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My little tribe taking time out to think...

My little tribe taking time out to think…

As we grow older, it can get harder and harder to carve out time in the day to think.

Reflect on life, how things are going, what went well, what went pear-shaped.  All the healthy reflective thinking we are meant to do in order to grow as individuals, as humans.

Sometimes, life can get in the way.  Life can be complex, boring, monotonous, crazy and altogether unpredictable.

None of which is conducive to thinking.

One of my favourite ways to think and reflect is to ask myself a series of questions.  The lovely talented Pip Lincolne does this by way of ‘Taking Stock’.

This month I am breaking the mould and taking stock at the beginning of the month…

Making : cushions and gorgeous sundresses ready for This Grand Life
Cooking : veges, new types of the kids to try (current faves are asparagus and corn)
Drinking : loads of cold water (it’s sunny Brisbane folks!!)
Reading: Country Style, How to Decorate, Lonely Planet’s Guide to Australia
Wanting: annuals for the garden
Looking: at beachy holiday destinations
Playing: Scrabble, family is becoming addicted!  Bunch of nerds that we are…
Deciding: What role I would like to tackle back in my science/ corporate career
Wishing: my gorgeous puppies would stop chewing…everything!
Enjoying: my garden, the hard work is paying off!
Waiting: for the right house to come along
Liking: the jacaranda blooms in the backyard, a carpet of purple!
Wondering: if I should paint a watercolour series inspired by our family farm
Loving: the warm weather…most of the time!
Pondering: career moves, there are some interesting roles around!
Considering: buying a house…again…yikes!
Buying: house plants, succulents, ferns, it’s a jungle in here!
Watching: Restoration Australia…oh my goodness, it’s brilliant!  Fab show hosted by Sibella Court
Hoping: the school year comes to a quiet uneventful end for the tribe
Marvelling: at how tall my little tribe are getting…I am fast becoming the shortest in the family!
Cringing: at the hating on social media.  What on earth are people thinking posting nastiness?
Needing: to keep going to the gym, am getting to love it again!
Questioning: old house, new house, renovated or not?
Smelling: the garden, loving the change in scent as all of the flowers bloom
Wearing: white shorts and Birkenstocks, a lot!
Following:
Noticing: the kids taking an interest in big issues, refugees, world conflicts, some hefty issues to think about for young minds.
Knowing: I need to stop procrastinating and decide on that beachy holiday…stat!
Thinking: about how to best balance work, my gorgeous family, and my creative pursuits
Admiring: positive creative types (Clare Bowditch, Pip Lincolne, Dawn French) and ambitious corporate types in my life (will keep those names to myself)
Sorting: through toys, it appears they have bred and now we have a bucket-load which are making their way to new homes before Christmas
Getting: ready for another creative market…soon!
Bookmarking: the Halcyon House website, seriously cool folks
Coveting: vintage finds, I need to find a spare weekend to do some quality rummaging
Disliking: negativity, I seriously do not understand why people feel the need to write bad/nasty/awful comments!
Opening: a new section on my Etsy shop…watercolours and prints!  Yay!
Giggling: at the awesome pearls of wisdom which come from my gorgeous six year old. ‘Mum, you look the same as when you were young, except for your crinkly eyes, they look more smiley now!’  I will take that as a compliment and move on.
Feeling: excited about the end of the year, and a wee bit nervous about heading back to work
Snacking: carrots and hummus, blueberries and cashews, on high rotation.
Helping: out at school whenever I can.  It’s a busy time of the year!
Hearing: Mark Ronson, kids fave CD on the way to school

 

Here’s a list via the talented Pip Lincolne (Meet me at Mikes) for you…  Takes some time out to think, and if you are feeling like sharing post a comment with your answers, or a link to your blog post…

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Buying:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Cringing:
Needing:
Questioning:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Coveting:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:
Snacking:
Helping:
Hearing:

 

Enjoy xx

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Fab fashion finds for teens & tweens

Fab fashion finds for teens & tweens

Hello!

It has been super busy here, between school stuff, studying, working, designing/creating, life in general really.

We are also heading into birthday season!  In our little family, the ladies are all born at the same time of the year.

All three of us will be celebrating our special day…very soon! Hurrah for us!

Which brings me to birthday parties.

