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motherhood

Lifestyle

How to get your kids to eat more vegetables

5th September, 2018

Finding ways to get kids to eat vegetables is a constant challenge for most parents. I know it’s something that we have to deal with in our household on a daily basis, and finding new and creative ways to make vegetables appealing can become an impossible task at times. This is why I’ve enlisted the help of paediatric nutritionist and founder of Wholesome Child Mandy Sacher, who shared her great insights on kids nutrition on the blog a few weeks ago. Here she shares her tips on how to deal with a child who isn’t really big on vegetables, and how to make it a process that’s less stressful and more fun.

Create a “rainbow” plate

“Many children I see are repetitive vegetable eaters—meaning that they eat the same limited range each and every week. Whilst all vegetables are beneficial, the ultimate goal is to eat a diverse range of colours and groups to get the maximum benefit. We all eat with our eyes first, so it makes sense to engage your child visually when encouraging them to eat more variety. Encourage your little one to create their own rainbow plate, it’ll engage their imagination and will lead to a nibble or two!”

Include one new veggie a week—and lead by example

“There’s often a strong connection between children who eat the same vegetables each week and parents who do the same. Through parents expanding their own repertoire, children will have an opportunity to see and taste a variety—and watch their parents enjoying the broader range, too!  Try salad veggies, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and brussels sprouts, and starchy vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato.”

Don’t forget beans and legumes

“Beans and legumes are our most nutritious plant foods. Rich in proteins, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, fibre, minerals and phytochemicals. Hummus, lentil soup, bean stews and chickpea falafels are a fantastic way to introduce legumes to your child. Try kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas and lentils. For canned varieties, look for BPA-free cans wherever possible and rinse well beforehand to reduce sodium levels.”

Include sea vegetables

“Due to its high calcium content, seaweed strengthens bones and teeth. It’s also high in iron, has antimicrobial properties and is a good source of essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre which helps prevent constipation.

Nori, rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C as well as iodine also contains protein. Use it for sushi, shred it over salad or create veggie-filled seaweed wraps filled with julienned carrots, cucumber, shredded chicken (or protein of choice) and avocado. If your child likes the seaweed snack packs that are commonly found in supermarkets, seek out varieties that are free from additives such as MSG or added sugar.”

Remember to use fresh herbs and spices 

“Basil is packed with essential oils which are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Use in tomato-based pasta sauces, sprinkle on pizza and mix into rissoles. 

Mint soothes upset tummies and improves digestion. Chill mint tea with a dash of raw honey or add fresh mint leaves and orange slices to water and serve in place of juice. 

Oregano is often used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and urinary tract disorders.  Add to chicken, lamb or beef dishes. 

Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins and keeps the immune system strong, tones the bones and heals the nervous system.  It also helps to flush excess fluid from the body and support kidney function.  Add to smoothies, chicken soup and pasta sauces.

Spices – as well as adding flavour, spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are packed with nutrients too. Add turmeric and ginger to chicken soup, sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower and add cinnamon to pumpkin and butternut squash.”

Create a veggie patch

“Children love planting seeds, watching them grow, and eventually harvesting what they have planted. It’s the best way to help them make the association between earth to plate, and to engage their curiosity about different varieties of vegetables. If outdoor space is limited, start off with herbs such as basil or oregano, or better yet get involved with a community garden.”

Shop for and cook vegetables together

Encourage your children to touch, smell and engage with their food.  Let them help with grocery shopping and encourage them to pick up new vegetables from the shelves and place them in the trolley themselves – this begins the engagement with the new food.

Little ones tend to be more willing to eat what they’ve helped to prepare and it’s important for them to be exposed to vegetables in their raw state and to understand how the texture and look of a vegetable changes when it’s cooked. Get them involved by asking them to peel carrots and potatoes (using kid-friendly graters), cutting lettuce with a plastic knife or adding grated vegetables to muffin batter.

It’s important for parents to be patient and to recognise that change is often slow with children.  Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat the new vegetable or food the first time it’s offered – stay positive and freeze what’s not eaten and offer it again – persistent repetition is key here.”

