Friday, June 22, 2012

What Was I Thinking?

Have you ever bought something only to find yourself thinking weeks or months later down the track, "what was I thinking?"  For me, it was the pyjamas above.  Before winter last year, back when I was pregnant and my belly was rapidly expanding, I realised I desperately needed some 'larger' PJs to see me through the winter months until I was due.

Wandering through Peter Alexander one day, the pattern above caught my eye.  Its 'Nana-ish', floral fabric, resembled a cross stitch embroidered piece and lured me in.  The pants were the 'wide-leg' style I've always found so comfortable and the top nice and baggy and accommodating for my bump.  However, these PJs were SO not me.  They were bright and loud and the complete opposite to the style of clothes I am normally drawn to.

Back at home when I put them on for the first time and said to Paul, "what do you think of my new pyjamas?" his response was, "okay if you want to wear curtains to bed".  I was given a similar comment by Mum and her partner one night when they saw me wearing them.  The only person who seemed to like my purchase was Grace who told me they were 'very pretty'.  But, I loved my PJs nonetheless.  They saw me through my week in the maternity hospital with Sophie and have been cosier than any I've ever owed before.

As the cooler nights hit a few months back and I found myself searching for something warmer to wear to bed, I had a 'what was I thinking' moment.  Paul couldn't believe it had taken me this long to see the light.  This week, I bought a new pair.  They are light grey with pale pink polka dots and MUCH more like the type of thing I would normally go for.

So tell me, have you ever had a 'what on Earth was I thinking' moment about something you've purchased?  Do share...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Our Living Area Usually Looks These Days...

Before I get onto today's post, I just wanted to give an update on those lost photos of mine.  About an hour ago, I thought I'd have another go at locating them and like magic, there sitting in the folder that had been giving me grief yesterday were my missing shots!!  I don't know how it happened or why they vanished but they're back and I'm so happy!  

Anyway, today I thought I'd share some photos of how our living area typically looks lately.  With the wintry, 'stuck inside all day' weather we've been having here, when we're not out and about, the girls and I spend the majority of our time in the open plan living / meals / kitchen area.  After all, with our gas heater glowing away, it's definitely the warmest part of the house to play in.  Here's what you would typically see if you were to stop by our place lately... 

The 'clutter basket' on my bench is growing by the day.  So much so, that Paul just emailed me a moment ago to ask if I could pay the electricity account that's sitting in the middle of this basket as he just received an SMS to say it was overdue.  Oops!!  The pretty irises however aren't a typical occurrence.  Sick of seeing this end of our bench looking bare, I treated myself to a bunch the other day.

I am proud to say however that the rest of our bench remains clutter free these days.  I have been making it a priority to keep our living areas tidy and even though there are currently beds unmade and shower screens that need scrubbing, having a clear bench makes me feel SO much better.  It was becoming quite the dumping ground (one of the downsides of such a big benchtop) but usually it looks as it does above.  As for the clothes drying rack in the background, that's typical around here lately too.  We don't have a dryer, nor do we have the space to put one and so the rack above is frequently used on rainy days...

... Here's our other way of drying clothes.  With our heater on come most afternoons, I rotate items I'm desperate to dry in front of it.

As for playtime, the girls are often in the warmest spot on our rug.  Grace tips out all the baby toys and pleads for Sophie to be 'restrained' in her Bumbo so that she can build towers without her little sister destroying them.  Our Bumbo is now destined for Gumtree though as Sophie wormed her way out of it for the second time yesterday.

As soon as there's been a spot of sunshine however, I've been encouraging Grace to head outside to play.  Blowing bubbles on the patio has been a popular activity lately along with painting on her easel.

And while I'm on the subject of our living area, I thought I'd share a photo with you of what those wooden stools I sanded back and painted currently look like.  They're probably a slightly darker blue than the photo above which was taken when the light was streaming in a few mornings ago, but the one on the right is pretty true to colour.  The shade is starting to grow on me so I think I'll paint the top coat over the weekend and finally be settled with my decision.

