Friday, 24 October 2014

Linky Lovin' Friday {24th October 2014} // Blogging

It's Friday again and you know what that means folks! Time for me to share some of the bits and pieces I've enjoyed reading around the interwebs this week. It's just a super quick one as I have been crazy busy looking after a teething small toddler and toilet-training big toddler. I'm not sure which is worse to be honest as both are an absolute nightmare! If you've got any tips on how to entice a reluctant toddler to poo on the toilet I am all ears!

We've most definitely hit that time of year when everyone is starting to think about the C-word (Christmas you dirty buggers!) and all the end of year merriment is ramping up. I'm pretty sure I've we've only got one weekend of the year left that isn't booked solid so it's going to make for an interesting and dun couple of months!

I've still got a couple of openings for family photo shoots if you're in Sydney and want a few new nice photos to give to family for Christmas. If you're keen, or you know someone who might be, please send them my way or shoot me an email to kylie@kyliepurtell.com

And now, on to the linky lovin'...

Sydney Mum risks possibility of third son by The Thud

I know a woman with five boys (and when I say “a woman”, I mean my cousin, but again, anonymity). People speak about “She Who Must Not Be Named” in hushed, incredulous voices, for fear Lord Voldemort himself will strike them down with a terminal case of willies.
I loved this post by Lauren at The Thud. I'd not read Lauren's blog before someone shared this post of hers on Facebook, but I plan to head back and read more after this. Zee was barely born before we had people asking us if we would be trying our luck a third time to get a boy. Ah no. If we ever decide to go back for more it will be because we want a baby, not a boy.
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When people read what you write by Tamsin at Kiki & Tea

These conversations are often harder to have than writing and publishing the piece. It's easy to bare your innermost thoughts to strangers, it's far harder to open your mind to your friends. To have someone look into your eyes as you confess these things.
Why is that?
I could totally relate to this piece by Tamisn. It's always slightly weird to have someone I know personally well mention to me that they've read my blog or something in particular that I've written here. I mean, I know a lot of my friends and family read the blog, but it's in kind of an abstract way, if you know what I mean. And despite the fact that it's absolutely lovely to know that they are reading it, it's sorta weird and awkward at the same time, as I always feel much more comfortable discussing certain things in words on my screen with you, than in person, face to face.

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Image stolen form the post linked below...

Why your husband isn't doing you any favours by watching the kids by A Mother Far From Home

Because my husband is every bit as responsible for our children as I am. He’s not doing me a favor by watching our kids, he’s simply fulfilling his role as a father.
I remember having this kind of conversation with my good friend Kel once, when Punky and her A were still quite young, about the fact that it shouldn't feel like the father of our children is doing some kind of good thing by looking after their children, they are just doing their job, the same way we are. This is a great post, and if you've ever felt like your partner is doing you a favour by looking after the kids while you go out, or someone has said how nice it is for them to be doing that for you, remember this post and the fact that it's not a favour, the kids are just as much their responsibility as they are yours.
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Is it time to get over ourselves? By Emily at Have a Laugh on Me

NEWSFLASH: It’s not always about you so get over yourself!
LOVE this post by Emily (and I apologise now Em that I haven't had a chance to get over and leave a comment. Yet!). It's so damn true. I know I have been guilty in the past of doing this exact thing, but I have been slowly learning to indeed get over myself and learn this most valuable of lessons.

Now that you have your weekend reading list, go have a squiz at these lovely ladies words and come back and tell me which ones you've enjoyed, and if you too find it weird when people in offline life talk to you about something they've read on your blog.

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Toddler Food Ideas: Eating off the floor // Laughs // Parenting

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a toddler not asleep, must be in want of food.

If you are/have been the proud owner of one or more toddlers then you will certainly understand the truth of the above sentence. Toddlers have an insatiable appetite. Whether it's from the constant movement and noise making or the effort it takes to drive their parents to absolute distraction, toddlers need food. 

And lots of it.

I'm pretty sure scientists are getting close to definitive proof that toddlers burn more energy than the sun in a a 24-hour period.

