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Lifestyle

What’s in my baby bag?

31st January, 2017

As every mum will attest a baby bag is a lifeline when out and about. Now that I’m going through the baby phase a second time with Grace I’ve managed to keep her baby bag to the key necessities and resist the temptation of taking everything in the house with me so I’m not lugging around something that weighs a ton. Here’s what I’ve got it down to…

Spare nappies

Nappies are of course a no-brainer inclusion in a baby bag but the number depends on where we’re going and if we’re likely to be out the entire day. I bring a couple with me in case I need to change Grace a few times while we’re out.

A disposable change mat

You can never be too sure of the state a baby change room is going to be in so I always make sure to bring a disposable change mat with me. They’re a great option as I can just flush them down the toilet as soon as I’m done which makes them a little more hygienic.

Nappy bags

Carrying around a soiled nappy is not entirely pleasant so I bring nappy bags to keep the odours at bay.

Spare clothing

I bring 1-2 spare outfits for both the girls in case disaster strikes and I need to change their clothing entirely. Also if the weather seems a little unpredictable I bring a jumper so I can have it on hand for Grace.

Blanket

If it seems a little cool outside I always make sure to bring a blanket with me just in case.

Wraps

Lightweight wraps are so versatile as I can use them for everything from a makeshift summer blanket or to shield Grace’s pram from the sun.

Sunscreen

I always make sure to pop sunscreen on the girls whenever we’re out and about so I have a bottle in my bag at all times.

Water

I’m always going on pram walks with the girls or taking them to the park so having bottle of water in the baby bag is always handy.

What do you carry with you in your baby bag?

Photography: Sophia Athas

 

Fashion

Behind the scenes on my Grace magazine cover shoot

22nd December, 2016

I am so thrilled and honoured to share the news that I’m covering the new issue of Grace magazine with my family.

I’ve known Georgie Abay, the editor of the parenting website The Grace Tales since her days at Vogue and have been a long time fan of her site which is all about motherhood, stylish mothers and all things children and is a great website for mums. Recently Georgie launched an online magazine called Grace which I absolutely loved reading so I felt very honoured when she asked my sister-in-law Hoda and I to appear on the cover of the second issue with our children.

It was a Christmas themed shoot that took place in a studio in Sydney’s Waterloo. I always love seeing the outfits the stylist has pulled for a shoot and this time around we got to wear some fabulous outfits, in really bright colours and a handful of metallics to reflect the fact it was an issue celebrating the festive season. It was a nice way to mark the start of this great time of year.

Sophia was particularly excited about the shoot as she was able to “go to work with mummy”. Photo shoots are long days so by the end of it I think her excitement had waned slightly and going to work with mummy was no longer quite so fun but she loved spending time with her cousins, Rose and William. As with most little girls I think her favourite part of the day was playing dress ups. As soon as she walked in she was trying on shoes and trying on different dresses and she just wanted to be in everything Rose was wearing so a lot of the shots they’re wearing the same thing. It was an honour to be asked to be in the shoot with Hoda and the kids and we had such an unbelievably fun day shooting it. I hope you like the end result!

To check out the story head to The Grace Tales.

With my sister-in-law, Hoda

Hoda and my niece Rose and nephew William on set

Sophia inspecting the accessories for the shoot

Selfie time with Hoda and Rose

If there’s one thing you need on a shoot it’s coffee!

Hoda getting her hair styled

 

 

Lifestyle

The 3 things I’m doing with my kids this Christmas

8th December, 2016

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Now that I have the girls and my brother has two kids, Christmas for us is all about the kids. I think it’s really nice having young children running around on Christmas Day as it really helps to bring the spirit of the season to life. Whilst Grace is still a baby and is a bit too young to understand what’s going on, Sophia is old enough to know what Christmas is about so she’s getting more and more excited about it. Christmas was always such a great time of year with my family when I was growing up so I’m trying to ensure that it’s the same for my own. Here’s how I’m tackling the festive season with my children…

Start traditions 

I believe this is one of the things that kids remember the most about Christmas, it’s the little things that they always do with their family. For us it’s getting our Santa photo taken. We always go with my brother and his kids and we visit Santa and get a pic taken every year. It’s a nice memento to look back on as we’ve watched our family slowly grow.

