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My husband asked me the other day what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I told him to just get the kids to make me something. It’s those special DIY Mother’s Day gifts that mean so much to me.

I was recently sent a Cricut Maker from the team at Cricut to share some fabulous DIY projects with you all. My heart belongs to crafting so I jumped at the chance! Our first project using the Cricut Maker was mugs for Mother’s Day for Grandma (my mum), Nonna (my mother-in-law) and GG (my grandma).

DIY Mother’s Day gift

I love a good personalised Mother’s Day gift because they have so much sentimental value. While it’s easy to find gifts that say “Grandma”, “Nonna” and “GG” are virtually impossible.

I had heard about the Cricut Premium Permanent Vinyl so decided to put it to the test with these Mother’s Day mugs.

Materials
  • mugs – I shopped around to find a simple design that I liked. The ones we chose are from Myer. I like drinking tea from a quality mug hence why I didn’t just buy a cheap mug. I wanted something that looked nice and was nice to drink from!
  • Cricut Maker – that’s how you cut the vinyl. The Cricut Maker is actually super versatile and can cut hundreds of materials. It’s awesome for when you want to knock together a craft or sewing project with the kids because you have access to hundreds of patterns and projects. It’s kind of addictive! You will use Cricut Design Space to create your project so you will also need a laptop/computer to connect to Design Space
  • Cricut Premium Permanent Vinyl – this is a superior quality vinyl and it lasts for up to three years, even in outdoor use. It’s also water resistant so perfect for the mugs (note the vinyl is handwash only…)
  • Cricut Vinyl Transfer Tape – to get the vinyl from the paper backing on to your mug
Instructions

Step 1. You can design your labels for the mugs directly in Design Space or you can do what I did… I asked Olivia to write out “Grandma”, “Nonna” and “GG” with a black texta on sheets of white paper. I then took a photo of these and uploaded to Design Space.

I was quite surprised at how simple it was to remove the background – I was sure I was going to have to do this in PhotoShop. The process was quite intuitive.

Step 2. Once you have the words with the images removed, measure the space you have on the mug and then resize the word to fit the space. Again, this is a really simple process – you just drag the corners to resize or you can input a specific height or width into the dimensions.

Step 3. When you are happy with the size of the words, hit “Make It” and away you go. Design Space will tell you which blade you need to pop in your Cricut Maker – you just select the paper you are using and away you go.

Step 4. I leave my vinyl at the full width and just cut the length to longer than I need before sticking it on the cutting mat and loading it into the machine – whatever works for you!

Step 5. Then let the Cricut Maker do it’s thang… It’s amazing to watch. I was sceptical about how well it would cut but it really does an amazing job. All the cuts were clean and it can handle any level of detail.

Step 6. When the machine has finished cutting, remove the mat and roughly cut around the shape of the word. You will need to weed (i.e. remove) the negative (i.e. the bits around the word). This is simplest with a Cricut weeding tool.

Step 7. Now cut a piece of Transfer Tape to match the side of the word and stick it over the top. Apply pressure to ensure the letters stick to the tape. Then start peeling the backing off the vinyl. In my experience this is the trickiest part of the process… just take your time and go slowly.

Step 8. Now the fun part – placing the name on the mug. The Permanent Vinyl is quite difficult to reposition so once again, take your time and get it right. Once it is in place, press it down firmly and then remove the transfer tape – simple!

My girls are so excited to give the mugs to their grandparents for Mother’s Day. Olivia did point out that I didn’t make one for myself so I will have to do that next time! Although it’s much nicer to have a DIY Mother’s Day gift that you don’t actually have to DIY yourself. That’s mum life I guess…

If you want to make your own mugs and cheat by using our handwriting, go ahead! You can find the project here in Design Space.

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It’s not until you’ve had the experience of being in the emergency department of the hospital with your own four-week-old baby, that you realise just how sick kids can get.

In my situation, thankfully my baby was only in hospital for three nights before all the tests came back to show it was a harmless virus and nothing more serious. Seeing some of the parents watching over their sleeping, sick little ones I knew that we were so very lucky. Three nights in hospital, sleeping under bright lights and with the sound of machines was nothing compared to going home with a healthy baby.

This post is a sponsored campaign in collaboration with Brand Meets Blog.

Protecting our babies starts in pregnancy

In my case, my daughter had a harmless virus and not something that would have been affected by any vaccines, but I would never take the risk. And there are ways you can start protecting the health of your baby, even during pregnancy.

The whooping cough and influenza vaccines are both recommended during pregnancy. They are free for pregnant women under the National Immunisation Program, nationally approved and safe for both mum and baby. It is important to remember that your GP, midwife or obstetrician are always the best source of information for your personal situation. They can answer any questions you have about the vaccines and help you with any of your concerns.