No sooner have the small ones awoken then they are demanding food. A drink bottle of cows milk for the big one, a lazy feed of Mummy milk for the smaller one. As soon as the milk has been consumed it's on to the biscuits. The biscuits are merely a stop-gap measure to allow Mum to get out of bed and get her head together, ready for the day. Sometimes I'm allowed to pee by myself and even get the jug boiling before they are beating down the bathroom door, demanding breakfast.

Depending on how close I've gotten to making myself a coffee, breakfast can be anything from toast to porridge to yoghurt and muesli. I'm not very creative or functional before about 11am and the consumption one mother-flippin' HUGE-ass coffee, so the kids have learnt to take what they can get for this meal without arguing.

They know Mummy needs her coffee like a hater needs his hate, and the big one has even started bringing me make-believe cups of tea & coffee at random intervals throughout the day. Usually just after I've lost my shit for some random reason. I take it as a sure sign that it's definitely time to boil the jug for the twentieth time and actually make and drink another cup of joe!

Lunch and dinner are interesting affairs when you have toddlers. I hardly ever bother slaving over elaborate meals for them because a) I've never slaved over elaborate meals for anyone and I sure as shit ain't gonna start now. And b) because whatever I feed them is going to mostly end up in their hair, on their clothes or on the ground anyway, so why bother with elaborate anything!

The big toddler, now that she has become proficient at using cutlery and sitting still for longer than 30 seconds at a time, usually does a pretty good job of getting most of the food in her mouth. Unless that food is yoghurt. Then it's on like Donkey Kong and she deliberately turns the spoon over just before it reaches her mouth and it ends up all over the bench.

I've recently come to realisation that this spoon technique is really just a ploy to get as much of the damn stuff on the bench as she can, to then facilitate finger painting in it. So now, as of last week, yoghurt is banned until she can learn to eat it properly. If she wants yoghurt from now on she has to go crying to Nanny who buys those fancy squeezy pouches of the stuff because she is not getting it from me! I got enough crap to clean up without a tiny terrorist deliberately adding more!

The small child hasn't quite progressed to using cutlery as yet, and is still firmly in the finger food/being spoon-fed stage. Most of the time I try to give her stuff that she can feed to herself, because feeding a toddler who only wants to open her mouth a few millimetres at a time is extremely boring and ain't nobody got time fo' dat!

When she is spoon fed I've started to give her a spoon of her own so she can practise and I reckon 3 times out of 10 she actually manages to get food from the bowl into her mouth via the spoon. The rest of the time it falls down that gap between child and high chair tray, where it then becomes squished so well into her clothes that it almost becomes part of the pattern.

The smallest toddlers favourite game at the moment though when imbibing finger food, is to sweep her hand from side to side across the high chair tray and launch as much food as she can off the tray or plate and on to the floor around her chair. I must say she has really perfected this technique over the last few weeks and were starting to see her get some real distance with her morsels.

At this stage I'm fairly certain that about 75% of the food she is served is ending up on the floor, if my calculations while sweeping and/or vacuuming are accurate. At any rate, I'm starting to think that I have been going about feeding the small child the wrong way.

For no sooner have I gotten her out of the high chair and gone to pull the older toddler down from the roof (exaggeration of course, but not by much!) then the younger toddler is happily sitting on the floor beside the high chair eating the aforementioned launched food.
Oh Joey. This is how I imagine Zee in the future!

Now if I were a better mother I'd scoop her up and deposit her a safe distance away while I clean the area and remove all food scraps to the nearest trash receptacle, but I'm not a better mother. (You know what's coming next, don't you?!).

I figure it's far easier to let her hoover up the food she has dropped in her own special way, and then come along afterwards and get anything she's missed with the actual hoover. Why should I break my back picking up all the food she's thrown on the ground when she is quite clearly not done with that, and I can just let her finish her meal there?

Hygiene, some of you might answer. But I say "immunity building" to that! Due to her improvement in food launching skills, there are times when food is spread so far and wide that I miss a piece here and there and it's not until a day or two later when I do a full back-room sweep that I come across it. If she hasn't beaten me to it that is!

