We Talk ABC Reading Eggs With Jules Sebastian!

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We recently got to speak to the lovely Jules Sebastian from Tea With Jules about motherhood, her and Guys charity and her recent partnership with ABC Reading Eggs.

 

Thanks Jules for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us today, we really appreciate your time.

 

Speaking of busy, you’re a stylist, TV presenter, blogger, trained make-up artist, and have your own YouTube show TeaWith Jules. You’re also married to Guy Sebastian - one of Australia's top music artists, and a mum to two beautiful boys. If that's not enough you also run a charity, The Sebastian Foundation, with Guy. I am exhausted just saying all that! Tell us how you manage it all?

 

I think prioritising is a huge one. You can only do what you can do. Even if things don’t get done that day, do it on another day and just give yourself a break. For me that’s a recent lesson, just to chill out with myself. I know when I go to bed at the end of the day I’ve done my level best to achieve everything.

 

Talk us through what a typical day is like for you?             

 

So no different to a lot of other mums really – I get Hudson ready for school and Archer ready for day care. After that my day’s taken up with work and various projects. Then it’s school pick up time. In the afternoon we may spend time in the backyard – the boys love jumping on the trampoline. Then it’s dinner time and getting the boys ready for bed.

 

The boys really love us reading to them at the end of the day when they’re nice and calm and need that winding down time. I find Reading Eggs is also a nice thing for Hudson to do before bedtime especially if I’m by myself and I’m reading Archie a story or having a shower! It’s a relief knowing he’s doing something educational. I’ll check in on him doing it from time to time, but he’s mostly fine to navigate it himself.

 

How do you find balance between work, following your passions and family life?

 

I try to take a bit of “me-time” in my day. I will have a cup of tea, watch Netflix and try to get through the 485 books I have next to my bed! It also sounds a bit teenage, but I have started writing in a journal as well, just five minutes each day. It’s like a gratitude journal. However if I could have a dream day, I’d go get a massage, have brunch girlfriends, watch a movie, walk in the sunshine and just chill.

 

So what are you currently watching and reading?

 

I just started watching Jane the Virgin and I also like Suits, The Good Wife and documentaries. I’ll also be interviewing author Jenny Valentish soon for Tea with Jules so I’m reading her book Woman of Substances about addiction and treatment.

 

Your son Hudson started school this year, do you have any tips for parents who are wondering if their child is ready for school?

 

Hudson was four on the first day of school in February and turned five a month later. Knowing he would be one of the younger ones in the class, I really put a lot of time and thought into trying to figure out whether he was ready for big school.

 

So I talked to a lot of friends who are teachers as well as his preschool teachers to get their opinions. I’d advise any parent who’s unsure about this issue to do the same. In the end we went with what we felt was right as well as the advice of his teacher who said if we held Hudson back for another year he might get bored as he’s a bit of a bright spark and handles himself really well in social situations. It was the right decision as he’s done so well, and really loves going to school.

 

Yourself and Hudson recently have partnered with the award- winning ABC Reading Eggs program that encourages children to develop and early love for reading in preparation for school? What is it that made you want to sign up with Reading Eggs?

I think it’s just great for young kids as it’s a really good online program, I’m so glad I discovered it! I think as a parent technology is one of those things you have to keep an eye on, so it’s wonderful that this is something kids can do online which is also educational and helps prepare them for school and continues to help after they’ve started.

 

Hudson likes how the program is easy to follow and gets really chuffed about how much he can now recognise words. He’s really motivated to go through the online books and all the activities and likes the competitive nature of going up levels and getting rewards. He loves it – he thinks of it as a great game!

 

What does Hudson love about reading eggs?

 

Mostly the element of it being competitive. Whenever he climbs up another level he’ll come and tell me about it. He just loves that sense of achievement and seeing the characters dance at the end of each task, it’s a fun affirmation for him.

Four years ago yourself and Guy set up a charity The Sebastian Foundation, can you tell us how this came about, and what is it that the charity does?

 

With our own family feel so blessed and lucky to have two beautiful healthy boys so we really wanted to create a charity which focused on families and give back to others. We support communities, groups and initiatives which benefit children and empower women whilst taking a stand against domestic violence.

 

For example, we’ve donated sleeper beds to The Children's Hospital at Westmead so that families can stay together through treatment and have plans to improve several domestic violence crisis accommodation centres to make them feel more like a home.

 

How can someone get involved or donate to your charity if they want to help?

 

By checking out the website www.thesebastianfoundation.org

 

We can imagine that you and Guy both have full on schedules, being parents keeps you busy enough, let alone all the other stuff you both do. What do you both do to unwind and stay connected to each other?

 

You could just go on and on and on with life after kids and not connect. So it is important to make time together, but it doesn’t have to be a big event. Sometimes we just catch up together at the end of the day and chat when the kids are in bed, or watch a move on TV together.

 

What's next for you? Are you working on any other exciting projects?

 

I’ve always got things in the pipeline. So aside from my usual projects, I’ll also be speaking at an inspiring upcoming event in Avoca in September called She the Change which aims to connect women change makers, entrepreneurs and creatives with their purpose and value the role they have to play in making the world a better place.”

 

Reading Eggs Video  

And finally just for fun!

 

What is the best thing about being a mum?

 

Can I be really evil and say bedtime?! No, apart from that, hearing my kids laugh.

 

If you had to choose another career what would it be?

 

A pilot.

 

Favourite holiday destination?

 

Paris because we went there on our honeymoon and I love it.

 

Listening to right now?

 

I just love pop. Guy is so mortified by my music choices. At the moment I’m obsessed with 2U by David Guetta featuring Justin Bieber. Honestly, I’m not normally into Bieber!