This year’s Santa photo as a family of four

Quality not quantity 

This is the first year that Sophia is understanding the concept of Santa and that he brings presents if you’re a good girl. It’s really exciting seeing her getting so excited about it. I don’t like to go too crazy around Christmas time as I don’t want to spoil my kids with a million gifts but this year, Sophia has told me many times that she wants Santa to bring her an Elsa doll so I’ll definitely be trying to get my hands on one. I think it’s all about looking for one gift that she’ll really love as opposed to several things that she may lose interest in.

Get them involved 

I’ve ordered a tree and we’ve already put the lights up at home and we have stockings with the girls’ names on it so we do like to create quite a festive atmosphere at home. As the years go on I think we’ll get the girls involved with this process. For now, we we’ll try to include Sophia in the Christmas preparations such as making gingerbread houses or wrapping some of the presents. I think getting involved in the lead up to the festivities is half the fun!

How are you getting your kids involved during the Christmas season?

Lifestyle

What I took in my hospital bag when I gave birth

9th August, 2016
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With Sophia when she was just a little bub

Packing a bag to take to the hospital when I was giving birth to Sophia was a little daunting as there were so many things I knew I would have to deal with while I was there – post-birth recovery, breastfeeding, and looking after a new bub were all things I knew I needed to be prepared for. Being a first-time mum it helped to have a list of recommendations for things to take to the hospital so I’ve noted down some of the necessities I packed below. I hope it comes in handy!

What I packed for me:
6 x large full brief underpants in black

If ever there is a time to wear the comfiest underwear possible it’s after having a baby. I opt for black and go up a size or two bigger than my regular size to accommodate wearing maturity pads which are quite thick.

2 x packets of maternity pads

You’ll need to wear a pad after giving birth and change it every couple of hours so make sure you come prepared with a supply for your entire stay.

Maternity singlets in black and white

These are great for breastfeeding. Bonds make some great singlets which are really comfortable.

Long loose tops

You don’t want anything to restrictive as you’ll be breastfeeding so loose tops are ideal.

Loose cardigan/jumper

Pack something to keep you warm as hospital rooms can get chilly. Plus as above, you want to wear something loose when you’re breastfeeding.

Loose black pants

Comfy and practical, a pair of loose black pants will take you through your entire stay. Plus you’ll be walking around the ward so you may not want to be in your pyjamas the whole team.

Toiletries

Pack all your necessities as it’s nice to have familiar things like your regular soap and shampoo and conditioner when you’re away from home.

Socks

As I said hospital rooms can get chilly so it’s a good idea to pack a pair of warm socks.

Slippers/Comfortable shoes

Pack comfy shoes only – this is not the time to get all glammed up. A pair of slippers or just something you feel comfortable in such as flats is great for when you’re walking around the hospital.

Snacks

Hospital food isn’t always the tastiest so be sure to pack yourself some snacks to graze on throughout your stay.

Breast pads

I use the brand Pigeon and have found them to work a treat.

Panadol

You never know when you may need a packet so be sure to pop some in your bag just in case.

Metamucil

It’s less than glam but your digestive system can be in all sorts after giving birth so be sure to pack some Metamucil to help things along.

Gel breast discs

Expect your nipples to be sore (breastfeeding will do that…) so these are great for soothing and healing.

Lip balm

I found my lips tended to get dry so I made sure to have this on hand to moisturise.

Hot/cold pack for the pain

Yes, you will be in pain. Pack one of these just in case.

Tech gear

You’ll need your phone, a phone charger and camera but these can get lost in the mad rush to get to the hospital so make sure you pack what you can in advance.

Recovery shorts

These help with support and separation in the weeks after birth. I used the SRC ones for the first 6 weeks and found them to be really helpful.