It’s fast becoming that time of the year.

Birthday parties, BBQs, playdates at the park and picnic. As we all come out of hibernation, the party season is starting in earnest.

To help you out I thought I would share some fab fashion finds for tween/ teen girls.

Save the pic to your phone, fab ideas for pressies or for the little ladies in your life. Check out H&M and Kido Store (two of our fave stores…and in case you are wondering…not sponsored!) for more fab finds.

Enjoy xx

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lovely treasures from This Grand Life, Skittle & Mouse and others at the Mummy Tree Markets

lovely treasures from This Grand Life, Skittle & Mouse and others at the Mummy Tree Markets

Home again after a lovely morning at The Mummy Tree markets in sunny Bris-Vegas.

It’s always such a lovely crowd, friendly stall holders, fab customers, loads of (free!) entertainment for the kidlets.  What more could you ask for?

I found some fab gear for my kids, including a gorgeous banner from Oh Deer Me!, and had a lot of lovely chat with my talented neighbour Skittle & Mouse.

Other faves included The Three Birds, and little windsor.  *Sigh*, so many gorgeous treasures!

Hope you are having a fab weekend, and if it’s still a little chilly in your neck of the woods, maybe you could do some couch market shopping…

Enjoy xx

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taking stock on life

taking stock on life

I’ve carved out some time this week to sit and reflect on life.

Taking the time to think about how everything is going using a fab list from the lovely Pip Lincolne at Meet Me at Mikes, here’s my list…

Making : a super cool hoodie vest for my littlest poppet (because of her broken wing)
Cooking : zucchini slice and delish roast lamb
Drinking : Tea because I have given up coffee
Reading: Craft for the soul, New Scientist, Wendy (the stunt chicken)
Wanting: To spend more time with my gorgeous kids
Looking: at where I can spend some time at the beach for holidays
Playing: nicely with others…life is too short for nastiness!
Deciding: what the end of the year will bring (big questions here folks!)
Wishing: I could see my sisters more often!
Enjoying: catching up with old friends, good for the soul
Waiting: for some new books I ordered to arrive!
Liking: my new winter boots, make that loving!
Wondering: if I should have a big party for my 40th?
Loving: bearing able to wear a jackets/scarves again…thanks freezing weather!
Pondering: what to do over the Christmas holidays
Considering: subscribing to Frankie?  I love it, and it’s sometimes hard to find.
Buying: books!  Australian Geographic – fab pictures, interesting stories
Watching: Interstellar with my littlest bloke, it’s our new all-time fave.
Hoping: that my littlest poppet’s arm heals quickly!
Marvelling: at how quickly my kidlets are growing
Cringing: at some of the nastiness I see online, be nice folks!
Needing: time with family.  There is never enough is there?
Questioning: everything!  Now I see where the kids get it from!
Smelling: the gorgeous vanilla candle in the study whenever I am writing
Wearing: opaque tights a lot.  Makes me wish I lived in a cold climate.
Following: Pip Lincolne (a ray of sunshine!), Mrs Woog and Emma Watson
Noticing: I have more energy since giving up coffee.  What??
Knowing: more about evolution (current topic I am teaching), go Darwin!
Thinking: about fixed vs growth mindsets
Admiring: gorgeous Australian wool! Scarves, jumpers with elbow patches…sigh!
Sorting: kids clothes (this is never-ending with our largish family)
Getting: ready to quit sugar
Bookmarking: new patterns to try
Coveting: an old table (all that history!) and church pews for the dining room.
Disliking: the cold – except for the opaque tights bit
Opening: messages from old mates, and laughing at the memories
Giggling: a lot at my littlest poppet stretching her vocabulary and sometimes ‘muffing words
Feeling: happier now, thanks to old friends and the rugrats
Snacking: on carrots and hommus and cup-a-soups
Helping: Little L practice reading, I love picture books (Wendy, Meg & Mog, Goodnight Moon)
Hearing: fab tracks from the Offspring, Green Day…good times!

 

Here’s a list for you!

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Buying:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Cringing:
Needing:
Questioning:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Coveting:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:
Snacking:
Helping:
Hearing:

 

Enjoy xx

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One of my fave quotes x

One of my fave quotes x

Today I have woken up happy.