 

One food you could never give up?

 

I want to say chocolate and cheese however I’ve been on a health kick so I haven’t eaten either of them in two months. But don’t worry they’ll be back.

 

Thanks Jules for taking the time to chat with us today, we really appreciate it. We look forward to seeing yourself and Hudson in the up and coming campaign with ABC Reading Eggs.

ABC Reading Eggs also have a FREE trial right now, learn to read in 5 weeks for FREE!

 

You can connect and follow Jules here:

Face Book

Instagram

Website

Charity

 

 

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Easy Anzac Balls!

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If you love Anzac cookies you will love these, they taste very similar only a little sweeter!

 

The mixture is quite crumbly, simply press firmly to form into balls.

 

 

You will need:

 

1 Cup desiccated coconut

 

1 Cup Rolled oats

 

1 1/2 cups dates

 

2 tbs Coconut oil

 

1/2 Cup rice malt syrup.

 

 

 

Let's put them together:

 

Pop all the ingredients into a food processor or Thermomix and blend until a fine mixture forms.

 

Roll the mixture into approx 1 inch balls.

 

Pop in the fridge to firm a little before eating.

 

Makes 16

 

 

 

Tip: You can also toast the oats first in the oven with some cinnamon for a different crunchier flavour!

 

 

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Balinese Spice Paste - Great For Chicken!

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I recently visited Bali and while I was there I took a few cooking classes, the food is amazing and I wanted to learn how to make it for myself. I have used this recipe over and over since being home and find it great for stuffing the skin of chicken, in curries and I have even used it in rissoles and patties. The best part is you can  make it in advance and then freeze it in ice cube trays and freeze. I used 2 cubes of the curry per 500 grams of chicken. I love that you can experiment and add this paste to a lot of different recipes. You can get most of the ingredients from a green grocer or asian / indian food store.

 

Ingredients:

350gr shallots peeled and sliced

190gm fresh garlis

75 grams Kencur washed and sliced.

90 grams Galangal

25 grams Candlenuts crushed or raw pea nuts.

30 grams Palm sugar, chopped

100 mills Coconut or vegtable oil

3 stalks Lemon grass, bruised

4 Salam leaves or fresh kaffir lime leaves

375 mills water

1 tablespoon salt

 

Method:

Combine all ingredients except for leaves , lemon grass, water and oil into a food processor or stont morter and grind until smooth.

Place all ingredients into a presure cooker, Bring ingredients to a simmer.

Pressure cook on gauge pressure bar 1 /15 psi for 30 minutes, start timiing when full pressure is reached.

Let cool for 20 minutes.

Cool in fridge over night.

Spread into ice cube trays and add to freezer.

Store in air tight bag.

Use as you like, lasts approx 3 minths in freezer.

 

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The Reason Why I Let My Kids Have Unlimited Screen Time!

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We are a pretty high tech family, my husband's background is in I.T and tech and I work full time in social media and online, so to say that we are tapped into some sort of device at any given time would be an understatement.

Our kids 5 and 7 also love technology, I love that my 5 year old can pretty much work most devices easily.

It's no secret that technology is addictive, I mean you only have to look around you at any given time and you are sure to see someone looking at their phone. I use to feel super guilty that our kids were being raised in a world where it seems everyone is locked into some sort of device over engaging, interacting with other people and outside activities, but the truth is, it's the way the world is going.

Teenagers now can spend 20 minutes taking the perfect selfie to upload to social media and I am sure in 20 years time when we don't even have to leave our homes for anything we will be longing for the days when our kids chased Pokémon's and took selfies. My era was lucky in the fact that we had a childhood pre internet, where our kids now have been raised with the internet and have never known any different.

My kids also go to a school that promotes technology, at any given time they can send me a video recording or take a photo of their work that I can log into see it. In addition to traditional schooling they also do a lot of work on ipads and know how to navigate google and the internet, probably better than most adults do.

I never really had an issue with my kids being on technology but I definitely had an issue with them not wanting to do anything else but be on technology, I felt like I was going a bit bonkers when I would ask my children to hop off a device as it was always followed by a tantrum, it was also a real struggle to get them to play outside, do homework, chores or anything else for that matter.

I knew something had to change, It wasn't until my husband said jokingly one morning, oh let them have as much tec time as they want, that's when a penny dropped.

I thought yep that's what I am going to do, I am going to let them have as much tech time as they want provided that they did the following.

I put together a chart that had everything on it that they needed to do before they could touch any device, this included, Ipad, computer, my phone, and TV. I spoke to them and told them that they could have as much technology as they wanted and it was actually up to them how much time they got to spend on their favourite devices,  but they had to make sure that everything on the following list was ticked off first.

 

In mornings they had to:

Breakfast

Clean teeth

Get dressed

Make bed and make sure room is neat < this doesn't have to be perfect just done.

Lunch and bag packed

Shoes on

Hair done

As soon as this is done my kids are free to go on ipad, computer, tv phone etc.

 

In the afternoons they have to:

Read / homework

Unpack bag

Uniform in wash or hung up if not dirty.

In summer 30 - 45 mins play outside

Bath/shower in winter they have bath soon as they get home.

This is normally all done before 4.30

After that they are allowed as much tech until 6pm dinner, at this time we all put tech away, my husband and I put our phones up until kids are in bed.

 

We have never done tech at night so they don't know any different as far as going on it after dinner, I like this to be a wind down time for them and we normally read, talk or sometimes play a game.