What are some creative ways you’ve used to encourage your kids to eat more vegetables?

Lifestyle

Reader Question: How do you deal with jet lag and colds when travelling with kids?

29th August, 2018

I absolutely love hearing from all of my readers especially when it comes to receiving questions whether they be about fashion or parenting or just a beauty question that you’ve been dying to know the answer to. I received the below question from Elizabeth in the comments section of this particular blog post about travelling and I was excited to see it as it’s a topic that I’m sure other parents out there can relate to (especially if you’re about to go overseas on a family trip). If you ever want to submit a question for my reader Q&A don’t forget that you can do so by leaving a comment, contacting me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

“I see you travel a lot with kids – how do you keep them away from catching a cold on the plane and also what are you tricks for jet lag?” – Elizabeth

We all know that planes are absolutely full of germs and my kids have been known to catch a cold on them in the past so I now try and do as much as I can to stop it.

The first thing I do is around two weeks before we go away I give the girls probiotics. I use the powder form and just pop it in a drink for them. Alternatively you can also buy chewy gummy ones if your kids would prefer a lolly to a drink. I continue this ritual during and after travelling to help boost their immune system as much as possible.

When we’re actually in transit I am quite militant about using hand sanitiser on the plane and also washing the girls’ hands regularly. You just never know what they’ve touched so I prefer to err on the side of caution and just keep their hands as clean as possible. Also I tend to rug them up as planes can get chilly and I make sure to give them lots of fluids.

In terms of jet lag (which can be quite torturous when you’re travelling with children!), I just try and get them into the local time zone as quickly as possible so we can get them back into their regular routine as soon we can (with an hour or two leeway). This sometimes means that I will need to wake them up when they are still tired but I have found they always bounce back pretty quickly. There’s always going to be an adjustment period but if you get onto it straight away they’ll generally be on local time before you know it. And of course, you start the process all over again when you get home.

Travelling with kids is admittedly a lot trickier than when you’re sans children but it’s all so worth it when you think of all the happy memories you create while you’re away.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? Just pop it in the comments section below and I’ll answer it soon.
Fashion

How to nail practical and stylish dressing as a mum

30th July, 2018

One of the most common questions I receive is how to build up a great mum wardrobe. I’m sure a lot of mums out there will agree that dressing when you’re looking after a tiny human is all about comfort and wearability. I can’t be wearing anything too fussy when I’m with the girls as I am often running after them, playing in the park or just generally on the go so I’ve got to be comfortable. Over the years I feel I’ve managed to really nail the key pieces that make my outfits cohesive and allow me to get dressed with minimal fuss. Here are some of my musts…

Have go-to pair of sneakers

I spend my life in sneakers whether it’s paired back with a dress or jeans and a tee. A pair of classic white sneakers is a must and is a worthwhile investment as it can work back with so many outfits. They’re ideal for those days when you’ve got a packed schedule with the kids and need to be comfortable.

Invest in great outerwear

During winter I often rely on my jackets to change up the look and feel of what I’m wearing. If I’m purely relaxing with Sophia and Grace then I have a puffer jacket I pop on as it’s casual and warm. However if I need to look smarter I often put on a nice coat or a blazer to help dress things up a little. The thing with outerwear is I can be wearing the same thing underneath— so jeans and a tee for example and changing up the jackets can instantly change the vibe of my ensemble.

Take the dress shortcut

Dresses have got to be the easiest thing a mum can have in her wardrobe. I just pop on a dress, pair them with sneakers and then I’m pretty much ready to walk out the door. They’re great for when I need to get dressed in seconds and don’t have much time to fuss around (which is pretty much every day.)

Look for pocket details

I love clothes with pockets. Since the girls are getting older I don’t need to bring a baby bag with a million things which is why I tend to gravitate towards coats and jeans with pockets. If we’re not going out for long I don’t need to pack a massive bag, and I just pop my key essentials in one of my pockets and I’m set.