Enjoy your afternoon everyone!  I'm off to make another cuppa and cosy up in front of our heater before the girls wake from their naps...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vanishing Photos

I could cry right now.  The past week, we've spent most days cooped up indoors out of the cold and wet weather Perth has been having.  With the dull skies and grey clouds, it was however the perfect light for photo taking and so I used the opportunity to keep my camera at close hand and snapped lots of candid shots of the girls playing as well as some corners of our home.  Scrolling back through the photos I'd taken, I could see there were some great ones amongst them.

I can't express how disappointed I am that only a few minutes ago as I attempted to download all these shots, somehow, they all seem to have vanished.  I did all the steps I usually do (naming the shots by date, selecting the folder to transfer them to and deleting them off my camera at the same time).  Only once the download completed itself, the photos were nowhere to be seen.  I have searched and searched and cannot for the life of me work out where they've gone.  I even took another random shot and downloaded it to the same folder and once again, it wasn't there.  Then I discovered that other photos which should have been in the same folder were no longer there.  Very odd.

Thankfully, I do a monthly save of all my files, but as for the most recent ones, sadly I think they've vanished.  All I can do is be grateful that they weren't of a special occasion, get my camera out and start taking shots again.  I think I might make my monthly back-ups weekly from now on.

So today, I can't share the cute photos of Sophie watching her big sister blow bubbles in our backyard, or the pretty irises I bought myself which have been brightening up our kitchen.  This snap above of Sophie was one of the few I had thankfully downloaded earlier in the week.

Have any of you ever experienced anything similar in the way of vanishing photos? Do you have a system/procedure for downloading yours and how often do you back things up?

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Letter To My Big Girl At Three + An Interview

Each year, I write a letter to my girls on their birthday, describing how they’ve grown and changed over the past twelve months.  One of the best things about having a blog is being able to record memories and it’s so special to now have posts like this one and this one to look back on.  As I took a little break from blogging the week of Grace’s third birthday, I didn’t get a chance to share this so here it is one month late…

To my darling Grace,

Three years ago, Daddy and I were truly blessed when you joined the world and became a part of our family.  Having dreamt of you for so long, you were such a precious gift to us both.  Three years on and you continue to fill our world with love, laughter and cheekiness every day.

Looking back at photos, it’s amazing to see how you have changed over the past twelve months.  Most noticeable is that you’ve got lots of hair – it’s still quite fine but pretty curls now surround your sweet face and we can even tie your hair into pigtails.  You’ve grown a lot in height, definitely taking after Daddy with your long legs.    

You are even more of a chatterbox now than you were a year ago.  The other morning, as Daddy left for work amongst your nattering, he remarked that you’d already said more in the time you’d been awake than he’d probably say all day!  You are forever coming out with lines that show your sense of humour, your compassion and your caring nature.  Last night, when I asked how much you loved Mummy, you replied with ‘I love you all the way to Nan’s house’. 

As you are getting older, you’re becoming more content to play independently and will spend long lengths of time in your ‘big girls room’, scattering toys everywhere in the process.   You still adore your stuffed animals, in particular Baa Baa and each night, you tuck them all in safely beside you in bed.  Movies like ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Toy Story’ are still firm favourites but your new obsession is ‘Mary Poppins’.  You love the songs, her ‘beautiful dress’ and the chimney sweeps whose fancy footwork you try to copy.  In recent months, you’ve gone through a stage of having a ‘dressing up’ obsession.  We’ve often found you in bed in all sorts of outfits, usually the fairy dress (complete with crown and wand), but at others times bathers, a party dress or your ‘pretty gold shoes’ have made their way under your blankets in the middle of the night.  You often tell me your name is “not Grace, FAIRY Grace”’ and the other night as I was dishing up your tea you asked, “Can the Princess have her tea?”

During the past year, you’ve become a doting big sister to Sophie.  You enjoy helping look after her and share in our excitement as she learns new things.  It is so heart warming to watch you delight in each other’s company.  The other night you asked if Sophie could sleep in your room one night.  When Daddy asked what you’d do if she woke during the night you replied with, “I’ve got boobies so I can feed her milk.” 

My darling possum, I am so proud of the sweet natured little girl you have grown into.  Your kindness, lovely manners, compassion and sense of humour are all traits I hope you carry on into the coming years.  You teach me so much every day and I am forever grateful that you are mine. 

