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

 

Why we will be choosing Rydges again!!

Why will we choose to stay at Rydges Sydney Central again?? Where do I start. Location, comfort, cleanliness, facilities, buffet breakfast………I could go on!!!

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I have not been happier with a hotel in a long time. I was so ecstatic with EVERYTHING (and that just wasn’t because we were away from the kids for a night)!!! The bed was that bloody comfy (hubby and I love a good size bed and it was a nice surprise to walk into a King), it was so damn soft and amazing. I didn’t want to get up. Mind you, I am that annoying person who takes her pillow everywhere (I am not kidding), I pack it when I travel and but knowing that we were going for one night and I had to catch the train up I opted to leave it at home (much to my annoyance). But I would not have even noticed……..It could have also been the couple of cocktails earlier in the night but normally I would wake missing my pillow. I didn’t want to get out of the amazing comfort the next morning!

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I for some reason didn’t check the hotel before heading up, so last minute and unorganised as I am, didn’t realise there was a pool warm enough to swim in. Hubby however always prepared for a swim, said it was were I could find him for the duration of our stay! Funny enough half an hour to be at our event and the boys jump out of the pre event showers to go for a last minute swim……and still manage to be ready before Nicky and I hahaha.

The next morning that buffet breakfast I could have sat there for hours and hours and just picked at all the delicious food. Pastries, hot choices (bacon, eggs and hash browns), then the fruit and yoghurt options! Devastated I am on an 8 week training program!!!!!! Next time!

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The bonus, when you sign up to their VIP membership (which FYI is free to join) you can get a 1pm checkout…….how crazy is that!!!! I was in heaven! 1pm! Yes please!!!!!

So if you’re in Sydney and need an amazing hotel with excellent value for money. Check out Rydges Sydney Central, like the name suggests, it is in walking distance from everything and this includes only around the corner from Central Train station. Ideal location for sightseeing and wonderful hotel and facilities if you choose to spend the entire time there……..which I will be doing next time haha!!!!!

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How well do you know your skin??

How well do you know your skin??  This has been playing on my mind so much lately. With the increasing number of people getting Fillers and Botox to slow down or prevent aging this has been a constant thought. This is my passion! Skin and Beauty are something I can make a regular addition to the blog.

In these little additions you will see my reviews on what’s working with my skin, tips on how to look after your skin a little better and generally answering any questions you might have!

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Not only am I passionate about skin but also have a few insider tips and tricks of the beauty world up my sleeve. So, if there is anything that you have been thinking or that you need help with. Shoot me a message, email me. I want to be able to write about things that interest you. Not all of you will be wondering about anti-ageing products, some of you might have oily skin and are thinking no moisturiser as you already have the oil production……WRONG! – but this is for another blog- this for now is an up to date on a few journeys I want to take with the blog. It’s so hard, I feel like I dabble in so many areas.

So please bare with me while I find my feet. But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the journey with me!!!

 

DECADE

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Sometimes as parents, wives and husbands we feel like we are drowning, drowning in responsibility. Working to make ends meet so much, that we lose ourselves. We lose who we are as husband and wife. That connection and spark you had when you first started dating disappears and replaces itself with nagging, frustration and your ability to hold niceties has vanished.

 

I am learning, That this is OK.

 

This month we (my husband and I) celebrate ten years being together………..Ten years nothing to bat an eyelid at! Where has that time gone.

This hasn’t come without its hard times. This is real. This is life together. This is what I have come to believe is the norm of not just marriage (as you might not be married but finding the same bumps in the road) but together as a co-habitat of life. There are days, weeks and months that are hard. It’s not like you are fighting all the time, you are just there, you are present, but you are constantly thinking of what needs to be done next, what part of the daily routine is next, you don’t mean to. It just happens. You mentally have checked out without realising and are cruising on auto pilot and going through the motions of the day.

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Its ok to feel like we are doing more then we believe we are capable of, being stretched to the limit, as a parent and neglecting that promise we made as husband and wife.

I have come to value the times that are a bit harder as it makes me really appreciate the times where everything falls into place and seem that bit easier.