Do you have those days?  The days when the sun seems a little brighter, you notice the flowers in your garden, there’s a sparkle in your eyes.

It’s a welcome relief after being a little melancholy, kind of down in the dumps mood for the last wee while.

My turning point was a conversation (via messages) with three lovely mates. Three of the funniest and warmest blokes I know, who have known me since I was 17.  We met at uni, and as I said in one of my messages back to them, the years we spent together were truly golden years.  Lots of laughs, a heap of great music, a fair bit of getting up to…(since my kids sometimes read this) mischief. Over 20 years later, they can still bring a smile to my face.

The clincher was a conversation with my littlest poppet last night. She came in to check on me while I was in the study, to see if I was doing ok.  When I said ‘yes, I just finished my assignment’, she said without hesitation, ‘well done Mum, I am so proud of you!’ topping it off with a kiss on the cheek.

Seriously made my night, and coupled with my reminiscing with mates dragged me out of my funk.

How lucky am I?

Four happy, bright little people I am lucky enough to have as my children, fab friends, a loving family and living in a friendly sunny city.

Life is pretty good, in fact as my 8 year old would say, actually it’s awesome!

How are you going?  Maybe you could spend time with a old friend reminiscing?

Enjoy xx

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Wanda Linda (one of our faves!)

In most states now, kids are back and school and the weekly ritual of homework has begun.

Christmas holidays are fast becoming a distant memory, and so we are all getting back to our daily, nightly and weekly routines.

In our house a big part of our routine is reading.

Do you read to your kids?

Both my husband and I have read to our kids since they were teeny.

Part of the motivation is selfish. We love reading, so therefore why not encourage the kids so we can all get quite reading time!

The other motivation is sheer pleasure.  reading a funny, silly or interesting book with your kids is a great way to escape the world, the housework and any leftover grumpiness at the end of the day.

It’s hard for anyone to stay grumpy when you are reading about Wanda Linda’s Terrible Underpants, or reading about Winnie the Witch zapping her cat one too many times…

I won’t say it’s always fun though. There are some nights when the thought of reading to the kids, is, well, less than top of my list.  If it’s been a big day, a rough week or you are just plain tired, it is hard to find the energy.

Therein lies the bit that no one tells you in all those articles.

Sometimes it is not fun.

Sometimes, you pick a dud book (oh and there are a load of these around) and it is just dull.

Sometimes the kids are over everything and will only listen for two pages.

You know what though? That is ok.

It is perfectly normal.

Reading to your kids is like running a marathon, not a sprint.

It takes consistency, effort, interest and your time, every day.    If you want your kids to love reading, they have to see that it is something you love to do, and that it is part of their routine.

Night time, daytime, juts after lunch time (oh now I am riffing like Dr Seuss!).

Anytime is fine, just make it very day.

Stuck on where to start or low on inspiration? Here are a few to get your started…

  • Think of themes.  Maybe go with holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc). Sea creatures, dinosaurs, fairies.
  • Read the book first.  If you have a new book, take a few minutes to read it first.  Test it out. Is it interesting? Funny? Do the words rhyme?
  • Get online and get some ideas, have a look here for some fab read aloud tips
  • Visit your local library. Go to story time, ask a librarian for help/ideas/suggestions
  • Let your child choose the book
  • Get older siblings/ cousins/ friends to take turns reading.
  • Happily read the same book, every night, for weeks on end if that is what your child wants.  I think I might be able to recite every Hairy Maclary book by heart, but I am still happy to read all about that crazy dog and his mates.

Happy reading folks!

Enjoy xx

InspiringCollageWowsers, the year seems to be flying by already.

All of a sudden, we are gearing up for school, getting busy at work and getting set for the first of the gorgeous markets and fairs This Grand Life will be attending this year.

Whew!

It can all get a little overwhelming at times. Thinking time is virtually impossible to corral out of your day. Which can all combine to stifle your creativity.  Well, at least that’s what tends to happen in my neck of the woods.

Here are a few things that have been inspiring me right now to think, create and start the year in a positive way.