Importantly, the immunity from the whooping cough vaccine fades over time, hence why adults are recommended a booster every 10 years. So in pregnancy this means that the recommendation is for pregnant women to be vaccinated during each pregnancy from 28 weeks, no matter whether it is your first baby or your fifth.

Passing on your immunity

When you are vaccinated for whooping cough or influenza during your pregnancy you pass antibodies on to your baby that help protect them until they are able to have their own vaccinations.

Babies aren’t vaccinated against whooping cough until 6 weeks of age and they aren’t able to have the flu vaccine until they are 6 months old. Without the vital antibodies from their mum, they are very much at risk.

I could not have done anything to prevent my baby from ending up in hospital but if I could have then I can 100% assure you that I would have had every needle and vaccine under the sun.

Family vaccines are just as important

You might be worried about bringing the vaccine conversation up with friends and family but the reality is that in those first weeks and months, babies are very vulnerable to any infections.

For those that will be closest to your baby in the first weeks of their life (including any siblings, cousins etc.), they should also receive whooping cough and influenza vaccines.

If you are in Melbourne, the Immunisation Coalition is running a free flu vaccination day on Friday, 10th May 2019 at Melbourne Townhall.

Much like how my 2.5-year-old is still rear facing in her car seat, as a parent I take the approach of doing everything I can in my power to protect my children from potential harm, including educating myself on things such as vaccination. As I mentioned above, if you are pregnant then your GP, midwife or obstetrician is the best person to share any concerns or ask questions.

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The Sydney Royal Easter Show is always a must do on our family calendar. I went nearly every year when I was a kid, and after a short break in my early adulthood I’m back to enjoying the magic of the show with my own family.

Here is my rundown on the Easter Show 2019 from opening times to ticket prices plus what to eat, see and do at the show. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom because five lucky winners will each receive 4 x tickets to the 2019 Easter Show!

Easter Show opening times

In 2019 the Easter Show runs from 12-23 April. Show and Pavilions are open from 9am. Over the Easter Long Weekend (19-22 April) they open from 8:30am.

The evening entertainment (more on that below) concludes at 9pm with the Showbag Pavilion closing at 9:30pm. The Coca-Cola Carnival kicks on until late.

The opening day of the show, Friday 12 April, is the only day of the show this year that falls outside of the school holidays.

Easter Show tickets and prices

Taking the family to the show can be a hit to the hip pocket so it is well worth buying your Easter Show tickets in advance to save you money. Early bird ShowLink tickets can be purchased online (until midnight on 11 April 2019) or from participating Woolworths stores.

Twilight tickets are also available to purchase at the gate. These provide discounted entry into the show from 4pm.

You can try your hand in my Easter Show tickets free giveaway at the end of this post!

Here are the Easter show 2019 ticket prices:

Adult

At the gate:$43

Early bird: $37

Twilight ticket: $31

Child

At the gate:$27

Early bird: $22

Twilight ticket: $10

Concession

At the gate:$33

Early bird: $27

Twilight ticket: $23

Family

Early bird: $99.50

Children aged 3 and under receive free entry to the show.

Easter showbags

This year there is a HUGE choice with 358 Showbags on offer. My predictions for the top picks are:

  • Ryan’s World – a big grin crept across my face when I pictured my 5-year-olds reaction when she sees that there is a Ryan’s World bag. Ryan has a massive fan base and there isn’t much of his merchandise available in Australia as yet.
  • Building Bricks – For $25 you get approximately $85 worth of building bricks. Considering so many items from showbags end up being discarded by the kids, I would be steering them towards this one as they will get hours of entertainment from the contents.
  • Hatchimals/JoJo Siwa/LOL Surprise – need I say more?
  • Squishies – there are a number of different bags with squishies (Love to Squish, Squishy Squashy, Squishy Bag) and kids love these… and maybe the adults do as well…
  • BeautyHeaven – if you are looking for a bag for yourself then this is my pick for 2019. If you like trying new beauty products, it is just $16 and looks quite good.

Kids’ Day at the Easter Show

Every year there is a kids’ day at the Easter Show on which kids receive entry into the show for less than half price. Kids’ Day 2019 is on the last day of the show, 23 April and entry for kids is just $13.50 plus two for one rides up until 5pm. Remember that kids aged 3 and under always receive free entry to the show.

There is also a Seniors’ Day on 17 April and you can pre-purchase seniors tickets for this day for just $16.50. This is helpful if the grandparents are planning to take the kids to the show.

