Thursday, May 8, 2014

Adventures in Motherhood: Mother's Day

Mother's Day is something that still feels a little foreign to me. I still feel as though it is I time to celebrate all the other mother's in my life, forgetting that I am actually a mother now too. In fact, this will be my second Mother's Day.

Motherhood has brought more rewards than I ever could have imagined;
       more sleeplessness,
       more laughter,
       more patience (or less depending on the day),
       more joy,
       more stress,
and more love than I ever knew I could feel.

I love you Olivia, thank you for making me a mother!

I love you too Mum, Happy Mother's Day xoxo

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kid Food

This recipe came about because I was at a loss for what else to do with the potatoes and sweet potatoes that were in the fridge. Olivia is past purees and won't even get stuck into a mash. So, I decided to try and make a patty along with some canned tuna. They were an instant hit and I now make them regularly for my big eater. Here is the recipe:


1 can chunk light tuna
8 small fingerling potatoes, cubed with the skin still on
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped finely (dried works too if you don't have fresh)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Boil the potatoes and sweet potatoes until tender, drain and allow to cool.
Mash up the potatoes and combine with the canned tuna, bread crumbs, egg and dill.
Form into good sized patties, this mixture usually makes about eight.
Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the patties until golden brown and then flip to cook the other side.
I then serve these to Olivia as is, just chopped up into finger food size.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mini & Me

I hope you had a great weekend. We did, we spent lots of time outdoors and enjoyed the sunshine. It wasn't the warmest of weekends but it was still nice enough to get outside. I am dreaming of the hot sweaty days that are just around the corner. I love summer!

Have a great week.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Adventures in Motherhood: The Magic of 1, 2, 3

We have a child who is fiercely independent, strong-willed and stubborn. When Olivia doesn't want to do something she is very quick to let us know it. At our last paediatrician visit, I was introduced to an idea that is magic in our house. Enter the simple concept of 1, 2, 3. Our paediatrician told us that whenever Olivia is being disobedient, we ask her to stop. If she doesn't stop, then I say to her, "I'm going to count to three and I need you to stop", and here is the key, if she still hasn't stopped we follow through by making her. For example, if Olivia doesn't want to leave the playground, I say "it's time to go home now, let's get in the stroller." If she refuses, then I tell her that I am going to count to three and then we are leaving. Once I get to three, if Olivia is still refusing, then I simply put her in the stroller (even if it's a battle).

Rocket science I know! But it works, and after two weeks of using this approach, I rarely get to three. I think it comes down to the fact that by allowing Olivia the time it takes to count to three, she is getting to make her own decision to stop doing something. Rather than us jumping straight in and taking that decision away from her. This has been a game changer for us in how we approach discipline with a toddler who has plenty of spunk. Boy do we adore her!

Do you have any other genius ideas for dealing with toddlers?

PS. Who else can't believe that it is May already!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Clean Skin....Baby

Just as I try to use the most natural and gentle products on myself, I also look for natural and gentle products for Olivia. Some of my tried and true favourite products for babies include:

Babyganics Thick & Kleen baby wipes. I also really like their sunscreen.

California Baby Shampoo & Body Wash in the Calming scent. This has a very subtle lavender smell, perfect for bedtime baths.

Burt's Bees Baby Bee Nourishing Baby Oil, this smells divine and isn't too greasy.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Lotion, a faint citrus smelling lightweight lotion, perfect for baby massages.

Bambo Nature Nappies/Diapers, I love love love these. I tested SO many of the chemical free and natural nappies and this one is my favourite by a long shot. Super absorbent, soft and thin, these really are the perfect nappy.

Honest Healing Balm has been what I've used at the first sign of nappy rash since Olivia was brand new. It has always healed straight away.

I also love Honest Bubble Bath. We've only recently started adding bubbles to the bath, and they make bath time so much more fun!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Things I Love About Spring

Images from Pinterest

1. Busting out bare legs for the first time.
2. Summery pasta dishes.
3. Flowers of all kinds (how gorgeous are these dahlias?).
4. Bye bye socks, hello bright flats.
5. Sangria, refreshing and delicious.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mini & Me

Sorry for the silence last week, we had a rough one around here. Olivia, Michael and I have all had colds and I know I felt lousy so can only imagine how my poor little chicken felt. It's really the first time that she's ever had a true fever too, so the poor little thing hasn't been herself. We had some cooler weather again (it even snowed), so at least when we stayed in I didn't feel like our days were wasted.

