TK MAXX MAD

It’s funny…I have never felt more self conscious about my sense of style as what I have since becoming a mum. Especially in the last 3 years and leaving the world of 20s and entering the era of 30s. I have always had a love for fashion and felt like I have been lost with it for a while now.

Finding that balance between not looking like I’m trying to be 18 but I’m not 40 so I don’t want that direction either.

Needless to say when TK MAXX came to Wollongong I was over the moon to be asked to head up for a bit of a shop…… ummmm yes please. My wardrobe was throwing itself out before I even finished reading the email!  For so long I have been feeling like I have no idea with fashion and styling clothes so heading up to the new Wollongong TK Maxx store and trying things on that I wouldn’t normally think would suit me has helped me find my love for fashion again!!

I could have spent hours upon hours in the new Wollongong Store…. a little secret…. I had never been to one before. Always heard of them but since having kids I find fashion shopping very very limited to a must need now kinda bases.


I love the fact that in this one store not only could I get 4 different outfits but two were smart dressy and two where casual. Exactly what my wardrobe was calling for (for under $100) WINNER WINNER!!!!

Although this denim number would have to be my ULTIMATE find for the store. Love that I can tee it with a simple stripy number and white cons for a fresh look or a black top for a more slimming look with high top cons for a more fun and edgy feel.

 

 

 

I also do love this easy throw on T-shirt style dress which gets me our of my active wear and wearing something I am comfortable and appropriate around the kids haha! No one wants to be flashing people in the park while trying to pick up and console your sobbing child!!!

 

I am so excited that no two TKMAXX stores are exactly the same and that the stock they have on the floor is what they have, nothing extra hiding out the back and the big brands at amazing prices. Hello new found retail obsession! I will become one of your regulars

 

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Sun Smart and Safe

Our poor children seemed to have gotten my husbands and I skin qualities….  It’s that fair their skin burns just by looking at the sun! Which is why we take looking after their skin very seriously, which means hats, covered shoulders and sun cream. To my disappointment, I struggle to keep hats on my littlest one, even though seeing his 3 older sisters wearing them (and wearing them himself from a very young age) and mum and dad (and dad ALL the time, not just in the sun) I was more than annoyed to discover he very quickly will dispose of any hat……until this one!!!

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I had my doubts and was ready for the struggle but the minute he put this Bedhead hat on, it stays on his head the whole time we are in the sun. Not to mention the girls are loving the bright pink ones, an added bonus is the pony tail hole, quick drying and chlorine resistant that they can wear in the water without any excuses!!!

 

I come from a family of sun protection (to the point where at 16 my dad would chase me down to the local beach realising I had lied about taking a hat and dropped off my grandmas gardening hat for me to use……. thanks dad, way to squash the minimal street cred I had to start with), so I grew up realising the damage the sun can do to our skins. I then followed in a career path of skin care and have become my father! Little did I realise when I was so young, it was my parent’s responsibility to keep me safe, that meant from the sun too. Sun exposure in the first 10 years of your life is critical to your life outcome. Melanoma isn’t something that occurs from being in the sun when your 30 and exposed. Its comes from the exposure you receive as a child. And as parents we have responsibility not only to keep them safe from all the dangerous things this world has created but to keep them safe from the sun as well.

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I was honoured to be asked to be a part of the Bedheads campaign in raising this awareness of such a wonderful product and cause. The “head behind the hats, Richelle Ellis, believes that children should be introduced to hats a young age” (which I agree with 100% so they get use to the sensation) her passion for this has seen a new community initiative sprout, where she will be giving $100,000 of hats to newborn’s in Australia, including these from a disadvantage back ground. So for every hat ordered online, a newborn hat will be donated! Come on guys, summer is around the corner, we have already had some beautiful days. Join me and jump online at www.bedheadhats.com.au, support this amazing cause and at the same time protect your children and educate them on sun safety!

 

 

Best Raw Treat! 

I have been asked so many time for the recipe on this delicious treat so I thought I would share the love!!

I came up with this recipe by combining it from two of my fav kitchen wizards @aliceinhealthyland, who I got the choc topping from and @danitrey, who I got the base from! I added the Raspberries but often substitute with banana!
KM Treats…..