Easter Show on a budget

A day at the easter show really can cost a lot, but with a little planning and careful budgeting it doesn’t have to send you broke! Here is how to enjoy the Easter Show on a budget:

  • Firstly you should enter my Easter show free tickets giveaway below and save yourself some money on tickets! Otherwise, pre-purchasing tickets is the way to go. The twilight tickets are also a great option that allow you access to the show at a big discount.
  • All ShowLink tickets include free public transport to the show. Trains run to Olympic Park station and there are plenty of additional special event bus services in operation for the duration of the show. Avoid extra costs with parking, tolls and petrol by taking public transport.
  • If your kids are keen on the rides at the show, perhaps consider buying discounted carnival coupons online before you go. You will save $25 on a pack of 110 carnival coupons and $40.50 on a 135 coupon pack. If you are one of the first 6000 attending the show on the first day (Friday 12th April) you can also purchase an unlimited rides wristband for $35 which gives unlimited rides between 10am-2pm on that day.
  • For showbags, I would recommend you search the list of showbags in advance so you know what you are up for. Part of the fun of the show is walking through the pavilion to choose the bags but perhaps you could get the kids to choose a shortlist before you go so you know roughly how much you will be spending.
  • The amazing thing about the Easter Show is that there is so much free entertainment on offer. Some events occur on every day of the show while others, such as animal judging events, are only on specific days. You can search and plan out your visit to the show to make the most of your ticket price.
  • Finally, eating at the show. Feeding a family can be expensive when you are buying meals at the show. I always take snacks for the kids (because all they do is eat!!) and then for lunch we visit the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome. I find that the options available there tend to be a bit healthier and better quality so even if the price is similar to other options available, we are getting fresher food that is better for us. There are often great food/snack options in the other pavilions also. I also bring each member of the family a full water bottle plus a large bottle to refill. There are also various water refill locations around the show.
Best day to go the Easter Show

This is a tricky question to answer because it is different for everyone! Some people think that the best day to go to the Easter Show is the last day, others the first day and others have a preference in the middle. Keep in mind that this year there is only one day (the first day, Friday 12th April) that falls outside of the school holidays. The best day is really whatever day works for you. You can search the schedule to determine which day has the most events on that you want to attend and go from there.

Easter Show entertainment

2018 saw a marked uplift in the Easter Show entertainment. After many years of the “The Man from Snowy River” evening entertainment, in 2018 they mixed it up with “The Greatest Easter Show Spectacular”. In 2019 the spectacular continues with “A Million Dreams”.

From Hot Air Balloon Aerialists to the World’s Largst Globe of Death and Glowing Mystical Horses the arena show is packed with excitement. Each night the entertainment will conclude with ‘Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the new musical present the Fireworks Finale’.

You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment for the whole family. My pick of the highlights for the kids are:

  • Nickelodeon presents The Spongebob Squarepants Circus Parade – the street parade in 2018 was so much fun and such a hit with kids lining the streets to get glimpses of their favourite characters. You’ll see all your favourite Nickelodeon characters including Shimmer & Shine, Dora the Explorer, PAW Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more. The parades will happen daily at 11am, 1pm, 4pm and 6pm.
  • Jurassic World 2 – The Fallen Kingdom – on daily from 10am-6pm in Cathy Freeman Park, this is your opportunity to become a palaeontologist. Watch 25 animatronic dinosaurs come to life, pick up you dinosaur discovery tools and unearth the prehistoric world and learn to draw your very own Jurassic World dinosaur.
  • Little Hands on the Land – a new feature to the Easter Show in 2018, Little Hands on the Land saw over 28,000 little farmers “working the farm”. The kids are taken through an interactive journey that shows them the “crop-to-shop” process of farming. The outdoor paddock is fun, engaging and educational.

So that’s my wrap up of the fun to be had at the 2019 Royal Easter Show. Enter below for your chance to win tickets to the show. We have 5 x easter show free ticket prizes to win with each winner taking away 4 x tickets to the show. Good luck!

Easter Show tickets free giveaway 2019

All of the images featured in this post are from our family trip to the Easter Show in 2018. You can also check our highlights from the 2018 Easter Show below!

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Get ready to save on everyday family essentials and gorgeous products for you and the kids because the Mum Collab Easter Collective Sale starts NOW!

Mum Collab Easter Sale 29-31 March

46 Aussie brands for mums and bubs have come together to offer you BIG discounts of between 15-40% off their ranges.

The Sale will take place from now, 9am Friday 29th to 11.59pm Sunday 31st March 2019 AEDT and each store will share the same discount code.

And that discount code is…MCBUNNY

This code will work for all websites of the brands involved and should automatically deduct their particular discount amount.

Join our Facebook group here so you don’t miss out on extra announcements.

Some affiliate links below.

The Mum Collab Easter Collective Store List

The following stores are taking part (listed in alphabetical order). Click through to find out what each has to offer.

