Spring Statement earring trends that you don’t want to miss!

Spring is without a doubt my favourite season to style, and the current trends for 2019 are not disappointing! I mean it’s Spring… which means it’s time to have even more fun with fashion!

Accessories can make or break a look. They can bring you from night to day, and night to day. They can enhance the body and facials features that you love, and even detract attention from places you don’t want it.

From dripping crystals, to gold sea sells, vibrant graphics, and beautiful colours… It’s time to be vibrant, get playful and unapologetically bold in our choices!

Earrings are without a doubt my favourite way to accessorise a look. They can completely change an outfit, and really draw attention to you face.

So let’s explore some of my favourite earring trends for 2019. I have included easy shoppable links, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and receive a list of up to date discount codes!

Dripping – Layers of tassels, diamanté’s and metallics. Drips add length to the neck and help excentuate it. The pair above are called Gold Acrylic Flower Cup Chain Hoop Earring and are from Lovisa.
Peach – My favourite colour this season would have to be a juicy peach tone. Matched with an all white outfit and a bronzed glow, a look like this will see you through into Summer. This pair is from Lovisa and is call Pink Acrylic Swirl Oval Earring.
Thin Drops – A thin drop earring really elongates the neck and slims the face. I particularly like these Diamanté Star Drop earrings from Adorn and think they would look extra special for a sparkly Christmas!
Geometric – Jewellery which resembles an architectural structure is huge at the moment. These Rose Gold earrings are extremely on trend. Geometric Rose Gold Rubber Drop Earring from Lovisa.
Flowers – Florals were made for spring right? There is no exception when it comes to jewellery. Pretty petals in gorgeous pastel and bright floral tones scream Spring to me. These Bead Centre Floral Earrings from Adorn are perfect for this season. tSpringtime.
Pearl – The glistening look of pearls has been hot for successive seasons now, and has continued its rein into Spring 2019. Personally I love pearls mixed with gold, and am obsessed with these Clio Pearl Diamanté Tear Drop Earrings from Adorne.
Palm Springs – From fashion, to vacations, to home decor, Palm Springs is everywhere at the moment. These Beaded Palm Trees from Adorne are so much fun and I can see myself wearing them by the pool even through to Summer!
Art Deco – I am a long time lover of Art Deco pieces and I particularly love this fan style. They are simple enough to add to a casual look or can be dressed up for the evening. Jewelled Fan Stud by Adorne.

A big thank you to Adorn and Lovisa for providing the pieces featured on this blog post so that I may share them with you all.

Enjoy!

The Burn Out

Mum life, work life, wife life, and well all my life has got me feeling busy of late, and if I am honest at times quite drained. That is exactly what has prompted today’s blog post.

If you have been following along for a while, you’ll know that I am quite a deep thinker, and lately I have been thinking about all of the pressures that the modern-day mother feels. Mothers are under for more pressure than I ever realised… until I was one.

I used to dream of the day when I would have children and be able to go for lunch dates with my friends, read books for hours, cruise into the gym whenever I pleased, cuddle on the couch, and Disney movies in the middle of the day. The reality is that even when I am seemingly doing these things they look and feel far from what I had imagined. What I am actually doing is scoffing down my food, folding washing while the movie is on, and grabbing any chance that my children are occupied to get on top of work or chores. It feels like currently Mothers are expected, and expect of themselves, to be more than they ever have been before. A cook, a cleaner, a taxi driver, up hold a full-time job, keep on top of all the bills, walk the dog, and the list goes on and on. It is as though we have evolved to a point where we can be and do it all, but we are still figuring out exactly how we can achieve it. How do we be all that we want to be whilst still maintaining our balance and our sanity? 

Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning I was all about the gooos and the gahhs. The first sits, steps and swims. But then the children changed and so did I! They were less about the mamas and dadas and more about the nos. I couldn’t just pop the sleepy newborn in the pram and go get my shopping done. I found that I was losing my patience, getting cranky and feeling tired. Always rushing them because I had too much on my plate. Not taking the time to explain things, to teach them to tie shoe laces or chew their food properly. I was tired of taking them from place to place, and it all just seemed too hard. The household chores were drowning me, and I felt more and more resentful every time I did them. I felt like a hamster on a wheel with my life just spinning around and around, without actually getting anywhere! What was the point of it all?

