How are you guys doing? Are you hanging in there? I have friends and family all over who are still in Stage 4 restrictions, or some form of quarantine, and my heart is breaking for them. Here in NSW we are still on restrictions, but they are limited compared to the restrictions we carried out from March - May earlier this year.
We are voluntarily wearing masks in public; avoiding crowded places and restaurants. Libraries are still closed and we have not been to playgroup or swimming lessons since February. It has been an incredibly isolating experience, and as a result, we have spent a fair amount of time and money on creative activities for the kiddos. #ThankyouAmazon
A lot of my friends are home and trying to navigate full-time work and raising their littles. Some are even having to homeschool as well, and this has mostly been a recipe for disaster. Chatting to a few of my Mum friends is actually what gave me the idea to write this blog post.
Essentially I wanted to write something that would appeal to all my food loving, book reading, Netflix bingers out there. I have put together a few lists to help you navigate what remains of your quarantine, and I hope it helps, even just a little bit....
The List For the Book-o-holics
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Girl, Stop Apologising by Rachel Hollis
Minimalism, Live a Meaningful Life by The Minimalists
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
Rising Strong, Brene Brown
Non-Fiction Must Reads
Non- fiction is my favourite genre, without a doubt. These are 10 must read, real life memoirs that will rock your world:
1. The Tattoosit of Auschwitz
2. Half-Broke Horses
3. The Glass Castle
4. Calypso, David Sedaris
5. Naked, David Sedaris
6. Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs
7. Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson
8. I Just Want To Pee Alone, Mom Blogger Collab
9. I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley
10. People I want to Punch In The Throat, Jen Mann
The List For The Netflix Junkies
Line of Duty
The Office, UK and US
Parks and Rec
The Good Place
The Last Dance
Making A Murderer
The Accountant of Auschwitz
Inside Bill's Brain
Tell Me Who I am
The List For The Food Lovers
Slow Cooker Wonders
Detox Lentil Soup
Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Korean BBQ Burritos
Slow Cooked Beef Brisket
Beef and Caramelised Onion Sausage Rolls
Chocolate peanut butter smoothie
Healthy Carrot Muffins
Spicy Soba Noodle Salad
Moroccan Carrot Salad
The LA Chop Salad
Vegan Chocolate Pie
Blueberry and white chocolate scones
Cookie Dough Energy Bites
Healthy Apple Tea Cake
Hope you love some of these recommendations.
Hang in there, stay safe and be well.
I wanted to introduce you to a crazy good FREE offer that Brenda Janschek and Alexx Stuart are running.
Both ladies are passionate about children’s nutrition and have helped thousands of families over the past decade when it comes to a whole range of health and lifestyle challenges from fussy eating to family meal disconnects, cooking stress, lunchboxes and healthy body image.
Their course Thrive is AMAZING and you gotta do it once at some point for all the incredibly practical, useful information and support given there.... BUT that’s not why I’m writing to you today.
Today, I’m inviting you to join me, Brenda and Alexx over in a brilliant free 5 day series they’re running from 7th June. I love how they’re not calling it a ‘challenge’ - these times are challenging enough, right? The theme of the series is a perfect and gentle focus on something I know a lot of you have told me you could do with, so the timing is brilliant. It's called:
"How to Add Extra Nutrient Boosters to Favourite Family Meals and Reduce Mealtime Stress"
Isn't it perfect? So, if you’re feeling stressed about meal time whether it’s cooking overwhelm, health challenges or fussy objections, I guarantee you that after 5 days soaking up the goodness from these two wonderful guides you WILL learn a lot of useful, practical things to take into your family life and kitchen from this moment on.
All you have to do is sign up via this link with a quick name+email and they’ll send you a welcome email with your free workbook, webinar invite + private facebook group where they’ll be sharing daily recipe demos and lives to support you!
You have zero to lose and lots to gain so jump in and sign up HERE.
Let’s ditch the mealtime stress so many of you tell me you experience, right?