Adventure Snacks | Lunchboxes, Sandwich Cutters, Lunch Bags, Drink Bottles and Organic Baking Mixes | 15% off

Baby Donkie | Organic Children’s Clothing, Toys & Decor | 20% off (excludes Jamie Kay and Raduga Grez)

Babymel | Nappy Bags & Kids Rucksacks | 20% off

Baby Nest | Baby products and accessories | 15% off

Bambino Love | Lunchbox Gear | 15% off

Brolly Sheets | Waterproof Sheets and Bedding | 20% off (Discount applies to full priced items only)

Bubsessed | Hampers and gifts for mums and mums-to-be | 15% off

Cuddlebee | Baby Towels | 20% off (very limited stock available)

Eonian Care | Feeding, Pumping and Breastfeeding Accessories | 30% off

Ergoflex | Mattresses and Bedframes only | 30% off (discount will not apply to Accessories)

Gift Grapevine | Baby, 1st birthday and kids birthday card bundles to save you $$! | 15% off (discount applies to card bundles only)

Happy Hair Brush | Stress-free Hair Brushing for the whole Fam! | 15% off

Happy Hands Happy Heart | All Natural Scented Play Dough | 15% off

Heavenlee Swim | Children’s Swimwear | 25% off

HOTmilk Lingerie | Trend-setting, Empowering and Sexy Maternity Lingerie | 20% off

Incharge Box | Lockable Charging Station for the Family’s Devices! | 15% off (purchase using the payment button under the Mum Collab banner on the website – discount applied automatically)

Jellystone Designs | Silicone Teethers & Sensory Toys/Pendants | 25% off

Just Ray | Quality Children’s Footwear | 20% off

Kid Magazine | Digital Parenting Magazine + fabulous earrings to spoil yourself | 20% off

La Vera Kids | Baby & Kids Fashion | 30% off

Little Advent Boxes | Unique and Creative Advent Calendars | 15% off Jellycats and Easter book bundle only)

Little Bairn | Organic Products for Mums and Bubs | 25% off

LBD by Little Bird Designs | Handcrafted Jewellery and Accessories | 30% off

Lonely Kids Club | Ethical Kids Fashion | 20% off

Love from Mim | Pretty and Functional Planner Stickers | 40% off

MA MER | Gorgeous Kids Clothing | 20% off

Modibodi | Leakproof, Period Proof Underwear, Maternity & Nursing Underwear & Singlets | 15% off (bundle packs excluded)

MORGENFRISK | Sleepwear & Loungewear | 15% off

Mum Collab | Fun and Frolicky Mum Merch | 20% off

Nail Snail | Baby Nail Trimmer | 15% off

No Nasties Kids | All Natural Play Make Up for Kids | 20% off

OB Designs | Soft Toys, Play Gyms, Play Mats, Crochet Blankets & Mobiles | 15% off

Oobi | Unique and Beautiful Kids Clothing | 25% off (discount applies to Mum Collab collection only)

Peekabee | Smart Baby Feeding Products | 20% off

Puggle Baby Australia | Baby Gear for Adventurous Parents | 20% off Puggle Packers Travel set and Pram Organiser

Silver Cross | Prams and Strollers | 40% off Silver Cross Special Edition Surf Henley with Buggy Board only

Smiley Organics | Organic Kids Clothing & Accessories | 30% off

Snugglebum | Children’s Sleepwear | 15% off

Squirrel Story | Baby/Children’s Clothing & Accessories | 25% off

Storksak | Nappy Bags | 20% off

Subo Products | Food Bottle as seen on Shark Tank! | 25% off

Sweet Adalyn | Hair Accessories | 25% off

Swingz n Thingz | Fun and Funky Outdoor Gear for Kids | 20% off

The Stork Nest | Baby Products and Accessories | 25% off

The Wholefood Collective | Organic, home-delivered whole foods | 15% off

Wean Meister | Inspired Baby Feeding Products for Weaning | 15% off

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group here!

Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. Happy shopping at the Mum Collab Easter Collective Sale!

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It’s that time again when I have teamed up with my good friend Mim from Love From Mim to bring you the Mum Collab Easter sale!

About the Mum Collab Easter Sale

We have brought together a collective of Aussie mums brands who are all offering you BIG discounts across their ranges.

The Sale will run from 9am Friday 29th to 11.59pm Sunday 31st March 2019 AEDT  with each store sharing the same discount code. (we will be sharing this code when the sale commences!)

This makes it super easy for you to shop and save.

You visit these stores and use the same code to get big discounts!

Making the most of the sale

First up, join our Facebook group here.

This group is where it is all at. We will be sharing more sale news as well as giving you the opportunity to track down products you are searching for.

Some affiliate links below.

The Mum Collab Easter Collective Shop List

The following stores are taking part (listed in alphabetical order). Start getting your shopping lists ready!

At 9am on March 29th, we’ll list here the discount each store is offering and you can click through to their website to start shopping!

Adventure Snacks | Lunchboxes, Sandwich Cutters, Lunch Bags, Drink Bottles and Organic Baking Mixes.

Baby Donkie | Organic Children’s Clothing, Toys & Decor

Brolly Sheets | Waterproof Sheets and Bedding

Babymel | Nappy Bags & Kids Rucksacks

Bambino Love | Lunchbox Gear

Cuddlebee | Baby Towels

Eonian Care | Feeding, Pumping and Breastfeeding Accessories

Ergoflex | Mattresses and Bedframes (discount will not apply to Accessories)

Gift Grapevine | Baby, 1st birthday and kids birthday card bundles to save you $$!