The way I see it, if she can chow down on some random piece of day old toast that I've missed and still be fine, then she can sure as heck eat the food she's dropped from the meal she's just "finished". She's happy, I'm happy, and it cuts down on the time I have to spend cleaning up the food.

It's a parenting win in my books!

I'm starting to think that maybe I should just drop all of her food straight on the floor as soon as it's ready and be done with it. Why bother with this eating in the high chair charade when we both know that eating the food off the floor is what it's really all about for her. And when she's done she can simply move on to the bits and pieces that the big toddler has dropped from her lunch and I can sit and drink a coffee in peace without a tiny terrorist begging me for more food!

Seriously, who needs a dog when you have toddlers?!

How do you/did you find the experience of feeding toddlers? Is it a universal toddler thing, this joy of throwing food during a meal and then eating it off the floor afterwards, or have I really given birth to something genetically closer to a dog than a human child?

Linking up with those glorious Lizards of the Lounge today.
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

My First Family Photography Shoots // Photography

On the weekend of the 11th & 12th October I did my very first paid family photography sessions. It was nerve-wracking and exhillirating all at once. I blogged about it last week, and today I wanted to share with you some of my favourite photos from the sessions.

Ann and her lovely family were first up on the Saturday, and we headed to Macarthur Park in Camden, NSW, an absolutely stunning part of the world and well worth a visit if you have the time.

I then headed over to Woolwich Pier on Sunday to meet with Emma and her 5 gorgeous girls for some fun (and photos!) in the sun. Both families made it so easy for me, they were the perfect subjects to photograph and I had a great time!

sydney family photography

western sydney family photography

natural light photography in sydney

family portrait photographer sydney

family photography in sydney area

family pictures

professional family photos

outdoor family portraits










If you live in Sydney and you're interested in booking a shoot with me, please check out my website at www.kyliepurtellphotography.com.au and send me an email to kylie@kyliepurtell.com
You can also find me on Facebook here.

Have you had any family photos taken lately? What's our best tip for making the day go smoothly?
Find me here:
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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Parenting. It doesn't get easier, it just gets different // Motherhood // Life

I was at a baby shower on the weekend and I was chatting to a friend who had her first baby less than a week before I had Zee. I was asking her how the first year had been, what she'd enjoyed, what she hadn't enjoyed. After talking about some of the harder things, she said something along the lines of, it must be so much harder with two, and that I must think having one child is easy in comparison.

I had to politely disagree with her.

Because here's the thing...

Parenting is all relative.


When you have two (or more) children, having one child seems easy. When you only have one to look after for whatever reason, of course you find it easier. You'll also look back on your time as a parent with only one child and think how much simpler it was to only look after one baby than it was to look after two.

It's not technically true though.

Of course now that you have the experience that a few years of parenting brings, and the experience of parenting more than one child, it's normal to look back and think how much easier you had it with only one.

When you're a new Mum however, and you have no prior experience in looking after a baby or child, it's hard. Some days it's really hard. You have no idea what you're doing. These little poo machines don't come with instruction manuals, sadly.

When I look back on life as a new Mum with Punky, I remember how hard I found it. I didn't have any experience to compare to or draw from. It's only with time and knowledge that things seem to get easier, and even then, it's not so much that it gets easier,

it just gets different. 


The things that are hard with a baby become easy with a toddler, but then new challenges arise and present themselves. And so it is with parenting one child as opposed to two or more. Right now, when I think about only looking after one of my girls, it seems like such a walk in the park. Only having one to deal with is easy.

Now.

Because of this, when I talk to a new Mum these days, I try really hard to remember what it was like in that first year with Punky. I'm conscious of not saying things like "Having one is easy, wait till you have two", or "Wait until they're 3 or 10 or 16".

It's time and the experiences you have every day that prepare you for dealing with things later on. Each stage of baby & childhood gives you new skills and knowledge to prepare you for the next one. So on the occasions when I find myself thinking "You don't know how easy you have it" towards somebody else, I remind myself that the only reason why I am able to think it's easy now is because I went through it all before.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, especially when it comes to parenting. If only we could get the hindsight delivered to us with the baby!

Do you think parenting becomes easier or just different with time? What stage have you found the most difficult or easy so far?