Hair brush/Beauty bag

You may not use the makeup you’ve packed but let’s face it you’ll end up having a lot of photos taken so better to be prepared just in case.

A present

This is great for those having their second baby. I’m bringing a present for Sophia “from the baby” for when she first visits to help her feel included in the whole process.

 

What I’m packing for the baby

6 x size 0000 singlets

Pack both short and long sleeved versions.

6 x size 0000 jumpsuits

I love Bonds jumpsuits but buy any brand you prefer. I do make sure to get the type that cover the baby’s feet

Note: in case you have a big baby it’s good to buy jumpsuits and singlets in a size 000 just in case.

2 x lightweight swaddling wraps

There are some really cute options out there with great prints and colours so find one to suit your style.

1 x woollen or cashmere blanket

I like to pack a cosy blanket to wrap the bub in in case it gets chilly in the hospital.

 

Do you have other recommendations you can share? What did you take with you?

Lifestyle

My tips for travelling with kids

15th December, 2015

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We’ve always travelled with Sophia a lot but most of our trips were interstate trips. However earlier this year we had to fly to Sweden to attend a relative’s wedding which meant we had to face the daunting prospect of doing a long haul flight with a very active 14 month old! I’m a big routine person but when you’re on a plane generally all rules fly out the window and the aim is just to make the flight as comfortable as possible for you and your child. We’re heading off on a family trip overseas this week and these are some of the tips I’ve picked up along the way that I’ll definitely be using.

Bring entertainment

It goes without saying that you need to come armed with toys and activities to keep your child amused. However schedule the toys so they’re given one new toy at a time and introduce a new toy only once you see boredom start to set in. Toys that can keep them amused such as colouring books and puzzles are great and if you have one at your disposal bring an iPad. I usually load one up with Sophia’s favourites, such as episodes of Peppa Pig and Peek-a-boo farm apps. I also try and bring one of Sophia’s toys (or you could also bring a blanket) to give her something familiar from home during the flight.

Load up on snacks

Airline food can be a bit hit and miss so I bring plenty of snacks for Sophia which keeps her fuelled up.

Time your long haul flights

If you can, try and schedule yourself to fly on an overnight flight to help to fall in line with your child’s sleeping times.

Come with a well stocked baby bag

Arriving to a new, unfamiliar destination and frantically running around trying to find a place to buy nappies does not make for a great start to a trip. This is why it’s important to come armed with all the essentials you’ll need for at least two days to give yourself enough time to acclimatise to your destination without having to factor in replenishing your supplies. I always bring:

  • Nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • A change mat
  • Bottles for milk and a spill-proof sippy cup
  • Snacks
  • A first aid kit with kids’ Panadol, thermometer, band-aids, nappy rash cream, teething gel
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Spare clothes

Accept help

Spending hours on a plane trying to keep a baby or toddler entertained and under control can be exhausting so if someone offers to help, take up their offer. This can be everything from entertaining your child while you quickly eat your meal or even just letting you in front of them in the queue to board the plane.

Board early

Speaking of boarding, be sure to try and board early. This will enable you to have plenty of time to store all your belonging and get your child settled.

Book a bassinet

Sophia is now too big for the bassinet so she sits on our lap but if your baby is young enough definitely get the bassinet if you can, ring the airline well in advance because usually you have to reserve it. If you can, also ask at check in if you can be seated somewhere with a vacant seat next to you as this gives you a bit more room.

Bring plenty of milk

I find Sophia drinks so much more milk on planes so I always pack more than needed as I don’t want to be stuck without. I also give her a bottle during take off and landing to help relieve the pressure in her ears.

Organise a small go-to bag of essentials

It can become quite cumbersome having to lug a baby bag around every time you need change a nappy so pack a zip lock bag with some nappies, wipes and a change mat to help make it easier. Those small toilets are hard enough to navigate without bringing a big baby bag into the mix!