1.5 tsp hot water

1 tsp ground coffee (I do get mine fresh from my fav cafe)

1 1/4 rolled oats

1/2 cup dates soaked in hot water (cheaper option then madjool)

2 tbs maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbs coconut oil.

1 1/4 rolled oats

Mix water and coffee together set aside.
Add rest of Ingredients (drained dates without the hot water) to food processor until mixed and then add coffee mixture and blitz.

Press into silicon muffin tray (or patty cases) and freeze.

Add a layer of blitzed frozen raspberries (about a cup) and divide between each one.
Pop back into freezer.
The healthy chocolate top is

3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp peanut butter (I prefer the crunchy good nut)
2tbsp maple syrup
Melt in pan (don’t let boil)
Take off heat
Add

3tbsp cacao.

Freeze to set

Would love to see your recreations tag away and enjoy!!

SING like a STAR

Never before have I seen so much hype, excitement and witnessed so many arguments between the 4 of the children over a game. Usually it’s only ever two of them fighting over a game at a time (and very very rarely is the eldest involved) but when this game showed up. The gloves where off and it was first in best dressed.

 

Of course, it would be in our house hold. All the kids love a sing a long and even better when they can see themselves on the camera (especially the almost 2 year old).

 

I was so pleasantly surprised at how much Spin to Sing catered to all of their ages groups (maybe not as much Jameson but at least the girls involved him every now and again). It was nice to see the three older girls chilling out and getting along once the worked out the order of who was singing first (as well as when Ava figured out she could add more than the frozen soundtrack to the play list as well)!

 

This would have to be deadest one of the top gifts for either birthdays of Christmas! Cannot fault this game. I love how you can choose your level of involvement as well as the judging panel!!!!

 

Dead set a great purchase to keep the kids entertained and  90%of the time getting along!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beauty down-low!

What is in your beauty bag?? Now don’t get this confused with skin care (cos there is no way all that product would fit in a beauty bag at all) as that will be a whole other blog, but these are my fav things I use daily and wanted to share the love!!

Mascara – my number one beauty essential is my mascara, I am not overly picky on my mascara as long as it’s as black as it comes and add a bit of thickness to my lashes. If I leave the house without it, I look like l am on death bed!!!

Lipstick – I have quite a few colours and brands on which I choose from depending on occasion, my EVERYDAY and go to fav would have to be my Luk lipstick (I cannot fault this and will be guttered when it runs out) for special occasions and nights out (which doesn’t happen all that often) I love the stepping out of my comfort zone form dark reds to brown tones!

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Lip balm – especially in this winter season to cooler weather I cannot be without thus beautiful papaya balm from Pure Papaya Care!!

Loose Powder Foundation – I love a loose mineral powder for ran everyday look. It is so easy to apply and gives me amazing coverage for the whole day whilst giving me some SPF protection (which I am mad about). I am loving the Antipodes mineral foundation as it leaves my skin looking dewy all day with excellent coverage for the days my redness would usually appear.

Bio Oil – Especially with this cool winter weather my skin has been sucking it up like crazy. Mind you I used this through all 3 of my pregnancies so Bio Oil is definitely not a stranger in my beauty bag.

Hair Styler – this has been a recent addition to my beauty bag, and although sceptical at first I cannot live without this. I was so worried about how it would work in my hair as I have so much thick and long and wavy, frizzy hair but I was so happy with the results and how long they lasted. It goes hand in hand with my hairspray for those fly-aways!!

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Sportsgirl Invisible hair ties – I will not tie my hair up with anything else now. Although Santa purchased these for the girls they have somehow made their way into my beauty bag…..and they ain’t leaving!!!

 

Primer – I cannot stress the importance of a good primer, I am CRUSHING on the Arbornne primer.  A primer will help set your foundation for the day and give you a clean slate to start your day.

 

Eye care – maybe it’s my age coming into it but I am becoming so conscious of an eye care, I am currently using the Halo eye care products and loving the feel of these around my eye area. I have only been using them for two weeks and I already am noticing the difference in appearance to the fine lines.