This is what I like to call ‘The Mum Burn Out.’ You know, that feeling where you are tired, you feel nothing, and you put simple you are just over it. Its ok, I can almost guarantee that it has happened or will happen to just about every Mother at some point in her parenting journey. Like I said before the expectation is simply too high. Being accountable for other people 24 hours a day 7 days a week is exhausting and overwhelming.

SO what can we do to avoid ‘The Mum Burnout’ or ease when it strikes?

1. Get enough sleep.
2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
3. Exercise.
4. Phone a friend or catch up with your girlfriends.
5. Stop over committing yourself.
6. Get help in whatever way you need.
7. Get out of the house.
8. Spend some time alone.
9. Do something you enjoy just because you want to.
10. Implement a daily routine.
11. Reset your morning and evening routines if they aren’t working for you. 

12. Get dressed up. So, most of all today I wanted to remind you to stop, that you don’t have to do everything, and you don’t have to be everyone. Break it down and get back to basics. Simplify your life. All of us have elements of our lives that have grown to be far more complicated then they need to be. Stop living the rat race. Being busy can be extremely addictive but it’s not worth it. Remember the beauty in simplicity and being present with your loved ones. Give them your time. Laugh, smile, watch those movies if you want to. Just enjoy your now and set aside those expectations.

Lots of love!

Gratitude is more than just a #

What does the word gratitude mean to you? How does gratitude feel? Is it more than just an Instagram caption with a hashtag at the end? Is it more than a few lines in a journal once a month when you can remember? Is it just saying that you’re grateful and not really feeling it? Or are you someone who had mastered the important art of being a grateful person?

In my opinion gratitude is the most important thing you can practise and is the core of a happy life. It is a marathon, not a race, and needs to be worked on everyday. A life of gratitude, is a life of self fulfilment and personal happiness. Gratitude helps to create a balance between your body and your spirit in a way that they work together in harmony. If the mind is ungrateful the body is punished. Without gratitude we worry and we have doubts, and it is worry and stress that lead to sickness and illness. If we live a negative life of stress this can manifest into our bodies.

To live a life of true gratitude is one of my life goals. It is not hard to find things to be grateful for and is as simple as being grateful for the fact that you are alive today. Or for the fact that the sun was in the sky when you woke up this morning, or that it set at night. That you have good clean water to drink and food to eat. It sounds cliche but you can simple be grateful for today.

Lately I have found myself feeling like I am not grateful. It wasn’t that I was actually acting ungrateful or necessarily being an ungrateful person. It was just the fact that I was not being grateful for the things that I did have, and paying gratitude for them. I was thinking of the things that I didn’t have and focusing on the fact that I didn’t have them yet. I have so many things to be grateful for, and as soon as I stopped to think for even five seconds I realised that.

So the fact of finding things to be grateful for isn’t the difficulty, but the hard part is actually practising being grateful on a day to day basis.

In particular recently I had been focusing on my desire to have a third child, and the fact that this might take more time then what I would like in my ideal world. I had been so focused on that third child who doesn’t even exist, that I had forgotten to be grateful for the two healthy and happy children that I do have. To thank the universe, god or whoever for the things that I am grateful for. Isn’t that already a better place to live in, where I am grateful instead of full of worry and sadness.

So I had a realisation that this is something that I need to work on. I know so many people in my everyday life who need this same reminder. I see them acting negatively, and focusing on the difficult or challenging parts of their lives then all of the amazing bits in front of them. Perhaps you do this too? I’m not going to tell you how to be grateful and I’m not going to tell you the things that you can do to practice gratitude. I simply want to remind you to be grateful today, just as I have needed this reminder lately.

So… what are you grateful for today? Think about the, then think about them again tomorrow. I PROMISE you and your life will be happier for it.

Enjoy!