Enjoy, and I’ll see you in there.
I would like to preempt with this —
this blog post is not meant to cause anxiety or further distress around this pandemic.
My husband and 8 month old are both high risk for respiratory issues. This means that we have decided to implement new lifestyle changes since this nasty virus showed up. It might seem neurotic to some, but I thought I'd share because a few of you might be interested, or think to try something you might not have thought of.
We know the virus is not in our home, so we have created a line of defense to keep it that way. Here’s how:
We do a combination of ordering food online with Delish Deliveries and shopping at the supermarket. When food is delivered to our home, we disinfect the boxes first, then bring the box into our home. We open the box and proceed to disinfect everything inside piece by piece. This whole process can take up to an hour, but now we have it down to about 35 mins or so. The fruit and veggies are placed in a water + vinegar solution or a Dr Bronner's castile soap bath. We are not able to recycle the cardboard anymore due to COVID restrictions, so we simply recycle it. We do the same system after a grocery shop. Every single item is cleaned and/or opened and placed away.
We use old, reusable plastic bags that we already had when shopping. Cloth bags are more likely to bring the virus into the home. When I have used cloth bags, I wash them immediately upon my return home. We leave the plastic bags outside the house as well.
When we visit the grocery store, we avoid going at peak times. It's very quiet during the day as most people are at work or working from home. We avoid going on the weekend if possible, as this is when you'll most likely have to cue up and wait to get in.
(This happened to me once, and I won’t do it again).
At the shops, we get in and get out. We don’t loiter and we don’t touch all the things. My husband saw a man sneeze in the cleaning aisle, twice, without covering his mouth. He saw the spit/spray absolutely cover all the products in front of him. It was a great reminder of how easy it can be for viruses to travel. So, grab what you need and move on.
We never leave the house without a mask. We use N95 masks or surgical masks. We also have double sided tape to create a flush seal if it doesn’t fit properly for any reason.
We leave our shoes at the door and do not wear them inside.
I don’t kiss my 8 month old on the lips anymore.
When we get home from the shops, doctor’s office, wherever…. we place our belongings down and disrobe. Then we have a hot shower and wash throughly. After this we disinfect everything that was used: wallet, credit cards, keys, phone. I think this is particularly important if you have small toddlers and babies who like to play with your phone/keys.
We always wash our hands after retrieving the mail and we disinfect our mail box.
We always wash our hands after bringing the garbage bins in, and we also disinfect the bin handles.
We do not eat out. We don’t get take away. We don’t get Uber eats. We don’t get coffees to go. Simply put, we don’t eat or drink a single thing prepared by anyone other than ourselves.
Have you made changes since COVID, or is life pretty much the same?
Wishing you guys all the best during this bizarre time.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself.
Not leaving the house due to the hazardous air quality of the NSW bush fires has been detrimental for my mental health.
My toddler and I do 67.5 crafts per day, on average. We bake, we pretend to bake in her kitchen, we paint, draw, trace our bodies on craft paper, build forts, make book labyrinths, have a bath in the middle of the day, do play dough. The list is endless, my patience is not.
By the time my husband gets home, around 3pm, I’ve already asked him 21 questions before his bag hits the floor.
“What’s it like out there?
How was your day?
What did you eat?
Did you have the recycled air on in the car?
Who did you talk to, and did they tell you any jokes?
What was the podcast about that you listened to your quiet drive home?
Do you think that a zombie apocalypse is imminent?
Should we start building a bunker with food and water since 2019 was the hottest year on record in Australia?
Will Matrix 4 be a total bust, or the best Matrix yet?
Have you seen how clean the house is?
Do these yoga pants give me the illusion of having cakes, or more of a ..... cupcake?”
I’ve witness my slippery slope and came to a resolution this week, quick smart. I went to my local library and got a bunch of snarky, sarcastic non-fiction books.... my favourite genre, don't mind if I do.
