The night time routine that changed it all!

Whilst we were away on holiday, without the children, we had time to do a lot of things, including of course… talk about our children!  We spoke about how much we love them and how much we miss them.  What we also spoke about was how disappointed we were in our current night-time routine and the changes we could implement for the better.  From the day Ari and Chloe were born I had always prided in a stellar routine.  Yes, I was a routine mum, and I honoured that routine like my life depended on it.  As a result, I had babies and toddlers who slept well, fed well, and I generally knew what we were going to do at each moment of each day.  You guess it, spontaneity is not my strong point!  Though in recent months I had let our routine slip… And now I was paying the price. Poor is at the dinner table, late nights and battling with getting children to bed.  All because I had been too busy to stay on top of the routine that we had previously put in place.  Having time away from the children made me realise how much I appreciated my routine of the past, and the way that it had fit seamlessly into our lives.  So, it was time to make a change… Since getting back from holiday and implementing our routine we have had such success with getting the children to sleep on time, and reclaiming moments as a couple and as a singular people in those night time hours. So, I wanted to share our bedtime routine with you in the hopes that it might help someone in the same situation that we were in.

Daytime – First of all a good night time routine begins with the day time.  Our children wake at about 6.30 to 7 am which means that Chloe’s naptime must happen from 12 until two, or at worst from one until three.  She still needs two hours sleep a day or she gets cranky in the afternoon.  So, for her nap she must be awake by 3 pm in order to go to bed nicely in the evening.  I organise to have lunch ready and her eating by 11 o’clock so she’s got time to enjoy the meal and digest her food before going to bed.

TV Time – We had found that our children had started to watch too much TV, they were asking for it all of the time especially in the evening and this was dragging out at bedtime.  We decided that we would no longer have the TV on during our mornings or days, and it could only be watched at night time for 20 minutes.  For us this is more than enough TV and has created a happy balance where the children look forward to watching a TV show of an evening.  This is except for Ari watching a Disney movie once a week when Chloe is asleep and he’s home.

Night time – 5.30pm – At this time we all sit down to have dinner together. Prior to implementing the routine, we were having the children eat their meals in front of their TV on their own table, whilst I walked around the house doing chores.  As much as I valued this time for getting things done it just wasn’t working.  They were spilling food, things were going all over the floor, they were very distracted and not eating properly, and I often look over and they would be jumping on the couch!  It wasn’t until I started implementing eating dinner at the table as a family that I realise how important it is. Now we have conversations, we talk about our day, the good and the bad parts of it.  They eat their food, they use their manners. They must ask to leave the table when they’re finished and then go straight to wash their hands.  We also get them to be involved in setting the table for dinner.

6pm – At this time they chose a TV show to watch together while I tidy up the table. 

6.30pm – We start bath or shower time, which is quick as we don’t want to waste water and they would drag it out if they could.

6.35pm – We dress them, and they get to choose a book each to read for the evening.  We have a huge library of books to pick from, and I try to mix it up, but there are favourites.

6.45pm – At this time we get them to go to the toilet and we brush their teeth and comb their hair.  Then we start to wind down with either a massage or a back tickle.  We make sure that we aren’t in the room when either of them falls asleep as we want to have them independently falling asleep completely by themselves.  Otherwise we find this creates a bad habit, and they continue to want us into their room as they drift off.  My favourite part of the night time routine is when I jump into Chloe’s cot to give her kisses and cuddles and we talk about our day.

7pm – By this time both children should be asleep.  Of course, sometimes this does drag out, but I find it as long as we stay on top of it then we don’t have any issues.  Now we get to enjoy our evening together, perhaps do a little bit of work or do something for ourselves.

I find the most important thing with a night timer routine is to stay consistent.  Do the same thing every night and don’t stray from it.  Especially with Chloe, if you give her an inch, she will take a mile, so to speak.  So, we have them sleep with the same teddies every night, sing the same songs etc.  Of course, we do all sorts of new things in the day, but at night we keep it simple. 

I hope that this blog post has helped you in some way if you are struggling with your own routine. If you have any questions, please reach out to me on Instagram.

Enjoy!

Small-Signature-Nat

Everything you need to know about the Bubs IMPROVED Australian Goat Milk Formulation

Bubs Australia has a NEW and IMPROVED Goat Milk Formulation and couldn’t wait to tell you all about it.  We’ve been apart of the Bubs Australia ‘family’ for over two years now, and I have always been extremely honest in my reviews for this incredible Australian company.  In fact you may have seen my recent blog post Everything we love about Bubs Australia Toddler Goat Milk.

Bubs sell three stages of milk product.  Stage One is suitable from birth to six months, stage two is perfect for up to 12 months of age, and stage three from 12 months up to 36 months.  All of the stages of milk products are fantastic at naturally supporting gentle digestion, particularly for littles one with sensitive tummies.   Bubs Premium Australian Goat Milk formulation contains DHA (so important!) and ARA from plants for improved tastes.

So what’s makes the new formulation of Bubs even better? 

Bubs are known to continually strive to improve their products by always staying up to date with the latest industry best practices.  All three of their Goat Milk Stages now include MORE Omega 3 (DHA), Omega 6 (ARA), and Prebiotics (GOS).

