Get the most from your mobile technology

{Sponsored Post} Mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras and other mobile devices all have the potential to improve the lives of your children. Pia Argiratos of Powered Life, offers some tips to how your family can make the most of your mobile toys and tools. 

When children are using audio on your mobile gear, make sure they can hear it. Good quality, adjustable, safety designed headsets are available for children, helping them stay focused and interested.

Camera and audio recording tools on mobile devices can encourage children to pay attention to the world around them and even record their own growth which can be turned into an educational experience for the child. Try taking a photo of your child each morning or month over a set period of time to help them see how they change. Have them take their own photos or do a “A Day in My Life” Project. Print or download photos and help them add their own words and capture memories.

Excitement sometimes exceeds sense. Invest in a protective tough case to keep your device and data intact, saving in repairs. Tough cases can be drop proof, shock proof, even water proof – kid proof! Also, teach kids to take care while plugging in or removing a cable, keeping the tip straight and not wiggling too much, so they don’t bend the pins inside the port.

Read on your tablet, using a stylus to highlight and notate PDF documents just like a pen on paper. This also means you can read another chapter while the kids are in their swimming lesson then on the way home the same device can calm the overtired rascals!

Considering what else kids do with their hands, regular cleaning is essential for reducing scratches, stopping muck from entering power and data ports as well as the transmission of bacteria from user to user. Slightly dampen a microfibre cloth with demineralised water or diluted cleaning vinegar, and wipe your unit clean including in the corners, being careful to avoid fibres or moisture getting inside. Dry completely before use.

Mobile devices are only useful while they work, so pack a portable power pack, or solar charger to recharge anywhere. From a pocket sized unit that easily slips into a school bag or hand bag, to a larger unit for laptops, there is a portable power pack to keep your device powered up and useful!

Pia Argiratos is from Powered Life, helping you maximise the benefits of mobile technology by powering and protecting devices wherever you are. This Australian company offers the best brands in rugged, tough cases for mobile phones, iPads and more plus portable power packs so that you won’t say “Oh no, my battery is dead!” ever again.


Nutraorganics Superfoods for Kidz

As I’ve been adventuring into healthy eating, additive free territory, I’ve been given the opportunity to try out some great products that I hadn’t previously stocked my pantry with. When I opened up the jars of Superfoods for Kidz I wondered whether they’d be given the thumbs up from my kids and I was pleasantly surprised.

I started with the bright orange jar of Vital Veggie Power. This powder is packed with carrot, mango, pumpkin, tomato, broccoli sprout powder barley grass, spirulina, alfalfa, psyllium husks and chorella and all of these ingredients are organic. The suggestions on the label say that it caan be used to sprinkle onto toasted sandwiches, into muffins, in juices or spag bol but I found a tonne more uses for this nutrient dense veggie powder! The kids loved it on their roast potatoes and I felt so much better about using that rather than salt or seasoning. I sprinkled it into vegetable risotto and found it can be used in a range of different meals without affecting the flavour. It has a veggie taste and is slightly sweet but it’s very palatable. I could see this being popular with parents of fussy eaters that shy away from eating fruit and veg. In any case, this has become a replacement for salty seasoning at our place and I’m glad to have found it.

Next, we have C Berry Blast. The kids were super excited to give this one a try. C Berry Blast is a powder containing mango, acai berry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, goji berry rosehip, seabuckthorn, camu camu (these are all organic) and wild harvested kakadu plum. Aside from the fact that I would find it hard to reel off the names of many other berries, I love the fact that I can pronounce the name and recognise all of the ingredients in this list. Now, my fridge usually only has water or soy/almond milk in it and fresh juices usually get consumed straight away. So this was a big treat for my kids as we played around with it by adding it to the water jug, and making ice cubes. They LOVED it in their smoothies and in their yoghurt. It doesn’t have a sweet taste but it’s a really pleasant berry taste.

