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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

My fave shortcuts as a busy mum

5th April, 2018

As a busy mum I have a few time-saving tricks up my sleeve

Working and having two kids means that every day can be quite the juggling act. I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy as when Sophia and Grace came along. All of a sudden I went from being able to manage my time the way I wanted to having to fit everything around them and their schedule. As I’m sure most mums can attest, there’s not a whole lot of time left to get anything done after you’ve tried to get everything on your child-related to-do list checked off.

From taking the girls to pre-school, ballet, play dates and then having to do everything from making dinner to cleaning around the house, it can be a long, exhausting day. So wherever I can I like to take the easy way out. Yes, shortcuts are any busy mum’s friend and they’re definitely mine. Here are a few I’ve adopted to free up a bit more time during the week.

 Get groceries delivered

Anyone who has ever tried to keep their kids entertained whilst simultaneously trying to do their grocery shopping without forgetting pretty much everything they needed in the first place deserves a medal. This is why I’ve taken to shopping online and having my groceries delivered. I can peacefully shop on my laptop when the kids are asleep and then have a week’s worth of food appear in my kitchen without any hassle. If you’re not doing it already, please try it!

Vacuum from anywhere

Vacuuming is one of those chores that needs to be done regularly but it eats up so much time that I always find it a struggle trying to get around to it. So I succumbed to the allure of having my floors cleaned without having to lift a finger. Check it out here Electrolux PUREi9. It’s a robotic vacuum cleaner that I can not only program to follow my own particular cleaning schedule but I can control it from wherever I am using the PUREi9 app on my phone. I was initially worried that it may run into furniture and get stuck while I was out however  it has a 3D Vision system which scans the room and makes sure to avoid obstacles. So I can pretty much just schedule it via the mobile app, leave it and then come home to totally clean floors.

Turn it on and forget about it and come home to magically clean floors

Schedule it via the mobile app

The Electrolux PUREi9 in action

 

Cook once, eat twice

The last thing I want to do is have to spend hours in the kitchen cooking each week. So to halve the time spent on making meals often we’ve taken to whipping up bigger batches of whatever it is we’re having then freezing it as that means we can revisit again on those days when we really can’t be bothered cooking.

Organise as I go along

I’ve noticed that if I try and do things as I go along I don’t have such an epic cleaning job ahead of me at the end of the week. I’ve now tried to implement the rule that if it will only take me a few seconds to put something away then I do it right then and there instead of procrastinating.

I now make a point of trying to organise as I go along

 

Embrace lists

Lists are a mum’s best friend. Instead of wasting time trying to remember things I now map out the day ahead by writing a quick list. If I can see what I have to do, it helps me to plan how I’m going to structure my day so I use my time efficiently. For example if I have to run errands in multiple places during the day I try and do the things closest to home first then work my way out so I don’t spend the time driving around just trying to get from A to B and back again.

Utilise open storage

Before having kids I didn’t really appreciate the usefulness of baskets around the house. I do now. I have a few strategically placed around our apartment so that I can quickly put the girls’ things away at the end of the day. It takes a few minutes and I feel I have a tidy house at the end (this works wonders for calming a frazzled mind). It’s also perfect for those times when people drop by unexpectedly and I need to have a clean house in seconds.

What are some of your favourite shortcuts as a mum?

This post was produced in collaboration with Electrolux

Photography: Sophia Athas

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

Travelling with kids: how to survive with your sanity in tact

13th November, 2017

Enjoying our family vacation in Bali

As most parents can probably attest, when it comes to travelling with kids you can’t ever really be too prepared. Expect the unexpected is my motto. You’ll inevitably end up with a curve ball being thrown your way whether it’s a bout of vomiting or losing a beloved toy along the way, and you’ve just got to try and find humour in the situation and take it all in your stride. Whilst you can’t plan for absolutely everything, I do believe in preparing as much as possible to mitigate potential issues. We’ve travelled with the girls in Australia and internationally and it’s taught me a few things about how to handle travel with children in tow. Yes, travel will never be as straightforward as it was pre-kids days but it’s oh-so worth it for the amazing memories you build as a family along the way. If you’re about to embark on a trip with your kids then read on for some of my best tried and tested tips…

Choose flights around sleep times

If you’re flying it pays to try and book flights around sleep times. When I’ve done this, most of the time I’ve been lucky and have been able to get the girls down for a bit of a sleep. Whether it’s 30 minutes or two hours, a napping child is invaluable when you’ve got to kill time on a plane.