They have also adopted a single step process, whereby the farm-fresh goat milk and other enriching ingredients are combined in an efficient and time-saving way.  This provides a better taste and enables the Formula to be delivered to their customers faster.

On top of these new improvements there are so many other reasons why I choose to give Chloe Bubs Australia Toddler Goat Milk.

  • Bubs is the only Goat Formula that’s made in Australia using Australian goat milk!
  • It is made with fresh goat’s milk.
  • They use only the best ingredients.
  • It is naturally easy for the body to break down.
  • It’s certified organic.

Bubs Australia don’t just provide exceptional quality Goat milk products, they have a whole range of organic products available, from baby formula to cereals, food pouches and rusks.  Ari and Chloe have tried them all and as a Mum I highly recommend them.

You can read more about my ‘love affair’ with Bubs Australia here…
BUBS AUSTRALIA SNACK RANGE
EVERYTHING WE LOVE ABOUT BUBS AUSTRALIA TODDLER GOAT MILK
TRAVELLING WITH KIDS FEATURING BUBS AUSTRALIA
THE FINAL FEED FEATURING BUBS AUSTRALIA

Bubs Australia products can be purchased from Coles, Chemist Warehouse, Woolworths and online here.  For more information on the Bubs Australia range visit their website or Instagram.

As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  Thank you to Bubs Australia for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share one of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #BUBSPARTNER

Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here

24 hours in one of the most luxurious countries in the world!

On our recent trip to Europe we spent two nights in luxurious Monaco (which really worked out to be about 24 hours.) With such few hours in this tiny country we really needed to be selective and efficient with how we spent our time. Luckily Monaco is one of the smallest countries in the world, covering an area of 197 hectares (487 acres) of which 40 hectares (99 acres) have been reclaimed from the sea!  It blows my mind to think of it!  

So, I have come up with the perfect 24-hour itinerary for anyone travelling to Monaco on a limited timeframe. 

BUT before I get into it check out my video 24 Hours in Monaco.

Getting there

We few into Nice-Côte d’Azur airport and hired a really comfortable Mercedes convertible for the 25km drive to our hotel. 

Where we stayed

You absolutely cannot go past the waterfront position of the Fairmont.  When I say waterfront, I really mean it! This place has the most incredible views of the ocean/harbor. We chose a deluxe ocean view suite and couldn’t get enough of laying on the private sun lounges and watching cruise ships roll into harbor.  The positioning of the Fairmont also gives you perfect access to all that Monaco has to offer, sitting only a few minutes walk to the famous Place Du Casino.  The price is extremely reasonable by Monaco standards and there is nowhere else I would recommend staying.

What we did

Breakfast at Horizon
After waking up to the sound of the ocean we headed to the top floor of the Fairmont for breakfast at Horizon.  They have indoor and outdoor seating, but how could you not sit outside and enjoy the view of the Mediterranean Sea.  The delectable buffet was full of delights including eggs cooked your way, yogurt, an assortment of French cheese, doughnuts and perfectly blended fruit juices.  We ate and ate until our bellies were practically brimming.

Place Du Casino
After breakfast we headed straight out of the hotel for a walk-through Monte Carlo. Stopping for Ryan to gawk and the dozens of luxury cars parked out the front of the Casino De Monte Carlo. All of the streets were incredibly well presented and clean, and everywhere you turn was a feast for the eyes.  There is an endless array of luxury shops, but I chose a quick peek in my favourite high street store ZARA for a look at what was hot for European summer 2019.

The Prominade
After a walk-through Monte Carlo we continued onto the harbor promenade stopping to look at the stunning double story carousal that children were enjoying.  At the end of our walk along the water we were met by the base of the staircase which leads you up to The Prince’s Palace.  I can attest to the fact that it is possible to walk all of Monaco, including these stairs, even in heals!

Prince’s Palace
Once we reached the top of the stairs, we were greeted by not just the beautiful palace with its fortress, but by a stunning view of the harbor and through to Monte Carlo. The guards at the front of the Prince’s Palace aren’t just for show but are there because the Sovereign Prince and his family live there.  Were lucky enough to be at the Palace at 11.55am to witness the daily changing of the guard. 

Habour
After walking around the Palace surrounds including its gardens, and stopping in the Palace Square for a drink, we headed back down the hill to start our trek back to Monte Carlo.  On the way back we walked along the waters edge admiring the million dollar boats sitting proudly in the harbor.   Literally luxury boat after luxury boat, which is hard to describe without seeing it for yourself.

Nikki Beach
For the afternoon we headed back up the top of Fairmont only this time to relax with a bottle of Rose at the famous Nikki Beach.  This sophisticated scene is all about lounging poolside ‘in between the sea and the sky.’  You can purchase delicious food and drinks, swim in the open-air pool and listen to world class DJs.  The perfect spot for an afternoon of relaxation after a busy morning sightseeing.

Café De Paris
After working on our tans and enjoying some wine we dressed and headed out for the evening.  Once again we stopped at the Casino De Monte Carlo for Ryan to amaze at all the cars, which were even more incredible this time of night.  We grabbed a table at Café De Paris for a predinner drink.  All the chairs are positioned in a way that you can enjoy the view of more and more cars rolling up, and the wealthy hopping out of them in their designer clad outfits.  It was honestly incredible and like nothing I have seen before.  I think you could have all the money in the world and still be blown away by the beauty and luxury of Monaco.  

