Our Enchanted Forest

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One of my girlfriends had heard of a magical forest full of fairies (of course) and wild flowers not too far from where we live. So yesterday afternoon we bundled the kids in the car and went for a wander. It was so close to dusk when we arrived I quickly took some pics before letting Ruby explore the magic (without me in her face with my camera the whole time!) It was just so incredibly beautiful. Rubes is super into enchanted things at the moment. All the princesses and fairies and magic. She puts on a quiet soft little high pitched voice and goes into her own little imaginary land when she plays. It’s honestly the sweetest thing!

How super cute are her play clothes! I have so much Oishi-m it’s a staple in Ruby’s closet. They are so colourful and fun for kids but also so durable, you can wash and wash. And so perfect for day care because paint and all the mess come straight out and they hold up so well in the wash. Not to mention, Nina Proudman dresses her daughter in it. Say no more! Love that (totally fictional character but – details) lady’s style so much!

It’s nice to be back blogging again after a horrific start to the year. Things are still super hard, my brother is in a lot of pain and it’s so hard to see someone you love so unwell. But he is so strong he’s amazing how well he’s handling everything. Getting back into my photography and instagram, and taking some time out each day to indulge in my creative outlet has lifted my spirits the last few weeks, and making me a stronger sister for my gorgeous bro. We are off to Hong Kong later this week on another colourful adventure! I can’t wait to share. 

xx Claire 

 


Our Healthy Yoghurt Pops

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After lots of requests via my Instagram account (@clairecollected) here are the healthy yoghurt pops I posted to my feed the other day! My kids LOVE these. And I literally race them for them because YUM, so good!!!
These recipes are very healthy. Literally just fruit of choice, natural yoghurt, and a splash of honey. They are a tiny bit on the tart side, but I love that, I am a lover of natural yoghurt from way back so that’s a win for me. And for the kids I drizzled a teeeeeeny amount of white chocolate over the top. This could easily be done with a sugar free alternative if you prefer. I just used a splash of good quality chocolate because, well, delicious.
I mixed all my ingredients using a Nutri Ninja Slim I got for a bargain price from Coles (linked here). I have higher powered blenders but I find this one really handy because it’s small and so easy to clean, so I can whip up four (or more) flavours super fast without loads of mess, lots of washing, or excess mixture. It churns through everything even frozen fruit and ice really fast – it’s literally just blitz and pour. A sinch! Before pouring in the fruit and yoghurt mixture I pressed sliced fresh fruit inside the moulds for a fun effect, tipped in the rest, popped in the sticks and  that’s it. Freeze for atleast 6 hours, and you’re done!
Strawberry:
Fresh strawberries
Natural yoghurt (I use either Chobani or the full fat natural yoghurt from The Yoghurt Shop, because – all natural and higher protein content)
Honey to taste.
Extra fresh strawberries to garnish
Papaya
Fresh Papaya – make sure it’s ripe
Natural yoghurt
Honey
Kiwi & Pineapple
2 parts pineapple
1 part kiwi (make sure it is ripe, for this batch it wasn’t super ripe, and I probably did more of a 50/50 kiwi/pineapple mix. It was far too bitter, inedible, go long with the pineapple, and if you have a sweet tooth a generous splash of natural sweetener of choice. We used honey. I might even add a little pineapple juice next time I think that could be a winner)
Natural yoghurt
fresh kiwi to garnish
Blueberry/Banana
Frozen blueberries
Natural yoghurt
Honey to taste
Banana to garnish ( I make it quite thick, I love the consistency of frozen banana, I think this one is probably my favourite).
My kids are used to natural yoghurt so the sweetness of the fruit and a bit of honey is fine for them. You can definitely still taste the ‘natural’ taste of the yoghurt, which we love, but if you’re not into that, try adding a stronger natural sweetener such as agave syrup or even a splash of natural fruit juice to sweeten it up. But I think they’re prefect just like this. This was our first batch of these, next time I want to get even more creative. I would LOVE to hear your recipe suggestions! X C

