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.