Noura at Hotel Hermitage
For dinner we headed to Noura at Hotel Hermitage where Lebanese cuisine was on the menu.  There was a Cartier show happening at the Casino De Monte Carlo, and from our dining table we had the perfect free ticket to bands, fashion and even fireworks!

Casino De Monte Carlo
After dinner we had a gamble at the famous casino which I found to be the perfect blend of modern reinvention and tradition.  A mix of Bohemian chandeliers, roulette tables, slot machines and images of James Bond. Everything there was about sophistication, attention to detail and luxury.

We finished our 24 hours in Monaco with a walk through the gardens of Place Du Casino and a stroll back to our comfy bed at the Fairmont.  Eyes still in awe of everything we has seen and done in the Principality of Monaco, of which we will never forget.

And now for photos…

Enjoy!

Natalie-Signature-NoBackground

 

Why Finns is a must visit for your next family vacation to Bali.

My family and I recently enjoyed a beautiful five night adventure to Bali, and if you have read my post you’ll know why we choose to holiday at this sunny island destination time and time again.

There is an endless list of fun and fascinating things to do in Bali, but there are two places that we love visiting as a family.

So now that we are home, and I’ve had countless questions from other Mama’s about my favourite kid-friendly destinations (that parents will love too), I thought why not put together a blog post about it!

Finns Beach Club
This place is phenomenal!  With 170m of absolute beach frontage in the popular area of the Berawa surf break, you will never truly understand how huge the space is until you visit Finns Beach Club.

With a choice of four pools, nine bars (including two swim up pool bars), five restaurants and a Sushi Bar, there really is something for everyone.

Located only 10 minutes from Seminyak, Finn’s Beach Club is an unmissable destinations for couples and families alike.

Entry is free, however in my opinion, securing a day bed is a must.  Beds can be booked online or on arrival, and prices vary, however, your fee for the day bed is redeemable for food & drink throughout the venue, making it more than worth it to book a daybed for the day.

Visitors to Finns can choose from a variety of areas to lounge including single and double day beds on the white sandy beach, party beds located directly inside of the lagoon pool, a party platform at the Gazebo Pool which is perfect for families, or the adults only lounge located at the 41 metre VIP Oceanfront infinity pool.

We loved the ocean front daybed we chose, but based on the delicious food being enjoyed in the lawn-area lounges, this would be my pick for future trips.

Just like everyone else who has and will visit Finns Beach Club I was totally in awe of its beauty. The bamboo structure is extremely open giving everyone an incredible view of that picturesque sunset.  Finns Beach Club’s opening hours, location and other details can be found on their website.

NOTE – Entry is free however I recommend booking a daybed based on the details above.

For more information visit The Finns website, Facebook or Instagram.

Finns Recreational Club

While I had heard of Finns Beach Club prior to our trip, I had never heard of the Finns Recreational Club, and I was blown away with this playful wonderland.

As  into the club grounds, you  instantly feel relaxed, knowing that your little ones are going to be entertained for hours!

There are so many opportunities for fun at the Finns Recreational Club and e checked most of them, so I feel fully qualified to give you a rundown of my top six must visits for families ….

Splash Water Park
The Splash Water Park,  a water play park perfect for all ages and was definitely the highlight of our visit to Finns Recreation Centre centre.

Each of us had a great time swimming in the pool and hitting the slides.

And I have to warn you, there’s endless amounts of fun to be had for big and little kids alike.  Ryan and I had SO MUCH  fun on some of the ‘big kids’ slides.

There is also a bar and restaurant located  just next to the waterpark, with staff on hand to serve you to your own sun lounger (heaven).

This place was such massive hit with the kids, that we wished we’d had time to go back again!  We felt like we were onto such a parenting win by spending our time there.

Bounce
A huge indoor trampoline centre full of fun for children and adults alike, this was my husband Ryan’s pick of activities at the centre.

Strike Bowling
A super cool bowling alley that also serves drinks and food.  We enjoyed some family friendly competition after checking out Bounce, it’s located just upstairs.

Cubby House Kids Club
A play centre where you can leave your children to have fun with toys all while being supervised by the clubs beautiful staff.  We left Ari and Chloe in the Cubby House, allowing us to spend some quality couple time together, while knowing the kids were having a blast too!

Bistro C
After  dropping the kids to the  Cubby House we headed for Bistro C to njoyed a drink and some dinner. The food was delicious,  and there was a lovely variety of drinks.

Body Temple Bali
The perfect place to visit while the kids enjoy the Cubby House for an incredible couples massage.  It was seriously amazing to step into the tranquil setting of the spa and slip away from ‘mummy travel mode’ for a moment.  The therapists were very kind and accommodating, making our experience a special one, from choosing our oils to the delicious tea we drank after our massage was over.

Finns Recreational Club’s costs, opening hours, location and other details can be found on their website.   For more information visit their website, Facebook or Instagram.