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Just recently we have had a bit of a social buzz taking us physically away from our roles as parents. I didn’t realise how badly we needed it. Life has been a huge juggling act this past year with hubby working away. Parenting on my own, taking on the responsibilities for work, house life, mum and parenting as well as working from home. 12 months of this, 12 months of being a solo parent 5 and ½ days a week. – I tell you – parents who do this 7 days/week, 52 weeks/year my hat is firmly off to you! What an adjustment!!! Without even realising I would make tiny changes in routine and not communicate these and expect him to know what they are. Then get cranky when he wouldn’t do it (such a bitch I know). Then adjusting to him being home, don’t get me wrong. I was so grateful he was home but I hadn’t realised how much we had changed in 12 months to not really living together to all of a sudden back to life together. I was so excited but naive to think that we were the same people (I hadn’t realised how strong emotionally I had become without him around) and it would be as though nothing had changed. Being contracted back down home meant readjusting to sharing the parenting role, readjusting to sharing the work load again and readjusting to our lives together as a family 7 days a week. This came with its challenges and hurdles but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love that he is home every day and the kids get to actually see him for more then 36 hrs a week.

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Not realising until these last 4 weeks how much we needed it to be just us. To reconnect for that strong parent alliance again. At the beginning, I felt horrible leaving the kids, I don’t normally but with everything that has been going on I was emotional, then I realised how much I had missed this man. How much I have craved time with him. Adoring the moments with him and him alone. No one tugging at my clothes to get me to get their drink, or that they wanted a hug or they can’t open the toilet door.

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I won’t feel guilty for it. Yes, I missed them. But I know to have a healthy relationship and demonstrate how a marriage should work I need to reconnect with him. With the man who has given me my dreams and more. Grateful that he chose me to be the mother of his children. That he trusts me enough to raise them with him. Know that I will hold my head oh so high with the 4 children I have been blessed with in my life. What greater gift than your partner believing you can be the best asset to their child.

I appreciate everything he does, I always have.

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So, take those moments.

Take the dinners, the movies, the day dates.

Reconnect.

Be together.

 

 

Tip Top Changes

 

Our life since having kids has seen such huge changes, the biggest of which would have to be eating habits.

Our days would consist of getting out of bed, going straight to work with no breakfast, then eating the bare minimum during the day, and home to a healthy-ish meal (although not portioned at all).

 

 

I knew this needed to change in order for us to set an example of how to look after yourself properly, and to move your body regularly. It’s important for our kids to see their parents practise what they preach. This has been made so much easier with TipTop The One Mixed Grains providing the perfect start to the day with simple but nutritious toast (It’s even better when it’s a weekend and we can take it slow and let the kids pop their own slices in the toaster, choose toppings and learn good breakfast habits). Knowing that Olivia has a healthy lunch box (without the disagreements and arguments that she “doesn’t like that bread”) is a daily relief. It’s the simple things that we appreciate these days! And the big bonus – no little un-eaten surprises in her lunch box from a half-eaten sandwiches that have too many “bits in it”.

 

 

 

It’s a WIN WIN for this mum!
Recipe Lunch box favourite: Ribbon Sandwich (photos below) – peanut butter
– banana
or
– ham and cheese

 

Sleep tips and tricks!

 

How much pressure we and so much of society put on us as parents is ridiculous! 9 times out of 10 one of the main questions asked is “Are they sleeping through?” Are you kidding me!!! How about a more common question like “how are we all adjusting”??

Although we were very lucky with our babies and their sleeping habits I have found having the same routine since birth has helped our children. By routine, I mean pattern, the same order we do everything for bed.
 
Firstly, our bedtime routine.

  • Its the usual dinner starts at 5.30 and carries on until about 6.15 then there is half an hour of play time in the bath and at 6.45 its Milk and a biscuit for the big kids. Story time and then off to bed by 7/7.15. Although in saying that yes I am one of those parents who let their children have a bottle in their bed (my children my choice, I am aware of what this can do to their teeth) to go off to sleep. We do although have a self settle approach from day dot which has worked a treat!

 

Secondly, when I go to bed, I pop them on the toilet (those who are toilet trained) and then change nappies for those who aren’t, I believe that if they have a dry nappy during the night they are less likely to wake earlier with a full nappy. Trust me, my children’s kidneys work an absolute treat, we should have purchased shares in nappies!!!!!

 

Thirdly I have never tried to keep a quiet house. I believe they sleep better when there is noise around and I guess seeing as I am a light sleeper I was hoping by encouraging noises it might make them deeper sleepers……. ridiculous I know but I can dream!