Go for hands-free bags

Backpacks and crossbody bags are a huge trend and they’re a godsend for mums. I often opt for either style when I’m out with the girls as it leaves my hands free (this is ideal as most mums can attest you never know when you’ll need to stop someone from running off or need to wipe someone’s hands). I’ve invested in a quality leather backpack and crossbody bags as it can withstand the daily wear and tear that running around after two kids can bring. A simple neutral colour such as black, grey and navy is perfect as you can match it with virtually everything in your wardrobe.

Take the easy way out when it comes to fabrics

I love the feel of luxe fabrics like cashmere and silk but when I’m on mum duty they stay at home. I will always wear easy wash and wear items made of cotton or wool as I’ll invariably end up with something on me so need to be able to clean it off quite easily.

Build up a staple collection of pants

I’ve found that by building up my collection of comfortable pants— so think things like jeans, leather leggings and casual lounge pants— it has made getting dressed every day easier. I can pair them back with my trusty t-shirts or jumpers and I’m set.

Ensure you have a healthy supply of tees and sweaters

I’ve found that anything I can easily throw on (that doesn’t need ironing) makes getting dressed so much more straightforward. I’ve got a good range of t-shirts and sweaters in practical neutral colours that I can rotate every day. I’ve made sure that my tees and sweaters can work back with everything in my pants collection and vice versa so I don’t have the added layer of complexity of trying to figure out what to match with which.

What are some of your favourite wardrobe essentials as a mum?

Fashion, Lifestyle

The toddler essentials I can’t live without

18th July, 2018

Once we graduated from the baby stage into the toddler phase with Sophia, all of a sudden we had a whole new set of concerns to contend with. From wanting to jump out of bed a little too early to toilet training, she was all of a sudden in a new stage of independence that saw us having to adjust accordingly. We slowly discovered some handy gadgets and additions into our home that made things a little easier. Now Grace is about to enter into the same phase, we’re going back to these tried and tested favourites to help us once again. If you’ve got a little one that’s around the same age I highly recommend checking out the below. I always love it when other mums recommend things to me that they’ve found successful with their own kids so hopefully there’s something in the mix that might help you out too!

 

Sam the Sheep clock

This was a lifesaver with Sophia and I’m about to use it with Grace. It really helped Sophia as often she would wake up early and not know what time it was and just automatically get up even if it was 5am. But with the Sam the sheep clock, if the sheep was still asleep she would know that it was still bed time and would usually resettle herself. I’ll often still use the clock with Sophia if we’ve been overseas and she’s a bit jetlagged and is waking up too early or if she’s just a little out of her routine and I need to reset her wake times.

Image via Pillow Talk

Brolly sheets

When Sophia was being toilet trained these were super helpful with overnight sleep and any potential accidents. You just lay them across the bed (like a towel) so if there is an accident through the night you could quickly rip off the top layer and not have to change a full bed.

I still use them if either child has a vomiting bug as they can be used the same way and it means I don’t have to fully disturb them and remake the whole bed. I will definitely be using them again when Grace is ready to be toilet trained.

The Original Learning Tower

Grace is using this now and it’s such a great addition to our kitchen. It’s a little step that allows her to climb up so she’s at bench level and can be part of the action. Whether she uses the bench space for snack time or play time, she can just climb up whenever she wants. It’s adjustable too so she’ll be able to use this little step till she’s six. This is especially great if you love having your kids get involved in cooking or baking.

Image via Target Australia

Bed rails

It can be a big adjustment going from a cot to a big bed and I found these to be a great way to ease a little one into the transition. Grace is still in her cot but Sophia used these when transitioning into a bed and it made her feel safe and secure so we will be getting them out again when the time comes.

Tell me—what are some of your toddler essentials?

Lifestyle

15 of my fave children’s books to read to Sophia and Grace

4th July, 2018

My kids love books—especially Grace who can’t get enough of them. We’ve always read to our girls from a young age and storytime is always one of the highlights of our day. There are so many brilliant kids’ books out there and whilst we always try to read a range to Sophia and Grace, we’ve definitely got a firm list of favourites that we turn to time and time again. The girls are at a great stage now where Grace is at the age where she’s enjoying the same books as Sophia so this makes bedtime reading even more fun as we can do it together, and both of them are engaged.