I swear this has been the best thing I have done in a long time ha! My kids get up at 7am every morning  and we leave the house at 8.20am and they at least have 30 mins screen time in the mornings, this is because they know if they don't move they don't get screen time. Even when I have trouble getting them out of bed, all I have to say is you won't have much screen time and they normally jump up < and to be honest most times they are already up and dressed before my alarm goes off.

I have found by giving my kids the feeling that the are allowed as much time as they want provided they have done everything really makes them more responsible, again my issue was never the time they spent on the devices but the fact that it would take them forever to get anything else done. I don't ask for perfection with their jobs etc but they have to have a good go at it.

The key is to follow through, if my 2 don't do what's on the list they don't have any tec that day, and yes they cry and carry on but normally the following day they are back ticking off that list ha!

On the weekends we are pretty cruisey with tec time in saying that we do get out and do a lot of family stuff. We do plenty of outdoor activities, both my kids do karate, swimming and gymnastics and we regularly cook and play sport together, so it's not all technology, but in the era we now live in, tec is not going anywhere so for us it was good to find a balance sooner rather than later.

This is what I have found works for us, do you have any tips for tech time in your house?

Oh I should also add that although we let our kids use technology we are well aware of what they are watching or playing :)

 

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Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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There is nothing better than freshly cooked cookies especially  ones loaded with chocolate. I love that this cookie recipe is great eaten warm and cooled.

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup White sugar

1cup packed brown sugar

1oo gram butter softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups self raising flour

1 Egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups chocolate chips

 

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees,

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, yep its that easy!

Roll out about 2 inch balls and place on a lined baking tray, don't put them to close together as they expand as they cook and will go into each other.

Bake for 10 minutes until slightly golden, take them out and let them cool, they will firm up as they cool.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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What's All The Hype With Marley Spoon?

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I had seen Marley Spoon advertised on the Net and also have had friends and work collegues rave about them, but to be honest I am not really one that likes food being delivered, I much prefer to pick my own produce and know that I am getting exactly what I want, I've tried ordering groceries on line before and it just doesn't work for me. So when we were asked to try out Marley Spoon I was a little sceptical, I knew it would be great to have food delivered to my door with full instructions on how to make the meal, the convenience side I was really looking forward to but I wasn't sure about not picking my own produce.

I decided we would try out 2 of their meals , the process was really easy I simply went on line and selected the 2 meals I wanted and for a family of 4.

The box arrived on the Monday Morning and the first thing that surprised me was the fact that both meals had their own separate labelled bag along with a beautiful printed out recipe card. Now this might not be big for some, but occasionally if I arrive home late from work my husband needs to cook and the fact that the herbs and veggies are separated into the right recipes makes a big difference. I asked my husband to buy a cauliflower once and he bought home a cabbage lol He has also bought home Thai basil when I asked for sage, so the fact that everything is in the one bag makes it easy for a beginner cook as well. The protein and cheese was packed in a separate bag with an ice block to keep it cool.

The first night we had this Chilli Basil Beef the flavours where amazing the balance of sweet, sour and heat were amazing, I only used one of the Chilli's as my kids don't like overly hot food. This meal was huge, there are 4 of us and we all ate it and then I also put left over's in 3 containers for hubbies lunches, my kids are 5 and 7 so there may not be left over's if you have teenagers. I was surprised at the size though. My husband messaged me today from work and said it even tastes good cold < winning! The kids ate it too!

The following night we had this Parmesan Chicken Schnitzel and OMG the chicken was so tender and a tip squeezing lemon over it once cooked takes it to a whole new level. Again there was more then enough We got 7 pieces of chicken out of the fillets and was left with 2 left over which the kids had for lunch the following day. The coleslaw was a perfect balance of crispiness and tang. I also think this would be perfect in a bread roll on a Friday night watching the footy or even pre cooked and taken to a picnic. This was so delicious and one that I will be trying again.

I see a lot of value in what Marley Spoon are doing, I love that you can keep the recipe cards and repeat the same recipe down track, I love that it encourages your other half to cook and they have healthy options. I also love that it doesn't take the enjoyment out of cooking, you still get to dice and mix and enjoy the whole process. I also think it's great for entertaining not just to save time, but easy to put together a quick meal that you cooked with very little effort. But most of I love that the ingredients were actually better quality then I am use to and that's a big tick for me.

I was sceptical to start with but I will most defiently be using Marley spoon in the future even if it's just for a couple of meals during the week. I guess you could say I see what all the hype is about now :)

Marley Spoon have been lovely enough to give our followers $35.00 off your first order simply click here and order. There are plenty of meals to choose from!

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Make The Perfect Cheese Toastie!

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Is there anything better the perfect Cheese toastie? Personally I never buy a toastie when I am out and about as they just don't compare to what I can do at home.

You can use the cheeses you like, I find a soft or spreadable cheese a long with a tasty or mozzarella work well, if you like a stronger tasting cheese by all means use it.

I find that the secret is in the amount of butter you use, if you use to much you will have a soggy outside if you don't have enough you won't have that nice brown crunch on the outside.

 

Ingredients

Butter enough to spread to pieces of bread.

50 grams of Good quality Tasty cheese.

1 teaspoon of Bulla Crème Fraiche

2 good pinch's of pepper

1 pinch of salt

 

Method

Preheat a non stick frying pan on high.

Spread 2 pieces of white bread, you can use whatever bread you like. Make sure the butter is spread out evenly, not to thick and to the corners.

Turn bread over and spread the crème Fraiche on one piece.

Place one piece of buttered bread down on the hot pan then ad the slices of tasty cheese on it.

Add the salt and pepper.

Top with the other piece of bread making sure that the butter side is facing up.

Cook for 3- 4 minutes each side until you can see golden brown in colour and the cheese melting.

Take out and slice in half.