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Friday, 17 October 2014

Opinions are like assholes. Linky Lovin' Friday {17th October 2014} // Blogging

It's a funny online world we live in. There are so many things that amuse me. So many things that I read and just shake my head about. I learnt pretty quickly when I used to read The Punch on a daily basis to either stop reading comments sections on blogs run by big-name newspapers and media outlets or just skim one or two. It wasn't worth the feeling of needing to shove something through my eye because of all the stupid.

After so many years online I've discovered that much like in offline life, sometimes it's far better and easier to not say anything at all, rather than start a flame war because some person somewhere will always take things the wrong way. Tone is such an important thing when it comes to communicating with our fellow humans, and it's ridiculously hard to accurately convey tone online. Just another reason why we really need to get on the designing of that sarcasm font pronto. While we're at it we should probably do some work on a satire font and an irony font too!

I admire people who are willing to put it all out there, express opinions that they know are not going to be popular. I am a lot more outspoken and opinionated in my offline life than I am online. Some people may think this is being dishonest or disingenuous. The thing is, I really just have an aversion to drama. I just can't be bothered with it, especially online. It's why I often won't bother wading in to an argument online unless it's something I feel really, really passionate about.

In my offline life I know the people I interact with on a daily or regular basis. They know me. I know what things I can and can't say to some people without them being hurt or offended. It doesn't mean I don't say anything at all, it just means that the way I frame things about a certain topic or issue will be different depending on the person I'm talking to. Because I don't want to cause and deal with drama.

There are people in my offline world who have issues with Muslims and tar them all with the same Islamic State brush. Same goes for asylum seekers. Generally I try to avoid talking about those issues with certain people all together, but when it does come up, I think very carefully about how to word my thoughts and opinions so as to not insult them or get them worked up. I've learned that a discussion works much better if you don't just spew thoughts from your head and get people's backs up. If you're calm, and present your opinion in a rational and respectful way, people are much more inclined to listen and not shut you down.
Yes, I actually did take this photo. Back in 2010, on a hens night. Walking down a street in The Rocks, minding our own business.
When we came across this.  As if I wasn't going to take a photo!

The thing about an opinion is that just like assholes, everybody has one. And when you express an opinion on social media particularly, you need to be prepared to take the heat when people misinterpret the meaning or tone of your opinion. Of course, there are just some people who like a good verbal attack and will have a go no matter what or how you say it, and love to debate the people rather than the point. If you are happy to deal with the drama that expressing an opinion on social media brings then by all means, go straight ahead.

Every time I write something online I always expect someone to take issue with it and prepare for that. Thankfully it hardly ever happens. There have been occasions when I've written posts with very strongly-worded opinions and I know before I even hit publish that some people are not going to agree and will get het up. I also know that even a seemingly innocuous post can get people riled.

I do think sometimes though, in some circumstances, that opinions on some things just don't need to be shared. It's just not worth the time or the energy. For me, I choose the things I do and don't want to fight about, and some things just aren't worth it. Some things are just better left unsaid to certain people for the sake of your own happiness and sanity.

To be honest, I've gotten to a point now while writing this post that I'm not even sure what kind of point I'm even trying to make anymore. This is what happens when you have a tiny seed of a thought and you just start writing.

So, on that confused note, on to my links of choice for the week. Articles and writing that actually have a point, and people who know exactly what they are trying to say!

(And in case anyone was wondering, this hasn't been inspired by anyone or anything, it's just something that has been brewing in the back of my brain for a while, maybe most of the year actually).
I nicked this post from Lara's post (link below), who in turn nicked it from this article
Shame About That Bass by This Charming Mum

...I think All About That Bass is a wasted opportunity to put forward a truly equitable message about being comfortable in your own skin.

Love, love, love this post from Lara. She writes about some of the things that haven't quite hit the mark in the hit song All About that Bass. You can also read my mini-rant in the comments section once you're done reading her well-thought out post.
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Minimalism: I threw out more than 20,000 items by Brooke McAlary

And on top of that was the stuff we already owned. It was suffocating. Years of accumulation. Wardrobes overflowing with clothes I never wore. Years of hard fought credit card debt. A double garage so crammed with crap that no car had ever been in it. Boxes of which I knew not the contents. None of it was worth it.