Always bring extra clothes

It goes without saying you’ll need some spare clothes for your child but don’t forget about you too. Accidents happen and you don’t want to spend the rest of your flight in a t-shirt covered in milk because you have nothing else to change into.

Invest in travel specific accessories

We bought a Baby Zen YoYo pram for our last trip and it was great as we were able to take it onto the plane. It’s compact enough to tuck away into the overhead compartment so we didn’t have to go through the hassle of checking it in. Plus it’s great for when you’re in transit. Also if the hotel we’re staying at doesn’t have a cot I bring a Baby Bjorn travel cot. It can be set up and dismantled quite easily so it’s handy to have around plus it’s something Sophia is already familiar with.

What are some of your tips for travelling with kids?

Lifestyle

The baby things I can’t live without

27th August, 2015

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Most mums will know that you tend to accumulate a lot of stuff having a little one running around. There are things I thought I’d use but never do and then there are those things that are constantly in high rotation and make life just that little bit smoother. Here’s my list of must-have, can’t-live-without baby things. 
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Baby Bjorn travel cot

I have sometimes ended up at hotels and there hasn’t been a cot so I like to take a travel cot with me when I travel. It folds up into a nice little suitcase and it’s just really easy to travel with and really easy to put up and dismantle.

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Baby Bjorn carrier

I loved my Baby Bjorn carrier. It was always great for travelling and it meant my hands were free. Luke was a fan as well. (If you’d prefer to wear a sling, the designer Kirrily Johnston recently launched her own sling line and it’s called Wandersling. I actually just bought one for my friend who is having  a baby. It’s the nicest sling I’ve found and it’s got a little zipper so you can carry a nappy or wipes with you.)

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Bugaboo Cameleon

I do a lot of pram walks so my pram gets a lot of use. It’s a really great pram. It is a bit bigger so a lot of people don’t go for it, but I think it’s fantastic. It’s super comfortable and Sophia loves it. It’s also great for any terrain, it can even go in sand.

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Babyzen Yoyo

I recently bought a Babyzen Yoyo to take on our overseas trip. The reason I bought it is because it’s the only pram you can take right up to the aircraft and put up in the overhead compartment as it folds up quite small. I just like to make everything super easy when I travel. You don’t need two prams but the benefit of this is it’s great for travelling.

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Uniden baby monitor

I couldn’t live without my Uniden baby monitor. As it’s a video monitor it’s great because when Sophia sleeps I can see her wherever I am. It’s got great night vision as well so I’m never worried at night. It’s also handy when we go away to our family farm as I often can’t hear Sophia crying so it’s great to be able to hear and see her wherever we are in the house. I tell all my friends who are having a baby to get it.

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B.box sippy cups

I’m so often just throwing my stuff in a nice handbag so I don’t want any leakage! A friend recommended these to me and I’ve found them to be really great. They have a little weight at the end of the straw so it rarely leaks. Sophia loves it. Compared to every other sippy cup I’ve used they’re great.

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Little Baby Bum nursery rhymes

I’ve downloaded these onto my computer and my iPhone and Sophia loves them. When we’re travelling in the car and she wants a bit of music I just play these songs. I have so much music on my iPhone for her but these songs are the ones that she’ll dance along to.

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Tommee Tippee plastic bibs

These were a lifesaver during weaning. If you’re like me and don’t like doing too much washing and going through a million bibs a day these are a great alternative as you can just wipe them down.

What are some of your baby must-haves?

Lifestyle

The apps I use as a mum

4th August, 2015

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Parenting is often all about juggling multiple things at the same time so I’ve found that being able to access information via an app on my phone has been amazing in helping me to keep track of everything. I think there’s an app for just about every parenting concern or query out there! And while each parent will have their own set of apps that they can’t live without, I found the below apps extremely useful. Some of these apps are ones I still have now, while some I used when Sophia was still a baby, but I found them to be quite handy in helping me navigate being a first-time mum.