The ‘go anywhere’ jumpsuit

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I’m always on the look out for clothing I can get around in chasing after my three kids and still feel totally comfortable. Too often I resort to gym gear having not actually set foot in a gym in years, as an all occasions outfit. It is EXCELLENT back up for those mad rush school runs – throw on the all black everything gear, add a messy top knot, have even been known to whack on my sons fitbit to complete the look, and I’m totally nailing the  ‘hi guys can’t chat I’m on my way to the gym because I’m SUPER fit (when really, I’m just heading for lattes) look.
So, good option, but I am always excited to find other alternatives to add to the weekly mix. I recently discovered the jumpsuits from Inverloch3996  as part of their Summer 16 beach collection. So easy wearing, I can even bend to pick up my hefty toddler without the stress of flashing the poor woman in isle 3. Easily accessorize with a belt, crop, necklace these one size fits all jumpsuits can go just about anywhere I would need them to during the busy school week. I love all the styles, think I might need the black and white, or the seawaves. I can’t choose! You can shop these gorgeous pieces and find out more, here.

A Colourful Singapore adventure

Finally I have rescued my photos from our trip to Singapore late last year from my rapidly fading laptop so I can share them with you, for those who have been waiting, so sorry for the delay! This was SUCH a wonderful trip. My husband and I are still talking about it. It was completely impromptu, a conference came up for Andy’s work, the big kids were due to be with their Dad that week, so we decided why not extend his stay and Ruby and I hop along for the journey.

I am SO glad we did. Ruby was the perfect age for this adventure. All my kids have generally travelled really well over the years. But I particularly loved this age (22 months at the time) for travel. I know it’s a big call, some would say travelling with a nearly 2 year old is a recipe for a whole lot of stress. The secret? I think the fact that she still needed sleeps, but would happily have them in her pram on the go, meant that she was well rested the whole time, and we didn’t miss out on a single thing we wanted to do.

At home her normal routine is probably that of most toddlers her age, a long sleep in the middle of the day, bed around 7/8. So we found by the time we got up, took her to hotel breakfast (where she could eat all the healthy, filling, nourishing food she wanted – for free!) and then set off she was already getting weary. By the time we arrived at the days first location she would be getting tired already. SO, if we had stuck to her routine at home we literally would have spent the entire holiday in our hotel room.

Instead, by lunch time we would lay her back in her pram, and she would fall asleep on the go. The result? Child free lunch! She would sleep through lunch every day while we relaxed, refuel and re boost energy for the afternoons activities. She would generally only sleep for an hour, so once up we would carry on with that days itinerary until we were done, then head back to the hotel. We were staying at the Marina Bay Sands so would then hit the EPIC roof top infinity pool (if you haven’t visited or looked into this hotel, it’s a MUST, just try not to think about how high in the air you are, if you can get past the height factor, you will just LOVE this resort, we adored it!) for a swim (cocktail for Mum and Dad) and then back to our room where we would put her to bed around 4:30pm. She would then sleep until 6:30 while we relaxed, had a drink, read, worked, showered, got ready for dinner. By the time Ruby was up she was fully refreshed and we were able to take her out to dinner with us until 9/10pm each night. I was beyond thrilled with how easy this was. I’ve always followed a loose routine for the kids. Most days I generally stick to a similar sleep structure and meal pattern. But I also love to teach the kids that holidays can be different to home, as are weekends, or special occasions. The others are older now, and I love that we can take Ruby out to enjoy evening activities when we are away (or even at home for that matter) one night, and the next night she’ll happily go back to her usual routine of 7 ish bedtime. With a big family, and older kids (10 & 12) this flexibility is super important to us.