I love reading and it's been a while since I've had the luxury of getting lost in a good book! Are there other things I could be doing with my kid-free nap time? 100% !!! But meal prepping or folding laundry doesn't remotely give me the amount of satisfaction as a good book and a little bit of quiet time.
HOT TIP: I'm most excited about Calypso from one of my favourite authors, David Sedaris. If you like memoirs and non-fiction essays, he is your man.
The last two days my kids have actually napped at the same time, which has allowed me to crawl into bed with my book and read while listening to the hum of the air purifier. It's the best use of my time, far better than mindlessly scrolling Instagram or googling if dogs can communicate telepathically.
It's so good to be back with my nose in a book. Comment bellow with your favourite books of all time, pluuuueasseeee!!!
1. Money is simply a tool; it has no value until it’s spent
2. Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice
3. Life isn’t fair
4. No good deed goes unpunished
5. There ain’t no hood like Motherhood!!
6. Getting pregnant isn’t easy for everyone
7. People will betray you
8. You can have many soul mates, but hopefully you find one to love and love you in return
9. “Do no harm, take no shit” is my life + our family motto
10. The older you get, the less friends you’ll have, but the relationships are more meaningful
11. Rudyard Kipling’s “If” is one of the greatest poems of all time. Ever.
12. That getting paid to do something you’re passionate about will change how you feel about it
13. Read. Read. Read all the things.
14. Uteruses (and vaginas) can bounce back to normal size
15. Infertility. F*kn. Sucks.
16. Growing a human is harder than it looks
17. Childbirth is an incredible marathon and not something to be feared
18. Yoga is outstanding for mental health
19. Pinterest is addicting AF
20. People will use you for their own benefit. Don’t be anyone’s doormat
21. That looking after the planet isn’t that hard. Love her
22. Watching your partner evolve from spouse to dad is a remarkable experience
23. An attitude of gratitude is one of the best things you can ever possess
24. That all I want is a simple life, a bit of land, chooks and a flourishing veggie patch
25. When you say, “don’t tell anyone,” they will most likely tell someone
26. You don’t need alcohol in order to party, unwind and have fun
27. My daughters are my greatest life achievement
28. Owning your truth might be one of the hardest things to do, but it’s bloody rewarding
29. Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels is a flat out lie
30. Drugs are bad, mkay
31. Spending time in nature is therapeutic and a necessity
32. Having, loving and losing a dog is a rite of passage
33. People who chase money are not my people
34. Take time to look up and admire the stars. It’s important to feel insignificant in the vast scheme of things
35. Be best friends with those who brought you into the world
It's officially the SILLY season and people are all over the place traveling to and fro by plane, train and automobile.
I recently did two long interstate drives on my own with my 2.5 year old and 3 month old, and it inspired this blog post. I drove from Sydney to Melbourne, which is 926 kilometers to be exact! That's 575 miles for those not on the metric system. We only stopped once, and did the 9 hour trip in 11 hours there and on the return leg home. #EPIC
Pretty sure I was a long haul trucker in my last life.
I wanted to share a few tips that I/we did in the hopes of helping some other families out. Road trips can be tough, but they don't need to be.
Preparing for the trip
1. Lay out everyone’s outfit for the next morning, including yours!
2. Shower and pack the entire car the night before.
3. Drink a lot of water the day before because there won’t be a lot of H20 consumption the following day.
4. Wake up, get yourself dressed, finalise the packing of the car if anything is left, and eat your brekkie. I recommend two hard boiled eggs. Quick, easy, healthy and no clean up!
5. Brew your hot bevie (I choose coffee on the way down and bone broth in the way home). In all honesty, I didn’t really drink the coffee. I only took mini sips when I felt like I needed it.
6. Go to the toilet before you leave. Force out a poo with gusto, but don’t give yourself hemorrhoids. This is paramount if you’re like me and competitive... who stops?
Pansies, that’s who.
