Things they don’t sell in baby stores but should

It seems there’s no end to the gadgets and gizmos we apparently need for our little ones. Baby stores are not for the faint-hearted. They’re filled to the brim with everything you can imagine to transport, carry, entertain, feed, teach, stimulate, soothe, bounce, move, wrap, dress and care for bubbas. But you know what? They haven’t got it all.

I’ve come up with a few things I’d be glad to purchase next time I’m in one of those crazy pram and parent-filled places. So, baby stores near me… read on. And when you make millions on my great ideas, I’d like my cut to be forwarded direct via cheque.

So, here are the things they don’t sell in baby stores but should:

Remote controls and mobile phones. And none of this toy remote/phone business! Kids know the difference. I’m talking real life technology that is somehow magically locked so my child can’t change the channel, buy stocks or send selfies.

Metal detectors. Doubly useful – 1. being able to scan the room for dangerous items my kid is sure to find e.g. scissors, keys, cutlery, bobby pins. 2. finding lost items that the little human has hidden in crazy places e.g. remotes, keys, phone.

Coffee. Must I explain?

Mummy uniforms. We all know that a killer pair of tights and a forgiving top are the essential wardrobe of any new mumma. Anything black is a bonus and removable burp cloths (or chuck rags as I so lovingly call them) would be nice. Slip on shoes are a must. Could you please sell these as coordinated sets? I would also appreciate the chance to try these on in peace (as per idea below).

Creche. This seems a no-brainer. Can you watch my little angel while I browse/try on/purchase my items? It’d be lovely not to contend with tantrums and grabby little hands while I shop.

5 minute makeovers. Could you please pop some eye masks on my dark circles while you brush my hair and moisturise my hands? Would a spot of ironing be possible? I’m talking basic makeovers here. The kind that say “I got dressed today and had more than 2 hours of sleep”.

Hugs. You may laugh but this one is serious. I need a hug. I need all the hugs I can get. This idea alone could make you filthy rich because parents everywhere are needing a good old fashion cuddle. If you could also provide tissues, that would be lovely.

What would you add to the list?

 

 

Dressed up with nowhere to go

As a new mumma it can be hard to look after myself. Getting dressed in something nice is often low on my list of priorities, let alone getting dressed at all! Putting something nice on even if you’re not leaving the house is a simple way to self-care.  Don’t get me wrong – clothes can’t address all the challenges in life. But spending some time on yourself in that small way can really make a difference to your frame of mind. So how to find that spark of morning motivation? Well here are some ideas.

A blogger I’ve followed for a while is Andrea Michelle aka Fox In Flats. I really like Andrea’s Style Dares. She ‘dares’ you to step out of your fashion comfort zone through month-long challenges designed to get you out of a style rut or just try something new. 

Andrea’s DAREcember brings the fashion fun to the festive season. The idea is to post photos with the hashtag #DAREcember so all the dare photos are findable and you can connect with other ‘dare-ees’. You can see eachother’s ideas and be encouraged and inspired. I played along with DAREcember back in 2014 and loved it. It became something to look forward to every day. 

Another kind of fashion challenge that’s a little less structured is Lindsey Cheney’s ‘What I Wore Wednesday‘ or WIWW. Lindsey is the author of blog The Pleated Poppy. Through WIWW Lindsey shares what she’s worn through the week. She started it as motivation to get out of her PJs and house clothes more. As a mum of three who home-schools and works from home, Lindsey found it really inspiring to share and hopes it inspires others to get more creative with their wardrobe. 

Now I’m no longer working full time I’m thinking I should do something like this again. It’s rare that I feel excited about what I’ll wear on a given day and I’d like to get more creative again.

Here are some shots (and the little dare guide) from my DAREcember. P.s. Looking back at these photos makes me tempted to chop my hair off again!


Exploring the beach

I recently spent the weekend in a little cabin up at Diamond Beach. Waking up near the water with salt air swishing through the old curtains was such a treat. We spent three days clacking around on the linoleum in our thongs so our feet didn’t get black on the bottom. We read books, went for little walks, played Scrabble and grazed on delicious lovingly-made food with my mum’s incredible slices as the cherry on top.

Little H got to do plenty of swimming which she absolutely loved and I got to take some moments to myself while the bub spent time with family. 

In the mornings sunshine would gently light up our verandah with warm pools of yellow-white. Flowers and foliage adorned most of the little cabins and houses around about and the light-play was lovely at the beginning and end of the day.

At dusk we walked along the beautiful beach and I took photos as the sun shot its last rays across the sand. The light made the sand glitter. It cast long shadows behind anything tall enough to stand in its path. And while it lingered I ran along in stops and starts discovering little details with my camera. I miss the beach. We used to live a lot closer when I was young. So for me, the textures, sounds and sights of the coast are full of nostalgia. For the little one, they’re exciting and new. I love that. Nature has this constant presence that defies aging, renewing itself every second. Always old, always new.

