 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show' and were absolutely in awe for the whole 50 minutes. It was the perfect choice for a toddler's first live show. Four Eric Carle stories were so cleverly told with the use of puppets and colour.

It began with The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. A story that encourages little artists to be creative with their paintings and use whichever colours they like! Coloured fabric, juggling balls and puppetry brought this story to life!

Next came Mister Seahorse (as you may or may not know I'm expecting baby number two and have spent quite sometime explaining to Miss M that mummies are the ones who have the babies) - this story left her a little perplexed as it's daddy seahorse who cares for and gives birth to the babies. Bubbles added to the under water experience and the puppets were magical!

Thirdly came The Very Lonely Firefly - a beautiful story about persistence and finding your tribe. Darker lighting during this story highlighted the glowing fireflies.

And then the story we had all been waiting for, the one almost every child could recite by heart, the most endearing little and very hungry caterpillar emerged from his egg and entertained the littlies as he ate his way through the week.

When we read this book, Miss M doesn't quite understand that the caterpillar turns into the butterfly, she always asks "where is him?". But she was absolutely amazed when the butterfly flew off the pages of the book backdrop.

The show has finished it's three days in Adelaide, but now they head to Brisbane, Penrith, Queanbeyan and Newcastle. If you're in any of these cities I would highly recommend the show for children of all ages. For more information, here is their website (FYI - ticket prices are for all ages, under 2s are free and sit on laps).

*edited to add - this post was written in 2015. Please see the website for current tour dates

Thank you cast and crew of the show for such a beautiful first theatrical experience for our little people.

Lauren :)

PS: Teachers looking to do an author study on Eric Carle - look no further than this post of mine! It's my most popular post thanks to being featured on Living Montessori Now.

Not sponsored or gifted. I just absolutely loved this show and wanted to share our experience.
All photographs used with permission from The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.

The Interview Catch Up Post!

I've had the pleasure of interviewing six brilliant bloggers so far this year, and only hope that I have the opportunity to continue this monthly feature. I thought since I'm half way through, it might be nice to touch base and catch up with these lovely ladies to see what's been happening.

January - Kerry from Kids in Harmony

Kerry is such a positive person, and she has a beautiful internet presence. My students loved the 'Kids in Harmony' colouring book and we used it in partners, with our older buddies and individually using water colour paints. Her mindfulness techniques were so helpful with my energetic little bunch and we regularly do the deep breathing exercises she recommended. Recently, she wrote a great post titled 3 Habits that Cause Parenting Block. Ever feel like you have no idea what you're doing when it comes to parenting your child? (I'm sure we all do from time to time). This is a great article for you.

What have you been up to Kerry?

Kids in Harmony is growing beautifully as we see new parents join our program and existing parents continuing to value what we do.  This term we explored tempo – the speed of music and we have many songs and activities for the children to deeply experience this from all different age appropriate props and music. Behind the scenes I am finally having my Harmony in the Classroom E-Book designed and I’m looking forward to sharing how educators and day care professionals can take a mindfulness and values based approach in their classroom and learning environments.  One of the highlights has been continuing to deliver my parenting blog and parent discovery sessions at Kids in Harmony; Positive, Connected Discipline 101.  I absolutely love supporting parents in the options available to them when correcting, guiding and redirecting their children.  Its powerful stuff and inspiring.  The Little Book of Harmony has seen itself being sent off all over the world which has been a joy to see and staying connected to you and other parent educators continues to be an important part of my work in the world.  Thank you for valuing what I do at Kids in Harmony and the resources I have created to support parents and educators to nurture values and mindfulness within their heart, home and community!

February - Anna from Bombarded Mum

The big news from Anna is that since our interview, she's launched her new look website and business 'Positive Parenting with Anna Partridge'. Her aim is to help parents raise confident and resilient kids. She has a fantastic free eBook 'How to put your kids to bed' and I've also written a guest post for Anna on The Importance of Play Based Learning in Early Childhood.

Catch us up on what's been happening Anna!

Basically, I have launched my new website, launched a new program 'How to Yell Less and Enjoy Your kids More: 5 days to becoming a more positive parent, started running workshops - next one on Understanding Temper Tantrums in July and started a Facebook Group - Parenting the Positive Way as a support group for parents who are raising confident and resilient kids the Positive Parenting Way. I am posting the A to Z of Parenting the Positive Way there now. 

March - Karina from The Laney Files

Well, Karina has some BIG news to share since she was here in March. She's been nominated as a Kid Spot Voices of 2015 Finalist! Her little ones are finally sleeping better and she's broken up with sleep deprivation. I've love reading her openly honest posts about the antics that go on with her four little tikes - often laughing along or sympathising on some level (even though I only have one and she has four!).

What's going on Karina?

