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Love the ugly mugs (look closely)!

This morning on the way to drop tribe off at work, I was thinking about how easy it can be to drift through the days and never quite be present in the moment. Days can become a trudge, with every day feeling the same. Life can start to feel a little beige. One of my best tricks to keep life in technicolour is to make a conscious effort to be in the present. Back to this morning where I found myself in the midst of a couple of awesome moments, brief but tiny moments of love, happiness and fun:
  • Singing (very badly) along to the Miss L’s playlist on Spotify – a fantastic insight into an 8 year old’s mind.
  • Getting a giant hug and hearing Flashdance (now a super-cool 11) say ‘...love you Mum’ as I dropped him off.
  • Getting a delicious coffee from the tiny Coffee Shed (part a super cool Co-Op place in Sunny South Brisbane) and having chat to the ever lovely barista.
A very good start to the day. Any little moments of joy in your day? Enjoy xx
I love the way kid’s minds tick.
The recent furore over plastic bags, and bring your own, supermarkets back-flipping has been entertaining, frustrating and nonsensical, in equal measure.
Can adults remember to bring their bags?
Should supermarkets subsidise bags for people who forget?
Are thicker ‘reusable’ plastic bags different or any better than ‘single use’?
My 8 year old summed the whole debacle up well this week.
‘It’s not that hard to remember, if you forget your bags you are going to have to juggle all your groceries to the car and then your house. You’ll only want to do that once!’ she said laughing.
Spot on, my little friend, spot on!
 
22092014Kidsgrowingup

Moving quickly into the grown up world...

It's interesting how life can move along so quickly sometimes that we feel like everything is rushing by. You can find yourself wondering...when did that happen? I feel like this sense of life rushing by is magnified since I became a parent over a decade ago. Even writing the word 'decade' makes me wonder, where did the time go? The logical part of my brain knows that it's been 13 years, and that there has been a whole lot of living crammed into those years. Yet still I wonder where did the years go? This morning I watched my eldest daughter getting ready, with minimal help, keen for a chat with me about all the 'stuff' she has going on.  Her little sister on the other hand demanded help with her shoes, clothes and then forgot her school bag because she was too focussed on remembering her show and tell. Without me asking, my eldest poppet calmly helped her little sister, chatting to her as she helped her with her shoes, reminded her to pack her lunch and asked if she was excited about Kindy. I was admiring how my little baby was fast becoming a young woman, one with compassion and the empathy and desire to help others. She seemed to sense that I could use some help this morning, and helped me out in such a thoughtful well, I couldn't help but admire her. On a recent road trip with the kids, it dawned on me that they are no longer babies. All four have moved on from Babyville, entering the unknown land of young adulthood. I am always a little slow to accept these shifts or changes in my life when it comes to the kids. I tend to focus on where we are right now, and I truly loved having a houseful of tiny people raging around playing, laughing and generally having a blast. Then, in a blur we gave away our last high chair, said farewell our cots said hello to big school and learning to read and write. Over the years, whenever I watched the kids I would  notice they have a lot in common with me and with their Dad.  When they were little I would recognise a physical trait or expression (how cute, the little poppet has the toes as her Dad). Now I recognise emotions, reactions and personality traits. How the kids deal with stress, the unknown and change.  The good and the not so good. I am proud to see that my sons have inherited their fathers love of animals and kindness towards others, not so proud that they also seem to have inherited a love of computer games.  All of my kids are avid readers (super proud of passing that one on), they are also crazy-energetic bordering on hyperactive and prone to starting giant projects and leaving the mess everywhere (not so proud moment). For me, one upside of seeing yourself reflected in your kids is an opportunity to make some changes in how you respond to things. For me, I am trying to learn how to slow down, relax and do one project at a time. How about you?  Do you recognise yourself or your partner in your kids? Enjoy xx
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Fun in the sun at Underwood Park...

Fun in the sun at Underwood Park...

