Parenting and Kids August 31, 2016

Childsmart Product Review: BRIO Monorail Airport set

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The BRIO Monorail Airport set combines two of Nyla’s obsessions…trains and planes! Nyla loves putting the tracks together, walking the passenger through security and then placing him on the motorised shuttle before flying off on the plane. She even does voices for the pilot and passenger and sometimes the plane even speaks too!

The set is aimed at children aged 3 years and over, and like other BRIO wooden products, it is made from 100%  sustainably forested beech wood. Before going overseas this year, this set was great with educating Nyla about airports including security check-in and riding a shuttle. This is very much true to BRIO’s brand with providing quality craftsmanship with a strong educational aspect too.

The set comprises 22 pieces and includes an aeroplane, wooden tracks, airplane boarding stairs, elevated rail supports, an airport control tower, motorised monorail shuttle and even a pilot and passenger.  The tracks are compatible with most other standard wooden railway tracks (e.g. IKEA), so it’s easy to extend and make the set different each time. Batteries aren’t included so you will need 1 x AA battery to power the monorail shuttle.

Since coming back from our holiday, Nyla is still loving this set and plays with it at least once a day so it’s definitely one of her favourite toys.

Read my previous review of the BRIO Ride on Dachshund dog here.

Product specifics:
Age: 3 years +
Dimensions: – W 74 x D 47cm
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This post is part of the Childsmart’s Trial Club Program where I will be receiving products to provide an honest review. This is not a paid post and all opinions, words and views are strictly my own. 

Childsmart is the ultimate kids destination for little people and exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand of a number of leading brands for high quality products that satisfy toy, kids lifestyle and nursery customers. Click on the following links to purchase or find out more about this product:

Websitehttp://www.childsmart.com.au
Twitter (@Childsmartaust): https://twitter.com/childsmartaust
Facebook (@Childsmart): https://www.facebook.com/Childsmart
Instagram (@Childsmart): https://www.instagram.com/childsmart/

Fashion and Beauty June 29, 2016

5 ways to wear a 90’s slip dress for Winter

Stuck in a rut during winter wearing the same uniform of ripped jeans, boots and jacket? If you are like me and have been loving 90’s inspired slip dresses, why not try styling them differently so you can wear them right through winter too?

So what is it about the slip dress that is making a comeback right now? Well, unlike other 90’s fashion like flannel shirts, chunky platforms and high waist ‘mother jeans’, the slip dress is very chic and sleek. It’s actually mind boggling that it actually faded off the fashion radar since it’s such a wearable staple item that should belong in every female’s wardrobe.

 

Lyst, Givenchy slip dress

I’m loving this beautiful Givenchy silk slip dress. It’s asymmetric cut and criss cross detail at the back makes it perfect for both either casual or elegant affairs. Available via Lyst here

Here are 5 ways to style the slip dress this winter:

1. Pair it with thigh high boots

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Image source: Splash news via Daily Mail

Now fashionably acceptable to be worn outside a strip club, these boots are also perfect for winter because they are one of the few fashion items which are ultra sexy but actually keeps you warm too.

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I love these boots from Office which are crafted from grey suede. It features a rounded toe and slim mid height stiletto heel, plus very affordable too. Available here.

2. Dress it over a turtleneck

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Image source: Yahoo Style

If ultra sexy boots aren’t your thing why not go the other way and embrace ‘geek chick’? And what better way to work a 90’s look with another another 90’s fashion cult item? Perfect with white sneakers too.

3. Juxtaposition with your accessories

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Image Source: Sandra Semburg

Wearing a dress is always cooler when you wear it unexpectedly and ensures you don’t look the same as when you wore it summer. Toughen up a dainty dress with some boots. Make an evening dress casual by wearing a beanie. And don’t forget the oversized coat…which is very practical too!

Self Portrait lace slip dress, Lyst

If the minimalist look isn’t for you, add ruffles, white floral lace and sheer polka dot detail! I love this detail in this dress from Malaysian-born designer Han Chong, Self Portrait and would wear it with nude or white accessories. This dress is available here.
4. Wear over pants

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Image Source: Sandra Semburg

Yes you read that right! Swap the standard black tights and instead wear it over jeans or black pants instead. To avoid looking like a preschooler, I would ditch the sneakers and wear it with some neutral coloured pumps and a tailored blazer.

Rick Owens black pants, Lyst

Try this look with these Rick Owen casual trousers. Available here.

5. Dress it under a knit.

Lyst, Slip dress

Image Source: Collagevintage.com

When all else fails, just put a chunky knit over your dress. It always works to hide a multitude of sins.

Alexander McQueen knit, Lyst

This Ivory cable-knit wool sweater By Alexander McQueen is available on sale here.