Happy Hair Brush | Stress-free Hair Brushing for the whole Fam!

Happy Hands Happy Heart | All Natural Scented Play Dough

Heavenlee Swim | Children’s Swimwear

HOTmilk Lingerie | Trend-setting, Empowering and Sexy Maternity Lingerie

Incharge Box | Lockable Charging Station for the Family’s Devices!

Jellystone Designs | Silicone Teethers & Sensory Toys/Pendants

Just Ray | Quality Children’s Footwear

Kid Magazine | Digital Parenting Magazine + fabulous earrings to spoil yourself

La Vera Kids | Baby & Kids Fashion

Little Advent Boxes | Unique and Creative Advent Calendars

Little Bairn | Organic Products for Mums and Bubs

LBD by Little Bird Designs | Handcrafted Jewellery and Accessories

Love from Mim | Pretty and Functional Planner Stickers

MA MER | Gorgeous Kids Clothing

Modibodi | Leakproof, Period Proof Underwear, Maternity & Nursing Underwear & Singlets |

MORGENFRISK | Sleepwear & Loungewear

Mum Collab | Fun and Frolicky Mum Merch

Nail Snail | Baby Nail Trimmer

No Nasties Kids | All Natural Play Make Up for Kids

OB Designs | Soft Toys, Play Gyms, Play Mats, Crochet Blankets & Mobiles

Oobi | Unique and Beautiful Kids Clothing

Peekabee | Smart Baby Feeding Products

Puggle Baby Australia | Baby Gear for Adventurous Parents

Silver Cross |

Smiley Organics | Organic Kids Clothing & Accessories

Snugglebum | Children’s Sleepwear

Squirrel Story | Baby/Children’s Clothing & Accessories

Storksak | Nappy Bags

Sweet Adalyn | Hair Accessories

Swingz n Thingz | Fun and Funky Outdoor Gear for Kids

Wean Meister | Inspired Baby Feeding Products for Weaning

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group here!

Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This doesn’t affect the price you pay.

Happy shopping at the Mum Collab Easter Collective Sale!

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My weight is something that I have struggled with for my entire life. I have yo-yo’d up and down as I bounce between big life events and big commitments to change. No bigger life event than having my two gorgeous girls. My pre-work morning workouts at the gym were now a thing of the past and I have been unable to find the “thing” that makes a difference.

I know that I am not alone in this feeling. I see countless posts in Facebook groups from mums who are unhappy with their body and want to lose weight. My friends tell me the same things.

For me, it isn’t about weight. I don’t actually weigh myself at all. It is about how I feel and knowing that I am looking after my body in the best way I can, role modelling a healthy mindset for my daughters.

Enter Sam Wood

Since my second daughter was born in 2016, I knew that I wasn’t doing enough to look after myself. Partly because I was still learning to breathe again after the shock of having my second baby wore off. Here I was balancing a business, two kids and there wasn’t a lot of time left for anything else.

So when an invitation to attend brunch and a workout with Sam Wood, I was equal parts terrified and excited. Ok, maybe slightly more terrified. But what that day marked was a huge change in my mindset.

Sam invited me to do his 28 by Sam Wood program. 28 minutes a day, workouts that you can do at home with recipes to support a healthy lifestyle.

As a busy mum, I have to say that this is something that this program is actually achievable around your kids. My girls sometimes join me for the workouts. They use their Barbies instead of dumbbells and have way more water breaks than any person needs but they love it. Sometimes I have them climbing all over me and begging to be held but I just work them in around it.

And one surprising thing is that they help to keep me accountable. If I don’t do my workout, Olivia will call me on it. She loves doing the workouts together!

Fitting fitness into your day

Sam, being the awesome guy he is, offered to meet me in the park with the girls one day and talk fitness for busy mums. We also did a little workout together of some simple exercises you can do with the kids whether you are in the living room or having a play at the park.

I’m all about keeping it real, so the interview, which you can watch in full below, is full of interruptions and moments with my kids. But I think it shows the kind of guy Sam is. He wasn’t phased in the slightest and ended up playing tip in the park with my girls for quite awhile after the interview before he had to run off to the airport, with my girls begging him to stay!

So here is a little summary of Sam’s advice:

  • get the kids as involved as you can so they have positive associations around mum/dad’s workout time. e.g. counting reps out together, get them their own exercise mats, celebrate achievements
  • use the kids as resistance for exercises (where the resistance doesn’t change your posture and you can keep the resistance close to your body). e.g. lunges and squats
  • use the pockets of time that you have – something is always better than nothing. It is about getting your body moving consistently. Moving your body 15-30 minutes, 4-6 times a week will get results
  • the kids don’t have to be doing what you are doing – get them to run on the spot for 30 seconds while you do a plank or do 10 star jumps while they count them out
  • get them involved in the kitchen with food – the more they understand real ingredients and having fun prepping the food together, that is only a good thing
  • don’t underestimate the power of creating a positive association with movement and food – healthy kids become healthy adults

So pardon the interruptions and the distractions. It does appear like I’m not paying attention at times as I’ve got my eyes on the kids but that’s “mumtitasking” at it’s best isn’t it? Please also take note where Sam says that my daughter is “the cutest runner ever” – I’ll take that one!