I alternated the C Berry Blast with Berry Choc Chunk for the kid’s smoothies. With a chocolatey/berry taste, this one was another winner. I loved being able to use this and not feel concerned about what was going in. We used this one only in smoothies although it can be used sprinkled on icecream, yoghurt or cereal. It’s been given the “yummy” tick of approval from my kids who loved the choc chunks in particular.

The big winner though were the Berry Choc Chunk Bars. What I LOVE about these is that they can easily fit into a lunchbox as a treat but they’re packed full of goodness. They’re not overly sweet and have a nice soft and chewy texture. They’re just the right size and the kids were excited to try them. They make an excellent lunchbox snack for those times where I haven’t had time to bake anything special. All the ingredients in these bars are organic, and they contain no processed sugars (another thing we’re trying to stay away from).

All in all, I think Nutraorganics is doing a wonderful job in bringing products to market that are helping parents make informed, healthy choices for their family. These products can easy form substitutes for unhealthy drink powders and chocolate bars. Where half the challenge in turning to healthier eating and additive free living is finding products to replace what usually sits on the supermarket shelves, I really hope this review helps you!

For RECIPES and more ideas on how you can use the above products, visit Superfoods for Kidz here. The team have been super helpful and friendly so if you have any questions about their products send them an email or post any questions or comments below!

Until next time,

{Sponsored Post}
* Mindful Parenting has received payment for the purpose of reviewing Superfoods for Kidz. We have tried and tested these products and will only ever mention and recommend products we wholeheartedly believe in that we think will truly benefit our readers… just like this one.


Going Additive Free Part 3

I’ve been amazed at how popular our Going Additive Free Series has been. I know that in recent times I’ve felt increasingly drawn to addressing the various aspects of my own wellbeing. This has involved looking at the foods we eat as you recall I might have mentioned in this post. I’ve also started coming across conversations and articles around GMO foods, food additives and chemicals in cosmetics and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to ignore it all.

I’ll start with sharing my story on taking inventory of my pantry. I felt drawn towards understanding more about additives, not so much because of any major problems, but really because part of me knows, even with my limited knowledge of food science, that these additives can’t be good for me or my kids. I’ve for too long, not taken good enough care of my own body and so a progression into eating a mainly plant based diet, full of the fresh stuff was something I felt I needed to move towards anyway. My husband is Italian and I lived in Italy for several years so microwave or packet food has never really made it’s way into our home. Rather, we work with simple ingredients. So when I went to tackle my pantry and fridge, I was actually quite surprised to see that most of the things were ok. Thankfully my kids love their fruit and veg (my son actually asks for broccoli in his lunchbox) but the problem foods were more like things like processed cheese, bread, crackers, pasta sauces and so on. There are some things I find “tricky” to replace, but I found as I became more informed, which is still a work in progress, the transition was actually quite easy.

I think that if you’re interested in making the change, the key is to start with informing yourself and making it a habit to read the labels which I know can be confusing. And that’s exactly where part of the problem lies. I’ve put many items back onto the shelf sending a mental note of  ”thanks but no thanks” to the manufacturer when I see that something I could easily make at home with four ingredients, is filled with 3 or 4 times that many ingredients, many of which I can’t pronounce. If I don’t know what it is, or what it’s for, I’ll pass.

The main changes I’ve made are:

- “Fresh is best” policy. If I can substitute it with something fresh or from the garden then that’s what I’ll do. My kids are more than happy munching on fruit and vegetables instead of packet foods and will happily sip on green juices and healthy smoothies with twisty straws.

- I’m careful of what bread we buy, or I make my own

- I learnt to make my own dips (and it’s really so quick and easy) Instead of crackers, I’ll chop up some carrot and celery for the kids to have a healthy dip snack.

- I try to avoid packaged foods (as per my explanation above)

- A veggie patch is much easier to pull off than what I could have ever thought. There’s something special that comes with appreciating what comes from the ground.  Knowing where my food was grown, how it was grown, and how it made it’s way onto my plate, gives me a beautiful sense of peace.