Note – my outfit in the photo above is from the gorgeous Bonnie and Harlo

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

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

 

5 Common Mistakes Made When Planning a Party (and How to Avoid Them)

Parties are so much fun right!?  But planning them can be super stressful.  So for this blog post I needed to call in a party expert Natty Faulkner who really knows how to party!  Natty is a children’s party entertainer through her company Strawberry Fundaes.  On weekends you will find her glammed up and dress up as anyone from Snow White to Moana, and all the children’s favourites in-between.  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 avoiding common party mistakes…

Common mistake #1 – Planning an outdoor party with no back up plan.
This is the most common party mistake I see!  Parties in the park are a great idea… Until it rains.  I highly recommend looking at the weekly forecast before and always have a back- up plan.  Your back up location could either be at your house, a friends garage or their home (if they have the space and are willing), or perhaps you could set up a marquee for shelter, use the local church or YMCA / community hall or even sporting club. Have that back up plan sussed out well before the party.   Note – Some parks actually have huge rotundas you can reserve through local council which means you can still host your party in the park, rain, hail or shine!

Common mistake #2 – Planning a party on a national holiday or event without realising.
Before you set the exact date of the party, consult with your calendar to ensure that chosen date does not fall on holiday weekends and school breaks.  Celebrating two occasions can be fun sometimes, but when those days are meant to be spent in a tight-knit family circle, it is silly to expect your child’s school friends to want to attend a big bash party on a date they might want to be with their family.

Common mistake #3 – Over Catering Food
This is easy to do.  I recommend collecting RSVP’s to have a clear estimate on how many guests are attending.  And remember kids don’t eat a whole lot in the time frame they are at a party. A good party time frame is about 2 hour maximum for little ones and they get so over whelmed and distracted with playing or being entertained that they often only pick at the food.  Pick just a few food options and make them easy to eat. Or create little ‘snack packs’ to encourage kids to sit down and each their own individual portions ( this is great for less mess too! )

Common mistake #4 – Planning a party time during nap time
If your child has a nap at midday, don’t force a party time then because it suits your mum/ grandma/ uncle/ cousin. Or if you do, expect to have one cranky child!  Everyone’s nap times are different, but your child is the one being celebrated so try your best to accommodate. Even if it means attempting to pop them down earlier than usual.

Common mistake #5 – Failing to have any activities for kids
Not everyone has the budget to hire an entertainer, so here are my quick and easy options to keep the kids busy at your next party.  Colouring in sheets, pencils and stickers, craft station, Hoola Hoops, Dancing, singing, cupcake decorating, old fashioned party games or water play.

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

FROM THE MOMENT YOU BECOME PREGNANT EVERYTHING CHANGES, FEATURING CANDLE GIFTS

From the moment you become pregnant, everything changes.  You start to care so deeply for that little bundle growing inside of you, the little bundle you haven’t even met yet.  New feelings are evoked and by the time your little one is born you begin to care more about it then you do about yourself.  As the years roll by this sentiment doesn’t change,  you live for yourself of course, but you live for your children so much more.  You are living to see them smile, to ensure that they aren’t in pain, to make sure that they are always happy.  A Mother’s job is limitless and never ending.  Even when you are apart from your children  your thoughts are always with them.

While it seems to me that the destiny of a Mother is to always put her families’ needs above her own, I believe that it is important to make sure that we don’t loose sight of our own self care.  The saying ‘You cannot take care of someone else if you are not caring for yourself’ rings true for all Mums.

Self care doesn’t have to be caring for yourself in the physical sense like waxing your legs or going to  get your hair done.  Above anything else it simply means to allow yourself time to do whatever it is that YOU enjoy.  If you have been waiting for someone to give you permission to take that free time then this is it!  I want to encourage you to take the time for yourself, to go for that walk, sit quietly alone, or if getting your legs waxed or doing your hair is your thing then do that!  Banish the Mum guilt that is often associated with taking time for yourself.  Putting your best self forward requires intentional choices for busy Mothers, even if that means stepping outside of your comfort zone and putting yourself first from time to time.  It is possible to feel healthy, feelgreat, and live a joyful life, all while juggling a family and possibly a career.  The key is to intentionally make that time for yourself through purposeful choices.  The simple truth is that you cannot neglect self care!

But how do you do it?  How to you manage self care and fit it back into your life?  For me I like to give myself a mini spa.  By doing this at home I find there is a greater likelihood that it will actually happen!  I am able to squeeze it in during lunch nap or when the children are in bed.  I run a nice warm bath with bath salts, light a candle and put some music on… bliss!  You might be thinking “I don’t have time for that,” but you do, you have to prioritise it. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself and enjoy a moment of peace alone.  Put yourself back on your to do list.