Sam Wood talks health and fitness for busy mums + kid-friendly workout - YouTube

If you do decide to do the 28 program, please do let me know so I can help cheer you on. Along with the program you also get access to an amazing Facebook community of fellow 28ers.

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I am not naturally a tidy person. I love it when my things are tidy, but generally the state of my house is a reflection of my mental state. When it is tidy, I’m under control. When it is messy, I’m stressed and completely out of control.

My friend Mim has been telling me about her love of Marie Kondo for ages. But, well, holding your belongings to see which ones spark joy sounded like the pinnacle of ridiculousness… And then I started watching Tidying Up on Netflix. I fell in love. (So much so that Mim and I have started a Facebook group for other mothers who are following the KonMari method!)

I watched as Marie Kondo walked into each home, free from any judgements on the residents and their clutter, and helped them to bring their home into a manageable state that they could enjoy. She bounces around rooms truly sparking joy as she goes. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend it.

So, I was inspired to try and get my house under control and do a KonMari wardrobe makeover to start. I won’t go into her method too much here, but if you want to know more her book has everything you need to know.

This post contains affiliate links. 

You can purchase The Life Changing Magic of Tiyding Up on Amazon in kindle, ebook or book editions; on Book Depository; or on Booktopia.

Tidying with KonMari

I think the reason the KonMari decluttering method appeals so much to me is because it is practical. It is about keeping what brings you joy and discarding the rest. It is free from judgement and it is sustainable, something that I haven’t been able to find in the past.

Since my KonMari wardrobe makeover I have also moved onto my eldest daughter’s clothing. She is absolutely loving her new wardrobe organisation because she can easily choose what she wants to wear each day and is very good at putting things back in her place. My next step is my youngest daughter’s wardrobe when I have a free weekend.

KonMari method closet makeover

My closet makeover started by taking every item of clothing I own and placing it on my bed. Through this process of my KonMari method closet makeover, I was able to get rid of seven garbage bags full of clothes, which were all donated to charity.

Placing all of your clothes in one place, in my case on my bed, is such a great visual tool to allow you to see exactly how much you have. It’s eye opening and a little bit embarrassing, especially when you realise how few of your clothes you actually wear.

In the past six years I have been pregnant twice, breastfed for more than 2.5 years and transitioned from a corporate HR job to starting my own business on maternity leave. My wardrobe reflected all of those different stages of my life. It is so refreshing to now know that everything in my wardrobe fits me and are clothes I actually wear. I know where everything is and I have so much more space.

KonMari clothes storage

I don’t have a massive wardrobe space, a combination of hanging space, drawers and shelves. In the hanging space I only have dresses plus one skirt that was too bulky to fold. I have room between my dresses so that I can see what I own and the space isn’t crowded.

My drawers are organised by item of clothing – one for singlets, one for t-shirts, one for jumpers, one for sleepwear and active wear and then one for pants/skirts.

Finally, my shelves, which have always been problematic for me because I could never actually see what I owned. I had been holding on to the shoe boxes from my Frankie4 shoes (I knew they would come in handy one day!) so I have used those to organise my shelves. With KonMari clothes on shelves are organised into boxes to keep them tidy, so my shoe box stash works perfectly. Similar to my drawers, each box holds a different item – undies, bras, capes/kimonos, scarves and the overflow from my skirts drawer.

My shoes are all stored in clear shoe boxes. I know have an excess of shoes but I love them all so much. I have some stored on the very top shelf of my wardrobe (mainly the ones I wear less) and the remainder stored at the bottom of the wardrobe below the hanging space.

KonMari closet before and after

I didn’t take photos of my wardrobe before I started by I did record the whole thing so you can watch my KonMari closet before and after below. It was truly a cathartic process to rid myself of baggage in the form of clothes that I have been holding on to for all the wrong reasons.

Whenever I do a load of washing I now stand at the kitchen bench and fold all of my clothes to be put away immediately. It’s actually a process I enjoy and I no longer have to worry about finding space for my clothes or being unable to open overstuffed drawers. Who would have thought you could spark joy folding your clothes?!

I really can’t wait to continue the KonMari decluttering method throughout the rest of my home. If you are on the KonMari journey with your family also, don’t miss our Marie Kondo for Mothers Facebook group. I look forward to seeing you there!