What I wore – Relaxed sunny denim

Now I’m a mum it can be a challenge to put together an outfit that is comfy yet doesn’t scream “pyjamas”. Well, challenge accepted.

This little combo is a favourite of mine. I got this light denim dress from Big W (Emerson brand). It’s a nice length, light-weight and breastfeeding friendly. Some people might not like the ‘shapeless’ shape but I love it. I used to wear a lot of shift dresses before I had the bub and now can’t because I need to whip the girls out regularly. Even though it’s been a blessing to be able to breastfeed, I seriously miss being able to wear pieces that don’t have to open at the front. This dress is a bit of both worlds – pre-baby style and practical mumma style – so it’s pretty nifty!

And my beloved canary yellow Salt Water sandals make the outfit look finished (with a bright sunshine-coloured full stop!).



One hot minute in Melbs

Last week I found myself in Melbourne for work. I was only there for two nights but I thought I’d share some piccies from my time in the lovely southern city.

When I started writing this blog I was sitting right about here:

Flying seems to never lose its novelty for me. As we were making our way down the east coast, I was in awe of the clouds. They seemed like soup or a white lakes that lapped at the foot of each mountain. I guess it was fog but it looked amazing from up above.


  
 Once I was in Melbourne I made sure to find some good coffee and good noms. Here are some places I visited that I really liked.

COFFEE

Oli and Levi, 446 Collins St

I found this little place on my first day and was impressed with their coffee. I also enjoyed a deliciously simple croissant. The little shop front is unassuming but the service was really friendly and it was busy and happy all day with regulars being greeted by name. I love little places like this!

  
    

That last pic also features a decadent peanut butter brownie sandwhich from Kinfolk (more about Kinfolk later!).

Patricia Coffee Brewers, Cnr Little Bourke and Little William St

I did a bit of research and found a lot of coffee lovers were raving about Patricia’s delicious brew. It took some work finding this literal ‘hole in the wall’ but all the awkward wandering around looking lost was totally worth it for this cup of joe. With hardly any signage, Patricia manages to stay quite stubbornly secretive and I felt a little thrill walking over the threshold and seeing the tiny but perfect lettering on the door that read simply “Patricia” in classy cursive.

This little place is super busy with a line out the door. But I hardly had enough time to take a few snaps when they were already calling my name. They know how to do caffeine peak hour well!

  
 

FOOD

Cumulus, 45 Flinders Lane

To be honest, I was a little intimidated by Cumulus. Its collared crowd and mature menu made me feel a bit out of place but I quickly realised just how easy it was to feel special here – even if it was just for a quick brekky.

I sat up at the bar and was shown the clever hook under the counter where I could stowe my bag. The decor was restrained but refined and the menu was… well, it was hard to choose what to get. I settled for the housemade crumpets and rooftop honey. I may have snuck in a well-needed flat white and piccolo also. The crumpets were to die for and the coffee was impressive as well. I really had fun with the honey, vanilla-specked whipped ricotta and fresh lemon wedge. Each bite was a flavour hit designed by me.

Between the gorgeous brekky and my brand spankin’ copy of Gentlewoman, I was in a happy little pre-work bubble.

  


Kinfolk, 673 Bourke St

Don’t be confused by the magazine of the same name – this gorgeous cafe has no connection to the periodical. According to their website, Kinfolk says “We are a café, a social enterprise and community! Serving up coffee and a seasonal menu crafted from local and sustainable produce, Kinfolk is a business driven by a dedicated team of volunteers.” Sounds cool right? It is! I entered to a cacophony of happy chatting, laughing and general community-ish sounds. The staff were busy bees with big smiles and I got sat in the big sunny window at a warm wood bench.

I didn’t even look at the menu – instead opting for one of their daily specials and a juice recommended by the lovely Kinfolk staff member (or was a she a volunteer? not sure how it works). My pumpkin risotto was comforting and had a smattering of blue cheese crumble on top which was mm mmm. My juice was all kinds of red and burgundy and it practically radiated good vibes.

Before I left, I decided to get a peanut butter brownie sandwich – this was not a mistake. After so much sun and yum, I was walking on air as I left this cosy cafe.

  

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little update. I also took a few snaps while I wandered around. So have a little look and I’ll see you in the next post 🙂

    
  
Oh and then I got home and the Sydney lights were glittery. Awwww.

 

And then I took two weeks to finish this blog. I happened to finish it right about here:

 




10 tips to make ironing easier

Today, I’ve put together 10 tips to help you love ironing… or at least make it easier so you don’t hate it quite so much!