Since my interview with the lovely Lauren, I have continued plugging away with my blog. I struggled at first with setting an unrealistic expectation fro how often I would blog but I seemed to have settled into a pattern of blogging twice a week and if I have a busy week I don't beat myself up for missing a post. I have got to know a lot of other bloggers through the link-ups that go on in the blogosphere and have managed to strike up a few 'electronic' friendships by contacting bloggers directly to introduce myself. I took a bit of a  plunge earlier this year by interning with Mamamia, where I was able to write for the iVillage team, who offered me some great feedback and the chance to see what happens behind the scenes of a successful networking site for women. From here I was able to hone my writing skills enough to start getting published. I am now in contact with Kidspot, who have commissioned a couple of pieces from me which should be published later in the year. I was gobsmacked to see I made the Kidspot Top 100 Voices of 2015. I went down to Melbourne for the program launch and had a fantastic time meeting other bloggers and feeling my way around my first blogging event. I have purchased my ticket for Problogger this year and can't wait to learn loads more and meet more fabulous bloggers. To sum up, it's been a full-on and very exciting journey so far! It's amazing the doors that can open from starting a blog.

April - Cindy from Your Kids OT

Cindy's blog has so many great resources for parents, teachers and child care educators. One that springs to mind was her recent collection of Fingerplays (FREEBIE ALERT!) along with lots of other finger exercises aimed at improving fine motor skills.

Get us up to speed Cindy :)

Life has been very busy as I'm seeing more children for OT which in turn has inspired me with more things to write on the blog. Unfortunately it also means that I have less time to write. Halfway through the year and my little boy is really looking forward to starting "Big school"! We made conditioner cloud dough recently but it made me so cross with the mess. Ha, I think I like "contained mess" if there is such a thing! 

May - Christine from Adventure, Baby!

I only interviewed Christine recently, but she's on an amazing trip at the moment! She has the best instagram feed of all the wonderful places she, her hubby and daughter visit. I loved her recent posts 70 Signs You're a Sleep Deprived Parent and What I Know About My Parents Now That I Am One.

What's new with you Christine?

My husband, daughter and I are currently adventuring around the world, from Singapore to Barcelona, London, New York and San Francisco. We love experiencing new cultures together, and the joys of seeing our daughter embracing the local food and traditions has been more than worth the long haul flights.

And of course, I only just recently interviewed...

Christie from Childhood 101

Please check it out if you missed it!


If you're a blogger, and you'd like to interview moi - please get in touch via email ( Feel free to also get in touch if you'd like to be interviewed later in the year.

Thanks again to Kerry, Anna, Karina, Cindy, Christine and Christie for sharing your stories and words of wisdom with my Teacher Types readers.

Collaboration and kindness makes the blogosphere go round :)

Lauren x

Have a Cuppa with Christie | Childhood 101

I'm so thrilled today to welcome Christie, creator and editor of the extremely successful one stop shop parenting blog - Childhood 101 for this month's interview! You probably know by now that all year I've been writing articles for Childhood 101 and it's been a lovely team to be a part of, plus my words and ideas are getting sent out further into the internet abyss than my little blog ever could.

Christie is also an early years teacher like me, and has two beautiful girls.

Grab a cuppa while you enjoy my chat with Christie.


1. You must be so proud that Childhood 101 was named ‘Best Parenting Blog’ for 2009 and 2011. Would you mind sharing your favourite (or most popular) posts from each of these years?

It was such an honour to be recognized in that way, especially in 2009 as my blog was only five months old at the time. I was up against some very popular and established bloggers from the whole of the Asia Pacific region so it was a real surprise. That first year my DIY play kitchen from a cardboard box was very popular and in 2011 my printable routine cards was one of my favourite posts as it was the first time I had tried offering a printable and I loved getting feedback from readers who had downloaded the cards and were using them in their homes.

2. I love that Childhood 101 is a one stop shop for parents where they can find play & learning inspiration, positive parenting tips, home d├ęcor/organisation ideas and fantastic healthy recipes. There’s always a huge variety of content. Was this always your vision for Childhood 101 – or did it evolve?

It did evolve over time. Originally the focus was purely play and learning ideas and thoughts about early education based on my experiences as a teacher, but as I grew into parenthood my blog evolved to encompass more of the themes related to family life.

3. Where in Australia are you from? What can families get up to when they visit?

We live in Perth, Western Australian and WA has the best beaches in Australia so if you come to Perth you have to make time for the beach. Other great places to visit with a family in tow are Kings Park and Fremantle and we also love the Perth Museum, Scitech and Perth Zoo.

4. What does a typical ‘day in the life of Christie’ look like?

Pretty boring really!! I am not a morning person and so mornings are all about getting everyone up and ready and out the door for school, without me becoming grumpy and naggy (I wrote about my challenge not to screech “Hurry up!” here). We are usually running through the school gate as the bell rings but at least my school girl is happy and relaxed for her day.

Once we are back home, the small girl usually potters around playing while I check emails and make a coffee. Then we either head out to playgroup, a play date or to run errands, or we stay home for play and create. 

After picking up Immy from school, it’s off to dancing or a play date, or home for homework and more play. Homework, dinner, bath time, bed and then I usually start work. 

