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Friday, August 29, 2014

Suppori giveaway

Great news guys, the team at Little M have given me a suppori sling to giveaway* to one of you!

Suppori slings are suitable for babies who can sit up independently and who weigh between 7-15kg. To read more about the sling check out my full review here.

You can pick any colour you'd like from the 18 available options and theres a size guide on the Little M website to help you determine which size would be right for you.

To be in the running to win simply head to the Finding Myself Young facebook page and follow the instructions on the pinned post. 

Feel free to share with your friends and family, anyone in Australia is welcome to enter.

Good luck!

Toni x

Giveaway commences 06:00am 29th August 2014 and ends 11:59pm 7th September 2014. One prize of a suppori sling RRP $63.75 will be awarded to one winner. Prize will be distributed by Little M, Finding Myself Young takes no responsibility for prize delivery. Prize is not transferable. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and excluded from judging. Entry is open to Australian residents only.

Aussie Giveaway Linky
Hosted by Kellie O’Brien Media
Linking with Grace, Kaz, Sonia and Bel

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Morning is like a dirty word for most parents, isnt it? It suddenly goes from a peaceful time to sleep in to a time of frantic screaming and imminent doom if food demands aren't met in time. Yes I know that feeling well. Actually, I knew it well. We still have the occasional frantic screaming morning, but she's a lot more calm and controlled these days. And most of the time she sleeps past 6am. In fact we have a routine we kind of fell into where she comes into bed with me (or me and daddy if hes not working) and has snuggles before we actually get up for the day. Some mornings she goes back to sleep and I get to stay in bed until 8 - yes 8AM! Other days we just chill out for ten minutes before we start our day. I love our morning snuggles, its probably my favourite time of day.

~ We have extra special snuggles in the morning ~

If you would like to join in 52 weeks of memories you can find out how to play here. Feel free to share with your friends on facebook or instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos.  If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is on the floor.

Toni xx

Also sharing with 
Trish from My Little Drummer Boys 
Bree from Twinkle in the eye 
Raychael from  Ms Mystery Case

Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

Finding Myself Young
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mummy Must Have | Cheeky Junior

I love that each new stage of parenting brings with it new joy and excitement. Sure there are new challenges too, like the constant climbing shenanigans we're currently facing, but mostly excitement. Each day as she gets older she gets more and more curious. Shes a little sponge ready to soak in as many new things as possible. Every day is a new opportunity to learn and explore and I'm more than happy to feed her desire for knowledge.

Her latest obsession is books. Its not an entirely new thing as shes been happily "reading" and chomping away (mostly chomping away) at her board books for a while now. Lately though her fascination with books has moved beyond how tasty the pages are and to actually being interested in whats on the pages. Shes also very keen to share this experience with me now instead of sitting quietly by herself. She brings her books to me to read to her on many occasions throughout the day and she'll actually happily sit with me while I flick the pages and read the book to her. She eventually gets frustrated with me taking too long to tell the story and starts avidly turning the pages herself regardless of whether my words are keeping up with her furious page turning. Clearly shes not completely ready for story books yet.

Being the savvy mummy that I am though, I've found the perfect books to entertain her need to turn the pages, but still maintain her interest. They're books for little ones who aren't quite up to reading (or maintaining interest to listen to) a story, but are still fascinated by books. And, they overcome the chomping on the pages issue! Well they don't entirely stop it, but they do stop the destruction that it usually causes.

We've started reading wooden books by Hape. These books are perfect for babies and toddlers who are keen on reading. They're made of wood and the images are painted with water based non toxic paint. Perfectly durable and safe for teething little people who want to make a meal out of everything. Each page has an alternating slant so its super easy for little hands to grasp and turn them without missing a bunch of pages.

The images are so bright and vivid that they captivate her attention for a lot longer than her other books. I also really love that there are no words in these books, only images. It's great because we can make up the story as we go and it can be different every time. We have the farm and zoo books so at the moment I simply tell her the names of the animals and the sounds they make as we flick through the pages. Dog goes woof woof, cow goes moooooo - that kind of thing, except in a really animated voice. She'll happily sit with me and go through the entire book numerous times. I'm not sure if its because she likes looking at the pictures or she just finds my narration highly entertaining amusing. Either way I'm really enjoying the extra interaction with her and being able to help develop and nurture her love of books.

