Gorgeousness DOES grow on Trees!

Just back from the newest crafty markets in Brisbane! The inaugural Mummy Tree Markets were held this morning from 9am – 2pm at Murrarrie.

Now I adore markets and, as the saying goes, I must be a fool for I am easily parted with my money when seeing all of the handmade gorgeousness! I went with a wallet full of cash and sans children so that I could really look around. Arrival was about midday and I appeared to have missed the morning rush that many of the stallholders were discussing – I did like it that way as parking was plentiful and I was able to take my time when looking around without being shoved.

The first thing I noticed was a fenced playground for the kids which was a fab idea, however had I brought them and placed them here it would have prevented me shopping while I parented and if I chose not to put them in then I would have been nagged the entire way around the markets ‘mummy when can we go on the slide? Can we go now mum? when can we go to the swings mum? mummy when are you going to be finished?’, so I was able to give silent thanks once again that I was alone.

Now, for a the initial glance around. Loads of pettiskirts, handmade dresses, hair accessories and bags. Plenty of wraps, baby blankets and change mats. I don’t want to say that I’ve seen it all before, but nothing was really blowing me away. A lot of things that were all very nice, a reversible hat that would have looked sweet on Tilly and a cute clutch for wipes and change mat but I was beginning to think I was going to go home empty handed in spite of the influx of babies that is imminent.

I picked up a couple of multi-coloured pencils for the kids. $2 well spent – cute and crafty!

Then I spotted them! Two divine hobby horses! These are so cute – I totally wanted them for the kids except that they already have a hobby horse, not nearly as gorgeous as these of course! They are just what I would have wanted as a little one and I did spend some time wondering if I’d be able to get away with riding into the sunset on one now days….The horses were $45 and Plenty ‘o’ Pockets were taking Christmas orders so get in quick I say, I can’t imagine any little one who wouldn’t love these on Chrissy morning. To order or for more information email plentyopockets@hotmail.com

Next I found the most gorgeous, perfect smelling, natural lotions and body yums at milkbottles stall! I picked up ‘Hey Bugs, sniff this!’ – it’s a natural insect repellent AND sunscreen! At the rate I’m going through both at the moment I thought it would be a perfect solution – and it’s safe for the kidlets – hooray! Plus it has the cutest little owl on it – how could I resist….

I spotted some Macaroons from Authentic French Macaroons and these are my absolute weakness, made sure I got a pistachio and a mango. I had to share with the kids and The Daddy of course but they were yummo, not quite Adriano Zumbo who changed my life with his macaroons (I’m spoiled!), but still pretty damn delicious!

Finally, we are talking a lot about pirates at the moment and I wandered past a stall put together by Australian author Dr Cameron Stelzer. I love supporting Australian authors and I know how hard it is to get a kids book published so I really hoped to find something for the kidlets and what should I spy but The Stoogle Sails the Seven Seas which was so perfect!

Also had it signed by the author.

And it was tres popular!

Oooops nearly forgot! On the way out I bought some beautiful handmade cards from Mali Made. I hate shelling out a fortune for newsagent cards and the kids aren’t always obliging with home made creativity when I need it so I had to have them! The cards were so beautiful and heartfelt that I found myself welling up at some of the personal messages I found on them.

So that was my Mummy Tree Market experience. It’s on again next month, check out their site for details and head on down.

Also Mathilda’s Market comes back to Brisbane next weekend…… maybe I’ll see you there!!

Freebie Friday! – Tried, Tested & Tasted

Well in the Twitterverse, it’s Follow Friday – a day to let others know who the cool Tweeps are. Well, given the people I follow aren’t exactly unknowns I’m not sure I can help with their follow numbers so instead I’m going to do a blogging Freebie Friday!

Blogs I follow have been doing so many cool competitions lately, and rather than starting with a comp I thought a freebie everyone can enjoy would be more fun.

We discovered after having the little people that friends and relatives would love to give gifts to the kids every holiday season. The list of reciprocal gifts spiraled out of control and we pretty quickly realised that we couldn’t afford to gift back to everyone who was generous with the kids. The first Chrissy I made homemade jams for people, after that I decided to do a cookbook. I asked family and friends for their favourite recipes and collated them into a cookbook which (with the help of my gorgeous friend Kylie!) we printed and bound and gave as Chrissy pressies. I still use mine ALL the time, I think others languish in cupboards but I’m often asked ‘this is delicious, can I get the recipe?’ to which I reply ‘It’s in The Book!’.