So here’s a collection of photos from our colourful journey, and some links and information below to our favourite places to go, some were touristy, others were more along the cultural trail, all super enjoyable. I was lucky enough thanks to Instagram connections to have a bunch of activity recommendations prior to leaving from my friend Joanne. We visited all her recommendations (included below) and also added some more discoveries of our own. Singapore was so lush and clean and it was really easy to get around on the underground transport system. The people were so happy, polite and welcoming, and Ruby was completely adored everywhere we went. We will definitely be going back with the whole family to see more of what Singapore has to offer.  xC 

Getting there:

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Singapore Airlines

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Where we stayed:

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Marina Bay Sands (looking up at sky park – pool/restaurants- on top)

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Marina Bay Sands

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands – shopping

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by the Bay

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by the Bay (wearing Kachel)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay wearing Molo)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay)

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Duxton Hill (wearing Coco & Ginger)

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

The Colour Trail

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing & Bohemian Traders)

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing & Bohemian Traders)

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Arab Street area

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing)

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing)

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Arab Street area

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Arab Street area (wearing Bohemian Traders)

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China Town

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China Town

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China Town (wearing Coco & Ginger)

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China Town

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Little India (wearing Kachel)

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Clarke Quay (wearing Coco & Ginger and Bohemian Traders)

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Clarke Quay

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Clarke Quay (wearing Feather Drum)

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Clarke Quay

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Boat Quay (wearing Feather Drum)

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Joo Chiat Shop Houses

Tourist Attractions

  1. Gardens by the Bay Just spectacular. You could easily visit more than once. Lucky for us this was at the base of the Marina Bay Sands hotel where we were staying, we visited the gardens regularly, the indoor atriums provide welcome escape from the heat and humidity, and the outdoor water play area and playground are a must for the kids. Clean, bright, shady, lush, Ruby could have happily visited every day. Between that and the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands she was in her element.

  2. Sea Aquarium at Sentosa From Marina Bay Sands Sentosa was only a 15 minute taxi drive, very easy to get to. I took Ruby over to the Aquarium (saving Universal Studios for another trip with the big kids) It was a great set up, worth the visit, however if you’re used to the aquariums in Australia (Sydney/Melbourne) there’s probably nothing particularly new here. Don’t get me wrong, we loved it, but for me I generally prefer to do things overseas that I can’t do in my own country, so I wouldn’t bother visiting again next time. Universal studios on the other hand will definitely get a look in, perhaps we will even stay a few nights on Sentosa island itself. Less traffic, lots of wildlife, so lush and green, I hear it’s fantastic.

  3. Universal Studio Singapore at Sentosa

  4. Singapore Zoo (Book in advance and have breakfast with the Orang Utans, highly HIGHLY recommend!) I have no photos of this unfortunately! I was craving a camera free outing so we literally just went along and soaked it up. Such a beautiful experience. You need to book in advance but it’s well worth the effort.

  5. The Singapore Flyer a great view of Singapore!

Outdoor leisure/adventure

  1. Botanical Garden (recently listed as UNESCO heritage site) is an absolute must https://www.sbg.org.sg/  There’s a small waterpark at Jacob Ballas Childrens Garden so pack bathers if you are taking kids.

  2. Forest Adventure Treetop Course at Bedok Reservoir Park http://forestadventure.com.sg/?utm_expid=22567813-2._zOP5p_cT52MMsDyUUM7kw.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.littledayout.com%2Flisting%2Fforest-adventure.html We didn’t get here, it’s on the list for next time, call up to make an appointment as they limit the number of people who may go on the treetops

  3. Skyline Luge at Sentosa http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/attractions/imbiah-lookout/sentosa-luge-skyride/

Heritage/Cultural/Colour

Because we were away for my husbands work (conference) I had quite a few days exploring just Ruby and I. We didn’t take the big kids on this trip as they were still in school. So without their enthusiasm to attend every tourist park (Universal Studios etc I will save for when they are travelling with me) I spent most of my time on the Singapore culture trail. Ruby was more than happy to sit in her stroller and watch the world go by. Tasting new food, talking to people, exploring new places was enough for her, which was perfect for me as we could happily do all the things I wanted to do and both get value out of the outings. Here’s where we went:

  1. Little India http://littleindia.com.sg/ Think food, markets, stalls, temples and colour colour colour. I was on my own with Ruby this day so just wandered around on my own, ended up meeting up with another tourist and we explored together taking photos for one another! If I had my time again I think I would possibly book into the tour, I feel like Little India had hidden treasures and history lessons that I would have loved to have learnt more about. Expect lots of stalls, food, cafes, take your camera.