I am really hoping that summer is just around the corner though. So much so that summer clothes are all I can think about...even if I can't wear them just yet!

Have a great week.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Favourites: Storage Ideas

1. Pantry without clutter // 2. Drawers where everything has a place // 3. An organised fridge // 4. A snack pantry // 
5. Under stair linen storage

Images from Pinterest

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adventures in Motherhood: Highs & Lows

If there is one thing I have learnt about motherhood, it is that there are good days and bad days. Sure you love your child overwhelmingly, but boy are there some days where I wish I could take a day off (or just runaway and not come back!). I think it must be an age thing, but Olivia is going through such a grumpy little phase at the moment. I keep reminding myself of my favourite parenting mantra, "This too shall pass", but things are rough and the days are feeling endless around here.

The poor little muffin has a lot going on to be fair. There a molars coming ever so slowly, growth spurts happening and naps to be dropped. It's a lot, I get it. So while we are in a low point it is always nice to remind myself of all the joy that Olivia brings into our lives....

...She is talking more and more each day, and my heart melts every time I hear her call me "Mama"....

...or when says "waa-tah" (water) / "boo-bree" (blueberry) / "wower" (shower)....

...or when I ask for a kiss and she leans into me and then says "awwww"....

...or when she is holding a captive audience with the big kids at the playground, because she loves them so much, and they are so nice to her...

Olivia really is such a sweet, smart and funny little girl. I just hope this particular funk we are in right now passes sooner rather than later! It will right?!

EDIT: Just after I finished this post it is like we turned the corner (finally) and I have my happy girl back. It's funny really, just when you think you can't take much more, it's all over and you forget why you were so frustrated in the first place!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Hearty Bowl of Goodness

I had never tried chili before moving to America. I never really knew what it consisted of. I think it even took me a couple of years before I had my first steaming bowl. But when I finally did, I was hooked from my first spoonful. The earthy, spicy goodness is like a hug in a bowl. I can't get enough!

I first made my own chili when I was pregnant with Olivia. I have made so many tweaks and additions that I can't even remember where my first attempt came from. But here is my current version if you would like to try it...


500g ground beef
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small red capsicum, chopped
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
1 avocado, mashed, for serving
Sour cream, for serving

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery and capsicum and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
Add turmeric, cumin, oregano, chilli flakes and paprika (if using). Cook, stirring, until mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and rinsed beans. Bring to a boil over high; reduce to a simmer, and cook until chilli is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
Serve with mashed avocado and sour cream.

I will always continue to make tweaks and adjustments as I go along, but one thing is for sure... chili will forever be in our regular weeknight rotation.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Here & Wear

Images from Pinterest

I am loving the trends for Spring 2014 - both in fashion and interiors. There is inspiration here, there and everywhere!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Short Cuts

All Images from Pinterest

After growing out my hair for a really long time, I cut it all off into a long bob a few months ago. I had been left with the worst case of 'baby hair' around my entire hairline and there was just no way to make it look good. So I cut it off, figuring that the shorter length would mean I could wear it out and therefore cover my lovely hairy halo. 

Now that I have been wearing my bob for a while I am starting to think about going even shorter, although I'm not sure how short I am wanting to go. I keep floating between getting a short bob or a long crop - but I can't decide! The above pics are some of the images I have been trawling for inspiration. Both sides make a good case, but I think I am leaning toward the latter. What do you think?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Adventures in Motherhood: Tantrums!

Olivia is such a great little girl. She is so full of life, entertaining, funny, smart and sweet, but she is also incredibly strong willed, independent and stubborn too. She is the boss! This has already had its challenges, even at the ripe old age of fourteen months. When it comes to tantrums, we have had a few. I try my best to ignore them on our paediatricians advice. Although this can be easier said than done at times. It also seems like I am missing out on a teaching opportunity if I simply try and ignore her.