All the love in the world,
Mummy x

Now that Grace is that bit older, I’ve decided to also do a little interview with her each year on her birthday.  Here are her exact responses to the series of questions I will ask her each year …

1.       What is your favourite colour?    Pink

2.       What is your favourite toy?   My favourite toy’s Baa Baa       

3.       What is your favourite fruit?    I like pineapple

4.       What is your favourite TV show?   I like Peppa Pig

5.       What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?   I like egg, pineapple and fruit.  That’s what I like.

6.       What is your favourite outfit?   I like the party dress

7.       What is your favourite game?   I like to play puzzles and I like to go outside

8.       What is your favourite snack?   Berry balls I think.  I like Berry Balls.

9.       What is your favourite animal?   I like cats

10.   What is your favourite song?   I like (the) Hokey Pokey one

11.   What is your favourite book?   I think the Cinderella book

12.   Who is your best friend?   Asha

13.   What is your favourite cereal?  Coco Pops

14.   What is your favourite thing to do outside?   Ride my bike and pick flowers and play with Asha

15.   What is your favourite drink?   I like orange juice to drink

16.   What is your favourite holiday?    I like going to Denmark

17.   What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Doofa, Terry, Baa Baa, Sheppie and Hootie and  Baby Doggy

18.   What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?   Cocopops I think.  I think I like them all day.

19.   What is your favourite thing Mummy makes you for tea?    Salad

20.   What do you want to be when you grow up?   I think I might be a fairy

Edited on 30th June 2012: This post was featured in the June 2012 edition of The Post of The Month Club.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Afternoon Snapshot

I quickly snapped this photo this afternoon before either of my girls moved... it was so sweet to look up from the kitchen bench where I was preparing dinner to see them sitting side by side watching Play School together.

Notice the DVDs strewn across the rug in the background?  That's thanks to a certain little one who is on the move, crawling about in her unique 'pull with her arms push with her toes' style, creating a path of destruction as she explores and investigates every corner of our house...

Lots of time has been spent here playing on the living room rug this week in front of the heater.  We've had wet and wild weather the past few days and braced ourselves last night for the strong winds and rain that were forecast to hit in the early evening.  Thankfully our only casualties were two rose bushes that fell over in the strong gusts.

Enjoy your Wednesday evening...  I have a pasta bake (pastizio to be precise) bubbling away in the oven.  Comfort food is one of the best things about winter!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Beauty Product Recommendations Needed

My beauty regime is rather basic these days and as for make-up, the days I'm free of it far outweigh the days I actually wear it.  At the moment, I have a few products I'm due to replace so I thought I'd turn to you all for some recommendations...

Tinted Moisturiser

Unless I'm going out somewhere extra special (and seeing as I can count the number of times I've been out at night this year child-free on one hand), I don't tend to wear foundation.  If I'm home, I'll just stick to moisturiser and if I'm heading out and about, I like to use a tinted one.  I've been happy with the Clarins one I've used for some time now as it's a great shade for my skin, but it doesn't have a very high SPF factor (it's only SPF 6) and it's not oil free, two things I would prefer in such a product.


I find these days that even if I have other make-up on, without something on my lips, I look washed out.  A simple lip gloss is my preferred option for day to day use.  However, I'm yet to find 'the one' which is not sticky and that my hair doesn't end up plastered to, in a natural looking shade.

Fake Tan

I tan quite easily if I spend time outdoors but I've become very sun conscious and would rather turn to a tanning product to achieve that golden glow.  The only one I've ever used was the Palmer's Body Bronzer, a 'build up gradually over time' type product.  I'm on the hunt for one that isn't orange, doesn't streak, won't stain clothes and is easy to apply.

So ladies, do any of you have any recommendations for the above?  I'd love to hear what brands and types you prefer or your thoughts on ones you've tried in the past...

Image above from Coeur Blonde

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sibling Similarities

Having had two girls hasn’t necessarily meant I’ve been able to use lots of Grace’s old clothes for Sophie.  With Grace being a winter baby, she lived in cosy jackets, jumpsuits and beanies.  Sophie on the other hand spent most of her first few months in just a singlet and a nappy.  Sadly, I’m finding now as I’m slowly passing on outfits Sophie has outgrown, she hasn’t even worn many of the cute outfits  I’d saved of her big sister’s. 