Another skill shes completely mastered is walking. In fact actual walking doesn't really happen much these days, its more running and zooming around and its usually accompanied with an ample amount of squealing and giggling. Now that shes well and truly mobile shes got a new found interest in her push and pull toys as she realises she can use them while moving not just while sitting down.

Our latest push and pull toy is the wooden roll and walk by Plan toys. The roll and walk is a classic toy that makes noise as its pushed about. It's different from traditional clicker toys though as its made from natural rubber wood and is painted with non toxic water based dyes. Plan toys have a strong focus on sustainable play and use natural sustainable preservative free rubber wood. The noise is made by three wooden balls that rotate within the base as it moves around.

Have you ever tried to take a photo of a toddler in motion? I don't know why I even bother these days because they all end up a fuzzy zooming mess like the one above. Luckily she also plays with it while sitting so I could get a proper picture. The roller can also be detached from the handle to use as a floor toy for younger babies (or when toddlers couldn't be bothered walking around with it).

We got our awesome new wooden toys from Cheeky Junior online. Cheeky Junior is a home based online childrens store that stock a range of products including wooden toys, bath toys, doll houses, educational toys, puzzles, lego and much more. They provide exceptional customers service. They also keep operating costs to a minimum in order to pass on savings to customers. Their toys are very reasonably priced, especially the wooden books which are only $10.50 and will last for years. If you're after some good quality toys for your little ones or a gift you definitely want to check out Cheeky Junior. You can also follow them on facebook. They're offering all Finding Myself Young readers 10% off everything*, simply use the code FMY10 at checkout. They have a huge range of wooden toys including the pretend play food, I'll definitely be back for them when shes a bit older.

Do you have a favourite wooden toy?
Also, any advice on how to handle a climbing toddler who has no fear?

Toni x

*10% off code is valid until 31st August 2014

Disclosure - We were gifted the wooden books and roller, but I did not receive payment for this review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the toys.

Linking with Jess

Monday, August 25, 2014

Confessions of a new mum, a dreamer and a chronic over thinker

confessions of a new mum, a dreamer and a chronic over-thinker

Today's I must confess topic is micro-confessions, so here goes my list of random confessions, in no particular order.

  • I still need to lose baby weight a year after having my baby.
  • I know all the words to the Thomas & friends, Playschool, Sesame Street and Giggle and Hoot theme songs... I may even be a little proud of the fact.
  • I act silly on a daily basis.
  • I only like cheese if its melted.
  • I hate cherry ripes, and cherries and coconut in general.
  • I keep tomato sauce in the cupboard, not the fridge (why the hell would you want it cold?).
  • I worry too much about everything, all the time. Thankyou anxiety disorder.
  • I'm addicted to buying baby clothes - ok that's not a confession, we all already knew that.
  • I loved sultanas as a child, but can't stand them now. I still haven't been able to bring myself to give them to my daughter.
  • I eat frozen meals for dinner on the nights Trent works.
  • I prefer lipgloss over lipstick although it's very rare that I wear actual makeup these days.
  • I have crazy dreams all the time, to the point where I wonder if my hormones are out of whack cos I'm pregnant again. I'm not. I clearly just have an over-active imagination, or I'm a weirdo - you decide.
  • My favourite sound in the whole world is my daughter's laughter, closely followed by being called mum.
  • I need to put myself first more often.
  • I worry if I'm a good mum.

What are your mini confessions? 
Do you know all the words to any kids shows? Are you jealous that I do...? 

Toni xx

Linking with Kirsty, Emily and Alicia.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The joy of babywearing

I'm a sucker for cuddles. I can't help it, I love having her near me. The rush of happy hormones I get from a cuddle with my baby girl is too good to pass up. I didn't start out intending to baby wear with her, but it soon became obvious she loved snuggles too so we kind of fell into it. Once she outgrew her wrap carrier I found myself unexpectedly sad about it.

It turns out we didn't end our baby wearing journey afterall, we just had a temporary break until the SUPPORi came into our lives. I first heard about the SUPPORi sling when I collaborated with Little M owner Michelle for my second bloggerversary giveaway back in February, but we only started using one ourselves recently. I'm so glad I found a simple no fuss carrier option for her now that shes over 10kg.