This sponsored blog post is a collaboration with Lyst. Lyst partners with the world’s greatest designers and stores to bring you the world of fashion in one place  From high-end to high-street fashion, Lyst gives you a personalised shopping and style inspiration experience and compares prices from around the world to get you the best prices.

S x

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Parenting and Kids March 22, 2016

Marnie’s Birth Story

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Meet Marnie! She is now 9 weeks and we love her to bits. Both Lily and Nyla adore her and surprisingly they have coped really well with the new addition. The birth went really well and I really do credit hypnobirthing for getting over my initial fear of childbirth and having calm birthing experiences.

My contractions started 6 days before my due date and half an hour after coming back from spending the afternoon with Lily at Kmart buying her art supplies. I messaged my husband to tell him I could be in labour and then had to arrange for our friends to come around and stay the night at our place in order for Lily and Nyla to be cared for since my family were all away. After an hour I knew I definitely was in labour so started bouncing on the fit ball during each contraction for pain relief.

At 7pm both my girls were asleep and I was frantically gulping down raspberry leaf tea and trying to relax with the hypnobirthing music. At 10pm, my friends arrived and I was ready to go into hospital. At this stage I was still able to talk normally and even had conversations with my friends before getting into the car.

When I arrived in the hospital I actually requested for the internal exam to see how far along I was as the contractions were about 5 minutes apart at this point. I was 4 cm and after I explained that it was my third labour and how quickly Nyla came they were prepared for a speedy labour. I tried the bath for the first time which wasn’t available for my previous births and it just wasn’t for me as I felt more comfortable standing up at this stage and the shower head could be directed at my pelvis which was experiencing the most pain.

I remember feeling a lack of confidence and frustration directed at that my parents being away, so knew these were the classic signs of the ‘transition phase’ and that the birth was close. My legs were trembling at this point and I was grasping for dear life onto the bar in the shower demanding my husband to direct the water all around my pelvis. After 10 minutes I felt this huge weight down on my bottom so felt the strong urge to push. The midwife calmly suggested I stay in the shower instead of turning off the shower and moving to the bed. This probably alarms most people but after Nyla’s birth I knew not lying down was the best position for me in terms of managing the pain and post delivery recovery.

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At 12:38am, after a few pushes, the baby was delivered in my arms before the doctor even arrived! I remember the shower still being on so I had a very quick rinse (quite handy actually) and headed to the bed. I forgot to even check the baby’s gender and when I saw she was a girl I knew we has to call her Marnie as Lily wanted that name if she had another sister.

I loved this birth as there were no interventions and post delivery recovery was fantastic as I didn’t need any stitches. I would have never had thought I’ll be the type of person to have had a birth this way as before getting pregnant with my first I was adamant that I would be having an elective Caesarean birth due to my fear of childbirth. I’m so thankful that hypnobirthing came into my life.

Our family really does feel complete now and even though I’m constantly getting the question of trying again for a boy, we have decided that three kids is the right number for our family – regardless of the gender of our children.

You can read Lily’s birth story here and Nyla’s birth story here.

S x

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Parenting and Kids January 5, 2016

Third trimester third time around

I’m well into my third trimester now as I’m officially 38 weeks so the countdown is definitely on. This is my third pregnancy (which has gone beyond the second trimester) so I’m pretty confident somewhat but having two young ones makes it hard to focus on myself like I did with my other two pregnancies.

Whereas my first trimester I spent most of my time trying to avoid throwing up and craving anything fried and salty like crazy, my second trimester was very much smooth sailing with a prominent bump forming. These were the same symptoms for all my pregnancies, but this time around, as soon as I hit my third trimester at 28 weeks, I noticed I was a lot bigger than usual and had already gained over 10 kgs. This didn’t happen for the first two pregnancies until I was 38 weeks.

And then after a hectic week involving work and Lily’s birthday I woke up in extreme pain and couldn’t walk. Not to go through the gruesome details, but a couple of needles and some huge doses of homeopathetics later, I’m on the mend.

Now that the holidays are over and I’m off work, I can really start to slow things down although it can still be hard when the kids aren’t in school and my usual support system besides my husband (i.e mum and sister) are off overseas.

So what is my advice for other pregnant ladies during their third trimester? I would say to focus on yourself and say ‘no’ a lot more to work and social gatherings. You have to look after yourself and your baby so that means plenty of rest (not running around in heels) and getting plenty of time to prepare for the birth. Oh and get lots of pampering…go and SPOIL yourself!

If this is your first birth, I would strongly recommend some birth training (i.e. hypnobirthing) outside the antenatal classes offered by your hospital or birthing centre. This is to prepare you with techniques for a natural birth but also useful to cope and calm yourself when birthing makes an unexpected turn to interventions such as inductions or emergency C-sections too. You usually only start this training during your third trimester. I would also recommend having a doula or private midwife as well as I regret not having one during my first birth as it would have taken a lot of stress out of my husband and myself who needed support from someone who was experienced with births and most importantly supportive of our birth plan.