Enjoy!

Add a slice of ham or any other filling to change it up.

 

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How To Make The Perfect Hot Chocolate!

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With Winter well and truly here in Melbourne there is nothing better then cuddling up on the couch with a homemade hot chocolate. There are lots of different ways to make a great hot chocolate but this is the best way I have found.

 

Ingredients

500ml Full cream milk

80gm 70% cocoa chocolate, finely grated

40gm milk chocolate, finely grated

85ml cream

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

 

Method

Warm half the milk in a saucepan on medium heat and stir in the chocolate, stir until melted.

Whisk in the remaining milk and cream and stir well while it continues to heat.

Add the salt, nutmeg and cinnamon to the saucepan and whisk well, heat without it bringing to the boil.

Before pouring whisk quickly so that the milk froths up a little.

Pour into 2 mugs and enjoy!

 

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Gluten Free Chicken Curry Mini Rissole Bites!

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These Chicken bites are really easy to make and we have used them as a main meal, lunch box snacks and also in a pasta sauce as a substitute for meat balls. They are also great for party finger food.

 

Ingredients

250 grams chicken mince

1 cup drained and rinsed chick peas.

2/3 cup of rice crumbs < we use Casalare premium gluten free.

1/2 onion

1 carrot

Good pinch of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon curry powder

Oil for frying

 

Method

Add the onion and carrot to the a food processor and blitz well.

Add the chicken mince, chock peas, salt, pepper and curry powder and mix again.

Add rice crumbs and combine well.

Add chicken mince to a large bowl and add the onion mix to the bowl.

Add rice crumbs and combine well.

Roll into approx one inch balls,

Heat a large frying pan on high and add a little oil to cover pan.

Let cook until golden and crispy then turn over and cook on high for a further minute. Reduce heat to low and let them cook through.

Once cooked let rest on paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Enjoy!

Tip: You can add whatever spices you like to these!

 

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Apricot and Macadamia Balls!

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These are delicious as a treat and they freeze really well for lunch box snacks!

Ingredients

2 cups dried apricots

2 1/2 cups desiccated coconut

3/4 tin sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 cups blitzed macadamia nuts

1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

Coconut to roll

Directions

  1. Blitz the macadamia nuts first on their own, then add to a bowl.
  2. then add the appricots and blitz well.
  3. Add condensed milk, coconut oil and coconut and mix through well.
  4. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge (the mixture will be sticky).
  5. Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in coconut.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  7. Enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Mug Cake - ready in 3 minutes!

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If you are anything like me, once the kids are in bed and I am settling in for some me time in front of the TV, I start to crave something sweet and this chocolate Mug Cake does the trick. I love this dessert as I don't have to make a whole cake and eat a whole cake and its ready in 3 minutes < genius!

 You will need:

 Cake

  • 3 tablespoons self raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Icing

  • 4 Squares of Cooking milk chocolate
  • Dash of coconut oil < optional

Method

  1. Add dry ingredients to a large mug, and mix well.
  2. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
  4. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 2 minutes on high, check your cake you may need another minute depending on your microwave, be careful not to overcook it or you will have a dry cake.
  5. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, this is normal.
  6. While the cake is cooking, work on your icing, add the chocolate into a microwavable bowl with a dash of oil, microwave on high for 20 - 35 seconds.
  7. Once cake is cooked pour chocolate over the top.
  8. You can flip the cake out into a bowl and eat with ice cream or cream or eat straight out of the mug.

Tip: Add a drop of peppermint oil or orange essence to change up the flavour :)

You can also use bottled caramel sauce for a quick alterntative!

 

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Our Top Tips For Cooking With Kids!

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Most kids love to cook and although it can be a hassle for parents to let them help in the kitchen, it is surprising just how quickly kids can learn and be quite helpful.

My 7 and 5 year old can cook basic things like eggs and pikelets and they have a good understanding of kitchen safety, I love seeing the joy on their faces as we cook.

Below are our top tips for cooking with kids:

Expect a lot of mess, believe me if you tell yourself from the beginning that it is going to be messy then you are less likely to lose patience, there will be the odd bit of flour or a cracked egg on the floor, I try to remember that all messes can be cleaned and that teaching my kids how to cook is more valuable than a clean kitchen. In saying that I also teach my kids to tidy up after themselves, if they spill something they need to have a go at wiping it up < and yes sometimes this makes more mess haha!

Explain things, take your time to explain what utensils are used for, what certain ingredients do and why we measure and weigh things, you will be surprised how much your child will retain the information and how spot on they can be when it comes to measuring. It's also good to cover food hygiene.

Let them touch and taste what they are making, this is not only fun for them but it teaches them about different flavours and textures, ask them questions like do you think this is sweet enough? Do you think its thick enough? kids love having control over a recipe.

Be prepared, get all the ingredients out ready with the recipe, if your child is able to read get them to guide siblings in what steps to take.

Be prepared for imperfection, odd shaped biscuits under cooked cup cakes are all part of learning, if something doesn't work out try and problem solve what the issue could have been and even get your child to make a note on the recipe for next time. If we have messed up a recipe I always revisit that recipe and see if we can perfect it, it is a great way of teaching the kids to keep trying and they love it when it turns out right.

Have fun, before to long you will most probably have teenagers who won't want to go anywhere near a dish haha so enjoy the time with your little ones in the kitchen, not only are you teaching a great life skill but you are also creating amazing memories with your kids.

And always make sure your kids are supervised in the kitchen, this is pretty much a no brainer :)

Some easy recipes I cook with my kids are:

4 ingredient cookies, I give the kids the dough and they can spen ages cutting out cookies.