As I’m tapping away at this blog post, Dr Oz is on the TV in the background and they’re talking about young girls going through puberty as young as seven years old. They’re looking at possible causes being changes in our diet and the spread of chemicals in products. They’re saying this is becoming a bigger and bigger problem, and it can affect life expectancy. Do you think we’re missing the boat somewhere? I don’t think we can ignore this any longer. As a mother of two children, I’m a fairly cruisy mum; I rely a lot on intuition and go with the flow. But I just can’t continue to ignore some of these these that just don’t sit right with me anymore. I blogged about my concerns with sunscreen recently too. I feel as though our health is not in the best interests of those that sell us products; whether for consuming, cleaning or cosmetic. So the best way I feel to deal with this stuff that won’t go away overnight is to be as informed as possible and use the voice we do have. Your wallet can speak, as can your words. Sharing of information, and taking steps to make changes in our own lives which as my lovely friend Rhiannon from the Wellbeing Web says “will create a positive ripple effect” for all.

I realise that it’s challenging completely eliminating all additives from our diets. I’m sure there are some people out there that have managed to do this. Until I find replacement products for everything, I know we’ve made great progress all the same. And that’s what really matters.

This week, I’ll be posting a review of some of the awesome products I’ve been using from Superfoods for Kidz, so make sure you’re subscribed to the blog or keep checking back.

Please jump in and share your thoughts. Leave a comment. What’s your take on all of this stuff? Are you making changes in your life?

Until next time,



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Starting Out Going Additive Free Part 2

by Mandy Dos Santos

For the last couple of years or so I have seen the landscape of processed food change. This might be because my world revolves so heavily around little people. Or it could be a growing trend across all demographics of food.

Food additives.

People don’t want them in their food anymore. Actually, people do not want them in their processed foods anymore. Most fresh unpackaged foods do not contain them.

My first career was in food science and as a food scientist, food additives excite me. They can assist in the creation of wild and magnificent looking foods which can withstand environmental pressures, time and the demands of processing, packaging and an increasing large food supply chain. Additives, whether being preservatives, colours or flavours, can help food look and taste great!

This above paragraph is the reason why as a nutritionist and a mother I do not like food additives.

The movement against food additives has been slow but is growing considerable pace.

More medically peer reviewed sources support the data which suggests that people do have sensitivities and reactions to these additives added to processed foods.

There are fabulous online resources such as Additive Free Pantry, The Trusted Trolley, Let’s Party Additive Free or the trailblazer, Fed up with Additives.

But the clincher really is, like the quote I have seen on social media many times, “Organic food is what our grandparents called food.” This is exactly the same issue with food additives.

Food additives are synonymous with processed foods. Eat less processed and you will avoid them.

It is our role and choice as parents to choose the best foods for our children. Choosing fresh, unprocessed foods is one of the best ways.

Of course this is not always possible, and a packet mix or packet pasta sauce will enter the cupboard, like it often does at ours. But if you can eat as fresh as possible with foods which aren’t labelled or have ingredients which are recognisable, you will avoid food additives.

The problem with the labelling of packaged foods is that they are designed by clever marketers of huge multinational companies which have tested and researched the best pictures, colours and words to get you to buy their product. They are not really evil. They are very clever marketers. And this is why they sell their food items.

When a processed food says that it is natural or has no artificial colours, that does not mean that it is completely additive free. It can be a minefield and incredibly misleading.

So how do you avoid it, how do you simply look on a packaged food and avoid some of the nasty food additives?