Here are my final plans until baby arrives which are almost identical to how I prepared for Nyla’s birth:

    • Finish up pregnancy yoga and pilates
    • Walk
    • Continue with hypnotheraphy (affirmations, reading, rainbow relaxation)
    • Optimum baby positioning techniques – i.e. crawling position for at least 30 mins a day. Minimise slouching on couch.
    • Epi-Ntraining
    • Book final pregnancy massage
    • Attend final Osteopath session
    • Pack hospital bag and kids bags
    • Type and print out Birthing preferences
    • Book Acupuncturist on Week 40 (to avoid artificial induction)
    • Stock up on bulk newborn nappies and wipes

Before I know it, this baby will be here which is scary thinking I’ll be a cradling a newborn in less than two weeks!

What plans did you make during your third trimester?

 

 

Fashion and Beauty November 24, 2015

Expect in Style Maternity Fashion

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During my third trimester and to cope with the summer heat, I know I have to rely less on hiding behind layers but having my large bump on show in dresses and loose fitting separates. From my experience, it’s a lot easier to just pull something out of your wardrobe which is catered for pregnancy and not try to work with only 5% of your existing wardrobe and it not being the best fit – i.e. like when your midi skirt becomes a mini skirt or your t-shirts become stretched out crop tops!

I’ve been lucky to trial a new Perth based maternity label called ‘Expect in Style’. The label is the vision of Leanne and Laura who are both are friends, mothers and entrepreneurial women with a passion to create a collection of stylish and affordable maternity wear for today’s busy mum. Their philosophy is to provide quality and comfort without compromising on style.

Their collection is centred around fashion wardrobe basics (think stripes and grey marle) designed to take you from day to night or from the workplace to a relaxed catch-up with friends. They have sourced beautiful soft fabrics which are also easy to care for and also versatile to wear after pregnancy. I’ve been very impressed with the quality I also love that I’m supporting a local small business too.

Check out the website at www.expectinstyle.com.au.

Above I’m wearing (at 30 weeks):

Outfit 1 – The Luxe Dress Black
Outfit 2 – The Bliss Grey Marle Dress
Outfit 3 – The Striped Midi Skirt

*Expect in Style outfits above were gifted for review. This is not a paid post and all opinions are my own.

S x

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Parenting and Kids August 31, 2015

Two becomes Three…

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Image – Lily with some news to tell…but Nyla won’t be liking it…

So you might not be aware…but I am now 20 weeks pregnant! At this stage (when I was pregnant with Lily and Nyla) I would have announced it all over Facebook and dedicated two posts to this already. But this time, the whole ‘been there done that’, rings true and I haven’t felt the urgency to announce it to everyone.

I’m really excited but daunted at the thought of being outnumbered – which seems to be the shared sentiment amongst my work colleagues and friends as a look of slight horror and long pause usually precedes the whole “congratulations!” when reacting to my news. Maybe because it might not be common for a working mother to have three kids under 5 – well not in Australia anyway. I just know amongst our own social circle, we are an anomaly.

My husband and I have always said we wanted to have three kids coming from a family of three and five ourselves we had good memories of growing up and love kids. As a child I remember the household is never boring and the chances of you having a playmate is greater and playing a game of monopoly is always emotional – although memorable YEARS later. It’s also handy when you are older to not rely on just one sibling to help you with preparing family birthdays or needing emotional support from someone that will stand by you no matter what (blood is thicker than water right?).

The cons outweigh the pros though. It will be more expensive (daycare, schooling, travel,  health, food, extracurricular activities), we will have less sleep, there will be more mess to tidy up, there will be less physical and personal space,  the constant fear as parents that something bad will happen to your children will increase, there will be more kid activities from school and hobbies to manage (coordinating drop-offs, birthday parties, multiple homework assignments) I have to go through pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding/sleep settling stage once more – hence all these things equal more stress. And just because you have more kids doesn’t necessarily mean you will all be super close once everyone are adults. And are we injecting more stress in our lives which will impact the relationships we already have which is working just fine (i.e. my husband and I, us with our kids, and Lily and Nyla)?

So why the hell are we doing this then?! Even though we are in a fortunate position mentally and financially now to handle three, things can change in the future. Knowing the cons are greater than the pros really proves that our decision isn’t entirely based on logic.

Now that I’m approaching my mid thirties (by that way that is called ‘advanced maternal age’ by obstetricians), we had to make a decision and it really boiled down to us just both wanting it. Call it crazy maybe but sometimes you just got to go with your gut feeling, be positive, and know that it’s meant to be.

S x

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