Monday, August 03, 2015

creating a stable family home



I could write endless posts about decluttering your wardrobe, simplifying your home and creating a space that you love. But at the end of the day, safety and stability is what we all seek in a home, isn't it? It may not be a priority for the travellers among us but if you're anything like me, there is much comfort and calm to be found in a strong, stable home. 

The blue moon released a new outlook for us and it's one we weren't exactly anticipating. It turns out that our time in this beach cottage has a deadline; in ten months time we'll be packing up and moving on. It wasn't the plan and it's not ideal but that's the thing with rentals - there is much beyond your control. Not surprisingly I burst into tears when we found out, such is my reaction to any news of the confronting kind. And while I am disappointed that we won't be able to stay here for as long as we planned, my worry is all wrapped up in wanting to create stability for the kids - for all of us, actually.

Our long term plan when we moved here was to stay for about three years, save more for our house deposit and eventually buy a home of our own. Over the last few months we have watched house prices skyrocket and it's become blatantly clear that we'll be spending over half-a-million dollars (of the bank's dollars) on a shoebox of a home that will need renovations, of some sort. Our deposit has been slowly increasing but it's not quite big enough just yet (realistically, we need about $60,000, if not more). Now that we have a definite deadline we've got the extra incentive to squirrel away as much as we possibly can.

We're determined to move into a home that we can call our own instead of staying on this tumultuous rental path. Yes, it will be old and run down but nothing a little love and a bit of paint can't fix (although a staircase could come in handy for a little boy who loves the idea of a room under the stairs, HP style). I can live without a dishwasher and I can put up with salmon coloured tiles in the bathroom but I'm not sure I can stand the unease of rental limbo for much longer. 

Watch this budgeting-like-we've-never-done-before space...


12 COMMENTS


Sunday, August 02, 2015

31/52

"A portrait of my youngest children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Poet: her current favourite hand-me-down dress is worn every second day.

Percy: he's graduated from the bassinet to the pram seat and he couldn't be happier.


7 COMMENTS


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

the postpartum body

Alternate title: I think I ate too much cake whilst pregnant.

I haven't really spoken about body changes and weight fluctuations in this space before. But now seems as good a time as any to delve into the mystifying subject of the postpartum body.

In each of my pregnancies I have gained about 20kg. Judging by the general consensus of mums I know and going by the numbers printed on pregnancy websites, I'd say this is just a tad above average. While my weight gaining experience has been much the same each time (although I do tend to carry heavier when pregnant with a boy) I have noticed that my postpartum body is very different with each pregnancy. Granted my memory of that first year with baby is always hazy but I am certain that third time around, my body is most definitely not returning to its pre-baby self any time soon.

I have little to no regard for the size of my body in the first few weeks after birth. I'm positive this has everything to do with those lovely, powerful hormones that keep every single thought focussed on baby. But at around the four month mark when the hormones bid farewell, the newborn bubble bursts, my hair starts to fall out and my nails chip...that's when I start to notice the changes. As one of my beautiful friends said to me recently: "I was sitting on the couch the other day when I noticed I've got three rolls on my belly. That didn't happen with the first two pregnancies!" Yes, that.

I know that it takes a good year for the body to get back to some semblance of its former self - I know from experience and I've shared this knowledge with hundreds of my yoga students. But when I'm in the midst of that first year with baby, when the newborn metabolism has slowed and my clothes don't fit, well, it can be a little disheartening.

And while I know in my heart that my body is wonderful for growing, birthing and feeding my babies, I don't think there's any harm in admitting that I struggle with the postpartum body and that I long to feel like "me" again.

Generally the weight doesn't start shifting until the 8-month mark and for many women, the body holds onto weight until baby is weaned. In this stage with three children I have very little time to dwell on it but I am aware of looking after my body; increasing my fitness (I have puffed up many hills of late) and becoming more aware of my core strength and posture. For me that means a little less cake (but breastfeeding does require some cake), more water, gentle yoga (even if I do collapse on the mat) and long walks (good for my head, too). I'm not aiming for amazing tone and significant weight loss...I'd just like to fit into a few of my favourite skirts come summer.

I'm a little tired of the media's banter regarding real bodies. But since you have a body and you may have had a baby, I'd love to hear about your experience postpartum. Is it anything like mine?