 

Self tanner – I am as pasty and white as they come and am so vein that I love a little bronze colour on my skin. Also I don’t tan in the sun and don’t like being out in the sun too much that I burn (my skin seems to miss that brown phase and go from white to red to white again!!!)  After using fake tanning products for 16 years now I have finally settled on Skinny Tan. I can pop it on in the morning and leave it for the day and not smell, not be orange and not have it rub off on my clothes then come morning I am a bronzed mumma ready to do groceries (it’s a glamourous life) The Tanning oil is my favourite of their products for sure.

 

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FAIL TO PREPARE, AND PREPARE TO FAIL!!!

FAIL TO PREPARE, AND PREPARE TO FAIL!!!

This has been my motto for a while now, when it comes to life… especially food. I have been on a lifestyle change for about 2 months now and I try to implement it in all aspects of life, including food preparation.
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Food prep for the kids has never been so easy with Tip Top The One Mixed Grain bread. Not only do they love to eat it, but they get so excited and feel so grown up getting in the kitchen and preparing not only their lunch but even their toast… SUPER CUTE!!

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They love cooking their own toast (I use the term cooking loosely; they press the button to watch the toast goes down and then celebrate when it pops back up) and they love making their own Sandwiches (cheese and ham for the win at the moment). Of course they don’t chop up the toppings themselves, but once all the knife cutting preparation is done, this is when the children take over! I know this is when they’re each getting their 4 whole grains – a 1/3 of their daily target of whole grains in one serve, plus it’s high in fibre and it’s also got added vitamins and minerals. So much goodness, it puts my mind at ease!

 

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Being able to prepare their food for on-the-go life and have them involved in the kitchen and preparation makes me feel like they are learning to live a healthy balanced lifestyle that’s easy to obtain with no more than a couple of extra minutes in the kitchen of a morning, not to mention learning about the importance of choosing healthy options.

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FAMILY…….. stepfamily awareness day!

I was 21 and had fallen in love with this amazing human who made me laugh like no other, he still does. I never imagined at 21, telling my parents I was dating someone who already had a child. It doesn’t seem like such big deal now days …….. but this was a decade ago and my parents where somewhat traditional!

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Now before you get all high and mighty on me, there is nothing I would change about my situation. In saying that there was a moment I remember very vividly, breaking down to Nug and feeling like I wasn’t good enough to have been someones first choice to have a child with, the fact he already had gone through pregnancy and bringing a child into this world with someone else was very hard to over come at one stage. I always compared myself and for a while always double guessed him about if he would leave me and go back if the opportunity would come about to stay with his ‘real family’…….. in this moment, he reassured me with all the right words how wrong I was and I am so lucky to see it every day in his eyes how much he means it. I am enough, I am enough to help him raise his first daughter, she isn’t mine biologically and by any means I am not her mum. I have never tried to be or step in as this. She has a mum and a darn good one at that.

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Today marks national awareness day for stepfamilies! This is something I hope to shine some light on in a positive way! – although we do have an ongoing joke that I am the wicked step mother and her sisters are the ugly step sisters….. all in good humour….I even think there was a moment at school she was called Cinderella (I was so shocked but then was reassured of the humour in it)

I have a blended family, although when we refer to our family we don’t add the blended or step in. We don’t need to, we are just a family. This is an experience I have been going through for over 10 years and I feel very blessed and beyond lucky to be able to be apart of my family. You often see people post how lucky they are to have been chosen to be a parent by their child when they are born. I was beyond lucky to be chosen by my partner as a suitable role model for his daughter. I am not her mum, I would never try to replace her mum, in fact I am very very lucky to have a great relationship with her mum.

We come from a very very small town and to not get along would be all kinds of disaster for Ava’s behalf. All four of us get along ( her mum, step dad, her dad and I). From Ava being in swimming lessons at 2, all four of us on the side lines encouraging and sitting together. A united front. To netball sessions and communion now. I am very proud of the way all 4 of us conduct ourself in front of her. But this could potentially be for another post, maybe, who knows!