Book essentials in advance

I never leave anything to chance when I’m travelling with the girls. For example if we require transfers from the airport to the hotel I always request car seats and confirm prior to departure that everything is locked in. I can’t think of anything worse than getting off a long flight, with two tired kids and having to deal with the fact we can’t get to our accommodation.

Give yourself plenty of time to pack

I like to have all the girls’ things packed well in advance as I know I’ll forget something crucial if I do it at the last minute. I normally make a list of everything the kids will need and then I pack a few days before we leave. This gives me plenty of time to get any last minute things washed or take out things I don’t think they’ll need anymore. I normally like to have outfits and nappies for each day sorted and take a few extras just in case.

Bring lots of entertainment

It is a lot easier to travel with Sophia now because she’s three and most of the time she’s excited to watch movies on the plane. But Grace is at that tricky age of being in between a baby and a toddler and wants to be on the move all the time. This is why I always like to bring plenty of entertainment with me to keep the girls occupied. I bring an assortment of games, toys and books with me and make sure to have a few new books or toys with me as I find it keeps them entertained just that little bit longer. If you don’t want to buy anything new just round up a few of your child’s favourite toys and keep them out of sight for a few days so when you pull them out again they’re excited and interested to play with them. (You can find a few more of my in-flight essentials here).

Come armed with plenty of food

On our recent trip to Bali we had to take into account that we were flying during the girls’ morning tea time to lunch then afternoon tea to dinner. I had to bring all the right amount of food with me as I wasn’t sure what we’d get on the plane. I also packed plenty of snacks just in case we had delays on either side and I needed to give the girls something to eat. Also this came in handy when we were in the hotel room and the girls woke up early and we weren’t able to go anywhere for breakfast yet. I was able to pull out a few snacks from my suitcase to tide them over.

I think with the right preparation you can make a family holiday as close to stress-free as possible. And if a few little things do go awry, just take a few deep breaths and think that one day you’ll be able to laugh about it with your kids!

What are some of your tips for travelling with kids?

 

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

Tips for throwing a stress-free kids’ birthday party

5th September, 2017
Kate Waterhouse daughter Grace first birthday party

Celebrating Grace’s first birthday

As most parents will attest kids’ birthday parties can sometimes snowball into a big production that can involve a whole lot of stress. From decorations to food to entertainment, the list of things to organise can be quite lengthy and often there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Having organised parties for both Sophia and Grace I’ve managed to hone down my event planning to a few key things that ensure an enjoyable but more importantly stress-free event. Here are my top tips:

Keep it intimate

I’ve made the mistake of having a really big kids’ parties in the past and based on that I now make a point of trying to keep the numbers small and host a really intimate event. You don’t have to invite everyone under the sun! I think inviting the people that you’re going to enjoy having there the most such as close family and friends help make the day even better. Now that Sophia’s old enough, she can invite her own friends to her parties which often helps shape the guest list and makes it a lot easier.

Kate Waterhouse daughter Grace first birthday party cake

Grace’s first birthday cake

Catering doesn’t have to resemble an episode of Masterchef

The first kids’ party I ever threw I double catered and had kids’ meals and adults meals and by the end of it I thought this is ridiculous. Now when it comes to catering I serve up things that kids and adults can eat. I do big fruit platters and cheese platters that include carrot sticks and celery sticks so it’s a winner for both the big and little guests. Both are really easy to put together and can feed a lot of people. I find serving a variety of sandwiches is always a winner so I’ll do fillings such as chicken, ham and cheese and Vegemite which I know most kids will eat. As a treat I’ll also do sausage rolls and meat pies. I don’t like serving too many sweets so I keep it limited to the birthday cake and maybe some additional cupcakes and popcorn as a savoury treat.

Do most of your prep in the days before the party

I usually compile a list of everything I will need and do a big grocery shop before an event so I have all the ingredients I’ll need. I’ll aim to have ingredients chopped up ahead of time and if I’m making something like chicken sandwiches I’ll make the filling the night before and just buy bread in the morning so it’s fresh and put it all together on the day of the party. The more that you can do ahead of time the easier it will be on the actual day.

Kate Waterhouse daughter Sophia third birthday party

Sophia’s farm themed third birthday party

Have a theme

Having a theme just makes pulling everything together so much easier. Whether it’s a farm themed party or princess inspired having an overarching theme can guide everything from decorations to games and party bags and the birthday cake. One thing I do when I’m decorating a venue is to designate one area for the big photo moment when we’re doing the cake cutting. I’ll have balloons (a number balloon is always a nice touch) and some bunting to make the space fun and festive and this will be the backdrop for most of the photos on the day.