Anything like ball recipes like these ones: White chocolate balls!

Cupcakes and muffins

 

Do you have any tips to add for cooking with kids? Leave a comment on our face book page :)

 

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Memorable Mum Moments with Curash™

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Anyone who has more than one child knows the struggle of siblings squabbling. Seriously I love being a mum but if there is one thing I can not stand its hearing my 7 and 5 year old argue and whinge at each other, it always ends in tears and normally they are mine ha!

In between the fights and tantrums there are plenty of nice mum moments though and I witnessed one today. I couldn't here much noise coming from their bedrooms and normally that isn't a good sign, so I went to check on them to see what they were doing. Before I got to the door I could hear them talking to each other about their Dolls, I peeked around the corner and saw they were dressing their dolls with about 30 Curash™ baby wipes spalled out around them, they had been playing babies and cleaning their dolls with the wipes. It seriously was the cutest thing to watch < even if they were wasting the wipes. To see their natural little mothering instincts come out was so sweet to see. Obviously my kids love Curash wipes as much as I do!

We have been using Curash™ products since we first bought home my eldest daughter 7 years ago and have found their products to be the best on the market.

We love how they have a complete range of products to care for babies skin from top to bottom. And given that they have been providing expert skin care advice for 35 years, it puts my mind at ease when using it on my little ones.

We love that the baby wipes are specially formulated irritant free wipes for extra sensitive skin. Soft, strong and gentle on your baby’s skin, they also come in value and bulk pack varieties.

Curash™ Fragrance Free baby wipes are developed with your baby’s delicate skin in mind and the makers of Curash™ ensure they’re:

  • Ideal for Newborns
  • Irritant Free
  • Dermatologically Tested
  • Soap and Paraben Free
  • Thick and Soft
  • Alcohol Free and pH BalancedAdded benefits include:
  • Curash™ Fragrance Free baby wipes are paediatrician and dermatologist tested, making them perfect for giving your baby a complete clean after each nappy change.

They also:

  • Help protect against nappy rash
  • Pop-up wipes – grab with one hand, so you always have a free hand to keep hold of your little one.

 

You can find out where to purchase Curash here!

curash.com.au facebook/curash

 

 

@curashau

#CurashLovesYou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Things Your Daughter Needs To Hear You Say

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So – you want to raise a strong, brave, empowered, independent daughter. That’s awesome – as her parent, you are in a pretty great position to do that through your parenting style, your actions and your words. There are some words that can have significant power in your daughter’s life, and it’s important that she hears them not only from teachers, mentors, friends and peers, but specifically from you. Build your daughter up to be the very best version of herself by speaking these words over her:

  1. “You’re a good person”

Girls rely heavily on others’ opinions of them, and there is a swarm of nasty (not to mention unfounded!) comments out there waiting to attack her character as she grows older and more impressionable. Other peoples’ negative opinions can become a self-fulfilling prophesy if they’re not balanced with more truthful reminders of her goodness. It may seem obvious, but she needs to be assured that she is inherently good in order to believe it.

  1. “You have amazing ideas”

Give power to her ideas and let her know that they are unique and valuable from an early age. Girls who believe in their ideas become women with initiative and self-confidence.

  1. “You know the answer to this problem

Sometimes, girls know the answer to something but need a little push to commit. Encouraging her to practise committing to a solution now will teach her to trust her instincts and decision-making as an adult.

  1. “You’re really good at this”

Acknowledging your daughter’s natural talents validates her abilities and encourages her to continue honing her skills. She is constantly going to face people who she perceives to be better than her, so it’s essential to instil the belief that her own abilities are not dependent on being the best; that she is absolutely talented regardless of how talented others might be too.

  1. “I love you”

Some families have these words constantly on their lips, but others go with the notion that actions speak louder than words, and though unspoken, everyone knows that they are loved. And yes, most of us know that our parents love us, but the words “I love you” are extremely powerful to hear all the same. Teach your daughter that your love for her is unconditional by ensuring that you say it regardless of her behaviour, emotional state, grades or achievements.

  1. “I’m proud of you”
    Throughout her childhood (and hopefully beyond!), you are one of the people she is going to most want to impress. When you see that she has worked hard to achieve something, acknowledge it. Let her know you’ve seen the effort she has put in, and tell her that she has done well.
  2. “It’s ok to make mistakes”

It is very common for women to become perfectionists who beat themselves up over mistakes and perceived failure. Don’t let your daughter fall into that trap! By helping her believe that mistakes are just a normal bump in the road, you are raising her to pick herself up and carry on rather than dwell on the things she does wrong. Plus, by accepting her, mistakes and all, you become an unequivocally safe place for her to run to if she is ever in trouble.

  1. “You don’t need to follow in my footsteps”

Because she doesn’t. She might have your eyes, but she’s her own person with her own interests, talents and passions - not a younger, fresher-faced carbon copy of you. Sure, she may love the idea of taking on the family restaurant someday, or of growing up to be a lawyer just like you, but if she doesn’t – it’s not a personal attack against you. It’s simply a sign that you have raised a strong, independent daughter.

  1. “I wouldn’t change a thing about you”

It is important for your daughter to be comfortable to be herself around you, always. Don’t set impossibly high standards for her, and don’t compare her to siblings or friends. Simply let her know that she is perfect and wonderful in your eyes. Allow her to flourish in her own skin, not feel like she’s constantly disappointing you.

  1. “You are beautiful”

It’s no secret that when it comes to their appearance, girls are ridiculously hard on themselves. Girl as young as six are looking in the mirror and critiquing the way they look compared to their peers and the images of young women in the media. No doubt you see your daughter’s unique beauty better than anyone, so help her to see herself through your eyes.