Now that you have heard all of the fun filled ways you can entertain your children and yourself at Finns Beach Club and Recreation Centre, it’s time to book those flights and get packing!

Enjoy!

Small-Signature-Nat

My Top Winter-Spring Wardrobe Staples (all for under $1000!)

When Josephine Eve Stylist offers to guest blog, I know that I’m going to gain a wealth of knowledge in the fashion stakes, and so can you my friends! Read on!!!

Josephine has been featured on TSLOM several times before and I always get the most wonderful feedback from all of you regarding her informative posts. She has been styling many of my looks for almost two years now and I value her keen eye for detail. She is more particular then anyone I know, and this is what makes her such an incredible stylist. Not only does she care so greatly about how her clients look but most importantly how they feel in the looks that she creates. She doesn’t just style you, she educates you. If you want to learn ‘How To Create Your Dream Wardrobe,’ through Josephine’s wealth knowledge then I encourage you to take the e course available on her website. I have done so myself and the knowledge I gained has given me so much confidence. Honestly this is invaluable. Josephine also has a free printable download to help you declutter and organise your existing robe, click here. I’ve done this myself and had so much fun doing so!

All of the clothes featured in this blog post where purchased from the stunning Kawana Shopping World, which is the shopping centre closest to my home. What’s even better is that all were purchased for under $1000 combined! All of items are linked to their stores below. Kawana Shopping World is not only a fashion precinct but a hub for all thing’s lifestyle. Stores, restaurants, events like school holiday entertainment, Gold Class movie theatre, huge playgroup, three supermarkets and a shopping nanny service. One of the things I love most about Kawana Shopping World is the community they have built around families, which you can find on their website here.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this post over on my Instagram!

Enjoy!

There’s something about winter that just makes me feel so cozy amongst layers and layers of warm clothing, however winter can often make us want to hide away feeling dull and drab in our trackies. With that said I think that winter is one of the most fun seasons to style, because you have more options to be able to layer. This makes outfits look more interesting and different as opposed to just your basic shorts, tee and sandals in summer. The textures of winter fabrics can be different to your standard cottons and linens, which adds a cool textural element to your look E.g. tweed, leather, knit, cashmere and wool.One of my top tips for winter styling is to invest in key staples which makes styling so much easier than if you are to buy one off pieces that only style with one or two things… or worse nothing in your closet at all!

With so many of our Australian states keeping a consistently warm temperature throughout the year, it can feel like we completely skip winter and don’t get to enjoy those knits at all! This is where it is important to learn the art of layering so that our staple pieces can worn all year long, bringing those cozy winter looks into a light and bright spring! So here are my top trans seasonal staple suggestions, most of which can carry you through from winter into the more summery seasons.

So here are my top trans seasonal staple suggestions, most of which can carry you through from winter into the more summery seasons.

Trans-seasonal Separates

The Turtle Neck Sweater – styled easily with jeans, pants or skirts. To layer simply pop over your favourite blazer, cardigan or coat. From – Cotton On.


The Light Blue Washed Jeans –
perfect for every season.  Teamed with a neutral coloured knit in winter or casual white T-shirt for spring. These jeans can be dressed up or down for all sorted of occasions. From – Cotton On.

Leather Mini Skirt – Leather skirt- all types of leather pieces are in this season- leather…pencil skirts, mini skirts, jackets, pants & boots. This staple leather mini can be easily styled with either a casual knit, or a dressy top, boots, heels or sneakers. Coatigan – Dotti.

The Corduroy Mini Skirt – corduroy has been huge and this winter, and we are going to see more of it as we head into spring. Choose lighter tones like cream for a trans-seasonal look. From – Cotton On.

The Midi Skirt – such a sophisticated staple for those evenings when you want to dress up with a cami and blazer/coat, teamed perfectly with heels. Or style it down for work with a turtle neck, blazer, and loafers or bootsFrom – Sussan.

The Faux Leather Pant – this look is super hot! Pair with a cute belt and comfy but chic knit for winter. In spring these pants would go perfect with a sweet little cami.  From – Dotti.

The Black Knit – you can layer this piece with a coat when it gets cold or shorts/skirt in springtime.  From – Sportsgirl.

The Silk Cami – Silk actually draws in the warmth, even though this cami is not highly recommended for winter, the correct tones and worn with the right layers equals perfection! Take the jacket off as you head into spring.  From – Sportsgirl.

Trans-seasonal Accessories
The Chunky Belt – belts aren’t just for wearing with jeans, shorts and dresses. One of the sexiest styles of the winter season is to belt your blazer, cardi or coat for this ultra cool look. This works perfectly whether you are either an hourglass, pear, or inverted triangle shape, and will send all of your fashionista friends running to the shops to mimic your look! Pair with a cami as the weather starts to warm up. From – Universal.

The Minimal Glam Necklace – the right accessories can be worn all year long adding interest to your outfit. Accessories can make or break a look. We love multi layered gold necklaces. From – Sussan.

The Printed Scarf – great for drawing attention to the neckline and face. You can break up the colour scheme of a look with a print or splash of colour. Perfectly on trend and great for keeping your neck warm of course! From – Universal.