My Wardrobe Konmari - A mum wardrobe that sparks joy! - YouTube

This post contains affiliate links… If you make a purchase we may earn a small fee to help keep the lights on and the coffee flowing. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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When you reframe your thinking about the environment to consider that we are simply borrowing the earth from our grandchildren, it really makes you think about the imprint we are each leaving just through our day-to-day activities.

Actually making a change can be daunting, because where do you start? Well, why not with the smallest room in the house and one you do spend a lot of time in when you add up time spent showering, brushing teeth, using the toilet etc.

So here are five practical ways you can make a difference to the planet. No expensive new water saving toilets or shower heads required. Just practical tips that when combined, will lessen your impact on the world you are passing on to your grandchildren.

This post is sponsored in collaboration with Brand Meets Blog

Switch to plastic alternatives

Did you know that 23 million plastic toothbrushes (the equivalent of 350 tonnes!) are thrown into landfill in Australia every year? It horrifies me to think that a single plastic toothbrush can take 500 years to breakdown.

While we may use a lot of other plastic items in the bathroom, sometimes there aren’t great alternatives available. But when it comes to toothbrushes, bamboo is the way to go. The Boo Boo Bamboo toothbrush is a new product to the market with a biodegradable bamboo handle and soft bristles, available in sizes for both adults and kids.

Other than the fact that the Boo Boo Brush is so much better for the environment, I love that you can sign up on a subscription basis so you don’t even need to think about when you need new toothbrushes (plus a subscription is cheaper than buying the brushes one off!).

They are also designed by an Aussie mum, so she created them with our kids in mind and you can replace the toothbrushes for the whole family! 

Reuse and recycle

In cases where you can’t switch away from plastic think about how you can dispose of the plastic waste. Lids make awesome wheels if you like to craft with the kids and plastic shampoo bottles can also be used to create any number of amazing inventions!

If you don’t fancy keeping the bottles around in your own craft box, day care centres will often have a hairdressing corner with empty and washed shampoo and other hair product bottles. Check with your local centre if they need anything to add to their stash.

Otherwise ensure that you dispose of any plastics appropriately by rinsing any recyclables and placing them in the recycling bin.

Conserve water

Without going to the expense of replacing shower heads and toilets, there are still certainly things you can do to reduce your water consumption in the bathroom.

Start with turning the tap off while you are brushing your teeth. That water is literally just going down the sink!

If you are anything like me, your best ideas happen in the shower so 2 minutes turns into 10 as you plan out your next brilliant idea. Whether you are a short shower taker or a daydreamer like me, pop a bucket in the shower to catch water that you can then use on your garden.

Baths can also use a huge amount of water, especially when you have a large bathtub and are just bathing the kids. When my daughter was a baby, I bathed her in the laundry sink. It was kinder on my back and saved so much water. You can also buy dividers that partition off your bath so you don’t have to fill the whole thing each time.

Hang up your towels

Just like in a hotel where you are encouraged to hang your towels up if you don’t want them changed daily, teach the kids to do the same thing at home. Hanging them up as soon as you have used them will avoid them getting that musty smell to them so you are washing them every 3-4 uses as recommended rather than for just a single use.

Use eco friendly cleaning products

These days there are so many alternative cleaning products available. Using eco-friendly options, or even making your own, particularly in the bathroom, which tends to require a deeper clean, can have a big environmental impact.

Think about the impact switching to a bamboo toothbrush will have now if you calculate the amount of plastic toothbrushes you won’t be sending to landfill! Or the amount of water you conserve just by watering your garden with shower water. Just remember that little changes may not seem that significant, but over time and as we make generational change to the way we view plastics and the environment, they do add up.

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Kid Magazine by Kid Magazine - 3M ago

There is nothing like the smug face of a two-year-old who has won. It is a face I am sadly all too familiar with.

Sure two-year-olds are unbelievably cute but until you have been woken up at 3am by a tiny person irrationally demanding to eat ice-cream and watch Netflix on the couch, then you have never truly lived.

I have an older daughter also so I do have some experience with the two-year-old variety of child and I have to say that the second time around, in my case at least, is FAR worse.

Anyone who has a two-year-old will know that they are outrageously emotional monsters beings with enough intelligence to harbour opinions and the bravado to share them widely. But when you have a two-year-old on your hands for the second (or third or fourth) time, you have all of the above layered with the sass of a five-year-old.

They stomp around the house muttering phrases like “it’s not fair” and “fine” and play with Shopkins and other completely inappropriate toys for their age, showing zero interest in “baby” toys.

Unfortunately they are also very good at copying whatever expletives they hear their parents say, always in the right context. Or so I’ve heard…

Their foods of choice are pasta and hot chips. One day they will prefer babycinos and the next milkshakes, but you will never know which until you have ordered the wrong one. Watching them eat an ice-cream or chocolate is like nothing you have ever seen before, requiring a HAZMAT team to tackle the clean up job.

The masters of public tantrums, they truly have no shame. The larger the audience to witness the injustice of their life, the better. And all the more likely that they will achieve a good outcome in the toddler vs parent battleground.