Recently I was lucky enough to choose some products from Candle Gifts and wanted to share my top picks with you.  I’ll be using these for my next ‘Self Care Mini Spa.’
(All products are linked below.)
Peppermint Grove Bath Salts
Cloud 9 Jar Candle
Peppermint Grove Soy Candle
Ecoya Hand and Body Lotion
Napli Beach Soap
Peppermint Grove Hand and Body Wash

A note on Candle Gifts –
Candle Gifts are an Australia company located in Victoria.  Their website is full of self care options and gifts that can be delivered direct to your door.  They have the  largest and most diverse range of candles in Australia with the majority of their candles, melts, hand creams and essential oils being made here.  When you’re on their site buying something to  implement into your self care routine, why not get your Christmas shopping done too, click here and use the code SWEETLIFE5 for 5% off and free shipping!

10 OTHER IDEAS FOR ACHEIVING SELF CARE –
1. Squeeze in lunch with your friends.
2. Go for a walk before your partner goes to work in the morning.
3. If you work in an office take your lunch outside and sit on the grass.
4. Go to bed half an hour earlier and read.
5. Stay connected with yourself by pursuing a hobby.
6. Wake up half an hour before your kids and enjoy some me time.
7. Schedule me time in your calendar, this will hold you accountable.
8. Take it in turns with a friend to look after each others baby for a couple of hours each week so that each of you gets some free time.
9. Make yourself a healthy meal that you love.
10. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how awesome you are.

Details –
Images taken on the beach – Laine Tribes
My make up – Jenna Turner
My dress – Piper and Me
My Hat – Seed Heritage
Chloe’s Dress – Piper and Me
Chloe’s Hat – Fini the Label
Ari’s Suit – Millk
Beach Bag – Adorne

A big thank you to Candle Gifts for sponsoring this post and supporting Mamas like me in their self care journey.

Small-Signature-Nat

Chloe’s Birth Story

I’ve been writing my darling girls birth story and have been feeling so positive about it that I decided I want to share it for anyone interested in reading. After having complications with Pre Eclampsia and Hellp Syndrome in my first pregnancy, going through a labour with a lot of intervention and an almost 3 litre blood loss, I swore I would never have children again… (and I’ve always counted myself as one of the lucky ones as many I have met on this journey have lost babies, their health or their lives to Hellp.) However I made the decision to not let fear get in the way of my wanting for a bigger family and the love I could give to another child.

This pregnancy came with anxiety but even more faith…

The day before Chloe was born I had a sense of knowing that tomorrow would be ‘labour day.’ I spent it ticking off my ‘to do’ list, while Ari was at his Nana’s house, and in the afternoon went for a quiet walk on the beach. During my walk I listened to my birth playlist which I had created a few weeks prior, I enjoyed watching the waves as they would build in the ocean, crash into the sand then head back out to sea. I thought about how the movement of the waves was so similar to labour surges… how they build, peak and then ebb away. A small seashell caught my eye so I picked it up and decided I would take it into labour, to help me visualise my relaxing walk along the beach.

That evening I started to feel more frequent braxton hicks. I was able to go to bed early and have a good sleep before waking at 3.30am to slightly stronger and more regular contractions. I went to the bathroom to discover a small amount of blood which appeared to be another sign that I was going into labour. I lay in bed timing and feeling the motions of the surges until my Ryan’s alarm went off at 5.00am. I told him that I thought I was going to labour, but that he should still go to his normal gym session as I was sure it would be awhile off. After he left I again went to the bathroom to find a larger amount of bright red blood. This time the colour of the blood concerned me so I called our wonderful midwife Deyna, (who had also delivered Ari,) and it was decided that we would meet at the hospital so that she could check me out. Surprisingly at no point did I feel stressed or overly worried, I was happy to wait for Ryan to arrive home and for my parents to make the half hour journey to look after Ari.