SUPPORi doesn't have any straps, clips or buckles that need to be adjusted or wrangled into place. Thankgod. Its simply one piece of fabric that slips over my head onto my shoulder and then bub sits in the other side. Its super simple to get on and off and provides a secure hip carry. It can only be used for a hip carry so babies must be able to sit up unaided and be 7-15kg to use this carrier. It suits us fine because bub has only wanted to be hip carried for a while now and the majority of traditional baby carriers dont have a hip carry option.

The SUPPORi is made from triple woven polyester mesh which makes it durable and breathable which is great for the humid queensland climate. Bub breaks out in heat rashes quite easily so I always consider breathability when choosing anything that'll be close to her skin. The mesh structure means it's also able to be worn in water. We haven't tried it in a pool yet, but I have worn her in the shower. She normally wriggles around in the shower so having her securely held against me gave me peace of mind. She seemed to like it to because she nearly went to sleep. The sling also air dried really quickly after being wet.

As the sling sits diagonally across the body from shoulder to hips the weight is transferred to the deltoid muscle in the shoulder instead of the trapezius muscles like most carriers. That may sound all gobble-dee-goop, but basically it means that you wont get a sore neck or back after wearing the SUPPORi. The sling fits quite snug across the shoulder which at first took some getting used to for me as I'd only used a wrap carrier which went over the top of my shoulder next to my neck, but once I got used to the new sling I found it quite comfortable. It certainly does take her weight off my hips and back and I don't experience any neck or back pain while wearing her or afterwards. It does restrict your shoulder when wearing it so you can't lift that arm above your head when its on. I usually would carry bub on my left hip, but when using the SUPPORi I put her on my right hip so that my right arm still has full movement (because I'm right handed). It can be worn on either shoulder, that's just the most comfortable for us.

The SUPPORi is not an adjustable carrier so it comes in various sizes and its important to get the size right to ensure bub is held securely and safely. Theres a size chart on the website that can be used as a guide when choosing your size, but if you have any issues or worries you can contact Little M directly and they can help you to determine the correct size. My measurements put me right on the cusp of M and L so I tried both sizes in order to work out the correct fit. The size M fit on me, but when I put bub inside the carrier it was too tight and restrictive for both of us. Even though I'm only just into the L size according to the chart, I found this to be the best size as it fits bub in comfortably and shes still close enough to me that its not too big. I can use it completely hands free, but as suggested, I usually still use one hand to support her back. I did this even when I used the wrap carrier as it just makes me feel more connected to her having a hand on her back.

The SUPPORi has come in handy on so many occasions so far and we should get another year of use out of it at least (at the rate shes putting on weight). The best advantage for me so far is that I can take her shopping by myself without tantrums and crying. If shes in the trolley she quickly gets bored and crys for me to pick her up whereas if shes in the sling shes quite content. She just snuggles into me even more when she gets tired now and I can't complain because I do love the cuddles.

Do/did you babywear your baby?

Toni x

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


We spend as much time as we can outside, but we still have lots of fun when we're inside too. At the moment shes starting to explore a lot more when shes playing. She really loves putting things in and out of holes, shelves, boxes etc. She finds quite creative ways to do it too. Her latest trick is getting her big slinky opening it up and then dropping her dummy or a toy into the top of it and watching it fall down the inside of the slinky. Then she closes it up, retrieves it and starts the process over again. She also loves mixing and matching her different toys together (aka today's photo).

She also started to come up with ways of avoiding bedtime already. The other night she was getting her bottle cap and putting her dummy in it then trying to lift it above her head without the dummy falling out. It was kind of fun to watch. Everytime it fell out she said "oh no" and put it back in again and when she managed to get it above her head she started waving her arms around all excited. Shes too cute, especially when shes being cheeky.

33 | Inside

Cinderella and the bus driver go inside the carriage {apparently}

If you would like to join in 52 weeks of memories you can find out how to play here. Feel free to share with your friends on facebook or instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos.  If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is In the morning.

Toni xx

Also sharing with 
Trish from My Little Drummer Boys 
Bree from Twinkle in the eye 
Raychael from  Ms Mystery Case

Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

Finding Myself Young
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Monday, August 18, 2014

I must confess - What I'd say to my younger self

This week I'm guest hosting I Must Confess for Kirsty from My Home Truths while she has a little bloggy break. The topic for this week is - what would you say to your younger self? 