So what books do we like reading? Well, I’m sure a lot of parents will agree with this but a rhyming story is always a hit. My girls love them. It’s also quite fun to read them as well so it’s a win-win situation. However generally anything with animals, beautiful illustrations or just a really great fun story is always a favourite in our home.

At the moment there’s currently a rotation of about 15 books that will always get pulled out a bedtime. In fact we read them so much I’ll probably be able to recite every word without looking pretty soon! It’s always such a beautiful ritual to end the day by reading to Sophia and Grace and it’s something that I hope will continue for many more years to come. If you’re currently looking for a new storytime read, I highly recommend the following books, which have mine and my kids’ tick of approval.

Claris the Chicest Mouse in Paris by Megan Hess

This is currently Sophia’s favourite book. The illustrations are gorgeous and the story is fantastic with a great lesson.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

This is one of the best rhyming stories for kids, full stop. It’s a clever story about a crafty mouse outsmarting a snake, a fox and an owl along with the Gruffalo himself. It’s an enjoyable read for the whole family.

What the Ladybird Heard Next by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

The author Julia Donaldson can always be called upon for a great kids’ read. This is about a ladybird outsmarting robbers with the help of her farmyard friends. And hey, there’s glitter on every page so it’s a definite crowd pleaser.

Princesses Wear Pants by Savannah Guthrie and Allison Oppenheim

This story has a great lesson about staying true to yourself and is especially great if you’ve got kids going through a princess phase as Princess Penelope Pineapple is not your typical damsel in distress. She’s intelligent, adventurous, driven and is a great role model. Oh and the story rhymes so double thumbs up!

Sugarlump and the Unicorn by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

Anything unicorn-related is always a hit with my girls and this one is about a little rocking horse who has his wish granted to become a real horse. However he realises that maybe his old life wasn’t so bad after all…

Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss by Mandy Sutcliffe

This is a great read at bedtime because the it follows Belle, a little girl and her bunny friend, Boo as they go through their night routine from bath to story and goodnight kiss, so it resonates well with young kids.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Another great rhyming tale by the pair behind The Gruffalo. This one is about a witch and the adventures she has with all her animal friends in the forest, with a great message about friendship.

I Don’t Want to Eat My Dinner by David Cornish

If you’re currently experiencing issues with your little ones eating their meals at night (or any other time of day for that matter) then this book is a must-read. It’s all about a young boy named Rollo who manages to make dinner time one of the most exciting times of the day.

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

This a funny read, with great illustrations and a really engaging character—what kid doesn’t love a dog? It’s one of those books that both adults and kids will enjoy.

The Very Ordinary Caterpillar by Garry Fleming

Set in the Australian bush, a little caterpillar is surrounded by so many interesting animals and plant life that he realises how ordinary he is. However he soon spins himself a cocoon and well, you know what happens next!

Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field

A funny rhyming story about a frog who discovers that all animals have their special places to sit. The illustrations are also great so this book will definitely incite a giggle or two.

Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey

Written by the author of Pig the Pug this is about a little unicorn who yearns for a more glamorous life but soon discovers that her old life and who she was minus all the glitter and sparkle is exactly where she wants to be.

The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty by Beatrice Alemagna

This book is about a little girl trying to track down the perfect present for her mum. The colourful illustrations are a favourite with my girls.

Where is the Green Sheep? By Mem Fox and Judy Horacek

This book is a good one to read before bedtime as it culminates in finding a (spoiler alert!) sleeping green sheep. It’s one of Grace’s current faves.

My Zoo by Rod Campbell

Grace is into any books with animals and this one is a great, with lots of cute illustrations. This a good one to read when your child is going through the phase of learning about different animals.

Lifestyle

How a little me time makes me a better mum

16th November, 2017

The first lesson you quickly learn when you become a mum is that me time is quickly replaced by everything else on your very lengthy to-do list. Those precious moments where you can have a little time to yourself are a rarity, but when they do come around I find that it always leads to feeling ready to tackle the craziness of motherhood with a little more energy in your reserves.