So – here is my little gift to you all, a copy of The Cook Book. Included is my Grandmothers famous Hummingbird Cake and Chocolate Caramel Slice (these are family treasures my friends!). There’s also some really cool Vegetarian recipes in there thanks to the lovely Free! Anyway it’s high time for issue two – but they are rather time consuming so we’ll see……

Disclaimer one: Please excuse typos, I had a two month old when I did it and although I’ve noticed most by now I didn’t have the energy to go back and make corrections

Disclaimer two: Any recipe faults from the first printing have been corrected. i.e. the cup of sugar from the anzac biscuits is now listed 🙂

Disclaimer three: If you are a rich chef with a TV show, or an international printing house and we have used one of your recipes here please don’t sue me. I have tried to credit you but  these recipes came from all over and we’re not selling them guys. So again – no suing ok?

Disclaimer four: If you provided a recipe and didn’t know that it would be put out to the universe with your photos included then I assure you it wasn’t my plan at the time. But complaints can be sent in writing.

Click the link below to download the PDF

CookBook

A sewing we will go…

I am soooo overdue on about 30,000 sewing projects. I have birthday pressies from months ago that i still need to complete and then god forbid – POST!

Why do I hate the post office? Could it be because the children see it as one of two places in the world (the other is the bank) where they can channel crazed monkeys on speed! Or is it because of the eternal queues, or because I put it off for so long that I have to take Miles’ little red wagon to carry everything I have to send. Or is it because I can’t stand how organised I have to be – I have to have the stuff I need to send (usually wrapped and with a card on it uuuurgh!), I have to have the receiver’s address actually with me and then I do something like sealing the parcel without the card or something equally stupid and stressful while trying to tie my children to the table with packing string.

Anyhoo I digress…..

I actually managed to sew today! A monster softie and a new bag! The bag is from a pattern in Handmade Home. It worked out really well, except I’d change the handles a little next time, just cause I like them a little longer so that it’s a little more of a shoulder tote and I can have my hands free to hold those of the kidlets. Well this one is a gift, so hopefully the recipient won’t be so picky 🙂 The photos have come out strangely, the colours on it look red but they are actually orange.

Also, my one of my gorgeous Brissy friends came across some crochet squares that her Grandmother had made and given how much I love crochet she offered them to me to put together. YAY! I can’t wait, I got them out today and they are differing sizes so I’m going to have to get creative….. hmmm love a new project, especially one this colourful.

Last but definitely not least I had coffee this week in a bookshop. GOD I love books! So much! I love the smell of them, the feel of them, the look of them all lined up but best of all is all the limitless possibilities inside – so sending me anywhere near a good book shop is so, so, so dangerous. Initially I got totally distracted by the cook books, I looooove new recipes, and it was hard to drag myself away however I accidentally spied Pip Lincolne from Meet Me At Mike’s new book Sew La Tea Do and just had to have it.

Shhhhhh don’t tell The Daddy. Hope to have some new exciting sewing creations soon…..

All By Design

I really love gorgeous home interiors. I’m not very good at it but am totally inspired by people who are. Cuckoo for Coco has created the most gorgeous room for her boy.

I would have LOVED to do something like this for my kids. I had views of designer interiors, each piece handpicked for their individual gorgeousness. Muted tones, handmade toys, unique pieces that we’d keep as babyhood memories.

I also imagined a house where my lounge was stark and modern sans toys, everything with a place and everything in it’s place and none of it in my imaginary designer home. (I say imaginary because my house was full of second hand furniture cobbled together as best we could from auctions and hand me downs – but hey, we can all dream yeah?)

Now for those of you rolling on the floor with laughter holding your sides as you shake your head at my ridiculous naivety, I can say without doubt that you actually have children, and most probably live with them day to day.

