Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Two Peas in a Cot

Do you have a sister? I have three, and two sisters-in-law, and I love them all to bits. The best friends a girl could ask for.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Let's Talk About Blogging: How do YOU read blogs?

I went to a blogging thing on Saturday and it was all sorts of cool. It was the Kidspot Voices of 2014 Masterclass and dagnammit if I wasn't in blogger heaven getting to meet not one, not two, but a few of my blogging girl-crushes!

There was so much to take in, as there always is at one of these events, and I will most definitely share some of what I learnt in later posts. But a few things that were mentioned in passing got me thinking about how I read blogs, and how you guys read my blog.

I've had this post sitting in my drafts folder for ages now, about 6 months. It came to me in a flash of brilliance while lying in bed trying to fall asleep, as all the good blog posts do, and I've been meaning to ask you for ages...

How do YOU read blogs?

Yes of course I know how you read, you spent many years as a young child learning. What I really wanna know, is how do you keep on top of all the blogs you like and love? How do you get through all of the thousands of new posts by the hundreds of awesome bloggers out there?
Mah Blogging Bitches - Two of the awesome bloggers I was lucky enough to meet, Emily from Have a Laugh on Me & Bec from Mumma Tells

I've tried a few different things.

In the beginning I used to follow via Google Reader and when I logged in to Blogger I could easily scroll through all the new posts and click on the ones I wanted to read of.

Then I started a system in my browser's favourites folder, where I would have them saved into three categories:
A List Blogs, the ones I checked every day for new posts;
B List Blogs (you can see where I'm going with this, right?), the ones I checked every week for new posts;
and C List Blogs, the ones I checked every month or so.
Now there are too many, and I read a lot from my iPhone and iPad, so it just doesn't work that way anymore.

Now I subscribe to everyone's blogs via email. I've created a folder where they're all sent automatically and I scroll through and read at leisure. I find subscribing by email to be one of the easiest ways, as long as I keep on top of it!

I also come and go from Bloglovin but I've been thinking lately that I really need to give it a proper go. What I love about Bloglovin is the ability to go from post to post and comment straight on the blogger's blog. Something which you can't do via the email because you have to click over to the blog and then comment, something which I don't always have time for.

There are so many awesome blogs that I just love to read and I just don't have time to read them all as soon as they post, so I tend to binge-read. I won't read someones blog for a few weeks, or a month or so, but then I'll go and read every post they have written in that time-frame. I only tend to leave comments on one or two of the posts, lest I seem like a crazy stalker bitch!

And that's another thing, how do you find the time to comment on all the posts you read? Do you comment on all the posts you read?

Personally, I reckon I only leave a comment on about 50% of posts. Mostly because I read them while feeding the baby or during other snatched pieces of time and think "I'll go back later to comment on that" and then totally forget and never get around to it!

So I would love to know, how do you read blogs? 
What's your favourite way to get new post updates? 
Do you binge-read like me? 
And is your blog on Bloglovin? If it is I'd love for you to let me know in the comments so I can make sure I am following you. You can find me on Bloglovin, or subscribe to new posts via email below.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Monday Mini-Rant - F&%king "Fashion" and Why I'll never be a fashion blogger

The other day I went to the shops to try and find something to wear to the #voicesof2014 blogging masterclass. And lemme tell ya, it was an effing depressing experience!

I am at that stage where I am not only in between sizes, but I'm in between what is considered plus-size and what's not. So trying to find clothes that fit, both in the shops and in my own bloody wardrobe is an absolute nightmare.

All of the clothes in my wardrobe are either too small, too big, or too damn maternity!

I am so over wearing maternity clothes after being pregnant, breastfeeding, pregnant and breastfeeding, pregnant and once again breastfeeding (you follow that?!) for the past almost 3 and a half years!

If you asked Dave, he would tell you that I have more clothes than any one person has a right to own. However I'l let you try and explain to him why it is that women-with-bursting-wardrobes everywhere exclaim "I have nothing to wear!!!!".  Good luck with that!