7. Wake up the baby. Change their nappy, give them a BIG feed and load them in the car to fall back asleep. Be sure your rear facing mirror is set up so you can check them safely while driving.
8. Last thing to do is wake the toddler. Put them on the potty, put a nappy on in case of emergencies, and then place your toddler straight in the car.
First leg: Quiet time, if at all possible. Maybe they will both go back to sleep, maybe one will. Give your toddler brekkie in the car. Give them something that’s not messy, easy to eat and yum. Something that says please eat this quietly AF because your baby sibling is sleeping.
I opted for a probiotic coconut yogurt squeeze pouch which worked a treat.
In the two front cup holders, I have my hot bevie and my reusable water bottle. I also have an extra, clean pacifier on hand. The water bottle is more of a novelty really as I don’t drink much of anything when I’m doing these long haul drives. It’s there in case I need it, but mainly it’s there for my toddler.
The food bag is well organised and on the front seat. It's loaded with things like:
Carrots, cucumber, crackers, nuts, berries, sandwich (quartered), popcorn, prunes, apple, and banana
The activity bag is also well organised and located in the front seat:
- Old phone on airplane mode, for looking at photos only
- Colouring book + crayons
- Sticker books
- Toy phone
- Board books ( and interactive ones, like Spot)
- Plush toys
Car charger / car play ON for maps and Spotify jam sessions. Be sure to have your playlists set in advance. Have your kid’s list ready and your preferred playlists + podcasts as well for if/when they sleep.
Personal TIP: When you stop, stop somewhere nice! Get a good feed, take your time to finally drink something or have a proper coffee. I’m all about saving money, but I treat myself to a good feed on these types of breaks.
I find that taking the kids to a park during the break just adds A LOT more time and builds their resistance to getting back into the car tenfold. Who wants to get back in a mini straight jacket car seat after a romp on the swings? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Having said that, if I’m driving with someone else, then I’d entertain a park stop or Maccas coffee/playground refresher.
Good luck, and safe driving!
I like to follow this little quote when shopping for loved ones each Christmas:
'Something you want, something you need, something you love, something to read."
1. Janod Walker
This unique walker includes 30 colorful blocks, an abacus, rubber grip wheels and a sturdy base (which is a must, especially for those littles who are learning to walk)! It's a timeless piece that can be used for years and years.
2. Linen cooler bag
These linen cooler bags come in the cutest patterns and designs and are from Biome. They are PVC-free, phthalate-free and lead safe inside and out! The linen is raw and uncoated as well. These are just super stylish and a wonderful alternative to plastic or paper bags.
HOT TIP: BIOME is opening in MELBOURNE this December
3. Natural soap animals
How cute are these?!! Anything that makes bath time even more fun is a win in my books! These adorable soaps are handmade in Victoria, palm oil free, plastic and chemical free.
4. Cuddle + Kind stuffed animals
These dolls are so darn cute and come in two sizes. For every doll sold, Cuddle + Kind give 10 meals to children in need. And, it gets better! Currently they're running a special that is offering 15% off the dolls, plus double your impact... that's 20 meals!
Since September 2015, Cuddle + Kind have provided 8 million meals for children in need.
HOT TIP: If you join their mailing list, you get free shipping on your first order!
5. Natural crayons
These Honeysticks crayons are great for small hands (larger version available too), and are handmade from 100% pure New Zealand beeswax. They are free from paraffins and toxic ingredients as well.
Everything from Janod is out of this world amazing in my opinion. My toddler is almost three and still loves this butterfly stacking puzzle. I love that it's so well made that our newborn will be able to play with it too, many years later. The Janod calendar also makes a great gift for a kid learning the days of the week, numbers and moods. It covers all the bases and it's one of my favourite rituals my toddler and I do each morning.
Love Mae Bamboo Dinnerware
If you follow me on Instagram, then you'd be no stranger to these Love Mae bamboo divided plate sets. These trays were paramount in making my life easier when it was feeding time in our home. I loved being able to see the fruit, protein and carbs at a glance.