There is one piece however I have been able to use for both times around – a brown pinafore one of my best friends gave Grace.  Looking back on photos, it was interesting to see both of my girls wearing the same outfit at roughly the same age (Grace at four months and Sophie a few months ago back at 5 months).

I often get asked if Sophie looks like Grace did when she was a baby.  While there are definitely similarities (blue eyes, blonde hair, round face), I can honestly say they have different features. And slowly, as the days go on, I’m noticing Sophie developing her own unique little personality too.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Priorities And Projects

I used to be quite an organised person.  Cupboards and drawers were neatly arranged, my car was spotless without a speck of dirt or sand and paperwork was promptly filed away.  However, circumstances here lately have led me to feel extremely disorganised.  Around the time of Grace’s party, when the girls were also unwell, I felt as though I was struggling to stay on top of things.   My to-do list contained far too many items to ever be achievable, sorting out tea each night was becoming a mammoth task and as far as the housework, I was falling further and further behind.  More time consuming projects such as organising or craft were WAY down the bottom of my list.

Over the past few weeks, I have changed my mindset and tried to be less of a perfectionist.  I have accepted that I can’t do it all.  That my life has changed and I can’t be that once super organised person I was.  My standards have dropped.  And that’s okay.   I have decided to focus on one word – prioritising and made a list of the top things I need to take care of daily in my role as a stay at home Mum and displayed it on the fridge where I can see it often and remind myself of what’s really important.  

I've also decided to focus on one major area of home life that is bothering me each week.  I sat down and made a big list of all the areas I feel aren’t running as smoothly as I’d like, that need to be better organised and that need time allocated to them in order to be remedied.  Things like having a decent supply of home-cooked frozen meals , listing some unwanted items on Gumtree, sorting through the contents of our wardrobes, editing and deleting photos and coming up with a better system for managing and responding to emails (our inbox currently has 2537 emails sitting there) will all have ‘their week’. 

Last week’s focus was ‘Operation Baby Food’.  I made a whole range of dishes and pureed and froze them all ready for the coming months for Sophie. Hopefully they should take us through to her starting on finger foods.  This week’s focus is ‘Operation Stock-Up’.  Running out of things lately has really been annoying me (and Paul who I am constantly asking to stop at the local supermarket on his way home from work).  I used to have a good system in place for my grocery shopping and ensuring I had ‘back-ups’ of frequently used pantry items and toiletries.  Now I have no idea what it is I'm running low on.  

I’m finding myself more productive with my focus for the week as I’ve tended to flit from project to project, ending up with lots of things half done.  Having a weekly priority and knowing that I have one thing I’d really like to accomplish come Sunday is actually achievable for me. 

How do you deal with things when you are feeling overwhelmed and disorganised?  I’d love for you to share your strategies…

Cute notebook above available from Fresh Words Market on Etsy

Friday, June 1, 2012

A New Simple Soup

One of the things I enjoy most about the cooler winter months is being able to cook lots of delicious soups to warm our bellies. More often than not at this time of year, we have soup on a Sunday night for tea with something simple alongside like a toasted sandwich. Last weekend I tried out a new recipe from ‘Frost Bite’ and it was a winner here. If you like tomato based soups like minestrone, than this one’s for you. Here’s the recipe:

Tomato, Zucchini & Basil Soup

Serves 4

olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tin Roma tomatoes, crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
5 medium-sized courgettes (I used 2 small zucchini instead), sliced
large handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
sea salt & pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat and add onion and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Cover with lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes of until the vegetables are tender. Puree or blend.

I've been cooking up a storm here this week in our kitchen.  However most of it has been in the form of baby purees for Sophie which should now last me for many weeks ahead.  Grace and I did manage to make a muesli slice though which we've been enjoying the last few days for afternoon tea.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend ahead.  It's the Foundation Day long weekend here in Perth.  In our household we'll hopefully be resting, relaxing and (fingers crossed) catching up on sleep.  Do you have any special plans?  I'd love to hear what you'll be up to...