Venturing in to the shops it would seem the only people who want to buy clothes are those who are either young or blind. Or ridiculously thin! I spent a shitload of time going in to 3, yes 3 bloody stores, trying to find something, anything, that I could wear.

That was 2 more shops than I'd bargained for!

I don't have a lot of money to spend on clothes, and I've never been big on designer-wear anyway. My budget and comfort level has always seen me well and truly shopping in places like Target and Big W. And boy-oh-boy was I disappointed when I walked out of Target.

Normally I can find something semi-decent in Target, and if not there then Big W, but alas it was not meant to be.

Putting aside the fact that we only have a stupid, poxy Target Country (the place where all the regular Targets send all their rejects and odd-sized stock it seems!) it appears that the people who design the fashions available in our Target hate their customers. Or at least they hate me. (They will after this post at any rate!)

It's all shapeless and floral. Or just downright ugly. There were some tops that I really couldn't believe anyone would actually buy! It looked like one of my Grandma's old lounges had been murdered to make clothing for the stylistically challenged!

And what is with all the cropped tops? I didn't understand them in 1994 and I sure as hell don't understand them now. Especially the long-sleeved cropped top. The only way I can see that working is if you've got a nice, protective layer of fat around the mid-section, blubber some might call it, to keep you warm. But those damn cropped tops certainly weren't designed for the likes of me and my mega-muffin tops so that can't be it.

Maybe the old adage "no sense, no feeling" was actually meant to be "no fashion sense, no feeling"?

Long-sleeved, tartan crop tops with leather-look shoulder patches? And matching mini skirts to boot?

Really, Target???


And what's with all the leather pants and leggings? The only place I wanna see leather pants is in a nightclub or 1999.

And it's not even real leather, it's "leather look". What the fuck? Forget about crimes against animals, this is crimes against fashion on a grand scale, and I for one, will have no part in it!

If this is what passes for clothing these days then STOP THE WORLD! I want to get off!

This post is further proof of why I'll never be a fashion blogger and have now guaranteed I'll never be a bloody Target brand ambassador either! Do you hate shopping as much as I do? And please tell me you are not down with the whole leather-look thing. If you are, we might have to break up!

Linking it up with mah girl Em over at Have a Laugh on Me to wet her head on her first hosting of the Laugh Link. Get over them and have a few laughs with Em and those other hilarious chickas! And also linking up with the other various Monday link-ups, I Must Confess, Open Slather, and Mummy Mondays.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

96-102/365 - Zee

6th April 2014 - You're newest skill is clapping your hands, and you absolutely love it when I sing the song "If you're happy and you know it" so that you can practice your clapping over and over. It brings me immense joy to see your face light up and your little hands start clapping furiously when I sing.

7th April 2014 - Today it was a bit cooler and so Daddy dressed you in a long-sleeved shirt. This shirt used to be one of your sister's and it's also one of Mummy & Daddy's favourites. It's so good to see it getting a second lease of life!

8th April 2014 - While not quite crawling yer, you manage to get around the lounge room pretty well with a combination of wriggling, rolling and pushing with your toes. Today you found the window and you spent a lot of time moving the blinds about so you could see outside.

9th April 2014 - You seriously love your vegemite toast in the morning, and you make a serious mess with it!

10th April 2014 - It's become common practice for Punky to come in and help get you up after a nap, and the way your face lights up when you see her at the side of the cot is magical.

11th April 2014 - Punky and "Unky Dan" spend lots of time playing together when we visit Nan & Pop's house, and today you got to join in the fun with them, playing with all the toys in the spare room.

12th April 2014 - Today I was gone from 11am to 5:30pm to a blogging masterclass and so you had to fend for yourself (well, your Dad fended for you!) food-wise. I think it's the longest you've gone without a breastfeed during the day and needless to say, you were pretty happy to see me and my boobs walk through that door! My boobs were pretty happy to see you too, to be honest!

If you've missed any of Zee's 365 project you can find them all here.

96-102/365 - Punky

6th April 2014 - This is a twice daily occurence, hanging out in Zee's cot when she wakes up from her nap. You love to climb in and insist on helping unzip her from her sleeping bag. There are tantrums if you don't get to pull her legs out!