The Hair Scarf – hair scarves have been hugely popular this year and make a fun addition to any outfit no matter the season. We are currently loving a pop of spots. Coatigan – Dotti.

Black Ankle Boots and Pumps –  boots are such a comfy and cosy winter ‘must have’ to keep those tootsies warm and snug (and stylish of course!) The right style of boot can be worn with practically anything. In springtime pair with a cute dress or skirt. Pumps are an important wardrobe staple that give a classic look no matter the seasonBoots from – Sportsgirl. Pumps from – Novo Shoes.

The Neutral Accessory – whether it be shoes, bags or accessories; light, bright tones accessories are essentials all year round. In terms of shoes a cute boot, pump and flat are exactly what you need. Tan, beige, nude or white accessories are all ok with us!  All from – Novo Shoes.

Trans-seasonal Layers

The Essentials – When it comes to layering there are a few pieces that are absolute essentials. Every wardrobe needs a leather jacket, denim jacket, black blazer and a coatigan. In particular the coatigan is one of those pieces that is perfect to take you from winter to spring. It’s not quite a heavy coat, but not quite a cardi either. Also great for warmer climates where a coat isn’t necessary at all.  Coatigan – Dotti.

Trans-seasonal Dresses

The Leopard Print Dress – This cute little piece can be styled in so many different ways. Layer it with either white cardi, black blazer, black leather jacket, denim jacket, black cardi and even a bold pop of colour as a layer if you’re feeling playful. Easily styled with sneakers, boots, sandals for spring or heels to dress up. From – Sportgirl.

The Monochrome Dress – Black is one of the colours that is really amazing for winter. Other on trend monochrome looks can be navy, oatmeal, grey, or be daring in your favourite colour (we love red!) Add a pop of colour to your monochrome look with contrasting accessories, like this black dress and belt that we’ve paired with a nude clutch and heels. From – Dotti.

The Floral Dress – to lighten up your winter days and to carry right through to spring summer. Pop on a layer and a scarf to add warmth, or pair it back with lighter layers for Spring. From – Dotti.

The Ribbed knit dress – This one is an effortless piece, that can be layered either with a coatigan, a cardigan, leather jacket or denim jacket. Styled well with boots and sneakers. From – Dotti.

For all things Kawana Shopping World: Website & Instagram

You can find Josephine on the below links:
Website, Instagram & Facebook
E Course – How To Create Your Dream Wardrobe
Free PDF – How To Declutter Your Wardrobe

SPECIAL THANK YOUS – a special goes out to Nicola Holland Photography for photographing such stunning images for this blog post, all of which were taken on the grounds of Kawana Shopping World. If you are a family, expectant mother, future bride, business professional or someone who just simply appreciates superb photography be sure to reach to Nicola.Also to Hannah Mills who is my go to make up artist on the Sunshine Coast. Time and time again she paints my face and tamed my mane with her amazing skills, so that I feel like a million dollarsHannah’s Instagram.  Nicola‘s Instagram and website.

6 Ways to save on your next kids party (and for it to still be fabulous!)

Every fortnight or the past few weeks I have been sharing helpful party planning tips from my dear friend Natty Faulks. Natty is a children’s party entertainer through her company Strawberry Fundaes, and she keeps your children happy at their parties by dressing up as their favourite character. Natalie is a complete expert when it comes to party planning, so here are her top tips for cutting catering costs at your next party…

Kids parties are so much fun! But sometimes we can get carried away with what we think it needs to be and then we blow out the budget. That is where I can help to keep you on track!

Here are my top 6 tips to cut costs on some of the wallet draining items, but still have an awesome party!

1 – Invitations
Create your own or go digital!
You can make your own invitations, at home on various online platforms and then you can either print at home or save as a jpeg or PDF and email out. My go to sites for this are Canva or Greetings Island. They look great too!

2 – Decorations
Firstly… Less is more! The most simple of decorations can look fab. Eg – a whole wall of single balloons stuck down makes a great backdrop and only costs around $5 tops! Also, I highly recommend choosing a colour theme to decorate with instead of using licensed product. Eg – Instead of using Frozen branded cups, plates and balloons, just stick to generic blues and whites and silver. You will save a stack of $$$ right there but it will still look really effective!

3 – Party at the park or at home
Venues can cost a bomb, so unless you really want to factor them into the budget, go for the free options – the park or at home. Just remember that wherever you choose to hold your party to always have a wet weather plan.

4 – Free online party printables
I have used this option many times. Simply google ‘free online party printables’ and there are heaps of options. You can download and print at home birthday signage, cupcake toppers, water bottle labels, name tags, favour bag tags and more!

5 – Ditch the party bag
To be honest, I am not a fan of party bags. Lots of parents are not that keen on lollies these days (And it can get sketchy with allergies etc.) and I also find lots of party bag fillers really are just rubbish or choking hazards. And the average bag costs a min $5 filled. So my alternatives are – Bubble wands with a thank you tag or sticker (Wands are 75c at Kmart), Balloons on a stick (These can double as decorations at first and then the kids take home), keep cups (Buy $1 glass jars with straws and the kids take those home) Lucky dip gift wrapped in blue or pink tissue paper ( wrap random boys and girls stuff like rubber snakes, matchbox cars , lip gloss, bath bombs. These are all individually cheaper than a lolly bag.) Take home cupcakes.