I think me time doesn’t always have to involve lengthy periods of time away from the kids; I’d classify it as anything from five minutes to enjoy a shower in peace to finishing a cup of coffee before it gets cold or being able to watch something on television that does not involve Peppa Pig! I’m in the extremely fortunate position that every so often my work involves having to do things like get my hair done or have a manicure in preparation for a shoot or big event and this allows me to marry work and down time. I’m unbelievably grateful for this every single day!

The one thing that does allow me to clear my head each week is the few hours I am able to get away to my office and just power through emails and life admin. I know it’s not technically me time but for me it gives me the same feeling of rejuvenation as I am able to be 100 per cent productive, and at the end of it I can shut my laptop and return to my girls, ready to give them my complete attention. That said, nothing beats being able to enjoy a night out with my girlfriends or simply relaxing at home. I find all these things are able to help me recharge my batteries and allow me to keep up with Sophia and Grace and be the best mum I can be.

Hopefully as the girls get older there will be a few more opportunities for a little me time but for now I am trying to make the most of the time I do get and enjoy it a little more.

Tell me—when you do get the opportunity for a little me time what do you enjoy doing?

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle

The biggest issues new mums will face and how to deal with them

18th October, 2017

Last week psychologist and co-founder of The Bumpy Road, Belinda Williams shared her tips for new mums and mums-to-be. This week, she’s got more practical and useful advice for those who are currently navigating their way through motherhood for the first time. Most especially when it comes to dealing with the overwhelming feeling that comes with being a mama and dealing with the reality of what it’s really like to care for a baby day in and day out (spoiler alert: it’s not all sunshine and rainbows like a nappy commercial!). If you’re a new mum read on for your survival guide for the first few months…

What should new mums do if they’re feeling overwhelmed?

It is so important to recognise that you are not alone. Not only do all new mums feel this way, there is most often people in your support network that are very willing to help out. Here are some ways to help manage these challenging feelings:

Set realistic expectations. Things seem to take exponentially longer to complete. Don’t pressure yourself to do everything, instead prioritise what is most important and target your energies here.
Make time for yourself/self care. It’s hard to do but oh-so important! It may be a small activity like an extended bath, body scrub or washing your hair, a coffee up the shops solo or a walk around the block with your partner. Micro moments can be magically restorative.
Avoid isolation. Try to connect with other mums and talk to them about their experience. It can help to see that others are having challenges too and often gives you better perspective on your own experience.
Ask for help. Try to open up to the people close to you and let them know you need help. It is not a time to be a hero and the only person you let down when you push through the pain is yourself.

Often the fantasy of becoming a mum is different to the day to day reality of motherhood and some women may feel a little disillusioned by the experience. What are some ways to deal with this? 

Women are often shocked by how consuming and relentless being a parent can be. Each women has a different remedy. This may include:


Look at what it is that you are missing from life before your baby—is it the mental stimulation of work, the relevance beyond the home, the lack of freedom in being able to just walk out the door—maybe all of these? Look for ways that you can reestablish this within your routine as a mother. It may not be in the same form but there is often different opportunities that we have not had to consider before.
Be patient—this adjustment in self concept can take time and is not always pleasant. Try not to make the mistake that challenging feelings mean that things are not going well or that motherhood is not for you. These feelings are common as it is a very stressful and demanding time. If you are worried about how difficult you are finding the transition into motherhood, speak with a professional to navigate these thoughts and feelings.
Make plans—it may be for a holiday, your return to work, a night out with friends. Motherhood is not all or nothing. Eventually you will find a way to weave back in aspects of your life that you enjoyed. Making plans for this can be empowering.
Be selective about what information you are consuming. If you are evaluating your experience of motherhood against Instagram tiles, look elsewhere. This is only a narrow reflection on moments of motherhood and not the gold standard. If it is impacting you negatively then maybe switch off for a while.

Some new mums may miss their old life and the freedom that they had. Is this a normal feeling to have? What are some ways to deal with it? And what should they do if they feel they’re not settling into their new life at all? 

I think that this is pretty common. I remember being pretty bewildered when my first child arrived and asking my mum (probably with a few tears running down my face!), “how does anyone get anything done?!”. It is such a sudden and significant shift in pretty much every domain of your life so even if you are ready for it, you want it and it is where you want to be, it is normal to feel very shaken and destabilised by the seismic adjustment that takes place. Talk to others about how you are feeling.