The most comprehensive resource with a full list of food additives and the ones to avoid are found on Sue Dengate’s website “Fed Up With Additives

Simply, as an overarching banner (which is not 100% correct) but an easier way to remember when out shopping:

Avoid 100s which are colours

Avoid 200s which are preservatives

(Most preservative acetates are fine as are citric, lactic and acetic acids)

300s, 400s and 500s are generally ok

Avoid 600s which are generally flavour enhancers

Avoid 950-962 for artificial sweeteners

You can copy the above out and put it in your wallet.

Although the most important thing you can do as a parent is have a voice.

Your voice can be written or spoken to a food company or it can be your voice at the checkout.

Dollars count. If the food manufacturer’s sales’ report shows that you will not buy food additives, they will invest in product development and manufacturing to get them out. But they need a valid reason to invest in change.

Or you could just buy fresh and be a Masterchef at home with the family.

Mandy dos Santos is a food scientist and nutritionist who has worked in varying fields in food. From her uni café days to importing Mexican mangoes to designing food products for the largest restaurant in the world. As a mother of young girls she is also incredibly passionate about child and community nutrition. She has a blog Little People Nutrition where she posts weekly about nutrition, food investigations, recipes and all things family food related. Pop by and say hi!


Starting Out Going Additive Free Part 1

Additive Free Solutions 

Going additive free can at first appear to be a real challenge for families who rely heavily on packaged foods in their every day diet. The key is to keep it simple and choose foods which are in their most natural, unprocessed state. Avoiding additives is easily achieved by eating a diet which consists predominantly of plant based foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes with moderate amounts of lean meats, fish and dairy; preferably all organic! Avoiding or at least minimising sugars, trans fats and packaged foods is highly advisable. Additives are mainly used to preserve, thicken, emulsify and enhance the flavour of foods. They are hidden in everything from chips and biscuits to dips and ready made sauces. It is estimated that children often consume over fifty additives a day! Most of which have been linked to a number of adverse health effects such as asthma, eczema, fatigue, depression and hyperactivity. Below is a general guide to the labelling of additives:

It is a good idea to make yourself familiar with common additives in packaged goods. The best way to navigate your way around all the codes is to get your hands on a copy of ‘The Chemical Maze’ which is a great pocket sized book that I have in my home as a reference to all chemicals found not only in food and drinks but in cosmetic and household products too.

Food additives can have adverse health effects on us all, however children are particulary sensitive which is why signs and symptoms are often more noticeable in our little ones. Recent research in the UK identifed six artificial food colours which are linked to asthma and hyperactivity in children. These include Sunset yellow (E110), Quinoline yellow (E104), Carmoisine (E122), Allura red (E129), Tartrazine (E102) and Ponceau (E124). There use is widespread in a range of foods and drinks such as ice cream, lollies, cheese, pasta, meat, wine, donuts, fruit juice, marinades, breakfast cereals, canned fruit and crackers.

Below are some examples of alternatives to commonly consumed additive rich packaged foods which are quick and easy to prepare:

Armed with knowledge and a little creativity, going additive free doesn’t have to be difficult. Making the change will significantly improve the health of your family by avoiding toxic chemicals and encouraging healthy food choices for optimum health and wellbeing. Remember to always read the label of everything you buy; even if it appears to be healthy. If there doesn’t appear to be an option with natural ingredients then see if you can find a recipe to make it yourself at home.

Kate Harrison is a Melbourne based Naturopath and Mother. Kate specialises in Woman and Children’s health and has worked alongside other allied health professionals at Victoria’s first independent midwifery center, MAMA. (Midwives and Mothers Australia). Kate maintains a blog and social media platforms where she regularly writes health related articles which focus on educating the public about Herbal Medicine and Nutrition. You can follow Kate’s blog at


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Important Changes to Mindful Parenting Magazine

Happy New Year! Hope you and your beautiful families are enjoying the Summer break!

The New Year brings some exciting changes here at Mindful Parenting. First of all you can see we’ve had a makeover so things are looking nice and fresh!

Our SUMMER issue is out on the 18th January and here’s where some of the big changes come into play. As of the 18th January Mindful Parenting magazine will no longer be available as a free magazine but it will be available for purchase as a PDF download.