6 – Cake Hack! (Or make your own)
I am terrible at making cakes so if I can’t afford to outsource one, I buy two mud cakes from Coles or Woolworths (Around $4 each) stack them on top of each other and then cover them both with butter cream (You can even just buy a tub of Betty Crocker Icing if you really are time poor!). Set in the fridge and then decorate with themed figurines or flowers! Super easy!

1 – Invitations
Create your own or go digital!
You can make your own invitations, at home on various online platforms and then you can either print at home or save as a jpeg or PDF and email out. My go to sites for this are Canva or Greetings Island. They look great too!

2 – Decorations
Firstly… Less is more! The most simple of decorations can look fab. Eg – a whole wall of single balloons stuck down makes a great backdrop and only costs around $5 tops! Also, I highly recommend choosing a colour theme to decorate with instead of using licensed product. Eg – Instead of using Frozen branded cups, plates and balloons, just stick to generic blues and whites and silver. You will save a stack of $$$ right there but it will still look really effective!

3 – Party at the park or at home
Venues can cost a bomb, so unless you really want to factor them into the budget, go for the free options – the park or at home. Just remember that wherever you choose to hold your party to always have a wet weather plan.

4 – Free online party printables
I have used this option many times. Simply google ‘free online party printables’ and there are heaps of options. You can download and print at home birthday signage, cupcake toppers, water bottle labels, name tags, favour bag tags and more!

5 – Ditch the party bag
To be honest, I am not a fan of party bags. Lots of parents are not that keen on lollies these days (And it can get sketchy with allergies etc.) and I also find lots of party bag fillers really are just rubbish or choking hazards. And the average bag costs a min $5 filled. So my alternatives are – Bubble wands with a thank you tag or sticker (Wands are 75c at Kmart), Balloons on a stick (These can double as decorations at first and then the kids take home), keep cups (Buy $1 glass jars with straws and the kids take those home) Lucky dip gift wrapped in blue or pink tissue paper ( wrap random boys and girls stuff like rubber snakes, matchbox cars , lip gloss, bath bombs. These are all individually cheaper than a lolly bag.) Take home cupcakes.

6 – Cake Hack! (Or make your own)
I am terrible at making cakes so if I can’t afford to outsource one, I buy two mud cakes from Coles or Woolworths (Around $4 each) stack them on top of each other and then cover them both with butter cream (You can even just buy a tub of Betty Crocker Icing if you really are time poor!). Set in the fridge and then decorate with themed figurines or flowers! Super easy!

 

A huge thank you to Natty for these incredibly useful tips!

You can find more information on Natty’s packages here.
Explore her beautiful Instagram account here.

Lots of Love!

 

Small-Signature-Nat

EVERYTHING WE LOVE ABOUT BUBS AUSTRALIA TODDLER GOAT MILK

It is no secret that I am a huge, long term fan of Bubs Toddler Goat Milk.  I weaned Ari onto it when he was 12 months old, and Chloe also started to drink it from the same age.  I took a very gentle weaning approach for both of my little loves, having mix fed Ari with breastmilk from 12 to 15 months, then exclusively onto Bubs Australia.  For Chloe I mix fed from 12 months to two years old.  Each child is different but for us I found it to be the perfect way. A journey that created a balance between not pushing them to wean and giving me the flexibility of not solely relying on my breastmilk.  (Bubs Toddler Goat Milk is suitable from 12 moths plus.)

With the decision to wean, came the decision of what to wean them onto.  This is not something that I considered lightly.  With so many options of products available it didn’t take long for me to feel completely overwhelmed.  To honest there was so much out there that I would never put through their precious digestive systems.

Bubs Toddler Goat Milk was and still is the clear winner for us.  It was founded in Australia by a Mother of three who wanted exactly what I want for my children… what is best for her bubs.  What Mum doesn’t want the very best for her child?  Made from whole goat milk and goat whey protein, within Bubs Toddler Goat Milk you can find a balanced daily intake of essential fatty acids, vitamins, prebiotics and other beneficial nutrients needed to support a healthy growing body. Bubs Toddler Goat Milk is produced in the beautiful Victorian countryside, and is the only Australian made Toddler Goat Milk sold in Australian Supermarkets.  Perfectly made for growing children to help to support their immune system, growth and development.

I have been blessed by the fact the neither Ari nor Chloe have any dietary intolerances, however Bubs can be the perfect solution to issues related to digestion.  Some of the symptoms of digestive issues that can be repaired by simple switching to goat’s milk include, cow milk protein intolerances/sensitivity, wind, bloating, constipation, colic, diarrhoea and regurgitation.  In fact, because it is so gentle and nourishing, Bubs can even help even help with mucus congestion and skin conditions like inflammation, rashes and eczema.

I have recommended Bubs to countless people who has subsequently asked me, “What is the difference between cow’s milk and goats’ milk.”  To put it short, goats’ milk is just easier for the body to digest.  The harder a child’s body must work to breakdown milk sources and food the more stress is put on bodily systems, and nutrients are absorbed much slower.  The Bubs Australia website is full of information on why goats milk is such a great choice, so I highly recommend having a look here.