When Miles was a bubba and we had toys mounting up I was wondering how I could keep them contained and out of the lounge, until one day when The Daddy said to me ‘It’s his house too’. And I stopped. And I reassessed my loungroom. And I put away my coffee table with the glass top, and I went and purchased the ugliest television cabinet in the world – because it could be locked (I drew the line at peanut butter toast in the VCR – yes we still had a VCR!) and I made a home for Miles’ toys and a mat for him to play on in warmth and comfort, next to the second hand furniture that I liked to pretend was chic, or at least shabby chic.

Then when it came to their bedroom……… wow, there are the most divine children’s furnishings out there, enough to make a shop-a-holic like me drool! So when we needed to get Miles into a big bed, how do we go about this thing?

Step 1 – Let him choose the bed…. (it’s freaking bright blue!)

Step 2 – put his favourite cartoon Thomas the Tank Engine sheets on it. (I love Thomas but I’m not talking gorgeous vintage Thomas, I’m talking modern garish Thomas…. oh ugly!)

Yes, he wanted to get into it – I wanted to get rid of it. And yet I thought again of The Daddy’s advice – ‘it’s his house/room/bed’. It’s not mine. It’s not my choice. These are things that make him happy, and that’s the way it should be. Suprisingly I’ve got used to it. He now shares his room with his sister, his side is blue and hers is pink – the walls are covered in their artwork, a Tour de France map/poster, world map, rewards chart, growth chart and whatever else they want there. It’s as it should be. Now I look at the walls and I love their creativity. Others see bright paint splashes but I see Thomas and James, Wall E – Eva and the little cockroach friend, and princesses in castles in the rain. It won’t appear in any home magazine, it won’t win any design awards but it makes the kids supremely happy…….. and surprisingly me too!

How to you manage life and kids and design?

Cause we are living in a digital world, and I am a digital girl…..

Sadly, I have been absent from the digital world. My usual reliance on blogging, facebook and twitter has taken a shake up. I went through withdrawals, it was horrible – there was shaking, violence and night terrors…. at times I thought I wouldn’t survive…..

No, our internet connection was not lost. No, my iPhone did not land in the toilet. No, I did not ‘get a life’ so to speak. Worse…..

My mother came to stay….. for a MONTH!

Now, I love my mother. The kids adore having their grandma here. She helps with the daily chores (thanks mum!). But she doesn’t understand technology. By ‘doesn’t understand’ I actually mean ‘refuses to try to understand or to learn’. I mean, she struggles to work a remote control and her mobile phone is a mystery. She is on Face Book and has an email account but the only one that accesses both is me. Keep in mind she is not yet 65 and so should really still be open to this type of thing.

Anyway I do not judge her for her refusal to take up technology, after all several before her have famously selected NOT to participate. Ummmm Tom and Barbara from The Good Life come to mind…. BUT she does find any time I spend with my nose stuck to the screen a complete waste because she can’t see the result. Given that we moved state with the kids 12 months ago, I still use the ancient PC to keep in touch with friends and colleagues (I love you Face Book!), tweet my oh so inciteful banalities, occasionally work and when the mental diarrhea strikes I try to blog. Naturally blogging dropped to the bottom of the food chain. At night when mum went to bed I would start catching up on some of the amazing blogs out there and loved reading them so much that I couldn’t even remotely get around to writing!

Anyhoo – mum’s gone home and my digital life has recommenced. What happened in the meantime? We are trying to move, but need someone to rent our house first – if you know anyone in the market for a 5 bedroom bayside in BrisVegas let me know! I took two lots of antibiotics and am still sick, Hooray! My mother-in-law and father-in-law visited Brisbane – at the same time as my mother – almost a family reunion!, The Daddy’s cousin and her husband in Brissy are PREGNANT! Hooray! So excited, LOVE a new baby with new baby smell and a new yummy mummy. We went to Sea World on a pupil free day (I was very stupidly uninformed – as usual), and the backyard flooded in all the rain we had…. it’s still soggy. I have done no sewing but the house is clean….hmmmmm…. and it looks like The Daddy will be off to Kuala Lumpur Sunday night on a last minute business trip. So not much!

I’ve missed catching up, pour a cuppa or a vino and pull up a pew…..What’s been happening with you?

fully sick

There’s nothing worse than sick kids. Really.