This post was shared by a few bloggers and facebook friends and I really loved it. It struck a chord with me. For the last couple of weeks I've been feeling overwhelmed by everything that I've got going on and all the "stuff" in this house. I realised the other day that part of what makes me stressed, and puts me in a bad mood, is being surrounded by crap all the time and the stress of having to clean and tidy it all. There are some days when I just want to put 99% of the stuff in this house on the front lawn and let the people and the council pick-up have at it.

I need to get rid of so much of this stuff and this article made me realise why.
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Recovering from blogger burnout. Losing myself in shaping my blog by Carly Findlay

It's silly isn't it? Feeling the most pressure from ourselves.

I love Carly's blog. She always writes such good stuff and makes me think about things in ways I maybe hadn't before. The comment that Carly received on her blog that she talks about in this post is gold, and goes to the very essence of personal blogging and why many people are drawn to it, both as writers and readers, in the first place. Which leads me to the next link...
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Image nicked from the article linked directly below
Why personal blogs can never really survive monetisation by Jennine Jacob

Your life will become your job.

Carly referred to this article in her post and I found it very interesting and it rings true in more ways than one, even for those who aren't fashion bloggers exactly, but whose blogs revolve primarily around themselves and their life. An interesting read.
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49 Brilliant Uses for your smartphone's camera

And finally, this is a fun little article to end this week's Linky Lovin' Friday on. The comments on this post are just as good as the article itself. Many of these I do already, but some of it had me shaking my head and thinking "How do people come up with this stuff?!"

So, what do you think? Do you think some things and opinions are just better left alone and unsaid? Have you read anything fabulous this week that you think I should check out?
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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

1, 2, 3, 4. Hi-5! Lunch at Darling Harbour // Life // PR

Yesterday the girls and I were lucky enough to be invited to meet the members of Hi-5 and have a private screening of the first episode of their 15th television series. Yeah, 15 years! Doesn't that make you feel old! I still remember performing at Schools Spectaculars with Nathan Foley, one of the original Hi-5 members and running in to others through friends in my first few years out of high school. So let's just pretend I never mentioned the whole 15 years thing, shall we!

The meet & greet & screening was held in Pyrmont and I think the girls were really impressed by a couple of things. The fruit platter. And the giant screen. They seemed rather uninterested in our boring old standard size TV and bananas when we got home at any rate! Punky also told me she loved the popcorn while we were watching the show! She did say she enjoyed the show too, so that's something at least.

After the event we walked down to Darling Harbour, as I promised Punky that we could go and have a look at the water once it was all done. I can't tell you how many times she proclaimed "It's so bootiful, Mummy!" about the water. It was one of those moments that really struck me. It was sprinkling and the sky was grey and dull. The water was also a very dull shade of green and full of floating debris from the recent storms and wind. And yet the minute she laid eyes on it she couldn't stop talking about how beautiful it was. If that's not a lesson in looking at the world through the eyes of a child and appreciation then I don't know what is!

Zee was most impressed by the seagulls (or ducks as Punky called them!) and set about trying to catch one in her fat little fingers. For some reason though she just couldn't quite get them and I'm not sure who was more relieved, the birds or me! There were a few tricky moments when I had to make a choice between racing after Zee or heading towards Punky. It certainly is a real balancing act when you have more than one walking child! I don't know how people with more do it without leads!

After the water admiring and seagull chasing we made a quick pitstop in the baby change room for fresh nappies and a much needed 5 minute break. For me, not the kids. They were quite content to play with the toy thing on the wall which was more than fine by me after all of the toddler chasing. Once their fascination with the toy thing was over we headed out to the Harbourside food court for some lunch.

Lunch usually isn't all that exciting with toddlers, they eat the same thing wherever you go (sandwiches or "chippies nuggies"!) but I got one of the best lunches I've had in a while. It was honey-roasted pulled pork on a roll with cucumber, lettuce, pickled carrot, spanish onion, chilli and some kind of creamy sweet-chilli sauce thing and it was divine. I've told Dave we have to take the girls in to the city again soon just so he can taste it's porkalicious goodness for himself!