I have previously written two blog posts about the Bubs Australia products, The Final Feed which talks about our weaning journey, and Traveling with Kids featuring Bubs Australia, which gives a really great run through of all the benefits to travelling with Bubs Australia products.

There is a huge range of products under Bubs Australia from baby formula to cereals, food pouches and rusks.  Ari and Chloe have both tried them all throughout various stages and they love them!

Bubs Australia products can be purchased from Coles, Chemist Warehouse, Woolworths and online here.  For more information on the Bubs Australia range visit their website or Instagram.

As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  Thank you to Bubs Australia for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share one of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #BUBSPARTNER

Note – Chloe’s gorgeous outfit in these images is from My Riser.

Lots of love!

Small-Signature-Nat

As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  Thank you to Bubs Australia for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share one of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #BUBSPARTNER

Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here

 

5 ways to cut the catering costs of your next kids party…

A couple of weeks ago I shared a guest blog post from a gorgeous friend of mine which had an incredible response, so I decided to get her back to share more of her party planning wisdom! You remember, my party planning expert Natty Faulkner! Natty is a children’s party entertainer through her company Strawberry Fundaes. She keeps your children happy at their parties by dressing up as their favourite character. Natalie has been to more than her fair share of children’s parties, in fact she’s been to hundreds! So here are her top tips for cutting catering costs at your next party…

Something I also see a lot at kids parties is over catering and food wastage!
Kids generally don’t eat much at parties. They are busy running around playing games and are very distracted. So… Here are my top 5 tips to help you cut back on your party catering costs and waste.

1 – PARTY LUNCH BOX
This is seriously my all – time favourite! Individually portion each lunch box (cardboard or paper bag made in advance) and then encourage all the kids to sit down to eat together. It helps to create a moment of peace and gives structure to your party.

Here is a list of food I use in my party lunch boxes
1 x Sandwich – (Or a wrap or sushi)
I often use cookie cutters to make the sandwich a fun shape.
1 x cheese stick.
1 x popcorn cup or pretzels/crackers.
1 x cupcake ( or jelly cup or cookie, muffin etc)
1 x fruit cup or fruit stick

2 – JUGS, JUGS, JUGS
Serving drinks in jugs or drink dispensers is much more cost effective than the individual juice or cordial packs. I use paper cups or keep cups that can be an alternative favour to take home.

3 – THE 4 PLATTER RULE
Have you heard the 4 platter rule? Well, I made it up! It keeps you on track and on budget. This is how it works…
Platter 1 – Fruit – You can make it look as pretty as you like. Don’t buy too much fruit though. Kids will only eat an average of 3- 4 pieces each. (also don’t use banana as it goes brown)
Platter 2 – Sweets and chips – Think fairy bread, jelly cups, chips, pretzels, popcorn, lollies, crackers, cheese. Only choose 3 things on this list. You definitely don’t need to serve all! (Remember we are saving money)
Platter 3 – Main food – This platter can have sausage rolls, pies, pizza, sandwiches, sushi, bbq sausages on bread, mini hamburgers, fried rice in cups, nuggets and chips, etc. Only choose 1 type of ‘main food’ to be served on this platter.
Platter 4 – Cake! – Cake and cupcakes are your final serving of food at the party.

4 – ADULTS, SHMADULTS…
I am sure most mums and dads will agree that when we attend children’s parties, we don’t expect to be fed. (Obviously this is a different story if you have been invited to a family event.) There is no need to create a whole menu for the adults. Most mums and dads will usually pick from the kids platters anyway!

5 – KEEP IT SIMPLE
At the end of the day, a small table of snacks followed by a main serve and end with cake will do the trick. Choose foods that are filling and then you won’t need as many snacks (which add up the $$ and get wasted the most). And remember… the food doesn’t have to look like a 5 star Pinterest party! Kids will not notice!

A huge thank you to Natty for these incredibly useful tips!
You can find more information on Natty’s packages here.
Explore her beautiful Instagram account here.

Lots of Love!

Small-Signature-Nat

 

 

 

Hot off the press… some of the best ways to plan your travel

As many of you know I am knee deep in planning our next adventure to Bali and Europe.  I absolutely love to plan holidays and have been the ‘travel agent’ of our family for years now.

During my recent searches for the best accommodation, hottest restaurants and most beautiful locations I have come across a few new (to me) tools that can take your vacation planning to the next level!

I really shouldn’t bee spilling these secrets, but it’s in my nature to share a good thing.  If I have something that will make a positive difference to someone’s appearance then I just can’t keep it to myself!  So here goes…

Websites that got be excited –
Tablet Hotels – If you are into boutique style hotels this is a must click.
One Fine Stay – Like Air BnB but offering only the finest homes.
Design Hotels – Beautiful bespoke hotels if you are after something quieter.
Mr and Mrs Smith – Hand picked luxury hotels.
Air Bnb Plus – A feature on Air Bnb that includes luxury properties with great ratings.
Flight Fox – This one is all about booking flights and is especially good for the cooperate traveller.