Dear little Toni,

You are such a happy and smart little girl. You love drawing, reading and learning new things. You believe anything is possible, including being able to fly off the blue trundle bed in the rumpus room. I wish you could stay that way forever. You have a quiet determination to succeed. You think if you try and try and try some more you will be able to do anything. That determination will serve you well as you get older. 

I wish you could stay in your awesome childhood bubble longer. I'd love to tell you that your life will be easy, but I don't want to lie. There will be many hard times, but you will get through them. 

When dad leaves you will be sad for a long time. Its OK to be sad. Its OK to miss him and its OK to feel this way even though other people will act as though you shouldn't. Your feelings are important. You may feel like others think you don't matter, but theres that little voice inside that reminds you that you do matter. Shes very quiet so you'll have to listen hard. Keep listening to that inner voice, shes very smart, as are you. 

There will be times when you think that you are worthless. Know that you most definitely are not. In order to keep the peace you will always put others first. That doesn't mean that they're more important than you though. Being selfless is admirable, but there comes a time when you will need to look out for you. One day you will find the courage to fight for yourself. You will pick yourself up and change the entire direction of your life and it will be glorious. I'm not saying it'll be easy, it'll be a long, hard road, but it will be so very worth it.

You will once again be happy within yourself. You will know that you don't need another person to make you happy. You still seek validation from time to time, but you'll no longer need it to survive. Others will begin to notice how strong you really are. You will surprise a lot of people with your strength to keep going, even yourself. You will finally be on the path to living your own life and no longer be wandering in the shadows of others. 

You want more than anything to be a mum. Unfortunately, like many other things in your life, the road to motherhood will not be easy. But you are built tough. You will find the perfect man to start a family with. There will be lots of tears and heartache and there will be times when you think you can't do it anymore, but you won't give up. Despite all the odds being stacked against you, a baby will come. You will have the precious daughter you've always wanted. She will be so much more than you could've ever imagined.

You will be a wonderful mum. You may doubt yourself at times, but you just have to look into her beautiful blue eyes to know that you're doing a good job. Yes she'll have blue eyes which will shock you at first, but you'll quickly grow to love them like everything else about her. In your eyes she'll be perfect and in hers you will be too. There will be so many times you'll stare at her and be grateful that you get to experience such unconditional love. You deserve it. You so deserve to feel love and happiness and all the joy that she'll bring to your life.

Don't feel guilty when you're happy. Dad would want you to be happy. You are allowed to be happy. You're allowed to laugh and smile and dance and be silly. In fact I order you to do so as often as you can.

You will be ok sweet child. 

Despite all the hurt and heartache you will experience throughout your life, you will be OK

Happiness is waiting for you. The beginning is always the hardest part.

Always remember that you are kind, you are smart, you are important and you are worthy :)

Love future Toni

[Images: one, two, three, four]

  • I Must Confess is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for the whole week.
  • You can link up something old or new, we’re not fussy around here.
  • Feel free to go with the prompt for the week or add your own confession, whatever suits.
  • Please go forth and share the comment love – it is bloggy crack after all!
Next week I Must Confess will be back at its regular home with Kirsty at My Home Truths
The prompt is "micro-confessions" - share all your little confessions in one post.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shupeas - the shoes that grow with your baby

I've mentioned before that I bought a heap of cute baby shoes before bub was born. A lot of which she never wore before she grew out of them. Her little feet were pretty much always too thick for the elastic bands across the shoes even when the length was ok. So we gave up wearing shoes until she was about 9 months old and trying to walk. If only I had known about Shupeas back then!

Shupeas are one of a kind adjustable baby shoes that fit from birth to 18 months.  They not only adjust four different sizes, but also cater for the width of feet so can still fit on babies who have wide feet. The length and width can both be easily adjusted as your babies feet grow. To adjust you simply tighten the length by pulling the tab forward to the desired length and do up the velcro side tabs at the back so the shoes fit snug.

When I first saw photos of the Shupeas on facebook I thought that the dark notches at the front were holes and you had to thread the tab through the appropriate hole to adjust the shoe length. After researching them on the Little M website I realised its actually elastic that's attached to the tab which can be used to tighten the base of the shoe up simply by pulling it. Its much easier than I originally thought.

