Thursday, 21 April 2016

School Holidays: Enough to drive you Hatty!

Check out MaryandSally on Etsy for gorgeous paper designs

Ahh, the school holidays.
Can't live with them. Can't live without them.
As I sit here at my lovely (okay, messy) desk contemplating the last two weeks of me and the kids spending our days together 24/7 the voice of one of my girls floats in the window: "Arch! Jesse has stuffed your blankie down his shorts!! And he's not wearing undies!!!!"
This kind, thoughtful provoking little message is then followed by blood-curdling screams from the five-year-old.
Thanks Big Sister. Mission accomplished.

Oh we do love a break from the school routine. No packed lunches to prepare. No instead some days I get to prepare food for what can feel like 12 hours straight. 8am: After being awakened in bed by, "Mum!! Can we have pancakes please Mum? Please!!!!!" through until, 8pm: What's for dessert??

Then there's not having to drive everyone to school. Instead I drove for a couple of hundred miles to visit a much loved friend and her family and give the kids a taste of country life. It was worth it to be out of city traffic. My city driving exploits over the past fortnight have sadly, not been as happy. They have included, scratching mine and another car in an unsuccessful parking manoeuvre; going through a red-light camera (fine will be horrible); and having to replace the car battery. My next post might quite well be, how to spend money without really trying and then having nothing to show for it... Sigh.

Okay, concentrating on the good times, when the kids have been happy and contented and we've basked in idyllic autumn weather, made and eaten homemade soup, read and relaxed - not having to rush everywhere... Here's some happy holiday snaps:

I do love a five-year-old in a decent hat! Why aren't bowlers compulsory for all five-year-olds? Master Arch often assures me that he will wear dressy hats regularly, but alas, it is usually only the more practical cap that is worn..life's too short to force the issue.


Reading in shops. Love it when chairs are provided. Love it when siblings read happily together. Oh and also love it when there are no tantrums when it's time to leave without (always) buying the books too.


Taken at a stopover at our favourite bakery on our country sojourn. Am still lamenting that I did not take a photo of the salted-caramel cupcake covered in edible glitter that we fell in love with and ate so quickly that NO ONE had time to shout STOP! That's insta-worthy!!!


And then I've done a spot of seasonal decorating, partly inspired by some Instagram challenges. 
Hope you're enjoying the changing season too.



Candles spotted in West Elm

Here's a link to one of my Houzz stories on Autumn Decorating that you might enjoy. 

Friday, 15 April 2016

Turning Thirteen

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We have a teen in the house. It's a bit of a shock to realise how fast the last thirteen years have flown by. I still wake up sometimes feeling vaguely amazed that that decision I made as I approached thirty years of age, to what? Have a baby!? (a biggie for me, not having liked babies all that much up until that point...but I digress) has led to this.
I decided to have a baby - not a teen!! However, it's pretty hard to have one without it leading to the other, so here we are.



Light Box perfect for celebrations from KMart
He doesn't drink coffee by the way, it's a milkshake. Truly!

And the cake.... I've written before I'm sure regarding my catalogue of failed birthday cakes. This year I broke the cycle! My theme was celebration (easier than batman or a car...) and I cooked two round cakes, chocolate and caramel mud (thank you Greens..). Jesse chose the pink sparkly sour straps and the coloured popcorn and gummie bears. I made toffee to stick the popcorn together and the confectionary provided the perfect decorating tools. Not particularly teenish or boyish perhaps, but oh my the family was impressed! I've come a long way from the 2009 dinosaur swamp cake debacle and this small success gave me a shimmer of hope that the teen years might be challenging, but also filled with some fun and sweet moments too..


And here's some gift ideas for teen boys if, like me, you were trying to avoid electronics...

  • quilt cover
  • wall art
  • cricket bat / soccer ball / sport shop voucher
  • groovy colouring books (i got a harry potter one) + textas
  • classic movie set (Indiana Jones/Lone Ranger/MacGyver/A-Team...)
  • Set up their room/desk/study nook with fun bean bags, lamps, a rug
  • popcorn maker / slushie maker / fun appliance

TEEN (boy) inspiration from Adairs and Kmart make updating your decorating style a breeze:

Happy Camper Room from Adairs

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Wall Stickers from Kmart

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Rocking the Rabbit Look

What age do kids stop agreeing to wear adorable outfits adorned with bunnies?
School age.
So if you're kids are 0-5, then get hopping! You have far less time than you think to inflict fabulous cuteness on your minions, sorry, children. Soon all they will want to wear is the same pair of ugly jeans whatever the weather - and it will be more than your life is worth to force them into wearing floppy ears or cotton tails. But for those who can still rock the rabbit look, here are some terribly cute options from from Country Road, Seed and Boden:


Bunnies Knit Outfit
Bunny Sweater

Sequin Bunny Tee

Stripy Dress
Velvet Bunny Slippers


Bunny Ears Beanie
Sadly, none of the above items come in adult sizes, but that's okay. We can settle for drinking hot chocolate from our favourite bunnykins mug, nibbling on a cadbury creme egg and reading inspirational quotes from the Velveteen Rabbit.