Caring for a newborn is a steep learning curve and some women may start to feel self-doubt about their abilities as as mum at times. What can be done to address this? 

I think that all new mothers suffer a crisis in confidence. Firstly everything is new and secondly there is so much conflicting information coming at you even within the hospitals. I think it can be helpful to identify a few trusted people and resources and use that as a starting point. But most commonly women experience the greatest distress when they feel disempowered to trust their own instinct. I am a big advocate of trusting your gut and nowhere seems more natural to do this than when caring for a newborn. If in doubt, then of course, seek advice and do this early. It is often just small adjustments that make the world of difference and help us recover and restore our confidence.

Becoming a new mum often means having to deal with a new identity in some ways as you try and blend the old you and the new you. What can women do if they feel a little lost during this process? 

It is exactly that, a process and one that takes time. I think motherhood is a constant time of adjustment and readjustment as our children grow. Very rarely does the learning and changing plateau. This is an experience quite unique to the world of parenthood. There will be parts of your life before children that you no longer connect with and enjoy and there will be parts of life as a mother which you never imagined would bring you joy, but insanely they do. Whilst these changes can be confronting and challenging, it can help to approach it with curiosity rather than judgement. You always have choice even if the options on face value seem more limited to begin with. Try to start out prioritising the things that are most important to you and look at how you can maintain them (perhaps in a different format). Motherhood is a journey not a destination.

Lifestyle

What new mums need to know

11th October, 2017

Belinda Williams’ (left) practice The Bumpy Road helps women navigate the ups and downs of motherhood

 

There is nothing that shakes up life as you know it as swiftly or as deeply as becoming a mother. The changes that arise from having a baby along with the ups and downs and challenges that accompany this period can sometimes mean that it can become a little overwhelming. It is navigating this tricky time that is the inspiration behind psychologist Belinda Williams co-founding The Bumpy Road, a practice that is entirely focused on mothers.

“Becoming a mother can be a very vulnerable and humbling experience. It can be such a transformative shift from how we have been living our lives—our routines, our relationship, our work/career, our body. We [Belinda and co-founder Tawna Tourle] saw so many women struggling with this adjustment,” says Belinda. “We wanted to create a business and a brand that women felt that they could connect to; where struggles were normalised and practical, and evidence based information was available. We felt that this would help women to access help earlier and therefore prevent unnecessary damage for women and their families who try to go it alone.”

Whether you’re a mum-to-be or a brand new mama it can help to arm yourself with the right strategies to navigate the path that is parenthood. Here Belinda shares her tips for dealing with life post-birth.

Coping with the life upheaval that comes after having a baby

“Each mother and child and family is different so I truly believe that there is not a one size fits all approach. We all have different needs, different resources, different children. It is really a matter of ensuring that you are informed, supported and also trusting your gut. I think that there is a lot of pressure on new mums to be both acing it and enjoying it. For many women, this is not the case. In fact there seems to be so many aspects that are out of your control that its easy to feel completely overwhelmed.”

Preparing yourself for baby’s arrival

In the months leading up to your little one’s birth it’s important to prepare yourself for what’s to come. Along with the fun elements such as preparing the nursery and shopping for cute clothes it’s a good idea to get ready mentally and emotionally to make the transition into motherhood. According to Belinda there are a few key things you can do…

Before your baby arrives

Speak to friends and family about what the transition is like—the good, the bad and the ugly. Focusing on only one part of the story is not helpful. But knowing what to expect can help manage your expectations and plan for the upcoming change.

Understand what are the non-negotiables for you and plan accordingly – it may be trying to remain active and getting the right equipment or finding post natal exercise classes you can try; or it may be mental stimulation such as listening to podcasts and TEDx talks whilst feeding. Whilst time is a rare commodity with a newborn, it is often a case of being preoccupied, not busy as such. In the melay, there will be micro opportunities to honour what matters to you.

After your baby arrives

Stay connected with your partner – this will provide you with the best chance to be on the same page and understand each other’s perspective and experience. It can be wildly different for the mother and the supporting partner and it’s easy to expect for them to know your needs. Often they don’t, so speak up and verbalise in (in the most neutral way possible!). Remember you are a team!