The Shupeas that we have are the light pink flower leather design. They have a leather upper and sole. The upper is soft and flexible so it doesn't cut into bubs feet and leave red marks. They're also soft soled so great for little feet that are just learning to walk. Bub was already walking when we got the Shupeas and has had no trouble walking in them compared to her other baby shoes. When I first put them on she fiddles with the velcro flower tab for a bit (because she's fascinated by velcro) but doesn't manage to loosen them. After a minute of fiddling she loses interest and is off walking and exploring as per usual.

I chose the flower design because most of the clothes she wears are pink and red so they match well with a lot of her outfits. I also love the pink bunny design but it was sold out when we got ours. There's a huge range of colours and designs to choose from for both boys and girls. If I had a boy I'd get the rocket ship or panda design. Shupeas also come in four different styles - leather with a moccasin sole, leather with a standard sole, leather and vegan* floral designs and vegan sequins and glitter designs.

{heading out in our red inspired outfits}

I've found that the Shupeas have worn well. They're really lightweight and easy for her to walk in. The only time I wouldn't put her in them is if we were going somewhere thats very rough and rocky simply because she'd still feel the rocks through the soles, other than that they're fine for most activities. She's only almost thirteen months so she's still got a bit of room in them and they should last her until at least 18 months (as claimed), possibly even a bit longer. At $49.95 I think they're a great investment dollar wise as they're essentially four pairs of shoes so its the equivalent of $12.48 for each pair which I think is quite reasonable. I think they'd make a unique and useful baby shower gift for new parents too.

Would you buy them if you had a baby?

Toni xx

* Vegan designs are made from man made material as opposed to leather.

Disclosure - I was gifted a pair of Shupeas from Little M for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own based on our experience with the product.

Linking with Grace and Kaz

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I'm not the kind of mum that sits at home all day every day. I'd go stir crazy. I need to get out. I'd go insane being stuck inside the house for days on end. With the exception of when either her or I are sick we're usually out more days each week than we are at home. Afterall there's play dates, shopping, mums group, walking and family fun to be had (and lately a lot of birthday parties too).

This last week we went to a free family day out and met the Bananas in Pyjamas. I was worried she'd get freaked out and cry, but she was sooo excited. As soon as she saw them her face lit up and she started waving to them. When we were standing with them for a photo she got a little shy for a bit and hugged into me but then quickly reached out to hold their hands.

~ We had so much fun outside meeting the Bananas in Pyjamas ~

If you would like to join in 52 weeks of memories you can find out how to play here. Feel free to share with your friends on facebook or instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos.  If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is Inside.

Toni xx

Also sharing with 
Trish from My Little Drummer Boys 
Bree from Twinkle in the eye 
Raychael from  Ms Mystery Case

Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

Finding Myself Young
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Backyard memories and Australian Outdoor Living

This is a sponsored post for Australian Outdoor Living and Digital Parents Collective

Image: Australian Outdoor Living

My brother and I were lucky growing up with a big backyard. It was huge compared to todays standards. We had three greenhouses, a carport, a rockery, a few gardens, an undercover pergola and a big grass area to play in. We made sure we explored the backyard as often as possible and I have so many fond memories because of it.

I remember sunny afternoons running around the clothesline jumping through the sprinkler in our togs. I remember riding our bikes around and around in circles until our legs couldn't peddle anymore. I remember making mud pies and eating them. I remember exploring the greenhouses pretending we were in a tropical rainforest. I remember backyard birthday parties with potato sack races.

I remember having an old school trampoline with devil springs that took no prisoners. Oh how I loved the trampoline! I used to lie on the trampoline looking up at the clouds for hours (partly because I was scared of getting zapped as I tried to get off). I remember trying to jump as high as I could. Most of all I remember the day my brother and I were jumping really high and he went flying over the edge, face first, into a pile of grass clippings and cow poo. I laughed so hard!

I want bub to have great memories of outdoor play too.

Unfortunately we live in a townhouse and only have a courtyard for her to play in. The saving grace is that we have a big pergola already installed which provides lots of shade. Other than that though the yard is pretty much a blank canvas and not exactly child friendly or remotely close to being a play area. Now that she's walking and looking to explore new areas each day I really need to start working on outside because soon the lounge room just wont cut it.