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and here is a picture of Arch that makes me swoon, together with a final word of wisdom as we approach the long weekend...



Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Belated Pink!

After a childhood of hating pink on principle, kind of for the same reasons I always insisted on drinking Solo Lemon Squash (the Man's Drink) and eating scorched peanut bars (the Man's Bar) (yes, I had issues..), I have definitely made up for the pink deficit of my younger years in adult life. And celebrating Valentine's Day recently had me rushing around finding my favourite pink things to display. (Click here to see my THINK PINK board on Pinterest.)

I picked up this gorgeous jug at an opshop recently. At $15 it was too lovely to pass up. And crepe myrtles are in flower everywhere and the range of pink flowers is making the most mundane suburban street look princess perfect!


Now I find my wardrobe stuffed with pink things ranging from dusty and soft pastels through to sparkly and vibrant splashes. Made up of crisp cottons, chunky wools and shimmery scarves, I tend to mix them with black staples or white pieces. It allows me to channel anything from Downton Abbey to bohemian chic. Are you starting to warm up to the idea?

They don't call them rose-coloured glasses for nothing...

A rosy glow can make the world seem sweeter, happier, lighter. It can also do the same for those of you with a pale complexion (otherwise unhappily known as pasty).

Similarly in interiors, pink can soften and add warmth where personality is lacking and cosiness is elusive. Adding even a little bit of pink can give your room a lift. Kmart is currently having a pink moment that is making many a heart flutter: think pale pink faux fur rugs and cushions for textured luxury (both items under $20) through to some of the pieces I've posted here (pots, chairs and pillows). 

Try it, you just might like it!
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Try a pink scent! Flower Bomb by Victor & Rolf is just one that will leave you swooning.

Check out some of these pics on Houzz for some fabulous pink rooms/accents.

Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day. xx

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Starting School: The Pitfalls of Being Small

I started this post a day short of ending our mega eight week summer break. It wasn't quite eight weeks, but no-one quibbles with mums who've been on summer holidays for so long they can't remember what winter looks or feels like but just wishes it would hurry up anyway. After eight weeks, my official mantra to the kids (and occasionally, apologies, to the adults around me) was: Don't argue with me; Please don't all talk at the same time (because I exceeded my week's intake of Nurofen on like, Monday); and please, let's all try NOT to sweat the small stuff ...

That said the holidays were mighty fine and I think we fitted in enough fun things that everyone feels they made the most of it: read lots of good books, watched way too much television, swam in sunshine and rain, and ate enough ice cream to exceed the yearly intake of at least a dozen people.

We thought we were so ready for BIG SCHOOL, which may prove that we'd seen just a bit too much sun. A few days out I casually opened the bag of Size 6 boys uniforms I had been accumulating over several years for Arch. Arch my newly turned 5 year old who still wears size 3 jeans. ACHHHHHHHH! Wincing I made myself put an urgent call for size 4 items on FB. Nothing like outing yourself as an incompetent Mum BEFORE school has even started. Yep, tick that off the bucket list.

So it turns out that size 4 is really hard to find these days. Some stores had size 5 but its difference to size 6 was negligible. The size 6 shirt on Arch resembled a bed sheet and the shorts only just stayed up if he stayed perfectly still and didn't breathe in. So not going to work. Actually it did work for a hilarious dress rehearsal, and then the shorts fell down. Doh.



My lovely Mum, otherwise known as "the sewer" (by that I mean someone who sews, not a drainage system, right? Sorry Mum) swooped in to do the impossible. Yes, she bought a size 7 long sleeved shirt at the shops, and cut it down to a size 4 short sleeved shirt. Then she cut the crest off a size 6 shirt that was looking pretty grey (they're supposed to be white, sadly) and stitched it on to the front pocket. The result can be seen in the photo. Brilliant. A friend lent us shorts. Another friend rang from the shops where she'd found two size 4 shirts for $10! Score!!