One of the first things I learnt as a fledgling parent, was that getting out and about in the sunshine is one of the best ways to burn off energy, clear your head and generally feel better about the world. Crabby toddler climbing the walls? Head out to the park and let them run free. Kids bickering and squabbling over absolutely nothing? Grab a frisbee or a footy and scoot down to your closest oval. So, once we figured out this little chestnut, we became huge fans of parks and playgrounds. As soon as cabin fever started to set in, we'd pack up and decamp to the nearest park. Within minutes we would all feel a little better. Looking back, I think we even chose our homes over the years based on proximity to a good coffee shop (or two) and to parks and gorgeous green spaces. So here we are now settling in to our new home town, sunny Bris-Vegas, and exploring new parks and places to play. So far, thanks to friends, super helpful websites (try Brisbane Kids and Kidspot)and exploring we have discovered a couple of gems...
  • the fantastic Underwood Park complete with flying fox, weirdly cool Spielart Funderwood timber playground, monorail...
  • the super sweet Enchanted Forest, which kept all four of the kids amused for a couple of hours. It's probably better suited to littlies with a  love of fairies, but my older kids still had a ball there.
  • our local park (you know the type, smallish, huge open grassy bit nearby, a couple of well-loved trees)
Do you have a fave local park?  Feel free to share! Enjoy xx
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Been successful lately?

Been successful lately?

Motivation is a tricky thing to nail down.  How do you get yourself motivated to get up, get moving, make a change, get started, and well, get on with things? Some of the challenges we try to tackle seem insurmountable at first. Giant mountains of stuff to tackle,  decisions to make, which options to choose, where to start... I thought I would share a trick I've been using for a few years now to get your motivational mojo flowing. This trick has helped me successfully complete my studies (with kids in tow),  design and create super cute items for my Etsy store whilst also juggling a full-time career, tackle giant mounds of folding/washing/mess that four kids generate. I call it the 20 minute rule. Pick the job you have been putting off. Let's take folding the washing - which tops my list as the worst household chore ever!  Get the basket/s out, pick a flat surface (dining table or folding trestle table works well), then set a timer. As soon as the timer goes off, get cracking. Only do that task, sort/fold/put away for 20 minutes. Don't try to do something else at the same time.  Just sort/fold/put away.  When the timer goes off, stop and check your progress.  Now you've made headway!  Do you want to do another 20 minutes? Or do something different? For me, nine times out of ten I am happy to keep going until it's done. I have tried this trick on studying, and it works just as well. Set up, ready, set a timer and go!  Read, highlight, take notes, start that assignment.  After 20 minutes I am usually in the zone so will keep going.  If I am not, then I have at least started and it's a lot easier next time to sit down and get into it. Ok, now, what is the job you are putting off?  Can you spare 20 minutes? Go! Enjoy xx    
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As a mum, I clearly remember the moment when my then 3-year-old decided to choose her own clothes, or should I say OUTFIT. It was an OUTFIT because it was accompanied by a demand in a VERY loud voice from my former happy-go-lucky toddler that from now on she would only wear party dresses and ballet shoes. No more sensible sandals or runners. No more jeans, no more shorts and certainly no more blue or black. Just pink. Maybe purple occasionally. Mostly just pink. Oh and sparkles. Lots of sparkles. For a navy-loving, black -wearing tomboy this was really harsh news! I loathed pink. Could not stand purple. And certainly was not a sparkles kind of person. In that moment, I chose to get a grip. This was not about me.  Or my taste. This was about the little person who right before my eyes was growing up. Into a little person with fave colours, a personal style (sparkles, pink and all) all of her own. With all of this in mind, I thought I'd share a couple of places and spaces we visit to foster the creative little spirits in our house (in case you're wondering, because I know I would be, this is NOT a sponsored post).
Fab finds for quirky kids...

Fab finds for quirky kids...

1. Who doesn't need a blazer?  My youngest son rocks his everywhere, the farmers markets, downstairs in the weekend, travelling... This one is available from Seed 2. A so very cool hat, in this case a Fedora! You can find this one here... 3. Perfect for rainy days, or any day really!  My littlest poppet is convinced that hers go with tutus, fairy dresses, pretty much anything!   You can find this pair at the super cool Oishi M 4. Just what you need to jazz up any outfit!   Perfect for boys or girls, you can find these over here... 5. Cool kicks are also on my youngest sons go to list for wardrobe. We love this pair, available from the always cool and fresh Kido. 6. Superheroes rock!  My boys have an ever-changing collection of superhero tees, and these come with a cape (naturally!) You can find them here at Kids That Rock. 7. Tutu.  Do I need to say anymore about this one?  Oh except that I would love to wear one to the office or school drop off. Just one.  With a tiara. This one is from one of our fave shops, Cotton On Kids. 8. A fab bag!  Just as important for kids. This one is so super cute I am tempted to nab it for myself.  Maybe to go with my tutu?  You can find it at Kido. 9. We love sharks!  Show your love for the giant guardians of the sea with these super cool boardies from Tiny People. Enjoy xx This post is part of a lovely linky link up and guest blog post with the fab folks at Kids That Rock, click here to take a look xx
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
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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