Getting out and about can seem near impossible but fresh air and sunshine (if you are lucky) can help to reset the clock and improve energy levels.

Saying yes when help is offered is tremendously liberating. People genuinely want to offer the support and any opportunity for a moment to yourself, a dinner taken care of or a dash up the shops can give you an enormous amount of relief.

Put your hand up for help if you are in need. There are so many great professional supports available including your GP, Psychologist, Physio, and private midwives. The earlier you ask for help, the better chance you have at getting the help you need and improving the wellbeing for you and the family unit.

 

What should you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? What are some strategies to deal with the challenging day-to-day reality of being a mum? Don’t miss Belinda’s column next week where she offers more valuable tips for new mums.

Fashion, Shop

My go-to kids clothing brands for Sophia and Grace

13th September, 2017

Shopping for Sophia and Grace is without a doubt one of my favourite things to do due to the sheer cuteness of girls’ clothes out there. Bows! Ruffles! Florals! The selection of clothing with cute little details is virtually endless. The fashion game for kids clothing brands has definitely stepped up a lot in the last few years. Having shopped for everything from casual pieces to special occasion dresses these are my go-tos for clothes that I know will deliver in the style and quality department.

Sapling

I love this brand so much that when they approached me to do a collaboration I couldn’t resist. Sapling do beautiful organic baby clothes in super soft cotton and the prints are always very cute.

Country Road

The range at Country Road is always really sweet with lots of mini me options of popular fashion trends for adults.

Seed Heritage

One of my favourite kids clothing brands in Australia. The prints and colours are always spot on and there are lots of neutral and pastel options which I am a big fan of.

Eeni Meeni Miini Moh

I love the gorgeous designs from Eeni Meeni Miini Moh. I often dress the girls in matching pieces – everything is super cute!

Cotton On Kids

You don’t have to spend a fortune on kids’ clothing. Cotton On Kids have an extensive range of basics to going out clothes that are at a reasonable price point. This is particularly great when you consider how quickly kids grow out of their clothing.

Bonds

My girls lived in onesies till they were walking so I stocked up on a lot of Bonds wondersuits. One of the best things about Bonds’ range of onesies is that they do up with a zipper rather than press studs or buttons, which as any parent trying to dress a wriggly baby can attest, is a godsend.

Tutu du Monde

When its comes to dressing the girls for super special occasions such as birthdays I’ll splurge on dresses from Tutu du Monde. The intricate embellishments make them a little work of art.

Hubble + Duke

This brand does a clothing range but I particularly love their shoe collection. If you’re after kids footwear that’s a little bit different (think rose gold mary janes and millenial pink gumboots) Hubble + Duke is the brand to check out.

Campbell & Co

A friend of mine owns this brand and they do lovely cashmere sweaters for kids. It’s a splurge but definitely great quality.

Mini by Terry Biviano

Terry Biviano’s capsule collection of kids’ shoes is handmade from quality leather with really striking embellishments such as bright pom poms and beads.

Chloé and Amélie

From printed sets to pieces with oversized bows and ruffles this brand is heaven for girls’ clothing. A great selection for those who are after kids’ clothes that are a little more fashion forward.

Atelier/Child

If you’re looking for knitwear with a difference this is the brand for you. Atelier/Child stocks everything from statement knits to cosy onesies and plush baby blankets, all made from a super soft cotton/cashmere blend that’s great for sensitive skin.

Tell me—what are your favourite kids clothing brands?

Lifestyle

A chat with Almira Armstrong, founder of candle and fragrance brand Lumira

30th August, 2017

Almira Armstrong founder of candle and fragrance brand Lumira

It was becoming a mum that prompted Sydney-based Almira Armstrong to reassess her career. In 2013, Armstrong launched Lumira; leaving behind a successful career in marketing to meld her love of gorgeous scents and creating candles to create a luxe fragrance and candle range. Here the successful businesswoman and busy mother of two shares what inspires her, the key to looking stylish whilst juggling a young family and career and the one thing she is most proud of…

How did you come up with the Lumira range?

