Fab print (available here https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/63242982/feels-good-to-get-some-stuff-done-11-x)

Fab print (available here https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/63242982/feels-good-to-get-some-stuff-done-11-x)

Last week I got a fantastic piece of advice from a lecturer. It went like this... Most people, tend to put things off because they don't think they can get the job done, or are worried that when they are done, what they have created will be poorly made/ crafted/ be a little bit rubbish. His advice, just get into it. Prepare well for what you are about to do. Then role up your sleeves and get stuck in. Simple as that! Chances are that what you make, create, write or do will be just fine.  It may even be brilliant! You won't know though if you never get started. Though it doesn't feel that way does it. Sometimes, we put things off for a whole bunch of reasons, kids, illness, life getting in the way. Sometimes though, we just need to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in. What are you putting off? Enjoy xx
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The view from my lovely cousins wedding last weekend!

The view from my lovely cousins wedding last weekend!

Wowsers!  All of a sudden, it is April! Between moving house, finishing up at my day job, sewing + creating for my Etsy store, studying and the kids school/sport/swimming/stuff the year has flown by! So I thought it was a good time to follow the lead of the ever lovely and caressive Pip Lincolne and take stock... ***************************** Making : some new cushion covers (can’t find any that I like!) Cooking : Taco Tuesday! One of our fave family dinner nights Drinking : a giant takeaway coffee (with a freckle on top) Reading: Educational Psychology and Country Style Wanting: to get the markets…soon! Looking: for a new novel to read…suggestions? Playing: Monopoly…today with my 5 year old Deciding: whether to sew or study today…decisions, decisions! Wishing: Mum and Dad’s farm was closer – weekends visits! Enjoying: settling into our new house Waiting: for Uni results… Liking: the kids discovering the books I loved as a kid Wondering: how to create some capes (a la Little Red Riding Hood for winter) Loving: Corduroy + seeing my gorgeous cousin tie the knot!  Congrats lovely! Pondering: whether to cut my hair...again Considering: Buying new winter boots…or not! Buying: Office-type stuff, new whizz bang, printer/copier/fax? Watching: Not a lot! Too much studying/sewing! Hoping: to sleep in this weekend Marveling: at my 8 year olds ability to dance anywhere Cringing: at the criticism leveled at normal women’s bodies Needing: another giant coffee or tea! Questioning: my decision to give my littlest one a year off from ballet, she is itching to go back! Smelling: the delicious Glasshouse Montego Bay fragrance in our house Wearing: super comfy jeans, red H&M jumper and RM boots Following: the media targeting teachers…again. Noticing: how tall the kids are getting! Or am I shrinking? Knowing: I will get through this giant study load. Thinking: about a road trip in October Admiring: my husbands ability to relax Sorting: the house (the move was crazy/ hectic) Getting: back on top of sewing super cut dresses Bookmarking: blogs – a lot! Ready for mid-year break Coveting: Bohemian Traders anything Disliking: Grumpiness (mainly from me!) Opening: another textbook (and secretly loving it!!) Giggling: at Jon Snow’s awkward dinner party Feeling: determined to get through Uni and find time with family Snacking: wholemeal toast + crunchy peanut butter Wishing: My sisters were closer too! Helping: my kids organise holiday playdates Hearing: the sounds of Adventure Time from the loungeroom It's such a fab thing to do to think about how your world if going...why don't you take some time and take stock too! Enjoy xx
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Frogs galore!  If you are looking...

Frogs galore! If you are looking...

                                        This week I spent a couple of hours flying on a plane to the far north of Queensland. During the two flights it took to get me to the tropical north, I read an interesting book; Focus (Daniel Goleman). One of the points that jumped out at me was how distracted and possibly disconnected we can all become in an age where technology and information is at our fingertips all the time. It was exacerbated by travelling with a whole bunch of adults with smart phones, tablets and laptops. Heads down missing the beautiful scenery as we arrived in Cairns. Missing the crazy chaos of Cairns airport filled to the brim with tourists and travellers. Missing the cloak of mist on the range in front of us and the slowing in pace since we left Brisbane. In my lifetime we have moved rapidly from landlines and letters to social media platforms and streaming. All day and all night you can access everything. All of the time. The advent of all of this new technology also brings new dilemmas as a member of our society and a parent. How much technology is too much? How much screen time should my kids have? Should babies be allowed to have access to technology? What about hand-writing? How can I prepare my kids for the future? How young is too young for owning a mobile/smart phone? I don’t have all of the answers to these big questions, but after reading about some of the pitfalls and potential benefits, I plan to be more mindful when I get home. In the meantime I plan to enjoy the sights of the far north while I am here, and leave my smart phone in my bag. Enjoy 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
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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We are a family of book-lovers. Self-confessed book-worms who can all pass the time reading, poring over the pages of beautiful illustrations and talking about how our favourite characters reacted. So, it is no surprise then that we all have a wish list of books we would love to read over the Christmas break or, if we are super lucky, receive from Santa. Here is the tribes literary wish list for Christmas (sounds a lot like Dr Seuss!): 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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