7th April 2014 -  - You are always moving. Always.

8th April 2014 - Once again in Zee's cot after her nap. You love to give her cuddles, although sometimes you squeeze a little too tight. Zee doesn't seem to mind though. Most of the time!

9th April 2014 - You love to have your nails painted just like Mummy, and you're very good at standing still and then blowing on them until they dry.

10th April 2014 - You got a little bored waiting in the coffee shop while Daddy got his hair cut. I got you a babycino but it seems you're not a fan!

11th April 2014 - "Unky Dan" is such a good Uncle to you, he spends lots of time playing with you whenever we go to visit. If we can't find you then it's guaranteed that you'll be with D somewhere!

12th April 2014 - This morning Daddy took Zee with him to do the grocery shopping so you and I got to have breakfast together, like we used to do when you were younger, before Zee was born. You were telling me a very interesting story. Sine you've learnt to talk you are a little chatter-box!

If you've missed any of Punky's 365 project you can find them all here.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

If I die tomorrow...

I was looking in my desk for a notebook on Tuesday night. I have so many, I've been obsessed with stationery for a very long time (why oh why were there no stationery stores around when I was a teenager?!) and I knew that I would most likely have an unused one somewhere.

I found a nice purple one that looked fresh. One I got from work when we had excess samples. I pulled it out and grabbed a pen, thinking to utilise it for making notes on some of the design stuff I've been doing for my own blog and others.

When I opened it to the first page I discovered that it had in fact been used. What I found written on the first two pages surprised me. I'd completely forgotten writing those words. But as I read them, all of the thoughts and emotions I'd felt at the time came rushing back to me.

I found that notebook not long after I read the news of Peaches Geldoff's death. I don't know a lot about her and haven't followed her life or career. But what I do know is that she left behind two very small boys. My heart breaks for those boys, when I think about them growing up without their mother.

Life is such an unpredictable thing. It's easy to take it for granted, even though we know it can be taken from us in a second. Hearing the sad news of her passing, and of the shock death of another blogger's husband on the weekend, it reminded me once again of how precious this life really is.

What I found when I opened that notebook was a letter I'd written to Zee, exactly one week before she was born. At the time I was really struggling with the prospect of being induced and just feeling so desperate to meet this baby I'd carried around for 40 weeks to the day. I remember writing a similar letter to Punky, 3 days before she was born.

Punky's letter carries with it the expectation of motherhood. I talk a lot about how much I can't wait to meet her, the hopes and dreams I have for her, my hopes of being the perfect mum. I love that letter, and I know she will one day too. I love it because I can see myself standing on the precipice of motherhood, about to step off in to the unknown, having no idea what I was really getting myself in to.

The letter I've written to Zee carries with it the experience of motherhood....
"Before your sister was born I was so incredibly nervous. I had no idea what to expect and I worried so much about being the perfect mother."

What I didn't know before Punky was born was just how hard some aspects of motherhood would be. I also couldn't fully comprehend the joy and pure, unfettered love I would feel towards my child. It changed me, in a way no other event in my life has or could.

But when I wrote that letter to Zee I was more realistic about what to expect...
"I know I can't be the perfect mum. But I hope that no matter what, you will love me as much as I love you.  Know that even when it didn't seem like it, I tried my very best to be the mum that you need."

That sums up my journey of motherhood so far. If there is one thing I want my girls to know, especially as they get older, it's that.

Everything I do for them, I do with love. All I can do is promise I'll try my best for them. That I do try my best for them. And that I loved them. Before they were born I loved them.

And when I'm gone, I'll love them still.

If I die tomorrow, that's what I want my girls to know.

Rachel from The Kids are All Right is organising donations in order to arrange for a food delivery service for Janine (the blogger who lost her husband that I mentioned above) and her daughters during this horrible time. $10 will purchase one meal. If you would like to contribute, you can contact Rachel via her facebook page and I'm sure she will be happy to give you the bank account details, otherwise you can see all the info here for members of Digital Parents.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Sydney, how I love thee...

Last week I was lucky enough to get in to the city to finally use a gift voucher that I got last year for Endota Spa (I literally used it the day it expired!). I've never been there before and it was really nice. To be honest, I've never been to a day spa that wasn't nice!