34 COMMENTS


Monday, July 27, 2015

cars trucks and automobiles : a lucas loves cars giveaway

this is a sponsored post

I feel like it's rude to even mention it but I'm going to go ahead and let you in on a little secret: I've already starting my Christmas shopping. Disgraceful that I even had to write that word and even worse that you had to read it. But here's the thing...I've got three children and I would much prefer to make sensible, conscious decisions about presents than buy frantically come December. Financially it also works in my favour because I can make the most of sales and spend a little bit here and a little bit there. 

Personally, I love a one-stop shop, especially one that values quality without sacrificing fun. Lucas Loves Cars is a long-time sponsor of Practising Simplicity and owner, Helle, has collated a beautiful range of products for little ones. She created the store when she recognised a distinct gap in the market for timeless toys of the automobile variety. "As a mum of a car crazy little boy I was always on the look out for quality car toys and I felt like I could never find what I was after. On the other hand I had everyone telling me that Lucas was a typical little boy and that their nephew/grandson/friend was car obsessed, too. And so I decided that there was a place for a cars, trucks and wheels-obsessed store," she says.

Passionate about sourcing Australian brands, Helle also prioritises quality and chooses toys with a simple and timeless aesthetic. "I love toys that provide kids with something to do; they have to be interesting and colourful enough to grab their attention but also allow the freedom for them to use their imagination."

Her bestselling products are practical toys that can be used in the day-to-day:

+ the Autobahn tape (the perfect travelling companion)
+ traffic bath fun (because cars and tracks are restricted to dry ground)
+ working wheels bowl, cup and plate (extra incentive to "eat your greens")
+ diggers and trucks snap ( a car card game)
+ individual biscuit cutters (because the tastiest cookies are the zooming ones)

And the toys I love the most (and are still in perfect condition years after buying them):

+ baby toy car
+ click clack range
+ wooden rubbish truck
+ and books - so many wonderful titles to choose from

Helle is a school mum who works from home in Melbourne's inner north. A typical work day involves coffee (only one and it must be good!), updating the website, photographing stock and wrapping parcels to take to the post office. While she's happy to stock a range of reputable brands, she is looking forward to creating the products she can't find. "It's an ongoing issue for me as I can't stock the products I want to, simply because they don't exist."

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Lucas Loves Cars is giving away everything pictured above - autobahn tape, plate + cutlery set and Aussie street signs - a perfect collection for the little car-lover in your life. To enter simply visit Lucas Loves Cars and leave a comment here telling me what your children would love most from the store. Competition closes Sunday 1st August at 5pm and winner will be announced shortly afterward. Best of luck!

If giveaways aren't your thing, enjoy 10% off storewide till August 3 with the code LucasSimplicity

Comments closed. Congratulations, Bel. We hope your little automobile lover adores his gifts. 


16 COMMENTS


Sunday, July 26, 2015

30/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Poet: a rare moment of quiet reading before we head out for the day - ISO1000, f2.8, 1/320

Percy: sitting on Dad's lap in the winter sunshine - ISO100, f2.8, 1/200



9 COMMENTS


Saturday, July 25, 2015

winter blues...but it's almost spring





Last week I was lamenting about the fact that I had nothing to write about when I realised that it was simply a seasonal lull; an annual occasion that forces me to sit back, be ok with said wordlessness and wait for the energy and inspiration to return. Rather than get all ho-hum about it I decided to look forward, make plans, muster energy for the season ahead. And then, after days of low grey skies and intermittent rain we have sun, a gentle breeze and warmth. I think it may be the very first signs of spring. What a relief!

Percy was born in the first week of autumn so we have nested and nurtured in the cold months; a hibernation of sorts. I must admit, I have enjoyed the synchronicity of it all. And now as he reaches this new stage of awareness, we venture into spring...time to throw open the windows, peel away the layers (both literal and metaphorical) and prepare for a moving baby in the coming months (oh how life is about to change).