I've found some great tips on how to make a backyard safe and fun for kids in the free Australian Outdoor Living ebook - creating a garden for your kids. It's full of practical tips that can be implemented in backyards of all different shapes and sizes, including courtyards. When we first moved in (and for the last eight years to be honest) I didn't really have much of an idea of how to convert our yard into an exciting area for kids. I didnt want her to miss out on outdoor play though just because I didn't know where to start. The ebook has given me so many ideas on how to transform our yard into an area that she'll find fun and entertaining, but also safe for her to explore. It provides a number of creative solutions to potential hazards such as sun exposure and also has a comprehensive list of ways to keep your backyard safe for little people. It also contains a number of outdoor activities that will encourage kids to use their imagination while enjoying the health benefits of outdoor play. We may not have the luxury of a large backyard, but the ebook has opened my eyes to think outside the box and given me heaps of ways I can convert our courtyard into a fun playground for bub. These are some of the ways I plan on encouraging her to enjoy the benefits of outdoor play at our place.

A cubby house

I definitely want her to experience the joy of an outdoor cubby house. Ironically its one of the only things I didn't have in my backyard as a child and I was always jealous of my friends who had one. I just have to decide whether to get a traditional wooden style cubby or one of the plastic outdoor play gyms.

A place to ride a bike

Obviously there's not a lot of space to ride a real bike in a courtyard, but there's enough for her to zoom around on a ride on car, her first tricycle or even a scooter if she wanted to. We just need to fix the sloping pebblecrete under the pergola to make it safer for outdoor activities. We're currently locked in a continuous argument discussion over whether to change it to a wooden deck, paved area, or half paved and half grass. 

An outdoor chalkboard

We had a huge chalkboard in our garage as kids and I loved it. I thought we didn't have room for one here, but then I read about creating a covered outdoor chalkboard in the ebook and realised I could use the back wall under the pergola. Hooray problem solved!

A trampoline

I'm not crazy, I realise a huge trampoline or even the round springfree ones won't fit in my courtyard, but that's not going to stop me giving her a trampoline. Its a right of passage for every kid and shes not going to miss out just because we live in a townhouse. I'm either going to get a small floor trampoline or see if I can do a sunken trampoline in the corner patch of grass we currently have.

Hopefully that'll keep her entertained for a few years until we can afford to buy a house with a decent sized backyard. We're lucky we also have a lot of grassed areas within our complex where she can have a play too. Teddy bear picnics here we come.

If you need some backyard inspiration you can get your free copy of the current Australian Outdoor Living ebook here. Australian Outdoor Living are producing a series of guides and ebooks to help inspire Australian's to create their dream outdoor living space. The next ebook will be a guide to hosting the perfect garden party. You can also get other expert advice via the Australian Outdoor Living blog.

How do you keep your kids entertained outside?

Toni xx

Disclosure - this is a paid post for Australian Outdoor Living in conjunction with Digital Parents Collective.

Linking with Jess

Monday, August 11, 2014

Going back in time

Today's prompt for I must confess is if you could go back to one single moment in my life what would it be. Truth is I can't pick one single moment, but I do know I would go back to a time when dad was still alive. A time before everything turned upside down.

No particular day stands out, but I would spend the day with him. I'd love to say I'd ask him all the questions I want answered, but if I went back to when he was alive I'd be younger than 10 and wouldn't even understand the questions I want to ask.

I'd just like to be able to spend the day with him. 

Any day. 

A whole day. 

A whole glorious day. 

I'd wake up early and we'd have french toast for breakfast. 

We'd ride to the quarry and go fishing at deep water bend. 

We'd walk to the corner shop and buy lollies. 

Then we'd go to the park and play for as long as possible until just before the sun was going down. 

We'd have welsh rabbits for dinner.

 I'd stay up as late as possible hoping that if I never went to sleep the day would never be able to end....

~ If I could cheat and take my smartphone with me to capture the entire day and bring it back with me to now that'd be great too.

Toni xx

Linking with Emma

Friday, August 8, 2014

Her first birthday party

So its been almost two weeks since the huge first birthday party and Im finally getting around to writing about it. I think my body's only just getting used to the fact that I don't need to stay up til almost midnight each night making party supplies. As much as I love washi tape, I am glad I'm no longer cutting copious amounts of tape into flag shapes.

First birthday parties are meant to be big right? At least for the first kid. It would've been sooo much easier (and probably cheaper) if I had've gone out and bought all the items instead of making stuff, but I wanted it to be special. I wanted her to have a party that was unique. I wanted to weave my blood, sweat and tears love into as many parts of the party as I could. Turns out, despite the late nights, I actually relished the process of making all the elements that I did. I seem to have unlocked a creative side to myself that I didn't know existed.