I absolutely love the city and this spa was at The Rocks, an absolutely beautiful part of Sydney that I just don't get to spend enough time in. Walking around with a coffee afterwards really made me miss my days of working on Bathurst Street in my early 20s. And then I remembered the travel and I was more than happy to be able to work so close to home now. When I'm not on maternity leave that is!

I took all of these photos on my iPhone. I did have my big camera with me but forgot to grab it out of the car, but the iPhone did the job, it's hard to make Sydney look bad.

endota spa the rocks sydney

Obligatory post-massage bathroom selfie, complete with greasy face

the rocks, sydney, nurses walk

the rocks, sydney, suez canal

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay

Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay

Linking up with this tremendous trio for Wordless Wednesday...
My Little Drummer Boys

and this gorgeous gal for Words on Wednesday...


Thanks so much for stopping by!
If you loved this post then you will love hanging out with me on Facebook! 
I promise I post good stuff! So come like. Pretty Please?
And while I've got your attention, why don't you subscribe by email too? All the cool kids are doing it!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

My Top 5 Tips for Helping Babies Sleep Better at Night

This post includes a review of Treasures nappies**

Getting a baby to sleep through the night is the Holy Grail when it comes to parenting. Or so people would have you believe. The simple fact of the matter is, everyone's definition of "through the night" is different. To some people sleeping through the night means going to bed at 7pm and not waking again until 7am. For other people it might mean sleeping between the hours of midnight and 6am.

Whatever your definition, getting a baby to sleep longer hours at night can be a challenge. But there are a few simple things you can do to try and help your bub sleep better or longer. By no means do I claim to be an expert, but in my limited experience, I've picked up a few things here and there that have definitely helped my girls to sleep better and I thought I'd share them with you today.

My Top 5 Tips for Helping Babies Sleep Better at Night

Top Tip Number 1 - Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it!

I'm not one for strict routines, I'm much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl. But if there is one thing that I am a stickler for it's our evening/bedtime routine. As soon as I implemented a clear routine when Punky was about 9 months old, getting her off to sleep became much easier and as a result of me being less stressed, she was less stressed and slept better.

Zee has slipped right in to the routine with only a few variations and it makes life a lot easier, lemme tell ya! Your routine can include anything, bath, massage, singing or stories. The important thing is to make it consistent and do it every night if possible. Make sure that anyone who might be looking after bubs at bedtime knows the routine and can stick to it as closely as possible.

Top Tip Number 2 - Don't be afraid of creating "bad habits"

Babies, especially young babies, change so quickly. There you are cruising along, thinking you've got this little creature all worked out and BAM! The little buggers throw a spanner in the works and you're back to square one. So with that in mind, don't be scared by all the people who say you shouldn't do this or you shouldn't do that because you'll "create bad habits".

I don't know a single teenager who is still breastfed or rocked to sleep by their Mum. In fact, I'm pretty sure there aren't too many kids in primary school being breastfed or rocked to sleep in Mummy's arms either. The simple fact of the matter is, it's just as important for you to be getting some decent sleep so you can function properly as a wife, mother, whatever. So if breastfeeding, co-sleeping, rocking or cuddling bubs to sleep equals more sleep for you, then do it. Bad habits be damned!

Top Tip Number 3 - Make comfort a priority

Make sure your baby isn't too hot or too cold. Keep a thermometer in their room and adjust clothing and/or blankets accordingly. We have a small portable fan in each of the girls rooms to circulate the air and also to provide a little white noise. The fan is directed away from them so they don't have any direct breeze at all and the sound helps to cover any sudden noises that Dave or I may make, or the crying of their sister through the night.

Find your baby a good swaddle (and later a sleeping bag) and buy many! All the experts tell us wrapping is important in helping babies sleep, however it's not so easy to master. And if your babies are anything like mine, those little Houdinis will escape even the tightest of wrappings.