Found at Kmart - only $7!
Another day went past, the first school day drawing ever closer. I was loving my friends, and even the world again. My fab new poster art (above!) from Kmart no longer seemed to be mocking me. Then the three older three kids decided to declare, in unison, that their school shoes felt too small. Yes, those same shoes that eight weeks earlier had been declared fine. Were. Suddenly. Too. Damn. Tight. All of them.

Sometimes as Mums, we have no words.

Temporarily.

Apologies to all of those people I may have randomly shouted at as I took EVERYONE to the shops and trawled for reasonably priced and sized black school shoes. Which it turned out half of Sydney was also doing on that day. All my bargain hunting powers came to naught as price became irrelevant as we searched in vain for shoes that fit. Some hours after that, we experienced a text book debacle that made for a very stressful Australia Day. But I'll spare you the details.

Suffice to say that by the time School Day #1 came around, I was the one giving loud fake laughs with glazed eyes to anyone who came within 20 metres of me. Days later I ran into a school Mum at the shops who cheerfully asked me what teachers my three primary-aged kids had. I stared at her blankly. Sorry, I really couldn't tell you - I had to reply. But they're all happy! We're all really really happy.
(I think she started backing away at this point.. probably a wise move.)

To alleviate the trauma of my youngest beginning school and the stresses of the older three returning to school, I decided to distract myself at the movies. In retrospect, a comedy or something feel-good would have been a good choice. Instead I chose the often traumatising: Suffragette.

Have you seen it? The struggles of women in early 20th Century England are brought to life in harrowing detail. Carey Mulligan is quite brilliant. The commitment and sacrifice of so many brave women to getting equal representation was immense and magnificent. The living conditions, battles for survival and for basic rights to fair pay and their own children were sobering and heart-breaking. It's easy to forget this part of Western world history that occurred less than a century ago. For significant parts of the world the fight is ongoing.

Easy watching it may not have been. But it was a great way of gaining perspective on my everyday life. Made me so thankful for the many blessings in my life: healthy happy kids and money for school shoes being just some of the big and small blessings that I take for granted every day.


Hope your new starts this year have been full of fun and favour! 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas Gift Ideas: Mugs


Today we visited a favourite piece of retail heaven: Pottery Barn and the associated stores. Mugs were everywhere. This mug tree was taller than Mim. The monogrammed mugs were kind of huge, which is possibly an American thing. I've listed the Robert Gordon version below, which is considerably smaller, but still quite large enough for a decent sized brew.

Mugs make a great gift because pretty much everybody uses them, and there is a shape and style to suit every taste. Christmas is a fine time to give them and use them: Setting up a hot Chocolate station on a sideboard will make you the hostess with the mostest for friendly gatherings and even when unexpected guests drop by (as long as your kids don't snaffle the supplies while you're not looking).

Any old mug simply won't do - and why should it when there's so many adorable (and cheap!) options on offer!?! Here's a few that just might do (all under $20 ea - except for the last one):
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This lovely array in Pottery Barn
start at $9 ea.

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Don't be a mug - buy some today!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Best Christmas Cushions

Crashing in a Christmas cushion is highly recommended for those struggling between enjoying the magic and fighting the mayhem at this time of the year. I find that burying my head in a cushion when the kids are insisting on telling me who has hurt who and what gifts they'd like and did I know we were out of toilet paper, helps a lot. And if the cushion has something festive printed on it, like BE MERRY, then maybe a bit of merry will rub off. On all of us.

Cushions are certainly an integral part of seasonal decorating and an easy fix for adding instant sparkle and Christmas cheer to your home. I've kept the examples fairly neutral - but if colour is what you crave then an array of brightly coloured velvet cushions will look great all year around. And no, it's not too late to race out and pick out a few (great as a gift idea too).

Hopefully these suggestions might save you a bit of time ('cause, heavens, we're running out of that people!):

I'm a Kmart tragic - they're hard to beat on price and their style cred just keeps getting better.
This delightful pair will set you back $20.


I mentioned these beauties in an earlier post. They are $15 ea at Big W - but you'd better be quick!


Try Adairs - for a bit of joy ($20ea):


Try Etsy - they have something for everyone, and you'll be supporting a crafty person..

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Found this great company on Ebay:
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Pottery Barn have a gorgeous array all year round and their Christmas range is always special.
Find them online starting at around $25 ea.


So be merry, feel joy and buy a cushion today!