We just love a good porking!

With lunch done we grabbed Mumma a well-deserved coffee and trecked back to the car, where I was unceremoniously bought back down to earth by the stinkiest Zee I've encountered for a while and an awkward front-seat nappy change which I am still feeling in my back. Thankfully after that we were good to go, and my ploy to take the long (toll-free) way home worked and both girls zonked it for the hour-plus drive home.

Punky is now plastered in Hi-5 temporary tattoos that she got in her super-cool Hi-5 backpack, with plans to take the remaining tattoos to Granny's this afternoon and 'pretty' her up! I must thank you Hi-5 PR people for the awesome bags. You have totally saved me having to buy the girls new backpacks at the start of next year.

Score!

Once again I survived a pretty big outing with both kids by myself, and every time it happens I feel a little less of a fraud. For so long I've avoided doing much with the girls by myself because I worry about how I will handle it, but each time I do it becomes that little bit easier. I also realise just how much fun it can be hanging out with these two little souls who really are the biggest hams I've ever met in my life. They make my life what it is.

How long did it take you to get the nerve to go on big solo trips with your kid/kids? And if you have more than two, do you have any of them on a lead?!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The girls were invited by the Hi-5 PR company and there was absolutely no obligation to blog about it, although I'm sure they'll be happy that I did, lol! Either way, I have not been paid for this post and all opinions are my own. As always.

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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Three Bloggers and a Camera // Life // Photography

Once again the weekend has come and gone in a flash and I find myself sitting in front of my computer, late Monday night, editing. Editing, editing, editing. You see, I took a lot of photos on the weekend. Which if you know me in the slightest, is nothing new, but this time they weren't photos of my own kids and family. They were photos of other people's kids and families.

Now before you start thinking I've gone all weirdo voyeur on you, let me explain. Back in August I made a very big decision. I decided to take a leap of faith, go out on a limb, throw all caution to the wind. I put the call out for anyone that was interested to have a little faith in me and book me to take their family photos for them.

The idea being, that I'll get some more work to fill my portfolio with, but I'll also gain so really, super valuable experience & knowledge. Well let me tell you, I got both of those in spades. Not only that, but I also had a lot of fun to boot! It's definitely made me realise that this is what I really want to do.

Yes I love design, and I will continue to learn and dabble as time allows, but the last few weeks I've really realised that photography is where my heart and true passion lies. I knew at the beginning of the year that 2014 was going to be a game changer. I just had this feeling that it was going to be the year I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up and that I would finally be able to take steps to make that happen.

From doing these two shoots over the weekend (with the fabulous Ann from Help!! I'm Stuck and Emma over at Five Degrees of Chaos) I can see clearly now the things that I'm doing ok at and the things I need to work on. My photographs  and technique are nowhere near perfect yet and I thank both Ann and Emma for being patient with me while I got my settings right and madly scouted for the best spots to snap.

Over the next week I'll be editing and sorting all of the images, getting them print ready and winging their way to their new homes. With Ann and Emma's permission I'll show you some of my best and favourite shots next week, once I've had a chance to sort through them all finish the final edits. I've picked a couple to include here, just to give you a little taste and teaser of how the weekend went.

I've set up a super basic website for my photography over on Wordpress, if you're interested you can have a little squiz over here at www.kyliepurtellphotography.com.au. As time goes on I'll add more to it and create more mini-portfolios of my work. For now there's just the bare bones but I hope to have it looking a little slicker and fuller as time goes on and I hone my Wordpress skills! It's definitely a learning curve after using Blogger for the past 5 and a bit years!

I've also set up a facebook page, where I'll also post previews of the work I've been doing and the photos I've been taking. I'm hoping to go to Tafe next year and study for my Certificate IV in Photo Imaging, so I'm sure I'll have lots to share from that as well!

It's exciting times ahead and I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited. I feel like this could really be the start of something special, and I can't wait to see what happens in the coming year!

What's your passion? Have you ever pursued a dream?
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