When I think of sick kids I think of green snotty noses and nasty coughs that keeps us housebound and away from others so that we aren’t accused of infecting our friends. It’s cancelled play dates and birthday parties and reshuffled swimming classes and trying to entertain and fight off cabin fever all with the hope that the rest of the household remain remotely healthy! After the first 5 years I think I should have shares in children’s Panadol!

But (in a follow up from things I should have told myself before becoming a mum), I never knew how worried and useless I would feel when they have a fever, the sad puppy looks in their eyes when they just feel terrible and don’t know why. When they can’t get off the couch to play, when they won’t eat, or when they’re sobbing covered in vomit because they don’t understand and are worried about the mess everywhere while you hold them, rock them and tell them everything will be fine while secretly hoping that you’re right.

Then, there’s when they won’t move. Won’t get up. When they just want to sleep and you don’t know what to do and you race to the doctors with a limp child in your arms, when you’re too scared to even cry. When the whole family goes straight to hospital emergency and the doctors call so they expect you. Then the wait as the doctors start to care for your child – somehow it feels better in emergency, you know they’re taking care of your little one.

Now another shock. In a children’s hospital it’s quiet – scarily quiet. Here there are no children playing, calling out, laughing – there’s very little crying – where I excpect noise it’s eerie to hear the silence with the beep of the machines. Then you start to look around, trying not to pry but wondering about the other children – and you realise that you are astronomically lucky. There are incredibly sick kids in the world, kids who won’t be going home in a couple of days, kids that the doctors all know by their first names, kids attached to machines who can’t yet walk. I’m sure that part of me knew this existed before, but kids hospitals on television are always presented as such positive places, they make kids better don’t they? with clown doctors and happy nurses? They are there too, but this picture fails completely to capture the reality of the situation. And the parents. Mothers who do not move from their children’s bedside. Mothers who sleep in chairs all night to stay within touching distance of their babies. Mothers who hide their tears and fear from their little ones. How do these parents cope? How do they get through each day? each night? each minute? Where do they find this strength? I have incredible respect for these amazing mums and dads, they are their children’s world.

And then it’s over, for us. We go home to snotty noses and nasty coughs and hope we never go back.   But I think of those parents often. I wish I could ease their burden, wish I could make something better for them. Wish I knew them enough to drop in a change of clothes, a real coffee and a new toothbrush. I feel guilty for what we have – two beautiful healthy children. And I feel lucky, so so lucky. Then I let them crawl into bed with me, and take my blankets, play with my hair and lay on my head to be close to them. Because I’m lucky enough to have them.

Reflections of Motherhood

This gorgeous video was already posted by Jodie Ansted over at Mummy Mayhem but I had to share it too. (and kinda steal Jodie’s post!)

What would I tell my ‘pre-baby’ self?

  • Your instinct is better than any advice anyone else can give you
  • You CAN do it!
  • Birth is amazing, fantastic and wonderful!
  • You are already a brilliant mum
  • Nothing will be the same again….. ever, but that’s a good thing!
  • You are about to love in ways you never thought possible
  • You will never put yourself first again
  • This is the biggest adventure you’ll ever have – hang on and enjoy the ride!
  • Sleep, cuddle, kiss, love, wonder, play – forget the housework!

What would you tell your pre-baby self?

*cough, cough*

Sorry for the silence. Well silence in the virtual world anyway, in our house a little silence would be bliss but it’s been filled with racking coughs for 6 weeks now. That consumption I mentioned previously sent me back to the docs again for a diagnosis of bad bronchitis so am on forced rest and antibiotics. Luckily my mother is staying with us so she’s on tea  making and reading Mr Men books while I crochet and watch the Cycling World Championships and old Mad Men episodes…..

I did manage a dress (from the Solar Dress tutorial) before I was bedridden as a gift for a little girl’s birthday in Sydney but who knows when I’ll get out to the post office.

In other news – I’ve started working, doing some marketing for our little cycling sites, and I actually plan to get back on the bike once the chest pain subsides….. Also have to find a new house, break our lease and find someone to take this place, pack and move and get Miles into a new school. Wish me luck, I can’t wait! :S

Miles is digging on an old favourite Arlo Guthrie track at the moment Alice’s Restaurant, if you’ve got a spare 20mins enjoy!