If you're looking for something a little larger (for older children), then check out these adorable plate sets. Want more? Love Mae's lunch boxes are toxic-free, dishwasher safe and 100% recyclable as well. If you love their designs, but aren't in the market for dinnerware, check out their wall decals which are so colourful and fun.
HOT TIP: They are having some great sales on at the moment
Hope this list helped inspire you a bit!
Here is a quick and easy list of goodies that are great for stocking stuffers, mates or colleagues this Christmas.
Everything here is super affordable, and there is nothing on this list over $45.
These gifts celebrate either low waste, mindful consumerism or green beauty.
1. Ethique bar shampoo
I've been using this shampoo for three weeks now, and I'm obsessed! It's plastic free, comes in recyclable packing and the results are fab. I chose the sweet and spicy one for added volume. It's a little pricey for bar shampoo, but it seems like it's going to last forever at the rate I'm going.
2. Stainless steel razor
Say goodbye to plastic, and hello to the last razor you'll ever buy! These are made to last a lifetime.
3. Lavender Pouch
The scent of sleep natural sleep pouch. 100% natural, and who doesn't want a better night sleep?
4. Grants of Australia bamboo toothbrushes
The best, most ergonomic brushes I've found to date. When you are done with it, snap the bristles off and through it in your compost or garden bed. I like to use the handles to make herb labels in my backyard!
5. Ere Perez colour pot
This is a blush and a lip balm in one. I love how versatile it is and the colour suits in all four seasons.
6. Stainless steel straws
I love these straws so much. They are easy to clean (make sure you get the cleaning brush), and affordable. I drink more when drinking out of a straw, so they are super handy in the hot summer months. I love drinking my cold smoothies through these as well, and it's obviously nice that they are not single use plastic!
8. Rose Quartz Gua Sha
I know about 85% of you are scratching your head and wondering, what's a gua sha?
It's a rose quartz beauty tool that helps lymphatic drainage and increased blood flow. Once applying oil to the face, you glide the gua sha along the skin. It's feels fantastic and a really nice evening meditation before winding down for bed.
These gua shas are ethically sourced and handmade from genuine stone.
9. Beauty Bites
A lot of people give/get chocolate or cookies in their Christmas stockings. But what about the more health conscious people in your life? These are my favourite on-the-go snack. This is a sampler pack featuring all three flavours: lemon coconut, white choc raspberry, and apple cinnamon. All three are out of this world delicious and loaded with vitamin C & E, collagen, probiotics, and prebiotics. They are also non-GMO and gluten free, so can I get an AMEN! I always have one in my purse, and when I'm in a pinch, I'll even share it with my toddler because it is completely guilt free and only 2.8 grams of sugar (WAY less than a on-the-go kid's yogurt pouch)!
Hope this list comes in handy. Remember to be mindful this silly season!
I love reading to my daughter! She just turned two and a half, and we probably read to her about one hour a day. She has a mountain of books, loves "reading" and playing on her own, but she particularly loves when we read to her. She's even memorised a lot of the words from her books and recites them randomly throughout the day.
My Recommended Books for Toddlers Aged 2-3 Years
(Boys and Girls)
Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas, Aaron Blabey
Beautiful Oops, Barney Saltzberg
Oi Frog, Kes Gray
Pig The Pug, Aaron Blabey
Each Peach Pear Plum, Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Once Upon a Potty, Alona Frankel
The Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
The Grouchy Ladybug, Eric Carle
Let's Sign Baby, Kelly Ault
We're Going On a Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen
Guess How Much I Love You, Sam McBratney
Pout Pout Fish, Deborah Diesen
The Very Cranky Bear, Nick Bland
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Mem Fox
First 100 Words, Roger Priddy
Where is the Green Sheep, Mem Fox
On the Night You Were Born, Nancy Tillman
The Wishing Tree, Nancy Tillman
I'd Know You Anywhere, Nancy Tillman
Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You, Nancy Tillman
FUN FACT: We are part of the 1000 books before school program, which is really neat. You log the books you've read to your child online, and every 100 books they get a badge.