Imagine living in a world in which an entire generation of women grew up with the unquestioning understanding that they are strong, uniquely talented, equal individuals. Parents of girls, it starts with you! Your words have power, so speak them wisely and intentionally, and raise your daughter to see the amazing person that she is.

 

 

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Give Your Opinion And Go Into The Draw To Win $1000 With Café Study!

Give Your Opinion And Go Into The Draw To Win $1000 With Café Study!

Café Study is looking for mums and mums -to - be that would like to give their opinion and feedback on a wide range of products, from parentling, entertainment, travel and general lifestyle products. The best part is by simply giving your feedback you will be rewarded with points that you can redeem for cash or vouchers and its FREE to join.

 

Sign up before December 31st 2017 and you will also go in the draw for $1000, sign up CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

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Responding to tantrums with gentleness

Responding to tantrums with gentleness

As a toddler-mum, I am no stranger to tantrums. It seems that with every passing month of toddlerhood the tantrums are becoming longer, more intense… and harder to deal with. It’s part and parcel of parenting a toddler, I know this, but when I’m in the thick of those banshee wails and that angry, frantic flailing of limbs – I panic. Every time. I cannot reason with this tiny, ticked off little person. I cannot convince him to stop. I can’t even bribe him. His tantrums usually end with both of us reaching emotional exhaustion.

Recently, I noticed some blog posts and articles popping up around the place suggesting a patient, gentle response to tantrums. I wasn’t convinced. Cooing softly at a scrunched up, red little face didn’t sound like smart parenting to me. Treading softly around him and giving him what he wanted in order to keep his screaming to a minimum didn’t appeal either. To be honest, the whole gentle response thing seemed more like pandering and less like parenting.

Then I witnessed a gentle response in action.

I was on my way into a Café, and walked by a mum standing beside a crying little girl on the footpath. It was a tantrum in full swing, and I readied myself to issue the empathetic knowing smile, waiting for the inevitable huffy, “Stop crying! You’re being silly! I’m going to count to three! We’re going home right now!” You know, those standard panic-buttons we hit when the tantrums strike in public.

Instead, the mum sat down beside her, looked her lovingly in the eyes, and spoke to her gently, “I’m here. I know you’re upset. It’s okay. When you’re done crying, we can go back inside together.”

Did the little girl instantly stop crying? Of course not! When it comes to tantrums, there’s no magical off-switch. But the tantrum didn’t escalate, either. Mum and daughter sat together, waiting for the storm to pass.

Tantrums are based on:

-        Anger

-        A sense of injustice

-        Sadness

-        Fear

-        Uncertainty

None of these are pleasant feelings, and toddlers deal with them the best way they know how. They don’t have the ability to rationalise, and they don’t have a full grasp on perspective. So when they throw themselves on the floor in a full-blown tantrum, it’s because the world is ending. It seriously is. What I have learnt about responding gently and patiently when my toddler cracks it, is that it’s not about giving into whatever hair-brained idea has derailed him this time. It simply means being a soothing, safe place for him the whole time, so that when he stops for a breath, I’m there, loving him and cuddling him and telling him it’s okay. This is a stark contrast to the angry, fed-up, impatient mum he might have dealt with before – and I know which option would help me cheer up if I were in his shoes! Plus, as an added bonus, I find that concentrating on an intentionally gentle reaction actually keeps me calm in the face of a tantrum. His tantrum may not end any sooner, but it does end better – for both of us!

Here are my tips for keeping your cool and responding to tantrums with gentleness:

-        Pause. Breathe. Shake off any frustration that has started to build.

-        Avoid using phrases such as “Stop this now!”, “You’re being silly!” and “Don’t do that!” Instead, focus on responding with “I’m here”, “I know you’re upset” and “It’s not nice to feel angry, is it?”

-        Don’t try to rationalise with your toddler. Don’t try to distract him. All of his focus right now is on the big emotion he’s experiencing.

-        Get down to his level – standing over him when he’s feeling vulnerable can be intimidating

-        Be patient. Ride the waves and be ready to cheer him up when the screams turn to whimpers and he begins to listen to you once more.

-        When he moves on, you move on – don’t dwell on the tantrum or the reason behind it.

Gentleness isn’t generally our default response when it comes to tantrums, but with practise it can become second nature. Give it a try – see if it makes a differenc    

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Introducing the next generation of skincare adapted to each skin type by Mustela®.

Introducing the next generation of skincare adapted to each skin type by Mustela®.

 

One lucky parent can win a Mustela pack simply enter HERE

New scientific research reveals each baby is born with a specific skin type and need. Introducing the next generation of skincare adapted to each skin type by Mustela®.

Mustela® is the first skin care company globally to embark on a research program that analyses the physiology of babies and children’s skin from outer layers of the epidermis all the way to the deepest epidermal layers. Using advanced, non-invasive imaging technologies and the development of the world’s first reconstruction of babies and children’s skin, Mustela® researchers discovered that a baby’s skin is most fragile between birth and age of two and scientifically demonstrated babies each have different kinds of skin with different needs, deserving of its own care.

The breakthrough insight shows children are born with either: Normal skin that needs to be hydrated daily; Dry skin that needs to be hydrated and nourished, and Extremely dry/eczema-prone skin, subject to extreme dryness and sensations of itching, that needs to be hydrated, soothed and replenished daily. With this insight, Mustela® developed patented specific natural ingredients - clinically proven under dermatological and/or paediatric supervision - to be effective for each type of skin.