As the surges got stronger I decided to pop my ear phones in and listen to my Calm
Birth tape supplied to me by my instructor Karen (the same lady who took the Calm Birth course we attended whilst I was pregnant with Ari.) Once Ryan got home he arranged the last few items which needed to go into our hospital bag. It was helpful that I had put a note on the pantry door with anything that we needed to do/pack so he didn’t need to ask me anything and I could continue in my labour zone. Once my parents arrived I had one last dance in the living room with Ari (to my birth tape) like we did every morning. I felt quite emotional saying goodbye to him knowing this could be the last time I cuddled him as my only child.

During the half hour drive to the hospital I felt four strong surges which were quite intense as I was sat in the car. It gave me flash backs to Ari’s labor where I was pretty much stuck to the bed because of all the tubes I was attached to (stupid Pre Eclampsia and Hellp Syndrome!) Still, I felt great and we even stopped and got Callipo ice lollies on the way there.

When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by our midwife. We did a few tests including my blood pressure and urine. We had been doing these weekly to make sure I wasn’t developing PE or Hellp like in my last pregnancy. The results showed that my blood pressure was high and the urine sample indicted that there was protein present, this made me a little nervous. While we waited for a decision on what course of action to take we decided to watch a funny movie ‘What to expect when you’re expecting!’

A doctor then came to see us. She said that due to the high BP and protein in my urine I could be trending towards Pre Eclampsia again, so some blood was taken to confirm what was happening, and they decided to do a few more tests including an internal which showed that I was already 4cm dialated and that the bleeds I was having were due to a placental abruption. It was decided that the best course of action would be for my waters to be broken to help encourage the labour to progress a little quicker. I was given four hours to develop into good active labour before we would try some Syntocinon (proper induction like what I had to have with Ari). It was so important to me that during this labour I didn’t have any drugs for pain relief or for complications. I required a lot of help with Ari’s birth to keep my body from getting sicker, and I really didn’t want the same thing to happen again, so I set my mind on getting this baby earth side as soon as possible… it felt like a race against the clock but in a good way.

Our midwife went ahead and broke my waters which didn’t hurt at all. When she did this we realised that there was meconium in the waters, which meant that the baby had poo’d inside of me. This can be serious for the baby so another good reason to get it out quickly.
We got my birthing kit out and Ryan started to pin birth affirmations onto the hospital walls, he also stuck up a picture of the babies scan in the bathroom shower and scattered candles across both rooms. (I had also done all of the same preparation for Ari’s birth.) I put on a bracelet that some friends had bought me to wear in labour, and held tightly onto the seashell I had picked up from the beach the day before, and popped my earphones back in which then stayed firmly in place for the whole labour. I listened to music by some of my favourite artists like Flume, Florence and the Machine and Bob Marley. I had chosen each song for a reason mainly from special times in my life and music that took me to a beautiful place in my mind. The song that stuck with me the most was Florence and the Machine “You’ve got the love” and the words “Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air, but I know that I can count on you…” seem relevant and made me think of my husband. At one point I looked over at Ryan who was laughing at me, when I asked why he said, “You are literally dancing through your contractions.” I used to listen to the birth tracks when having breakfast with Ari and dance around the kitchen making him laugh too.

Right after my waters were broken the surges got more intense and more regular. I didn’t want to be on the bed at all, and instead found myself walking around the room. When a contraction would begin I stood still, let my whole body relax including my knees and let the pressure/pain wash over me. I found that I actually enjoyed the feeling of the contraction coming on, peak and then fade away… again like the waves I had watched in the ocean the day prior. I also tried a few different positions on the floor like kneeling with my body resting on the side of the bed. Then our midwife suggested the shower so I moved in there. I grabbed the fit ball and sat on it with one shower head on my back and the other on the front where I felt the contractions. It was so good to be covered in water which really is my happy place. At this point I entered what I believe to be transition (the most challenging part of the labour I think.) Because I had laboured before the feelings I felt seemed familiar, and I could recognise that it was a good thing, and that when I started to get frustrated and irritable it was ok. I just kept on staring at my babies scan and stayed in ‘the zone’ as much as I could. At one point things got quite funny when I was blocking the shower drain with the fit ball, and Ryan kept telling me I needed to move off of if or I would flood the room, but I kept refusing because I didn’t want to move!