Going to the library, checking the books out, reading and logging them has become a fun little exercise for us to do together.
Hope you enjoy this list. Comment below with your favourite titles!
Eating well from day dot
It's important to replenish your body from the inside out. Growing a human and then giving birth is no small feat, no matter how you delivered your child. Drinking a lot of water, eating well-balanced colourful foods and getting rest are crucial to your recovery. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in getting back to your old self quick smart. It offers a complete guide as to how you can rebuild your health and reclaim your energy. It's appropriate for mums of newborns, toddlers or young children which I really appreciated.
I stayed in private hospital, so I was given a menu each day for the following day. I choose the vegetarian option most days, selected the seasonal vegetables and would add a side salad. I ate when I was hungry and I listened to my body.
Make FIBRE your friend:
I'd have 3-4 prunes each day to help keep things moving. It's very normal for things to be sluggish after giving birth because being idle slows the gut down. And after having a baby we are typically more idle because we are exhausted, sore from labour, etc. Eating well and moving (slow walks) will help your gut/bowels to work more efficiently.
All hospitals also have things like metamucil to help you out, so don't be shy and ask for some if you are concerned (especially if you had to get stitches, ouch).
Get bub OUT of your room
This one will no doubt divide the crowd! I had the basinet in our room for two nights only with both newborns. Listening to the coos, baby meconium sharts and fidgeting drove me absolutely insane. Get bub into their own room ASAP, and you'll sleep better.
We also didn't have a monitor for either child because I knew I'd be glued to it non-stop. Taking a step away and allowing some space was the best thing for me in my own personal experience.
Get yourself a Haakaa breast pump:
My sweet friend Lisa gave me her Haakaa, and man this thing has been a lifesaver. It's silicone pump that suctions on the breast you're not feeding from, and it catches all your let down milk! SO ingenious, really. I was getting 30-50ml by just sitting there and feeding off the opposite boob. You can keep the milk fresh in the fridge for three days, you can freeze it for 3 months or deep freeze will last 6 months. I typically gave the extra milk to Riley which she throughly enjoyed.
Accept help graciously:
If you have it, utilise it! We don't typically have help because our families live in Melbourne and California. This time around we had both sets of parents up visiting, and a brief but wonderful visit from aunties, uncles and cousins. It's has been amazing to sleep in and know that my toddler has been fed breakfast, read to and so well looked after.
Remember there is no award for having your shit together and you don't have anything to prove to anyone. When people come over, ask them to make YOU a tea, ask them to tidy up, let them hold the baby while you have a shower. If you have a toddler, ask family or friends to take the toddler out for a few hours while you sleep. It takes a village to raise a mother.
Focus on the positives
It's easy to feel overwhelmed, whether you are home with one, two or more. Women get especially emotional around the time of their milk coming in and it's common to experience what's called the baby blues. Try to focus on the tasks in front of you rather then the big picture. For example: right now I'm feeding my baby and then putting them down for a sleep -VS- this feed is taking so long... I'm never going to be able to get dinner started at a reasonable hour... and then bath time will be stuffed and the whole evening routine is going to be horrible.
Focus on the things that make you happy and spark joy. It's a slippery slope when we are new parents; navigating a new family dynamic and a new postpartum body too. A gratitude journal is a great place to start if this concept feels forced or foreign to you. Simply keep a journal by your bed, and when you wake up, write down three things you are grateful for.
If you or someone you know are in need of help or assistance, get in contact with PANDA.
Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia supports women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood.
PANDA National Helpline (Mon to Fri, 9am - 7.30pm AEST/AEDT) Call 1300 726 306
This little corner of the internet is for non-yoga topics like motherhood, low-tox living and green beauty products I love.