  1. Reading: Wildwood – a glorious book, with fabulous illustrations, which I initially bought for Captain Jack (my 9 year old) and then when he got a little scared by the opening gambit about a murder of crows, I stepped in to read it first. You know, to check it wasn’t too scary. I am LOVING it…
  2. Creating: More gorgeous sundresses, super cute heart purses, some cuddly softies and boardies for super cool boys with some beautiful new fabric.
  3. Learning: French, brushing up on my French (can’t believe I have been back in Australia for nearly 3 years), such a beautiful quirky language.
  4. Teaching: Little L how to read. My littlest poppet starts school this year and is super keep to keep up with the big kids in the house. We have used Reading Eggs for years and all of my kids have loved it.  It’s also a great excuse to spend more time reading each night.
  5. Watching: Girls. Though it feels like a guilty pleasure, I am totally hooked. Oh the angst, the selfish choices, the dilemmas.

Hope you are having an inspirational start to 2015 too!

Enjoy xx

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One of our most popular ranges in the This Grand Life kids clothing label are our sweet sundresses.

Using a couple of our faves at inspiration here is some style inspiration for summer days…

2015_ForestFriendsFlatlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015_RainbowTreesFlatlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015_FriendsForestFlatlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy xx

 

 

2014 review

As I said farewell to 2014, and welcomed the new year in, I reflected on all the big stuff we had been though here at This Grand Life.

Here’s what my wrap-up of 2014 looks like…

  • Our littlest poppet started at big school, and it was bitter sweet. She looked so tiny yet so grown up all at the same time. I loved hearing all about sport, God Class (religion) and all the new things she was learning with her new friends. Then because of the next point, we get to do it all over again.
  • We packed up and moved across the country to sunny Qld. Well, the kids and I did.  My lovely kind husband then spent the last half of the year working in Perth while we were in Bris-Vegas. So many big changes to take on board!  New school, back to day-care for the littlest poppet (very indignant that she was ready for ‘big school’), new job for me… the list goes one and on. Amongst it all though we have thrived in the sunshine and being closer to our families.
  • Saying goodbye to Charlie the Wonderdog.  I had written a post, which maybe I will publish someday, though maybe I won’t (I can’t quite get the words right).  My beautiful furry friend had been with me for 14 years from when it was just me, then as my family expanded to include my husband, a sweet Newfoundland (Ellie) and our four lovely kidlets.  I still miss her sweet face each day.
  • Finally, finally, finally being a family again as the lovely Big A moved from Perth to Brissy.  Thank you to our lovely friends in Perth for lending him a room, inviting him over for dinner and generally making a tough time a whole lot easier.
  • Being able to focus more time and energy on my creative business. The move to the sunshine state, coupled with setting up a little studio and finding a lovely creative community to be part of have all meant that I  had the time and energy to design and create gorgeous frocks, boardies and super cute gear. All designed and hand-made by me.  I was part of some brilliant artisan and hand-made markets, which were the creative highlight of my year.  I really do get a buzz just from being around such talented creative folk.
  • Continuing to write and think, and question what is going on around me.  When I can, I find the time to publish here. I hope you have enjoyed reading it too!

So that is our year in review. Sort of rambling and rocketing along, filled with love, loss and fun.

What does your year in review look like?  Feel free to post and have a chat.

Enjoy xx

 

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This afternoon my four little munchkins arrive home from a week away at Grandma and Grandad’s farm (huge thank you to my lovely folks for having our four stay for a whole week) .

I am so excited to see their little faces this afternoon and hear all about their adventures on their big trip away.

How the time has flown by!

It is not that long ago that we had four kids under 5 years old.

A house filled with high-chairs, nappies, baby toys and cots.

It reminded me of this post I wrote a few years ago when we took the kids exploring in Western Australia. The youngest two (2 and 4 years old) were determined to climb the hill with the ‘big kids’. The very thought of my little poppets scrambling up a rocky hill scared the pants off me!   Yet off they went, take a look below…

Enjoy xx

 

From the vault (29/09/2012)

******************************

Part of the deal with a large slightly chaotic life with the tribe is encouraging independence…from a very early age.

This does not come easy. At all.

This is not one of those things that gets easier with time.

Cultivating independence takes a big risk, a lot of holding your breath, heart thumping loudly in your chest kind of moments.

This was one of times.

This is how you learn to climb (the under 5’s edition).

Beginning the ascent… Little L bravely charges on

Hurrah!! Little L reaches the summit (I breathe a huge sigh of relief)

Enjoy xx

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