  2. Chinatown http://www.chinatown.sg/ Definitely worth a look. Great shopping and food of course. We explored the surrounding streets, hidden bursts of colour at every turn. I will definitely go back to explore further when we visit next. Id love to see it at night time with the lanterns all lit up.

  3. Arab Street area: I loved this walk. Basically for the photography. Colour at every turn, lots of cute shop houses. Unfortunately the day we went was bin day, but it wasn’t too hard to avoid them in my shots. The shops themselves are more so craft and fabric based. I would have loved to have looked further but not that useful to me whilst on holidays, probably more a shopping area for locals. That said the colour and interesting architecture, temples, well worth the visit if you have an interest in photography, I will definitely go back again next time.

  4. Joo Chiat Shop Houses: This for me was totally off the beaten track. I googled it literally using that title. I found it tricky to get to BUT once we were there it was really fun to wander around all the colourful homes and shop houses. Again, I got away with it because I was travelling with a toddler who was happy kicking back in her pram with a watermelon juice (readily available) while I strolled, I’m not sure my older children would have been quite as tolerant to travel so far out of our way to visit a street of colourful homes. But if you’re travelling with a baby or on your own, it’s a fun colourful spot to take photos.

  5. Boat/Clarke Quay: Easy to get to and more mainstream, this is where I stumbled on that GIANT colourful building. The MICA (Ministry of Information, Communication, and the Arts), which is virtually impossible to walk by without stopping to take a photo. Nearby to here is the waterfront. More of a tourist trail, rides, ice-creams, lots of restaurants, but also lots of colour. If you’re after a convenient family friendly wander where you can take great photos and everyone is happy, Clarke and Boat Quays are definitely for you.

A few of our favourite places to eat:

Lucha Lola in Duxton Hill. Possibly the best Mexican and cocktails EVER.

Absinthe in Boat Quay. If you love French food, this is a must. Not quite as family friendly, more of a date night for Mum and Dad. We took Ruby having had a late afternoon sleep. Sitting out watching the boats go by she was perfectly behaved. Not sure I’d brave it with all three. Probably would though but I love a challenge like that in the name of a tasty meal!

We also stumbled on this cute cafe near Little India called AEIOU. Avocado lattes and vintage treasures galore, a super cute stop over. Lots of whole-foods and eclectic delights to look over. So worth a look if you’re in the area.

If you’re staying at the Marina Bay Sands we found it very convenient to eat at the restaurants in the attached shopping precinct . Great Pizza and Seafood Bars, very handy after a big day of tourist activities to have a range of restaurants so close by to where we were staying. You can check out the range of restaurants at Marina Bay Sands: HERE.


In Paradise with Sunny Jim

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Aussie summer is in full flight, every January I say the same thing, “is it really this hot for this long!?” this week we spent 7 glorious nights on Kangaroo Island’s ‘Island Beach’, compared to the busy beaches we are used to, this basically felt like our own private oasis, the serenity, I’ve never experienced anything like it. With the busy lives we lead, and the crazy school routine about to begin again in just weeks, this was the perfect way to spend the summer, and no better time to road test our friends Sunny Jim and their luxury beach shades. We chose  the ‘Sunny Jim Shade with Beach Bag’, its ultimate in chic and has the highest UV rating available (UPF50+), so lightweight and easy to put up, essential when dragging large families complete with two giant Labradors to the beach every day! The super durable beach bag comes with ample room for the Sunny Jim Sunshade and all your other goods. Check out more from Sunny Jim, here.

To shop the beach tent and bag combo featured here, follow this link: and enter the code ‘thankyou20’ for 20% off any order over $89.95.

And as for Kangaroo Island, there’s more to come from here! I have so many photos from this amazing holiday. Albeit mainly family snaps, but I really want to show you around. I can’t wait to share more!