Most of my blog related work is done in the evenings or over the weekend; my husband is fabulously patient with me working around family time and routines. We really are 50:50 when it comes to everything that needs to be done at home. I really am so thankful for the flexibility that blogging has provided me as a career. 

With this being the last year before our youngest starts kindy, I really don’t want her memories of her time home with Mum being stuck to her laptop or phone, so I am making a conscious effort to be in the moment with her. Which means a lot needs to happen after hours and that is just the way it has to be right now. 

5. What activities are your girls loving at the moment?

My girls (aged seven and three) are both big fans of imaginative play so our house is littered with all manner of figurines and I am forever answering, “Yes?” when I hear “Mum” called, only to be told it is part of the game they are playing!They both enjoy singing and dancing and we recently discovered the VideoStar app (that you can read more about here on the blog, so their current craze is making music videos – the results are quite hilarious!

6. What can readers expect from your book and ebook “Time to Create?”

Time to Create is all about creating easy, accessible art with young children. I wrote it for parents and educators in the hope of encouraging them to explore art making with their children and each activity really encourages discovery and exploration. There are sections dedicated to everything from drawing and painting to working with textiles and digital photography. Time to Create also shares information about the learning that happens through art making, lots of suggestions for talking to children about their art and even ideas for encouraging reluctant artists.

7. Who are some of your favourite bloggers to follow?

Two of my favourite bloggers have become good friends IRL -  Nicole at Planning with Kids and Kate at Picklebums. They are both awesome and they inspire me (in more ways than they will ever know) each and every day on my parenting journey.

8. Finally do you have a favourite quote you’d care to share?

I have many! But this one in particular is speaking to me as my girls seem to be growing so quickly and I want to make the most of every moment of family time that we have -

Thank you so much for your time Christie!
You can find Christie here...

Next up on the blog, I've caught up with the wonderful bloggers who I've had the pleasure of interviewing in the past this year. Please stay tuned to find out what exciting things they've been up to!

Lauren x

Baby News!

Well you've probably already heard this news if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, but we are excited to announce that we are expecting baby number two in the new year. 

I'm actually 13 weeks, this photo was taken last week. I used the A Beautiful Mess app to add the text overlay (they have a fantastic pregnancy/first year bundle as an extra that you can purchase). I did weekly photos with Miss M but was in my pjs for all of them, so wasn't quite comfortable to share them with the world. This time around though I'll be sure I look presentable!

This time I grew a lot quicker and popped out almost straight away. I think I was only at 8 weeks when already my jeans didn't fit and I was trying to wear baggy cardigans to cover up until the news went public. I've been so fortunate with both pregnancies that I haven't had any morning sickness, just that good old first trimester fatigue where you're sitting on the couch at 8pm and you can barely keep your eyes open. So grateful Miss M is a good sleeper!

She's very exciting about mummy having a baby. For quite a while there she thought that everyone with a bit of a 'belly' had a baby in there, so I'm just trying to delicately explain that one to her. She's convinced that it will be a girl (because mummy is a girl she says, and daddy can have the boy baby). At the moment she's getting right into role play with her teddies and dollies, dressing them up so they're warm, changing their nappies, putting them to bed and rocking them to sleep. It really is lovely, and I think she'll be a good big sister. She'll be nearly 3 when baby number two arrives.

We found out Miss M was a girl at 20 weeks and we will do again this time around. I'm looking forward to sorting out all her baby clothes either to use again or donate. I can't wait to set up another nursery (and I'll be sure to share in here on the blog). Miss M has decided that she'd like to keep her bedroom.

Over the past few months I've come across some fantastic pregnancy and parenting articles, but couldn't share them until now as I didn't want to give anything away!

Sarah from Working Mums Collective wrote a touching and honest article about when a family changes from one child to two. Definitely worth a read if you like me are pregnant with your second. Click here.

Liv (another Adeladian blogger I've recently discovered) from Eenie Meenie Miney Mum wrote about why she didn't find out the gender of her babies. She (like me) sounds like a super organised type, so I found it really interesting to read her point of view.

Jess from The New Mum Blog is also pregnant with her second and wrote about how her first pregnancy is different to her second. I am living this reality right now! It is so different when you have a toddler to look after as well as looking after yourself.

Lauren from Canberra Mummy is another fellow blogger pregnant with her second, and has a fantastic ebook 'OMG I'm Pregnant! Now What?' which I would highly recommend to first time mums.

Wholesome Mummy Life wrote a great post about why it's easier (or in some cases harder) to have two children compared to one. A great read to prepare me for what's to come.

I can't help myself but start thinking about baby names - The Huffinton Post recently shared the top baby names for 2015.

And finally, I had a good laugh while scrolling through this one on Buzzfeed. 23 things no one tells you about having a second kid.

So please follow along with my pregnancy journey as baby grows from a lime to a lemon to an apple to an avocado etc... It's exciting to be sharing it on the blog this time around. I'll be sure to share the gender in a fun way and give you a glimpse into the new nursery. Thank you all for your kind words of congratulations over on FB and insta.

Much love,
Lauren xx
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