Freesias always represent spring to me so when Daniel returned home with these beauties hiding behind his back my mood lifted immediately. Honestly, is there anything quite as powerful as a bunch of flowers to induce happiness and brighten the home? I don't think there is. In their own way, they heralded the new season and prompted much thought about the imminent new-season clean. I have plans, friends, and they begun today. After my morning walk and coffee I got stuck into the laundry which has become a dumping ground for beach paraphernalia, linen, cleaning products and clothes (from all seasons, in all sizes, in various stages of cleanliness). It was time to get to the bottom of the laundry pile and figure out a new system because the old one was an absolute fail. Whilst driving the other day I realised that the main source of mess in the house is clean laundry; clothes waiting to be folded and/or put away take up most of the room on our lounge and often end up strewn across the floor. It was time to put an end to it so I pulled everything out of the laundry, sorted it all out and put it back in in the most orderly fashion. And now? There's room to sort and fold all the clean laundry which means when it does enter the house it goes straight to the designated wardrobe. And we have our lounge back.

Hope your weekend is sunny...


5 COMMENTS


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

sleep as snug as a bug : a snugbags giveaway

this is a sponsored post

As I near the end of the witching hour(s) each night, I look forward to dressing the children in their pyjamas and tucking them into bed with a hot water bottle and a teddy. I'm not sure there is anything quite as comforting for a child than a soothing bedtime routine complete with a story and lots of cuddles. And let's be honest, it's a good feeling when the beautiful quiet of evening descends on the house and I can drink my tea without interruption (if only for half-an-hour, or so).

It's been cold here of late; Daniel and I will often add a log to the fire in the early hours of the morning to make sure the house stays as warm as possible. Percy sleeps between us and I often swaddle him but he's nearing that in-between stage where he wants to sleep with his arms free but still startles himself awake. Give it a few more weeks and I'm not entirely sure if swaddling will work for us anymore, hence I've been on the look out for a safe sleeping alternative that will keep him warm and content.

When I shop for the children I look for quality fabrics and beautiful design. But I also seek clothing that will stand the test of time; I like to think that if I spend a little more I can purchase something that will be worn across seasons for a year, maybe more.

Introducing Snugbags; a New Zealand company that creates high quality sleeping bags and pyjamas from the finest NZ Merino wool. The extra-long design (the longest on the market) ensures that your child will fit the sleeping bag for at least two years (Percy should still fit this in two winter's time). Owner, Kim Snel, is very passionate about the niche business she has created. "I first came across Snugbags when my daughter, Neeva Rose, was 18months. I loved the sleeping bags so much that I purchased the company. Since then I have added new ranges, styles and colours, including the organic range for the eco-conscious parent who wants the purest chemical-free sleep environment for their child and the Winter Duvet Deluxe as I felt there was a need for a super cozy sleeping bag that keeps baby warm when the temperature really drops," she says.

A keen surfer, Kim lives with her partner and daughter in Piha, a small beach town on the West Coast of New Zealand. Their sun drenched house is sweet and quirky; it looks out onto an expansive garden and the ocean beyond (the view is awe inspiring). Originally from The Netherlands, Kim admits that now, New Zealand is home. "New Zealand is a magical country with untouched nature and an amazing energy...I couldn't imagine living anywhere else."

Snugbags' entire manufacturing process takes place in NZ which gives Kim the opportunity to oversee every single step. "All our sleeping bags are made here and we only ever use NZ Merino wool as it is superior quality; it's silky soft and therefore beautiful against baby's skin," she says. "Merino is called nature's wonder fibre as it has the unique ability to regulate your baby's temperature by drawing moisture away from the skin and preventing overheating. It's the safest fibre to dress your baby in as its fire resistant and keeps baby warm in winter and cool in summer."

Beautiful and functional, Snugbags are the highest quality sleeping bags I've come across. Second to the soft Merino, I am particularly impressed with the tailoring (such fine attention to detail) and the fact that I can throw the sleeping bag into the washing machine (a real bonus!). They are available in size 0-2 and 2-4 in either Standard, Winter Duvet and Winter Deluxe Duvet weight.

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Snugbags is offering Practising Simplicity readers a discount off all sleeping bags as well as $5 postage (worldwide). If you're interested, head to the VIP page and enter the password SNUG. Discount ends midnight 26th July. 

Kim is also giving away a set of NZ merino pyjamas (size 1-4). To enter, simply leave a comment and tell us a bit about your children's bedtime routine. What makes it so special? The comment that resonates most will win. Open to international readers. Entries close 5pm Sunday 26th July. 

Good Luck!

Comments closed. Congratulations, Lauren! I hope little Eve stays snug and warm in her new PJs. 


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28 COMMENTS

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