The ingredients in the new range include:

  • For Normal skin: Avocado Perseose®, a patented natural ingredient that deeply hydrates skin epidermis, protects the skin barrier and preserves the cellular richness of the skin.
  • For Dry skin: Avocado Perseose® and a dermo-nutritive complex that deeply nourishes the skin.
  • For Extremely dry eczema-prone skin: Avocado Perseose® and a patented natural ingredient, Sunflower Oil Distillate®, which replenishes and soothes eczema-prone skin.

Already an established brand with a global cult-like following (number 1 baby dermo-cosmetic brand in Europe), Mustela® has taken the range to the next level with this new generation of hygiene and skincare products adapted to all skin types from birth onwards. Products available, priced between $7.95 - $34.95 rrp, include Foam Shampoo for Newborn, Gentle Cleansing Gel, Body Lotion, Face Cream, , Vitamin Barrier Cream, Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath, , Travel Set, No Rinse Cleansing Water and fragrance-free skincare products like Stelatopia Emollient Cream, Stelatopia Cleansing Cream and more.

The baby skincare expert for over 60 years, Mustela® guarantees safety from birth onwards and is committed to minimising environmental impact with eco-designed products that are conscious of people and the environment at each stage of their life cycle. With a priority given to ingredients of natural origin, there are no parabens, phthalates or Phenoxyethanol. Light textures and delicate fragrances add to the appeal.

The new Mustela® bébé-enfant *range is available in Chemist Warehouse, Babies "R" Us, Amcal, Chemmart Terry White, Priceline, and all good pharmacies. To make it even easier for parents to work out what skin type is right for their baby, Mustela® has created an online 2-part skin diagnosis questionnaire. With Mustela®, it all starts with skin.

And for one lucky parent we have a Mustela pack up for grabs simply enter HERE

You can find out more about Mustela here: www.mustela.com.au

 

 

 

 

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GIVE AWAY - 1 X - Tend Sleepsuit up for grabs

GIVE AWAY - 1  X - Tend Sleepsuit up for grabs

 GIVE AWAY - 1  X - Tend Sleepsuit up for grabs ENTER HERE 

I love this sleep suit as my son hates blankets and is a little too big to wear a sleeping bag. I can never find the matching tops and bottoms for pyjamas either - so this is the perfect solution! 3 kids and I finally have the solution for my 3rd child! 

Today was the first day this school term that I have looked half decent at school drop off, you see for the past couple of weeks my 3 year old has been climbing into bed with us at all hours of the night, sleeping on me with limbs I didn't even know he had haha. As any mum who has little ones climb into bed  with them knows that you don't get a lot of sleep at all, if you are anything like me you roll out of bed in the morning, rush around to get kids ready for school and its not before you are dropping kids off and talking to other parents that you realise you didn't even brush your hair ha!

My husband and I have tried everything to get our 3 year old to stay in his bed, we noticed that since the weather has changed and gotten cooler that he has been coming in and saying that his cold. < no matter how many blankets we put on him.

So we were pretty excited when we received the X - Tend Sleepsuit in the mail, these suits are great they have removable sleeves for the warmer nights as well. The X -Tend Sleepsuit is perfect because he is not one for keeping his blankets on, hence him coming into bed with us every night.

Well what do you know the last 3 nights he has slept through, which means I have as well, which equals a happy mum

These suits really are amazing and  they are luxurious, super-soft, certified organic cotton; no polyester, no harmful chemicals and pesticides, creating a healthier option for baby – while being super practical for parents.

The X-Tend Sleepsuit is an Australian-first invention that grows with baby! Simply extend the arms and legs of the suit once the baby is ready for the next size. Boasting handy features such as removable sleeves, hand and feet mittens and two way front zippers, it’s suitable for babies 6 months up to 7 years of age. For babies 18 months and up, a unique extra-large drop seat feature makes nappy changes or middle of the night toilet stops so much more convenient. The X-Tend Sleepsuit keeps baby safe and comfortable all night without the worry of kicking off blankets.

You can find more about X - Tend Sleepsuits here:  sleepycompany.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Miss My Husband!

I Miss My Husband!

 

“I miss you.”

I say these words to my husband far too often these days. Sure, the man gets home from work around 6 every day, watches TV with me for an hour or so most evenings, and sleeps beside me every night, but it’s not enough. Since having our son 18 months ago, our marriage has changed – in good ways, but also in challenging ways – and our quality time has suffered.

There is one other time in our marriage when this has been a problem – and it was right at the very beginning. We didn’t live together until after we were married, and within weeks of saying “I do” I realised that we were going days without connecting properly. Now that we were finally living together, we were both working on the assumption that we would just see each other all the time at home – which, in theory, freed us up to make lots of individual plans with friends and commitments to other people. But we quickly learnt that living together is not enough, and despite the fact that we were seeing each other regularly, we were not focusing enough on connecting regularly. It was our first lesson on marriage, and luckily we caught it quickly enough to change our habits before we did any damage.

Now with a little human in the Donovan family fold, we’ve fallen into the trap of taking each other for granted again. Don’t get me wrong – we’re fine, we’re happy, we’re very much in love – but still, we miss each other. That connection we’ve enjoyed so easily for over eight years now is a little harder to catch thanks to six o’ clock dinners, bedtime routines, teething, tantrums and toys all over the floor. When we flop down on the couch at the end of the day, it’s not often to spend quality time together – it’s to recover!

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you miss your husband as much as I miss mine? Here are some simple ways that may help you to reconnect.

Really talk

I can go days of building up things that I want to open up about with my husband, but never feel like there’s time to do it. I blame Netflix. Open conversation is so important in marriage though, and shouldn’t be reserved as something that happens once every few days. Go beyond the usual “How was your day?” small talk and delve deeper. Some couples have a set list of probing questions that they ask each other at the end of every day. I find it really beneficial to sit outside in our backyard when I want to have a good conversation with my husband in the evening. Something about the night sky, the lack of distraction and the openness of the space tends to foster our best chats.