I didn't go all matchy matchy with the decorations, but I had a colour theme of pink, purple and a hint of blue (and of course owls were woven in wherever I could put them without it being too overwhelming).

Birthday Chalkboard

One thing I really wanted to do was a birthday chalkboard sign. For those who have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, its a blackboard with various statements about the birthday girl. I got the idea initially from Pinterest (of course). You can get these done up by professionals so they actually look decent and there are some cheat versions you can get from etsy that are just prints that look like chalkboards, but of course I thought I'd give it a crack myself. I bought a blackboard on sale from Typo for $19.99 and already had some coloured chalk lying around. I have to say I underestimated the amount of effort involved in this project and way overestimated my skills (aka writing with chalk). The sign ended up taking me over 2 hours all up to complete and I'm glad the board came with a duster because there was a lot of erasing going on. In the end I still ended up writing all crooked, but I think it still looked kind of ok. At least that's what people were telling me (they could've been lying).

Photo Board

I wanted to make a cute photo board showing how shes changed in the last twelve months. There are various different versions of these on Pinterest. I made mine using an old corkboard I've had since my uni days thats been sitting unused in the spare room for ages (I knew it'd come in handy one day). In order to fit quite a few photos on my corkboard I used my instagram photos and got them printed in mini squares from Printstagram online. To assemble the photoboard I used twine and mini pegs from a local junk shop and found the cutest little camera pins from Typo.

Birthday Cake

There was no way I was going to attempt to make the birthday cake myself. Apart from the fact that I don't bake very often, her cake had to be modified a lot because of her allergies and I didn't want it to taste like cardboard so I outsourced it. I baked cupcakes a few weeks before the party to eliminate other allergies and during that time discovered shes also allergic to eggs so the cake had to be modified further. I got a small cake so I could put a banner on top and then cupcakes, half chocolate and half vanilla. The chocolate ones were normal ingredients and the vanilla were dairy, soy and egg free so she could eat some cake like the other kids.

The cake and cupcakes were made by Nina from Sticky Fingers Cakes and Cupcakes and she did an amazing job. They tasted divine! I ate nearly all of the top cake myself over the week following the party (and I don't regret it at all). Nina also made the owl on top of the cake which matched the owl on the party invitations. I was blown away by the detail she was able to put into it. I wouldn't have the patience to work with something that tiny, but I'm glad she did.


If my obsession with washi tape wasn't already obvious, it is now. I made the washi tape bunting for the main cake and also made matching flags for the cupcakes underneath. Yes I was all ocd and measured out the tape as I was doing it. T thought that was pointless, but found it quite amusing watching me doing it.

I also got some other awesome decorations handmade by Nicky from Fancy Pants Party Stylists. She put together some gorgeous tissue paper pom poms and pom pom cake toppers to match the pink and purple colour scheme. Each pom pom was put together from scratch using tissue paper, florist wire and ribbon so they're all unique. She also designed a beautiful happy birthday bunting which she handmade from cardboard and ribbon.

Lolly Buffet

I had a lolly buffet moreso for the adults so they had something to take home as the kids party bags didn't have any lollies in them. Of course once the older kids saw lollies they had to have some. Even after they devoured as much as they could and the parents took some home there were still lollies left over, so unfortunately we had to take them home and eat them. Poor us! Being the party host is a tough gig. There's still some sitting on my kitchen bench, I clearly overestimated the amount of lollies required!

Party bags

Seems the best part of a party these days is the goodie bags, at least for the kids. I made the goodie bags myself over the course of many late nights. I used washi tape to make a banner across the top of the bags the same as the one on top of her cake so it all tied together. You can read exactly how I made them here. I was really happy with the way they ended up turning out.

Of course in the midst of all the party fun I forgot to take photos of the food and presents and the ball pit and inflatable cubby etc etc. I still have no idea how we fit everything into my mums place. If we end up doing a big party again next year we'll definitely need to do it in a park so there's enough room. Hopefully all the kids still had a good time. Hayley seemed to have a good time, even though she slept for an hour of the party.

Have you ever done a huge birthday party for your kids?

Did you make everything yourself or buy it all?

Toni xx

Linking with Grace, KazSonia, Ann and Bel