I grew up with a mum who loved ironing. It was strange I’ll admit but it gave me a chance to see the better side of a chore and mum always had little tricks to make it easy and effective.
I was thinking recently that I may as well write some posts about the tips and tricks my mum has taught me over time, as well as share some helpful things I’ve stumbled across myself.
So today, I’ve put together 10 tips to help you love ironing… or at least make it easier so you don’t hate it quite so much!

1. Save yourself some de-wrinkling.
when you hang clothes on the line, try hanging business shirts and structured pieces on clothes hangers to keep the shape. Smooth out any creases you can while the garment is still wet – it’ll save you effort later. I always button up the top button on business shirts to help them dry in the right shape.
If you’ve set aside an ‘ironing pile’ or similar, always be sure to store the items flat as possible. You’ll notice how much easier it is to get the wrinkles out when you’re ironing.

2. Think ahead about your setup.
I know ironing takes a while so I like to do it while I watch a show or a movie. Think about where you’d like to iron and setup there. You might like to look out to the backyard or listen to an ebook or the radio. Setup your board close to the things you want to be near while you work. I set my ironing board up in my loungeroom so I can see the TV. I would also suggest being near a coffee table or a surface like that where you can sit some water or starch for the iron and a cuppa or drink for yourself. I never sit anything on the ironing board besides the iron so this is a must for me.

3. Create a mini ‘production line’.
It sounds very involved but it’s not. Just think through the steps of ironing and set up your space accordingly. I keep my ironing basket behind me so it’s within arm’s reach. I keep hangers on the right ride of the board where I can easily grab them and a surface beside them where I can place folded items.
Once something is ironed and on a hanger, I pop it on my handy moveable rack I bought from Ikea. Using a rack or door frame or the back of a chair means you can build up a few items before you walk them to the wardrobe.
Setting it up this way helps establish a bit of a rhythm while you’re working and I think it helps pass the time quicker. Being able to run the ironing through in batches also helps it go quicker as you’re not walking to and from the bedroom between garments.

4. Use both your hands.
This sounds logical but stay with me. What I mean is that when you’re using the iron, be sure not to just push it over the surface of the clothes, but use your other hand to help the iron out. As I slide the iron across, I stretch the fabric out with my other hand to help smooth the surface so the iron doesn’t leave creases. It makes such a difference.
I also lay the clothes out before I press them, smoothing out as many creases as I can with my hands before I use the iron.
If you’re ironing something very wrinkly, be sure to push the iron across with the pointy end going through the wrinkles first. Ironing sideways or using the flat edges of the iron will just create more creases.

5. Smooth and steady is best.
I’ve often seen people iron in quick, short strokes or wiggle the iron side to side as they press the clothes. This doesn’t work! It may feel like you’re doing a much better job if you’re ironing quickly or really getting your muscles into it BUT it’s probably making things much harder. Smooth, long strokes are the way to go. Move the iron in steady lines and take your time.

6. Get a good iron and use all its features.
Irons are worth investing in. I can’t say this enough. A nice heavy, sturdy iron with a few good features is best.
I choose to buy irons with an auto-off feature. I’m quite forgetful so this is helpful if you ever accidentally leave it on – it just turns itself off… magic!
I also think an iron should have a great steaming feature. Most everyday clothes can handle steam and it makes the iron so much more effective. You can even steam delicate garments that are hanging up by pressing the steam button as you glide the warm iron up and down.
Make sure your iron has a non-stick/low-resistance surface. This will prevent sticking and means less cleaning. Also remember to keep the iron at the right temp so you don’t melt your clothes!
It’s not essential, but I would also recommend an iron with an easy-fill feature. The bigger opening prevents spills and makes filling up quicker. I also use a small plastic watering can with a thin spout – it’s a great way to fill my iron without spilling.
The water jet feature is one that a lot of people don’t use but it’s so helpful! If you have a particularly stubborn crease or you’ve ironed a crease in where you don’t want it, just squirt some water on the area and run the iron back over it. The crease will come out no problems.

7. Use tricks.
When ironing business shirts or blouses, turn them over and iron the back of the button panel so you get a nice smooth result without the ‘pinched’ look that comes with dipping the iron in and out between the buttons.
If a shirt has a print on it, turn it over and iron the back of the print. This should ensure you don’t damage it.
Don’t use starch on dark items. Be careful to avoid the white residue that can sometimes come with using a starch spray. I always practise on the inside of the garment in case there’s a problem.
Start ironing business shirts by ironing the underneath of the collar. I find that, depending on the material the shirt’s made of, each shirt needs a different temperature from the iron. Some polyester blends can catch on a hot iron or become shiny. Starting on the underneath of the collar means you can test out the heat without leaving marks where you can see them.