Make eye contact

We can let a whole conversation slide by without ever looking someone in the eye these days – whether we’re loading the dishwasher, scrolling through Facebook, getting dressed or wrangling a toddler. Purposefully locking eyes while conversing instantly ups the connection and makes both people feel listened to and valued.

Laugh together

There is something wonderfully bonding about enjoying a laugh with someone – it aligns you for a moment and makes you feel like they just get it. Getting out of the house to enjoy a comedy show might not be the easiest when you’re deep in the throes of parenting, but watching a funny movie at home together (or heck, even dog videos on YouTube) should be equally satisfying.

Snuggle

A lack of physical connection is one of the quickest ways to grow apart from a spouse, so make sure to spend intentional time just holding (and being held by!) each other.

See a counsellor

Though I have not personally gone down the road of marriage counselling before, I have heard many people shouting the praises of a marriage ‘fine-tune’ once in a while, and it makes sense. Sometimes we need help to unpack all of our feelings before we can build our way back to a proper connection. Seeing a marriage counsellor is never a sign of failure – it’s a sign that you care about your marriage, and you want to put measures in place to protect it.

 

Our roles as parents are super important – but so are our roles as husband and wife! At the end of the day, our kids will grow up and leave home… but our spouses are in it for the long haul. Taking constant care of your relationship will help strengthen it and build a connection that will last for years to come.

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Why us? or Why not us?

Why us? or Why not us?

 

"God never gives you more than he knows you can handle”

Comforting words from the Bible but with the events that would unfurl for me and my family they were words that didn’t seem realistic or possible for me to believe.

 

Up until 2 years ago I thought I had a pretty uneventful normal but still wonderful life. I had a loving, caring family and friends who were always there for us. My husband and I had 2 children now married with 3 grandchildren between them and whom we all treasured. So 2 years ago, when my son, Matthew and daughter in law Jodi, announced they were expecting twins we were all delighted. The twins we found out a little later were identical girls and so they became affectionately known as the Twincesses. Finlay, their little boy was 3 years old at the time so we all knew life would get a whole more hectic.

 

The girls were due to be born in the August of 2011 but complications meant they had to be delivered early at 34 weeks and taken straight into the neo-natal unit at Preston Hospital. It was such a relief when both were successfully born, even though they looked so tiny in the incubators, and wires all over their tiny bodies.

 

It was 3 weeks later when we would hear the news that Doctors, fearing the girls were not developing as they should, suspected there was a strong possibility that they had Downs Syndrome. Tests were carried out, the results of which would take a week to be back with us. I can’t begin to tell you how long that week felt or what thoughts were flooding our minds. I prayed every day that the girls would be ok and for God to take away our fears of what could and would be if the results were positive.

 

I’ll never forget the look on Matt and Jodi’s faces when they walked through our door on the Friday evening after being at the hospital all day together waiting for news. They looked frightened, lost, emotionally and physically drained – the results were positive and both of our beautiful girls had DS. We sat in a bewildered silence, no-one knowing what to say or do – just shell shocked, scared and fanatically worried. How would we cope with this – whatever this was? What did it all mean? How would we get through? What would the future hold? We could find no words which would comfort any of us.

 

I have to admit none of us knew anything about DS, but it all felt very scary. My own thoughts as a grandma were how to protect these vulnerable little girls from a world which can seem, at times, so cold, heartless, cruel and judgemental. I spent sleepless nights preparing for the future that I couldn’t comprehend and so no wonder I never found any answers. I felt as a family we could be there for their every need and protect them while they were children but what would happen when the girls reached adult hood? What would they make of our world but more importantly what would the world make of them? There were so many myths and misunderstandings surrounding this condition that worried me to death. Fortunately, I have since learned that most of those worries are simply that – myths and misunderstandings and I also found out that spending so much in the future worrying what might be, stops you from living in the here and now and missing so much of life which is good. Before the girls came out of hospital we had it confirmed that Abigail was deaf and Isobel had a hole in her heart!

God never gives you more than he knows you can handle.

Those words kept coming back to me – but I felt I couldn’t handle all this hurt and confusion and fear that was happening.

However the day after we had the news, I had a message from Matt inviting his dad and I to visit the hospital with Gemma, our daughter. Still lost and bewildered we arrived at the hospital to be met by Matt with a huge smile on his face, full of excitement and anticipation. We were ushered into a lovely bright room where Matt told us that he had permission to bring the babies in for cuddles and kisses and so we waited for him to bring them in. What has happened we asked Jodi, Matt seems so different? She told us that Matt had broken down when they had arrived home that night and having asked himself the question “Why us?” came back with the answer “Why not us? We have been chosen because we can give the girls the life they need – full of love and fun but most of all an acceptance for who they are”

As he wheeled the girls in, I think we were all touched by his Positivity, his love and commitment for his children – If he could, we could!! He talked excitedly about his vision to set up the Twincess Campaign, and so a Trust fund was set up to prepare for their future.

 

 

 

 Visit www.twincess.co.uk to read more about their wonderful journey so far.

Twincess was set up by us – Matt and Jodi Parry after our twin daughters Abigail and Isobel were born with Down’s Syndrome on June 29, 2011.

Twincess is place where families of those with Down’s Syndrome can connect, share, support and celebrate! It is about providing frank and honest advice based on real, personal experience. There’s a lot of negativity around the condition with the focus often being around what children with Down’s Syndrome can’t do. Twincess is about highlighting what they can do.

 

 

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