Ava is my step daughter, I am fortunate enough to have her as one of my friends, even though she may only be 11, I have a bond that I cannot describe and cherish. Someone once told me I didn’t know what loving a child was like until I had one of my own, I giggled as I explained that I would do anything for Ava and this is the same kind of love, I put her first. This woman proceeded to tell me that I would know what she was talking about when I have a child of my own by my own blood and I should imagine that they were both drowning and I only had the choice to save one, would it be mine or my husbands. I was MORTIFIED!!!! NEVER in a million years would imagine this scenario EVER happening and the fact that these words came out of (a well over 50 year old) someone’s mouth horrified me. I admit I now think of this constantly…..maybe I am testing myself to see If what she said held any truth, she doesn’t,  and for the record I would drown first saving both of them before ever loosing either (I think this goes for most normal humans…am I right??)

Today is raising awareness of blended/step families, Its about recognising we are a  growing demographic in society, step and blended are on the rise. 300,000 children are brought up in a blended family environment and by writing this piece today I wanted to shed some light on a positive experience of blended families. I will let you on a little secret, about 2 years in to dating Nug there was a real hard patch, so I purchased a book “how to date and dad” it was light humour but very insightful way on looking at things from everyones perspective. I found it so helpful. No one else very close to me at the time was going through anything like this. At 23 I was juggling my own business, dating Nug while trying to not over step on Ava’s mums toes, hold down a casual pub job and have a little social life!!! I heard in the news today that there is now a website http://www.stepfamily.org.au.  for anyone else going through this and feeling a little lost and overwhelmed. Its a massive adjustment for everybody.

This is just a tiny tiny snippet of what the last 10 years have done to lead me to where my life is today, if any one needs a sounding board or ANYTHING! Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Like all families we have our hard days and our tough times, sometimes there is a certain level of organising that needs to be done when in other circumstances it wouldn’t need to be thought of. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Without Ava, I wouldn’t have Nug, without Nug, I wouldn’t have these gorgeous children to live life with!

 

Mum Guilt on a new level!

This day.

Four years ago.

On our way to the hospital.

Having more of an idea then our first delivery (I say our cos you know hubby’s do a lot of the delivery work ), although having many more mixed emotions….
Excited to meet the new little bundle will it be blue or pink, scared cos I already knew what labour was like….I knew what I would be in for…but would it be worse? More painful? Slower? And then guilt. Guilt that we were driving up leaving our precious little 19month old at home.
Bringing a sibling in to her life. Was it too soon?? Had I wasted her first 19months spending the last 10 being pregnant? Then the other kind of guilt… would I love this baby as much as I loved Olivia?? How could I. surely my heart wasn’t that big.
I remember asking Ryan so many times “how can you love both of your kids equally?” He just smiled back and said “you just do”. Really helpful Ryan….REALLY EFFING HELPFUL!
But annoyingly he was right. You do.
I don’t love one more then the other. Ever. I have never felt that, the guilt is still there, it always is as a parent….even after talking to my mum 30 years later there is still guilt.
But as I sit here and think about how much my life has changed having Isabella bless our family with her sass and determination. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Although I have another level of guilt today, today marks Isabella’s birthday. But at the beginning of the week I decided to tell her it was tomorrow. Mainly because her father isn’t here due to work to celebrate but will be back in the weeeeeee hours of Thursday morning. So rather then spending her birthday at a place she doesn’t really like (daycare) with people she isn’t extremely fond of and her dad not here. I thought we would move it to Thursday and have one on one mummy daddy and Bella time and indulge  her with time and attention… you know I wouldn’t want her to have middle child syndrome!
So go ahead. Judge away.
Yeop. I have told a little white lie to my now 4 year old that her birthday is tomorrow. In my eyes, it’s a better day for her.
Like a dear friend said to me today, a loving and vivacious 4 year old!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISABELLA MAE!
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Puzzle Review

Puzzle you say… my fav past time (nerd alert)!!

We were super excited to review the Garden Party Puzzle from Childsmart! The bright colours and child hand sized pieces are the first thing that came to the attention of the girls! They find it so easy to match the picture with the pieces, pairing them up and the fun aspect of putting a party together, they get so excited! We would definitely be looking at their other puzzles for some birthday gift ideas for friends to as well as ourselves. We have found it absolutely Perfect for Olivia’s age group (5 ½ years old) as she can sit there and put it together quietly, with minimal help. While Bella (almost 4 years old) gets a little distracted and frustrated …… but I think that is her personality…. haha nothing to do with the puzzle!