8. Take care of your body.
It’s easy to get very sore if ironing for a long time.
Help your back by wearing a supportive pair of runners and standing on a soft mat if you have floorboards or tiles.
Keep your board at a comfortable height. Too low and you’ll be sore from bending over, too high and your arms will suffer from lifting the heavy iron above where it’s comfortable.

9. Make it fun.
Ironing doesn’t have to be a chore. I love ironing because it’s the perfect time to watch some Gossip Girl or Agatha Christie. In summer, you could even set up your ironing board outside if you have a covered area. Audiobooks and podcasts are great too.

10. Keep on top of it.
Don’t leave things till there are a million items waiting to be pressed. It can feel overwhelming to look at a huge ironing pile. There’s a saying that goes “you can eat an elephant if you eat it one bite at a time” so maybe, divide your ironing into seasons or occasions and do one chunk at a time. I always keep summer dresses packed away while it’s cold and vice versa.

And that’s it!

Do you have any tips for ironing? People are often surprised that I enjoy ironing. Do you like something that most people don’t?

Thanks for reading along and I’ll see you in my next post!

H x

Tales of a mini break – Part 5

This post is approximately three whole months late. I am aware of this and yet I feel compelled to finish what I had started with my mini break series. This is after all the very last part.

Today was the last day of our minibreak – sad face 😦 It was a crazy weather day but we made the most of it, doing all the last-minute things we wanted to before our time was up. In the morning we visited the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour. This was something Mr wanted to do and I happily tagged along. Little did I know that it would be one of my favourite things we did while we were away. It was so peaceful! I loved that there was so much to look at – so many details – but when you wanted to, you could perch somewhere on a smooth rock or stone table and just soak up the calm atmosphere. I liked it so much I’m going to do a post just on the Gardens and fill it with pictures I took while we were there, yay! So that will come soon.

While we were at the gardens the weather was drizzly and humid. We were in shorts and shirts and happily snapping away in the dappled light while the rain held back. As soon as we left though, things started to get a little more hectic.

Rain was imminent and the weather man was predicting a big storm. Unfortunately, I’d taken time the night before to book a visit to the Sydney Observatory. That would be awkward if we could only see storm clouds. Nevertheless, we decided to brave it and make the most of the day we still had.

Feeling like it was the right weather for a cuppa and a scone, we headed off to a little place my mum had once taken me, called The Tea Cosy. This place is so sweet and I recommend it to everyone. They freshly bake the most gorgeous fluffy scones. You can choose from a daily selection of scones, jams and teas. We sat upstairs on the little balcony for a while until the rain convinced us to shift inside where it was warm and dry.

tea cosy 4

tea cosy1

tea cosy3

It was so rainy my hair went kind of crazy and you can see here that my curls were fighting to spring out of my smoothed back ponytail. Crazy curls! It was a lovely little while sitting out there in the fresh rain-scented air though.

tea cosy 2

After wandering through The Rocks for the rest of the afternoon, we decided on a whim to get a fancy dinner on the harbour. This turned out to be a bit of a debacle as we booked through the Italian Village and showed up in the downpour only to be told we needed to be at a restaurant down the other end of the strip (Wolfies). Very confusing but we worked it out before we were completely soaked through. Dinner was nice. It was an expensive outing but it was fun I’ll admit. We felt pretty special perched right there on the water.

PicMonkey Collage

wolfies1

After dinner, the rain had eased so we went walking around the quay a little until we needed to leave for the Observatory. Here are some touristy shots I took of our stunning quay. Man, I love living in Sydney!

boat in quay

bridge

opera house

The rain was gone, night had fallen and we needed to find our way up into the back of The Rocks for our Observatory tour. Even though we saw no stars, it was actually really fun and the staff were great. We spent some time learning about the universe, astronomy and Australia’s role in space exploration. Then we took a look at their recently updated planetarium – it was so cool! We also got to climb our way up into the old observatory domes and check out the two big telescopes they use. Here are a couple of shots from inside the domes. The old metal work above us was beautiful.

observ1

observ2

After a long and crazy day, we walked back to our apartment, watched some fireworks shimmer off the Westpac building next door and then snuggled into bed.

That was our minibreak in all its parts. It was only 5 days but we made the most of it and I’d love to do it again for sure. If you’re ever stuck on where to go for a break, never forget what’s on your own doorstep. Changing your perspective for just one week could be the un-holiday you really need. We loved looking at our city from another angle. It was enlightening and some of the best fun we’d had all year. Yay for minibreaks in the city! And yay for finishing a whole series on my blog!

H x