I’ve had a love affair with candles and fragrance for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories as a little girl was playing with mum’s bottles of perfume at every opportunity. During my teens, I taught myself how to make candles in the kitchen at home, which I would give to friends and family for special occasions. After university, a career in marketing kept me in creative circles and offered the valuable opportunity to live and work overseas, but becoming a mum prompted me to rethink the path ahead and I decided to pursue my dream of creating products that would allow me to indulge my love of scent, design and travel. In September 2013 Lumira was born.

What is your favourite scent in the range?

Tuscan Fig has to be my favourite scent at the moment as it reminds me of the time my husband and I travelled through Italy together. It was an easy scent to bring to life as the visual and scent memories were so vivid. It’s now available as a Perfume Oil, so I get to wear the scent everyday!

How has the range expanded?

I always wanted to add fragrance to the brand, it was just all about timing.  I introduced the Perfume Oils late last year and they have been so well received.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I would say casual-chic as I never know what my day will involve.  Most days I am quite hands on within the business so it’s usually my favourite J Brand jeans with a white tee and black blazer that can take me into meetings when need to.

Almira Armstrong founder of Lumira on her style

Armstrong describes her style as being casual-chic

What is your favourite room in your house?

My bedroom! I love getting dressed and ready for the day. There’s something ritualistic about it but also the notion of a new day and new opportunities. Then of course it’s the place I switch off after a long day too!

What is the best styling tip you have?

Your shoes are the finishing touch for every outfit! It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple tee and jeans, you can either dress it up or down with a pair of killer designer heels or simple white sneakers.

How do you like to relax?

Usually with a cup of tea and my favourite book.  I am currently reading Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler.

What is your favourite dish to eat?

Anything from [Sydney’s] Fratelli Paradiso, but especially the Scampi Pasta.

Do you have a favourite local café?

Sample Coffee which is right near my office has great coffee and croissants!

Where do you like to travel to?

I love Europe, but where I like to spend most of my time is Italy.  One of my favourite parts is Puglia, the diversity between land and sea is just so beautiful and inspiring.

Testing one of Lumira’s gorgeous scents

Where do you find inspiration for your range?

For me, fragrances can be very transportive and trigger memories with a power that none of the other senses have. Creating a fragrance begins with a series of inspirations – art,  design, travel, poetry… these (and more) are all elements that I draw on for inspiration when developing a new fragrance.

What are you most proud of in your life so far?

l am appreciative of being able to balance my work and my kids.  I have a five-year-old boy and a girl who is two years old. The juggle is very real, but it’s rewarding to be able to make time for the kids, yet dedicate my day to work.

How do you juggle a young family and your own business?

It’s not easy, that’s for sure. It’s hard to maintain a sense of self when you first have kids. But I’ve realised that, for me, it’s as easy to put on a dress and leather jacket as it is to pop on a pair of running leggings. I also take inspiration from other mums like Miroslava Duma, Anine Bing and Taylor Tomasi Hill. There are so many gorgeous mums on Instagram and in the blogosphere who are leading by example when it comes to balancing work with motherhood.

I balance everything by taking a casual approach to style – my routine is not time intensive – and making sure that I have the help I need to get my work done. I don’t do it alone. I also put down my instruments at a hard time every day so that I have good quality time with my family. It’s not easy to do in a world where you’re constantly switched on, but I find having so many competing high priority items actually makes me more regimented and disciplined when I’m in the office.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  

I have a lot going on this year but it’s all working toward a long term work goal. I’ll continue to invest in the fragrance ranges whilst experimenting with some new product lines. I love collaborating with other talented creatives and feel so grateful that people love what is being produced.  It’s the customers who love what I do that really inspire me to keep creating. I’m also spending a fair bit of my time overseas introducing the brand to new markets which is so much fun! So in five years time I imagine we will have a much stronger global presence. Having the kids by my side while I travel internationally is really special right now, they’re seeing how Lumira all works as well as fitting in  family time in between. In five years time, I hope I’m still doing exactly what I love – just on a larger scale.

Photography: @bianchiphotography