X Claire


Back to School, Target Style

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The time has come, my baby is finally off to nursery school! Ruby has been home by my side for the last two years. I feel so lucky to have had this time one on one with her, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. It has meant I haven’t had to rush her off to care before she’s been developmentally ready (code red clinger this one), and has also been so great for my other children, getting them easily from school to sports, play dates, home to a home cooked dinner has been an absolute treat for our family after years of both of us juggling full time work as well as the commitments of a young family. Not to say we didn’t enjoy that too, we did! I did, and part of me misses my full time job, the ‘me’ time, the adult conversations, the feeling you get after a big win, a successful presentation, I really loved a lot of aspects about working in an office environment. But I also love this, so much, and honestly we have not looked back, not once.

HOWEVER, working from home. woweeeee it’s a thing. A great thing. But also a really hard thing. I only dabble, so at the start it wasn’t so bad, those two long glorious naps each day left a total of up to 5 hours I could work on freelance projects. The second year…not so easy. Shorter naps, and much more interaction required. Gone are the days where Ruby would babble away in a bouncer while I tapped away at emails and editing. All I can say is, GOD BLESS PLAYSCHOOL! ha ha! But what’s that like 25 minutes? Feels like 5! Squeezing 5 hours of work into a half an hour window…not so achievable. Which brings us here! She’s off! In just two short weeks Ruby is starting at the same Nursery School (ELC) that her brother and sister went to when they were her age. For the first 18 months of Ruby’s life she had terrible separation anxiety. Basically wouldn’t go to anyone, like ever. But a few months ago this all changed. She literally just, detached! Miss social at birthday parties, making all the friends at the park, you wouldn’t recognise my once clingy babe in arms.

The timing could not have been better. She is so ready. Having waved off and greeted her siblings day in day out for the last 24 months at the classroom door, Ruby is completely clued in to what school is all about. So last week we bustled off to Target  to treat her to a few ‘school’ things of her own to get her all excited. She already has a back pack, but we’ve just hit that joyous phase of pink EVERYTHING. It all has to be pink! So that was the first thing she laid eyes on, an all pink back pack in just the right size for a two year old. And as for the rest….. WOWEE did target get this collection right or what? I feel like I should have designed this back to school collection myself. Watermelon errrthang! And pineapple, and banana. I mean how’s that oversized banana pencil case!?  Super great quality too. Half of this stuff has already been snuffled by her older sister for her own stationary stash for this year. But at these amazing prices, I think I’ll just grab some more. Our favourite would have to be the Monster Lunch Box sets. Complete with watermelon drink bottles and the perfect sized lunch boxes for little snacks, I had to get one of each colour! Ruby isn’t a sandwich girl, she’s all about the bits and pieces. Cut up fruit and veg, boiled eggs, poached chicken, maybe some rice crackers, cheese, these are her daily staples. So many options to fit these in here, especially love the waste free yoghurt mover. Keeps it cool all day and heaps of room to top with berries. Ruby has used it every day this week just at home! Meanwhile, shhhhh. I so want a watermelon drink bottle for ME! Naturally could not resist a little outfit too, that watermelon tee. I die! So many cute things, the great hard wearing quality we have all come to know and love at Target, combined with these totally on trend styles, we will so be back!

You can check out some of our top back to school picks here:
Pink Backpack $10
Monster Lunch Box & Drink Bottle $10
Crayola Coloured Pencils $5
Watermelon T-Shirt $12
Head to your latest target to check out the full range (including all items featured here) in store.

Introducing Doo Wop Kids!

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What happens when a dance choreographer slash promotions manager slash radio host starts her own fashion label? Enter DOO WOP KIDS! Brand new on the kids fashion scene Doo Wop Kids encapsulate childhood in a nutshell. Fun and comfortable without sacrificing style, one word springs to mind. These kids are COOL! And let’s be real, they had me at POM POM SOCKIES!!!!!