And then they sidle up to you and ask you for a “duddle” and give you a wet sloppy kiss all over your nose. How can you resist? The bottom lip quiver gets me every time!

The thing is that two-year-olds are always the winner. And I’m ok with that. I know from experience that you don’t have to win every battle to turn out a good kid who understands boundaries and the meaning of the word no.

They are only little for such a short time. I would take every tantrum and battle if just for one more sleepy cuddle as they drift off in my arms. Every “No, me do” for one more day of me being their whole world. When you are big and grown I will sit with the memories of every tantrum and duddle with all the fondness in the world.

So my dear two-year-old, you win. But no, you can’t have ice-cream for breakfast, well not today at least.

Image: DepositPhotos.com/Aaron_Amat

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If you want to give your children an island paradise experience without it being overly commercial, the Solomon Islands is perfect. Prior to visiting at the end of 2018, I hadn’t heard much about the Solomons Islands. Now, I can’t wait to go back and it’s the top travel destination for my family.

Initially, when I looked into it, there wasn’t a lot about family travel to the Solomons. I read how Honiara has a crime issue (as does everywhere!) and it is a developing nation. It wasn’t until I arrived and travelled around quite a few islands that I realised how amazing this place is. I did a cruise with Solomon Islands Discovery Cruises which enabled me to view islands in the Florida and Russell regions, enjoy watersports, meet locals, experience the culture, see WWII history, scuba dive and truly experience what the Solomons has to offer.

So why is it the best destination for families?

You have time together

Unlike other tropical holidays, the Solomon Islands isn’t full of resorts with kids clubs. Instead, you can experience what island life has to offer (in comfort if you want) with each other. As you head to outer islands there is no reception so it is a wonderful bonding experience. Imagine seeing whales, dolphins, sharks, coral reefs, manta rays and incredible scenery instead of just watching a movie together. An active holiday where you are forming incredible memories is far more beneficial and will live on in your children’s minds forever.

They truly see how lucky they are in Australia

Even as an adult this was eye opening. The lifestyle in many parts of the Solomons is quite laid back and idyllic. People are friendly, wildlife are amazing and the scenery is incredible so it has a lot to offer. However, when you compare our lifestyle here in Australia, your kids will quickly realise how good they have it in many ways. Visiting a school will connect them with school children and what some of these kids have to do to get to school. Plus your children will see the difference in resources and opportunities.

I felt so fortunate to see how they live, how happy they are and how they manage with what they have compared to what we have. Holidays and experiences like this are eye opening for anyone, let alone enabling your children to learn that while they are young.

Experience History

“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” ~ Winston Churchill (based on a quote from George Santayana). Kids can get up close and personal with WWI wrecks, lookouts, Japanese u caves, bombs, memorials and other remnants from that time. While we have war memorials and shrines in Australia, along with various historical locations and artefacts, it is not the same as being right where it happened. Seeing the impact it had on the islands, where our troops were based, what they did and the wrecks in the water. It will solidify the war and that time of history in their minds. I am a big believer of experiencing and seeing things to learn more in life. The Solomon Islands has so much to offer both with WWI history and their rich cultural past.

You switch off

Not everywhere in the Solomon Islands had reception. As a result, even if you or the kids want to be connected online, you can’t. You’re forced to be present and experience all it has to offer. On my trip, it took me until about the third day to relax and be ok about not having contact with anyone back home. Once I did, the relief and whole experience was amazing.

Our kids are connected more than any generation before us. iPads are expected at school, TV is used as a babysitter and they are often disconnected from the real world. Throw them headfirst into it with you on a memorable holiday where they can truly experience all the Solomon Islands has to offer.

Wildlife

Have your kids dreamt of dolphins swimming up next to the boat, seeing whales in the wild, swimming with sharks (reef sharks are safe), snorkelling with Nemo and seeing coral reefs? With the clearest water I have ever seen in my life, the Solomon Islands has amazing wildlife you can see easily from the boat or up close through snorkelling and diving.

As we cruised through different areas dolphins swam up to say hello. When I dropped into the cool, clear ocean to scuba dive and snorkel the whole underwater world opened up. It is a breathtaking experience your children will never forget. And because the Solomons aren’t commercial yet, the wildlife are still wild. They aren’t trained to do tricks for tourists, you see them in their natural habitat.

For me, my trip to the Solomon Islands was the most unforgettable experience I have ever had and one we plan to repeat over and over. You can find out more about my trip here and here. I went with Solomon Island Discovery Cruises but if you want more information about the Solomon Islands itself, checkout Tourism Solomons.


What makes a holiday perfect for your family?

Kylie Travers is an experienced traveller, writer, speaker and mother of two. You can find her at www.kylietravers.com.au or sharing ways to make and save money at www.thethriftyissue.com.au

Images by Katrina Walsh Photography

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