Tips I had never thought of before –
– Once you think you’ve settled on a hotel, use google maps to check out its actual location.  Pop it onto ‘earth mode’ so you can see what the accommodation actually looks like.  Move around the street to look at neighbouring properties.  See if there is anything close by that might impact your holiday, like a large night club or busy restaurant.

– On Instagram, find one hotel in an area that you love and a price point that you want to spend.  Go to that hotel’s profile and use the drop down arrow which then allows you to see accounts similar to the one your are on.  You will come across a bunch of competing hotels in the area that are similar to your original search.  Happy researching!

– If you find a property you love on Air Bnb or another search tool, then go onto google and search that accommodation by name.  You may find a better deal outside of the engine you had originally been using.  I always find Air Bnb to be much more expensive then the price I would have paid if I booked direct.

– It is said booking flights at midday on a Tuesday is the cheapest time to do it.

– It can be cheaper to book round tickets over one way flights.

– Rumour has it that the exact day to find the cheapest airfare is 54 days before flight departure.

– Keep your options open.  You may have a few airports located close to you or where you are going.  Landing into one may be substantially cheaper than another.

– Set up price alerts with different airlines and sign up to subscription newsletters.

– Consider stopping over to spilt up your journey.  This may also lower the cost of your overall flight.

– Stay over a Sunday night.  Most hotels get holiday bookings Friday to Sunday morning, and business bookings Monday to Friday.  Sunday can be cheaper and quieter.

Now get me on that plane on Friday!  I seriously can not wait to be in Bali staying at the gorgeous Dreamland resort.  For more holiday inspiration check out My Wyndham Holidays and the Wynham Instagram page.

Happy travelling!

Enjoy,

Small-Signature-Nat

 

 

 

 

Bubs Australia – NEW Snack Range

The news is out… Bubs Australia has a brand new range of wholesome, ACO certified organic and totally tasty snacks, and I know two little loves who are ecstatic about this delicious news!!

Bubs have long been known for their incredible organic products.  Their Goat Milk Formulae alone is available in it’s various stages for children aged  0-36 months.  Both Ari and Chloe have enjoyed Bubs Australia Toddler Goat Milk from the age of 12 months old, I mix fed them both at first as we were still bring breastfeed, and then eventually moved to exclusive Goat Milk.  When they were 4 months old I began to introduce solids into their diets, with the first food they both ate being Bubs Rice Cereal.  At closer to 6 months old I started to introduce Bubs ranges of porridge, oats and baby food pouches.   Another Bubs product that I have found fantastic is the Toothy Rusks, which is especially great for busy hands and teething.

Everything that Bubs stands for  resonates with me as a Mother.  The company was founded in 2006 by a Mother of 3 children, who wanted the best premium organic baby food to be available for children and their mothers to enjoy.  The Bubs product line has grown over the years but their beautiful family values remain the same.

I am so excited about this new snack range and the fact that it is so readily available at Coles, Chemist Warehouse and on the Bubs website.

Here is a look at the beautiful new products which your little ones can enjoy…

Little Fingers (Broccoli & Pumpkin)
A delicious duo of organic vegetables baked into breadsticks, the little fingers are a great snack for babies starting on solid food.  They are baked not fried and use organic wheat flour and extra virgin olive oil.
They have no added sugar, no artificial colours or flavours, and are GMO free. 
Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Little Fingers (Tomato)
Hearty ruby-red organic tomatoes baked into breadsticks. The Little Fingers are a great meal addition or snack for babies starting on solids, they’re a little crunch of savoury goodness.
They have no added sugar, no artificial colours or flavours, and are GMO free. Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Little Rollies (Coconut)
This sweet snack is certified organic goodness.  Ancient grain millet rolls, that are filled with temptingly tropical filling of soft coconut.  For hungry bubs that have graduate to solid food they’re irresistible.
ACO Certified Organic.
Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Little Rollies (Hazelnut)
Deliciously sweet snacks bursting with certified organic goodness.  Vanilla-flavoured organic rice flour rolls with a mouth-watering soft filling of organic hazelnut.
Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Smiley Squares (Pear & Beetroot)
Premium snacks bursting with certified organic goodness.  Bite-sized squares baked from four organic flours – buckwheat, rice, and the ‘ancient grains’ of millet and amaranth, with organic pear and beetroot.  Sweet and savoury, and deliciously nutritious.
Recommended for babies 7 months plus.

Smiley Squares (Mango & Purple Carrot)
Bite-sized, organic, wafer squares baked from four organic flours – buckwheat, rice, and the ‘ancient grains’ of millet and amaranth, with tropical mango and purple carrot, that’s a sweet and savoury delight.
Recommended for babies 7 months plus.

Tiddly Bar (Plum & Goji)
A premium fruit and cereal snack bursting with certified organic wholesomeness.  A harvest of organic plum, apple, and goji berries, mixed with a crunch of rice and quinoa, and organic agave fibre.  They may be small in size, but Bubs’ Tiddly Bar is big in essential nutrition.
Recommended for babies 12 months plus.

Remember you can find all of these delicious snacks at Coles, Chemist Warehouse and on the Bubs website.  

For more information on the Bubs Australia range visit their website or Instagram.

As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.  Thank you to Bubs Australia for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share one of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #bubsbaby #bubsaustralia #bubssnacks #bubspartner

Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here