Try as I might to teach Olivia with words, to calm down and 'talk' me through what she needs, the tantrums only escalated. Our worst incident involved her pulling my hair and scratching me and I was shocked. How has my child learnt to do this? It is instinct I guess. She is unhappy, so she is showing me, because she doesn't have the words, just how unhappy she is. I managed to ignore her behaviour on this particular incident, and I got up and walked away from her. She cried hard for a minute or two and then I went back over and distracted her with something else. She has never behaved like that since. Now that could be a fluke, but my gut tells me that ignoring her bad behaviour and showing her how upset I was, definitely is the right way to handle my child, though I know every child is different.

Parenting has it ups and downs, and sometimes it is just plain exhausting. But these moments are really just a drop in the bucket when compared with all the happier ones. Although they may not feel like it at the time!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Clean Skin

I have been on a real mission over the past year to clean up my skin care products. I have become fed up and don't want to put chemicals and harmful ingredients on my skin any more. I'm still using 'dirty' deodorant and I haven't quite got to my cosmetics yet (save for my beloved mineral foundation), but I am almost there with cleaning out my shower and cupboards of any harmful ingredients. Due to the obsessive research, internet trawling and review hunting that I have done for each and every product I try, I thought I would save you the effort and share some of my favourite discoveries. I know there are so many amazing brands that are doing 'clean' skincare these days, but many of them come with a hefty price tag that I simply can't justify, so my list is also fairly cost effective too. Win win!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's in the Details

When we moved into our new, bigger, apartment last year, we needed to get a few things to better fill the new space. While I would have loved to overhaul all our furniture, that is definitely not a practical option for us right now. So, once we had been living here for several months, I decided that we needed a few cheap upgrades to make our new home feel more like us. I prescribed more colour and texture to give our home more personality. We also needed extra storage to help corral Olivia's toys when not being used. I scoured Target, CB2, West Elm and Ikea and came up with the above plan to help give our apartment a little life. We have been thrilled with the results, and love spending time in our brighter space.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mini & Me

MINI: J.Crew Swimsuit, GAP Romper & Sandals // ME: Joe Fresh Dress, Madewell Hat & Tote, J.Crew Sandals

While it rained most of the weekend in New York, it still felt more like Spring to me than it has in months. It got me thinking about the warmer days ahead....and of course how I plan to dress for them. I'm never one to back away from a nautical stripe so it's no surprise that a stripe dress is high on my wishlist this season. I also thought it would be fun to think about what Olivia will be wearing as the weather heats up too. After all, it is way more fun dressing her than myself!

Have a great week.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Adventures in Motherhood: On Being a Mother

This parenting thing has surprised me. Being a mother has come a lot more naturally to me that I ever could of imagined (and more than my own mother could of imagined, so she told me). I always wanted kids, but I was never overly 'clucky'. Newborns scared me because they seemed so fragile and vulnerable, and older babies just scream and demand things, don't they? Needless to say I had no idea what I was in for.

The love that I felt for Olivia was instant and all-consuming, and it still is. I have never once questioned my ability to care for her. That's not to say I haven't ask for advice or help, I definitely have, no new mum has all the answers. On a whole though, I have found that trusting my instincts and being on the same parenting page as my husband has helped to shape us into the parents that Olivia deserves. It's a moving target for sure, but I think we are doing a pretty great job.

Here are ten things that have surprised me about being a mother, in no particular order:

1. I am more strict that I thought I would be. My life is ruled by Olivia's routine, and that's okay because it works for us.
2. Poop hasn't offended me quite as much as I thought it would (though there have been a few exceptions).
3. Leaving Olivia with our babysitter still feels weird. We love our sitter, but leaving the house without Olivia always feels like I left something behind (I guess because I did).
4. Baby's don't just go to sleep when they are tired. What! I know, how silly I thought this to be the case. Olivia used to be a terrible sleeper. I used to have to rock her for 40 minutes just to get a 30 minute nap, and she would go down at night only to wake up half an hour later, every. single. night. We have gone through a few different stages of sleep training though, and now she is a champion sleeper - most of the time.
5. I enjoy living in New York more now that I have Olivia as my sidekick.
6. Just leaving the house takes a lot of preparation... do I have food - check, nappies/diapers - check, toys - check.
7. Breastfeeding is hard! I had nipple trauma, a turbo milk let-down, and oversupply issues, and that was just the start of it. The first couple of months were very painful, but we got through it. I ended up breastfeeding Olivia for twelve months, and the end came at the right time for us both.
8. Babies are really noisy. That cute tiny little ball of a baby can scream the house down, and even when they aren't crying they are always making noise; coos, gurgles and purrs.
9. Babies grow fast - really fast. Just when you have bought clothes of one size they are into the next.
10. My day is filled with so much fun, joy and laughter. Being home with Olivia has been such a great thing for me, and our family. Not everyday is easy, and not all day is easy, but I love being home with her so much, and feel very blessed that I am able to do so.

It sure has been a fun year!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kid Food

Lately, I have really struggled with what foods to feed Olivia. She is certainly not what you would call a fussy eater, in fact, she rarely refuses food, but I have stressed nonetheless with making sure I have easy, ready-to-go, and healthy food for her.

It was easy when it was all purees. I added lots of flavours and textures, and tried to be really adventurous. I would freeze the purees in big batches and that way had lots of food ready to go as needed. Fast-forward to now and Olivia is at the stage where she wants to feed herself, yet isn't quite there with using a spoon or fork. Fingers seem to be much more effective, and fun. The problem with the current status quo however, is that I am afraid of mess (I'm working on it), and so I like Olivia to eat foods that leave the fewest amount of crumbs possible. Finger foods are where we are at and so I have had to get a little creative to make sure Olivia is getting good nutrition in every meal she eats, with the least amount of mess (shameful but true).

Aside from easy things like chopped fruit and vegetables, cheese and rice cakes, my go to lunch (and sometimes dinner) has become a modified version of Zucchini Slice. I omit the bacon and add lots of other veggies to make Olivia's version a little more nutritious. I slice it into Olivia sized portions and keep it in the fridge or freezer, depending on how quickly we plan to get through it. Here is my recipe...


1 large zucchini, grated
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 - 1 small head of broccoli, chopped finely
1 medium onion, grated
4 eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup self-raising flour*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.
Combine vegetables with the flour, cheese and lightly beaten eggs.
Pour into a lightly greased pan (I tend to use a round 10 inch pan), smoothing the top with the back of a spoon.
Cook for 30-40 minutes, until cooked through and nicely golden on top.

*As an alternative to self-raising flour, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour with one teaspoon each of baking powder and bicarbonate soda. I also like to use wholemeal flour.

There you have it, so easy you can almost do it in your sleep. I also find it delicious for myself served with sweet chilli sauce and a nice side salad. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Her Style // Your Way

Image of Jessica Alba from Pinterest

To kick off the first Her Style // Your Way post in a long time, I decided to go with a Mum who's casual yet put together style I am always looking at for inspiration, Jessica Alba. I love the way Jessica has elevated what is otherwise a fairly neutral outfit with studs and metallic elements. Remove the scarf and swap the sandals for heels and you can take this outfit from the park to dinner - because sometimes you just need an outfit that can do both.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why hello there, remember me?

Hello and the warmest welcome back! It has been well over a year since my last blog post so you are forgiven if you forgot about me. So much has happened since we last spoke - let's call that time off my extended maternity leave.

We welcomed our sweet little Olivia into the world fourteen months ago now, and it was love at first sight. Wow what a year, it has truly been one of the greatest. We have been blessed with an adorable, sweet, funny, intelligent, stubborn and brave little girl.

Now that Olivia is one I am about to embark on a journey to find my blogging feet again. I am sure our not-so-new-any-more addition will feature prominently, so I hope you don't mind. The direction of the blog now that she is here will reveal itself as we go along. I myself am not sure where we will be going, and how much of my personal life I will want to share. So please be patient with me, and I hope you will continue to follow me on our journey, living life in New York, only now with a toddler in tow.