Plan group activities/entertainment

When you have lots of kids running around it’s a good idea to organise activities that they can do together. This helps keep the kids in the one spot and also keeps them all entertained. For Sophia’s last birthday we hired a birthday fairy and she kept the guests occupied which is a must when you’ve got to keep track of a group of three-year-olds who all want to venture off in different directions. If you don’t want to hire someone you can just have a line-up of classic games such as pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs and have all the kids get involved. Having games or entertainment is a must! Most of the time this keeps all the kids happy and at the end of the day isn’t that what it’s all about?

What are some of your tips for throwing a kids’ party?

 

Fashion

Father’s Day with Trenery

22nd August, 2017

When the opportunity to collaborate with Trenery on a Father’s Day shoot came up I was really excited. I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to do some beautiful shoots with my girls and with my mum that I wanted the same experience with Luke and my dad. But more importantly I can’t think of a better way to celebrate two wonderful fathers and all that they do.

From the moment Sophia and Grace were born I could see they had a very special bond with Luke. He is an amazing dad and the kids adore him. He’s kind, caring and has endless time for the girls.

My heart does melt when I see him with our daughters. Now Sophia’s old enough to talk it’s lovely to listen to their chats and to see that they already have such a close relationship. Luke has always been a hands-on dad and he’s constantly playing games with the girls. I love the fact he’ll do anything to put a smile on their face whether it’s pretending to be Sophia’s ballet student or playing dress ups and hide and seek. Through the good times and the bad times, I know Luke will always be the kind of father who will be there no matter what.

I know the girls will feel towards Luke the way I feel about my dad who I have a very close relationship with. He’s wise beyond measure so he’s always the person I turn to for advice. He’s a very caring person and so generous and loving. Most weekends when I was growing up Mum would be busy working so I spent lots of time with my dad and really cherished those Saturdays I had with him. Whether it was swimming classes or going to the movies I have really fond memories of our time together.

I’m lucky that I live in the same apartment building as my parents so I visit them most days to say hello. My dad is normally working at his desk when we drop by and Sophia often turns his desk into her little cubby house. He dotes on the girls and can always be relied upon to be the one that gives the sneaky chocolates out! It’s amazing that even at such a young age I can already see that the girls have a special bond with him.

Whenever Father’s Day rolls around each year I’m always thankful to have Luke and my dad in my life and my girls’ life. They’re both amazing every single day of the year but it’s nice to have one special day each year when they can truly be celebrated.

To all the other amazing dads out there—wishing you all the most wonderful day!

This post was created in collaboration with Trenery

Photography: Grace Kyo

Fashion

It’s here! Sneak peek at the Kate Waterhouse x Sapling collection

14th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection onesie

My little Grace in one of the onesies from the collection.

When one of my favourite baby clothing brands, Sapling proposed a collaboration I was beyond thrilled. I’ve always been a fan of their clothes for Sophia and Grace as not only do they come in gorgeous prints and patterns, they’re made from organic cotton and also durable which is a definite must. Being able to design my own Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection was such an exciting prospect albeit a little daunting as the options were limitless! It was when thinking about this limitless possibility that I finally landed on a theme: Twinkle Twinkle. The stars in the night sky have always inspired me due to their vastness and the endless hope that it represents for the future and the idea that anything is possible. This is a sentiment that perfectly encapsulates my wishes for my girls as they grow older so it only seemed fitting to build my collection around this theme.

It has been a lengthy process but I believe we’ve created some really beautiful pieces for little ones. The colours right through to the prints are all in keeping with my fashion philosophy of creating wearable pieces that can be mixed and matched and are extremely versatile. From galaxy inspired onesies and blankets to sweet star print leggings and tees I hope there’s something in the range to suit every child. It has been such a fun experience for me to see this collection through from conception to design to finished product and I can hardly believe that it’s out today. I can’t wait for you all to see the collection and I hope that your little ones keep reaching for their own little star. May their futures twinkle with endless possibility.

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection hooded onesies

I wanted the colour palette to be something bright yet versatile

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection

One of the sets from the collection

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection

I love that this set can be mixed and matched

Kate Waterhouse Sapling collection raglan tee shorts blanket

This shorts and raglan tee set is perfect for active little boys (it comes in pink too)

The Kate Waterhouse x Sapling collection launches July 14 in Australia and July 30 in the USA/Canada.
You can shop the entire collection at saplingchild.com