After awhile I started to feel that I was getting closer to pushing (I also had in my head that if I kept telling myself that then it would start things off sooner.) Just before this stage I decided to swap from my music to my Calm Birth tape. I skipped to a part of the track where it talks about transition being challenging but short, I felt like I needed to hear that familiar voice that I had listened to so many times. I then started to make moaning sounds and heard our midwife say to Ryan that this was a good thing, and it showed that I was progressing. She also suggested that I start doing figure 8 motions with my pelvis. This felt uncomfortable, but made a huge difference in helping to open up my pelvis and move the baby into position.

Next I felt that same incredible sensation that I had felt with Ari, where my body involuntarily started pushing my baby out. I had no control over it at all, it just happened like it had done before and it felt amazing. At this point I still had my underwear on so Deyna asked me to take them off, I really didn’t want to move but after a couple of requests I managed to get my feet up enough to remove them just in time! I went to my knees and I felt one huge push of my body and Ryan said “The head is out!” I couldn’t believe it and was in shock that the head was there so quickly in just one push! It felt like such a strange feeling to go from nothing to the head being there (Ari’s pushing took 45 minutes) that I kept saying “get it out!” I had a few moments to get myself together and prepare for the next push. Then it came… that same involuntary sensation, and with a push from me and our midwife moving the baby into a better position, it was born and Ryan caught it in his arms. I was still facing the wall on my knees at this point with the umbilical cord between my legs and Ryan holding the baby in his arms behind me. We heard that beautiful cry of our baby and knew everything was ok. I was in complete shock that it had happened so quickly, that when Ryan told me to turn around and have a look I needed a minute to compose myself ready to catch eyes with our baby for the first time. Then as I turned around our midwife said to Ryan “have a look a what you got” and he replied “it’s a girl!” And it was at that exact moment that I saw her for the first time and it was love at first sight. She was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I felt quite shocked at this point on so many levels… that here was the girl that I had dreamt of her entire pregnancy, shocked that she birthed in just two pushes, and shocked that I had accomplished the completely drug free labour which I had spent months preparing for. I was desperate to hold her and my husband passed our baby girl into my arms and I just couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. We made our way to the bed with the cord still attached and lay there falling more and more in love with her. My body was shaking because of all of the adrenaline, which made me nervous but Deyna assured me it was completely normal. Our darling was alert and looking at us so intensely and after a while she fed for the first time. I was given the honour of cutting the cord which was incredible. We spent some time talking to each other and to our midwife about the labour while I birthed the placenta. Once that came out it was discovered that a blood clot had formed between it and the uterus wall, (where the placenta had pulled away) so it was the blood cot that had be shedding and coming through all morning in that bright red colour. We spent 6 hours getting to know our beautiful girl, taking photos and smothering her in kisses before going home to our own bed. Being able to take Chloe home that night was a dream come true, our families had a cuddle straight away and when Ari woke up in the morning he got to meet his little sister.
Chloe Marie was born one week early at 39 weeks weighing a very healthy 8.4 pounds. Active labour lasted just two hours and those very few pushes took just five minutes.

When I look back at both of my labours, even though Ari’s came with the challenges of Pre Eclampsia and Hellp, I have always thought of it as beautiful and looked back with a huge sense of pride for my body at what it could achieve and how sick it could get but also how quickly that it bounced back. I used a lot of the same tools like Calm Birth for his labour that I did with Chloe’s, and I think that is what made what could have been a ‘traumatic’ birth a beautiful one.

With Chloe’s labour I will never be able to properly explain the relief and gratitude I feel to have achieved a calm, natural birth and that I was able to go home so quickly. This was the birth that I had always dreamt of and worked so hard for over two pregnancies to prepare for. I have a new sense of pride in myself that I was able to overcome my fears of having another child, and work through any anxieties during the pregnancy to achieve this beautiful, calm, natural and drug free birth.I guess it’s true what they say that all good things come to those who wait.

Thank you to our midwife Deyna delivering both my babies, for easing any anxieties I had and who I have 100% trust in. The staff at our local hospital including Dr Weaver who bet me a Mars Bar that I wouldn’t get Pre E or Hellp again (yes I went back and gave him the Mars Bar.) And my husband Ryan who is the most incredibly supportive pregnancy and birth partner that I could ever imagine. These people are my dream team and I owe everything to them.

Small-Signature-Nat