A YEARLY subscription to the magazine will cost you $19.95. That’s less than $1.70 per month, or if we really break it down; it’s less than 40 cents per week. I’m not here to convince you that Mindful Parenting magazine is worth it. That’s completely up to you. If you enjoy the magazine and if you feel like the information myself and the wonderful writers, healers, experts and mothers I work with are bringing you information that’s worth 40 cents a week then you’ll join the tribe and I thank you in advance for your support.

You’ll get 4 x issues per year, delivered to your inbox in PDF format: SUMMER, AUTUMN, WINTER & SPRING. These issues will be released in January, April, July and October.

I really reflected deeply on things leading up to and over Christmas and I think this is the best way for things to move forward with the magazine. I left my corporate career to work on the magazine because I wanted to create something I loved. And as time has passed I have found myself having to spend more time on the marketing and advertising side of things which is taking me away from my core purpose and passion – to bring readers like you honest conversations and relevant and authentic content that inspires and informs in a positive way. I know what I have created is unique and special and so in order for me to continue doing my best work, I need to move to a paid subscription model.

In addition to the actual magazine, we will be focusing on regular blog updates which will supplement the mag. I already have some awesome interviews lined up – yes, VIDEO ones and I welcome with a big smile on my face, two lovely regular contributors to the blog, Olivia Zan and Kate Harrison. Moving forward you’ll see more posts from these wonderful ladies. Be sure to check out their bios here. If you’d like to contribute a post or become a regular contributor, be sure to drop me a line.

If you have your own website or blog, please check our our AFFILIATE program here. If you love the mag, this is an opportunity for you to show your support and earn a commission on any subscriptions sold and it’s really easy to set up. If you’d like a fresh new Media Kit with all our new advertising and revised rates be sure to request one here.

If you’d like to jump on board with your support, you can subscribe now. You’ll receive the current SPRING issue as a PDF now, and then your four subsequent issues as they’re released.

Purchase your 12 Month Annual Subscription:

Add to Cart

To view past issues of the mag CLICK HERE.

Thank you so much for all your support now and over the past year. We saw some amazing growth and interest in Mindful Parenting over the past 12 months and I’m grateful for every email and comment. Hope you continue to enjoy the mag as much and I enjoy bringing it to you x

Much love,

Vanessa Carnevale (Publisher/Editor)


Fill those shoes with passion, kids

Our kids are going to some day be filling the shoes of leaders, politicians, teachers, entrepreneurs, doctors and parents. They’re shaping our future.

As I compare my life, spiritual growth and journey to find purpose and real meaning in my life I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can help my kids on their own journeys.

What I’ve come to learn is that there really isn’t any age that’s the exact right age to follow your dreams. Encouraging kids to follow their dreams is a good thing, and not something, in my opinion, to be laughed off or dismissed.

I distinctly remember a moment of my life that I believe had an impact on my future. I was around 14 years old and my mum was chatting in the kitchen to a friend. I’d been writing in my bedroom. I knew at that time I wanted to be an author, or a journo. When I walked out to say hello, mum’s friend asked what I’d been doing. “She’s writing a story about her life,” replied my mum. Mum’s friend laughed and out came the words, “Ha! You’re 14, what could you possibly have to write about?” And there they went. My dreams. Out the window. Until I started penning again, years later. An innocent comment, not intended to hurt, but damaging all the same.

If we want to talk examples of “passion to success” stories, take Richard Branson, or Jessica Watson. The seed of passion took them places. These are just a couple of examples, albeit well known ones. And whilst they’re considered highly successful by society’s definition, passion is what helped them get there.

I’ve come to realise that following your passions and doing what you really want not only brings you closer to achieving your dreams, but it’s soul food. I think it’s a crucial ingredient to happiness and fulfilment.