We personally used the Love to Dream swaddle after a friend gave us one when Punky was 4 weeks old. It was a godsend and we instantly noticed a difference in how well Punky slept once using it. We used them from birth with Zee. There are heaps of different swaddles/wraps on the market, it's just a matter of finding the one that works best for your bub. For us, the Love to Dream was the easiest to use and easiest to clean and care for. (Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Love to Dream, I just love their swaddles so much.)

Top Tip Number 4 - Find a Good Nappy.

The last thing your bubba wants is to be waking up feeling wet and cold. So a good nappy is a must. You might find that one brand is great for during the day but another works well for the long overnight period. Once you've found a nappy that works stick to it, and hopefully that will eliminate the need for a mid-night nappy change and assist in helping bubs sleep more comfortably.

We've tried lots of different brands and our chosen is the Aldi brand. However, I was recently sent a pack of a new-to-Australia brand of nappies to trial, Treasures. Treasures nappies have been sold in New Zealand for over 30 years and they have just launched here in Australia.
sleeping treasures, baby sleep tips

I have to say, after trying out the Treasures nappies I'm seriously considering switching. They are good quality and most importantly they didn't leak, not once. And aside from Aldi, I've not found another brand that my girls can wear without having leakage issues. Even taking in to account the fact that Zee really could have done with the next size up, they performed excellently. The cute Hairy Maclary designs were a bonus too, Punky was begging to help me "put Hair Clary on Zee".

But don't take my word for it, try them for yourself. My suggestion is try to every nappy you can get your hands on, talk to other Mum's and see what brands they use and if you can, do a swap and try out their brand if it's different to yours. But give the Treasures nappies a go too, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I certainly wasn't.

Top Tip Number 5 - Don't Beat Yourself Up!

Try to stress less and don't beat yourself up if your baby has a bad night. Stay calm at bedtime. The more stressed out I get in the evenings and during the bedtime routine, the harder it is to get the girls off to sleep, and the worse they sleep during the night. It's easier said than done of course but it really does make a difference. Your mood will dictate theirs.

The most important thing to remember however, is that when it comes to babies, they are all different. Shocking I know! And also remember that it's totally normal for a baby or young child to not sleep through the night for a long time. Second time around we've been lucky. Zee has been a great sleeper from day one. I'd like to say it's because I have my shit together as a Mum now but I'd be lying! I don't think that will ever happen! Zee is just one of those babes that sleeps well.

Punky on the other hand didn't sleep through the night without waking at least one or twice until well after she was a year old. Once I realised and accepted that that was just the way she was, life felt a little easier. I came to understand that as long as I did all I could to make sure she was clean, dry, comfortable and relaxed I had done my best and that's all we can ever do really.

So there you have it, my Top 5 Tips for helping babies sleep better at night. Treasures nappies have kindly offered up the chance for one of you guys to win $75 worth of nappies (8 packets) by simply sharing your best tip for helping babies sleep at night.

So leave a comment with your best tip and the hastag #SleepingTreasures to go in to the draw. Feel free to leave your tip without the hashtag if you're past the nappy-needing stage (in which case I will be insanely jealous!). For extra points why not post a pic of your own sleeping treasure on Instagram or my facebook page with the tag #SleepingTreasures and your top tip for everyone to see. Don't forget to tag me @kyl21z if you post to Instagram.

**I was sent a pack of Treasures nappies to trial and review. As always all opinions expressed are purely my own.

The boring bits:
*Giveaway is open to Australian residents only. Total prize valued at $74.
*By entering the competition, Entrants give Treasures (SCA HYGIENE AUSTRALASIA PTY LTD ) permission to share/publish the blog posts/comments on the Treasures website and its social media channels.
*Entries must include the hastag #SleepingTreasures to be valid
*This is a game of skill and winner will be chosen based on creativity and originality
*Competition is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram
*Giveaway ends Monday 14th April at 11:59pm AEST

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Monday, 7 April 2014

89-95/365 - Zee

30th March 2014 - Before bed each night, after you've had a bath and been dressed in your PJs, you get a few minutes to hang in the lounge room with Punky while I get everything ready for bed. Every now and then I catch you watching in the Night Garden, but you seem to think finding any piece of paper you can get your hands on is much more interesting!

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