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It’s such a nice activity we can do for quiet time, or when the weather is not very nice outside, or I just want to chill with them!!!

I also like the fact the it’s still a little tricky without being too easy for older siblings or parents to sit down with them and do it too!! It’s a yes from us for the Garden Party Puzzle from Childsmart, definitely recommended from ages 5 – 11 (if the 11 year olds have younger siblings)

 

Skin Prep

So I thought I would kick start the beauty side of my blog with my face routine! Laugh all you like ladies but I am a massive believer in looking after your skin from a young age. I was lucky enough my mum taught me the basics at 15 and since then I have been looking after my face. My girlfriends used to get so annoyed at me for coming home after a bug night together and I would have to go and wash my face (twice), brush my teeth, pop my moisturiser on, but I am who I am!

So here my day time routine is Step 2, Step 5 and Step 7! Simple hey……not so much for my night time routine, its all the steps below except for Step 5! I hope you enjoy the read ladies….oh and FYI it takes me a good 15min to do all this at night (after I have exfoliated I like to brush my teeth so it gives my face the time to dry)……. and my husband still married me!!

 

STEP 1

Dermalogica Precleanse – BEST PRODUCT to remove make up without feeling like my skin is being stripped away!! The reason is because this product actually melts down the impurities and make up from your skin. That means excess oil, sun cream, pollutants and all that gunk you need to get rid of. This step is vital as it then allows your cleanser to penetrate deeper into your skin and work on the individual issues we all have.

STEP 2

Dermalogica Essential Cleansing solution – Love that it rinses off easy and is perfect feeling for my dry and sometimes sensitive skin.  Puts moisture back in while I am cleansing my skin. So, the second step of my night time ritual I am already getting that moisture back into my skin.

STEP 3

Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant – Now I have been using this one for a month now and (had changed from their daily microfoliant as I want to start to target the signs of aging, but if you are not concerned about aging then the daily mircofoliant would be best suited for you) loving the way it is leaving my skin feeling every day. It’s a daily exfoliant, but I like to think of it as a buffer. As each day it is buffing away rather than having a huge hard scrub twice a week which my skin doesn’t respond very well to.

STEP 4

Dermalogica Nightly lip treatment I was so excited when Dermalogica launched this…. And it just so happens that it has coincided with my aging face…. “pre-mature aging” we like to call it. This little baby help reduces the fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth and on the lips as well as hydrating and improving skin elasticity. Losing skin elasticity and collagen is how our skin starts to form fine line and wrinkles. So, it is important to start to take care of these things as soon as you notice them. Not before you need them. Trust me!

STEP 5

Hola Seaweed Moisturising Eye Cream I know, shock horror not a Dermalogica product!!! Haha – insert sarcasm!!!! I have tried many eye creams in the last 18 months and am so excited that I have finally found one the feels and looks like it is doing the job I want it for. I don’t just need it to moisturise, I need it to help keep my fine line and “crow’s feet” at bay for me not to mention helping with these gorgeous dark circles that have appeared (I don’t know if that’s a coincidence these appeared about 24hrs after my first child was born).  Who doesn’t want help in eliminating these??

STEP 6

Hola Seaweed Moisturising Eye Gel I LOVE THIS PRODUCT!! Only to be used at night though people and can be used as a mask over the whole eye area. I alternate the eye cream (day) and the eye gel (night) to get maximum care taken fighting those dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles….no stone left unturned around these eyes!!! This product feels so decadent on your eye area. Like I said, I am in LOVE!! – you know when a product says it’s going to do something and it does. YES!

 

FINALLY!!!!!!!

 

STEP 7

Dermalogica Skin smoothing cream – Here with my moisturiser I am not worried about aging all over my face so the Sin Smoothing Cream is a really good product to help put back and lock that moisture into my face. I love how nourishing this feels when I apply it, I don’t need a different one to the day as I feel there is no reason here to switch between two creams. Also, the only reason I would consider having two different creams is if my makeup didn’t have SPF in it.

 

There you have is ladies, I hope you weren’t too bored and you found some of this informative in some way! If there is anything you want me to dive in to deeper please let me know! Otherwise have a lovely Thursday night xxx