I also think it should form a new definition of success. Does it not feel like a better way forward? To raise children with the expectation that life is a gift and a journey that they can choose to make the most of? And that success is seen as doing something in life that you enjoy and it’s ok to choose a career based on what you love doing? Can we find ways to help children end up in jobs they want to do out of passion? And when the entrepreneurs of the future create jobs where passionate people need only apply, wouldn’t productivity automatically take care of itself?

I’m lucky that my children go to a school that allows them the freedom to follow their own interests. The bonus is that the students are highly engaged and develop a love of learning. The even bigger bonus is that the staff are passionate and love being there for our kids. Win win for everyone. That’s what I’d love to see more of in this world.

Our kids are going to some day be filling the shoes of leaders, politicians, teachers, entrepreneurs, doctors and parents. They’re shaping our future. I hope they shape it based on what’s going to bring the world more happiness and contentment.

Until next time,

Vanessa x



Education & Parental Support Online With Harkles

Want to tap into a teacher’s brain? Then Harkles might just be what you’re looking for! Harkles has created an online community, which has embraced digital technology that not only allows parents to customise and manipulate parenting resources in real time but provides access to information, support and contact with university qualified teachers. This online community caters for parents from conception, pregnancy, birth and beyond.

It’s an interactive portal offering practical and personalised parental and educational resources from conception to 12 years, designed to optimise your child’s behavioural and academic development.

Check out the video below for more info and a special offer just for Mindful Parenting readers.


Last Minute Christmas Gifts!

Here are our last Christmas Gift Guide Goodies!

These would make perfect gifts throughout the year or for a “just because”!


Toosh Coosh – Soft Portable Booster Seats are a Christmas must have!     

Toosh Coosh will revolutionise this year’s Christmas as kids will finally have the support and height they need to be able to sit properly at the dinner table for the festivities. Toosh Coosh is the practical gift that keeps on giving and kids just love their special new seat!

Special Offer only $49.95ea  plus you receive a FREE download copy of the NEW book ‘Mealtimes without Mayhem – The easy to follow, How to guidebook to Happier and Healthier mealtimes!’

New! Limited edition body wash by Natural Babycare. Summer Kiss with Lime and Vanilla is fresh and exotic, the perfect gift and stocking stuffer this Christmas. 100% natural and certified organic, Summer Kiss which also makes a great bubble bath, shaving gel and shampoo, will be loved by everyone from tweens to
grandmas. Only $14 for 250ml and available for a limited time.


Play Valley Kids Books – All About Sport

Playing sport is a great way for kids to learn new skills, keep active, and make new friends, and teaches the value of fair play, teamwork and leadership, skills that Ben and Mike believe are essential in everyday life. The two new releases in the series are Get ready: Zoe plays tennis, and Ready set go: Harry goes cycling. More information on both titles is below:

Get ReadyGet ready: Zoe plays tennis is a fun kids book for girls. Zoe discovers the fun of tennis, grows confidence and makes a great group of new friends. Throughout the book she learns basic tennis skills, including forehands, backhands and volleys. Developed in association with Tennis Australia and the Hot Shots program. All the skills and tips have been provided by Tennis Australia and their coaching staff.

Ready set go: Harry goes cycling and Ready set go: Sophie goes cycling are fun learning to ride a bicycle stories that we can all relate to. The two titles have been developed with, and are endorsed by Cycling Australia and Aust-Cycle, and they provide official safety guidance, and tips on how to learn to cycle. Name personalisation is available for these titles on the Play Valley Kids website.Ready Set Go

The Play Valley Kids imprint was created after publishers Ben Day and Mike Griffin struggled to find sporting books for their children that used an engaging story to get child and parent to not only read together but to also encourage play and physical activity. The imprint has quickly gained the attention of leading national sporting organisations including Tennis Australia and Cycling Australia, who have partnered with GriffinDay to include basic skill elements into each story.

Official website:

Suitable for children aged 3-8