The second our goodies arrived I was all inspired to get started on a little craft project. With Doo Wop designs in mind Ruby and I got busy decorating her a DIY cardboard cubby house. I painted one side, she did the other. The crazy messy fun we had! Ruby mayyyybe ended up looking more like a jelly wrestler in training… not sure what got more paint, the craft house, or Ruby! But that’s what it’s all about right? Just like Doo Wop Kids. The essence of this brand is fun fun fun, down to every last polka dot, every last squiggle.  Behind the scenes outtakes blog post on our crafty fun to follow, but for the meantime, you can check out the awesome Doo Wop Kids fashion range: HERE.

Ruby wears: Doo Wop Kids Squiggle Tee  Doo Wop Kids Pom Pom Socks Rock Your Baby Celebration Skirt Van High Tops Yellow Dandy Shop

Summer Starts Here

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Soaring temperatures in South Australia for the first week of school holidays has ensured a heavy schedule of beach / pool alternation for the last seven days straight. There is nothing my girls love more than exploring new jetty’s, chatting to the fishermen, and of course the swimming, ice-cream and copious amounts of fish and chips that go hand in hand with our endless beach outings. Summer you are most definitely our favourite! The new range of clothes from Alfie Apparel featuring ‘Coney Island’ could not be more perfect for us. Fun designs, easy wearing, can we even handle Ruby in that jumpsuit! All sorts of Flashdance vibes spring to mind! Teamed with their absolute FAVE retro Skipping Girl bags. Stuffed to the brim these bags go everywhere, EVERYWHERE with these two. And admittedly, so does mine. Nothing like a bit of old school fruity fun.
You can shop the Alfie Apparel ‘Coney Island’ collection: HERE
You can shop the Skipping Girl bag collection: HERE

Ruby got Star Wars’d

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My now 12 year old was the BIGGEST Star Wars fan when he was a little boy. I can’t even believe how quickly that time has gone and all of a sudden my lego playing figurine collecting darling little boy is all grown up and teenager like. SO when he said to me the other day could we go to the new Star Wars movie together I was like yassssss!!! WHEN!? Ha ha!! I of course proceeded to pull out alllll his old Star Wars merch so we could take a trip down memory lane.
In rolls Ruby, instantly OBSESSED with our quite possibly vintage lego collection I thought why not kit her out with some Star Wars gear of her own. Couldn’t believe my luck when I got to Target and they had this adorable costume. How cute is it!! I completely adore it. Her favourite pick was the plush chewy, the cutest, followed closely by the Storm Trooper and the PEZ, of course, was a massive hit. Target have the biggest range of Star Wars toys around. Such a hit with my girls I’m wishing I now saved it for Christmas but this was way too much fun to wait for, especially as the movie launched today!
When I was growing up (oh BOY do I feel old saying that, WEEP!) it was all about gender neutral toys. I had older cousins who were both boys, and all I ever ever ever wanted for Christmas were light sabres and basically any Star Wars gear I could get my hands on, so I could be just like them. I know right!? So funny! Seeing Ruby enjoying that magic, looking up to her brother like I did my cousins, getting dressed up and role playing different characters like we used to, it makes my heart happy. XX C

You can visit Target and shop the range: HERE


Our Christmas Wrapping – Surprise Disguise

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I don’t know about you guys but my kids are the BIGGEST snoops when it comes to tracking down their Christmas gifts. Aside from those from the big red man we always have a little gift exchange over breakfast with the presso’s we’ve chosen for one another wrapped under the tree. Eddie’s fishing rod last year….SUPER OBVS. Lily’s netball? ALSO OBVS!!

This year I’m determined to give them some element of surprise and delight on the day. They’ve both got their eye on fit bits and iPods, I just had to throw them off the scent, insert Australia Post Surprise Disguise wrapping kits!

Srsly, how fun is this idea. The handbag is genius, Lily will be certain she has her gift nailed. And that pyramid is going to keep Ed guessing for weeks! Check out the awesome range of creative gift disguise ideas from Australia post: HERE

This post was sponsored by Australia Post, click here to find out more about  how Aus Post is helping to keep Christmas a surprise this year. xxC