The Wonder Weeks

This is a calendar that tracks your baby’s growth and development. I get a little alert on my phone each time Sophia goes through a little growth milestone. It’s been really handy for helping me keep track of Sophia’s behavioural developments.

Feed Safe

I used this app when I was breastfeeding. The app was developed by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Reach Health Promotion Innovations and Curtin University and is based on the latest research and the alcohol guidelines set by National Health and Medical Research Council. If I wanted a glass of wine, I’d put the timer on and it would tell me when it was safe for me to feed again.

Save our Sleep

This app is based on the book series written by baby whisperer Tizzie Hall. It was great for when I was still getting the hang of putting Sophia on a routine and acted as a great reference as it tells you which routine your baby should be on depending on their age and weight.

Save the Date to Vaccinate

This is an app from NSW Health and I use this to keep track of Sophia’s immunisation schedule. I find it really handy as it’s helps me stay on top of when I need to book Sophia in to be vaccinated.

 

 

 

Fashion, Lifestyle

Reflections on my first Mother’s Day and my first year as a mum

5th May, 2015

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I remember being heavily pregnant last Mother’s Day and I can’t believe how much time has flown and I’m about to celebrate my first one with my family. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year and Sophia is approaching one. It’s a very special moment and I’m looking forward to spending a relaxed day with Luke and Sophia.

I think being a mum is the best job in the world. Sophia comes first in every aspect of my life. I always knew that it would be an unconditional love like no other but I don’t think you can ever fully understand it until you become a mother – the love I have for Sophia is like no other and she brings so much joy to my life and my husband’s life.

I just love the little things – I could spend hours upon hours just watching her and spending time with her. Plus it’s the small private moments like watching her first crawl or watching her try to take her first step, or when she falls asleep in my arms… it’s those moments that just mean so much to me.

All I hope is that I’m guiding Sophia in the right direction and being the best mum I can be. It doesn’t matter what she wants to do in her life or who she wants to be, ultimately I just want her to be happy and to smile and be the best she can be.

In honour of Mother’s Day, Sportscraft asked Sophia and I to take part in a special Mother’s Day feature and asked me to reflect on life as a mum. Check out the pics and some of my thoughts below. You can read the full Q&A on the Sportscraft blog.

My style as a mum…

My style is relaxed yet polished. My style has definitely changed since becoming a mother. I now opt for more comfortable clothing for everyday wear and I spend a lot more time in flats as I’m always racing around. Also there is never much time for getting ready so I don’t get to experiment with beauty & hair trends as much these days so simple makeup and uncomplicated hair is my go-to.

The mum/work juggling act…

It’s always a bit of a juggle but I feel lucky that my job isn’t 9-5 so I can fit work around Sophia’s schedule. Also I feel blessed that my husband is a huge support, I don’t know what I would do without him.

The best bit of advice my mum gave to me that I will pass on to Sophia…

To show strength as a woman, have an opinion and stand up for what you believe in.

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Wearing: Hilda Tunic Dress

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Wearing: Agatha Melton Coat and Nell Textured Knit

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Wearing: Jacqui Cable knit and the Cleo Ankle Jeans

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Wearing: Drape Tencel Trench and Nell Textured Knit

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Photography: Julie Adams

Hair & makeup: Filomena Natoli

Lifestyle

Is your child a fussy eater? Try these tips from author Annabel Karmel

10th April, 2015

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Is your child notoriously picky when it comes to food? Then consider Annabel Karmel your saving grace. As the UK’s number one children’s cookery author, Karmel knows a thing or two about how to get little ones eating well minus the mealtime dramas. Currently in Australia to launch her food range of organic baby purees and chilled toddler meals (you’ll find them in Coles), Karmel let me in on some of her trusty secrets for dealing with fussy eaters…

Don’t fuss over them 

Don’t make a big deal about your child not wanting to eat something. “You have to try and ignore the bad eating habits and just take their plate away,” says Karmel. “They won’t be so fussy if you don’t give them that attention they’re craving. If they’re hungry and you just take their plate away, they’ll just think for next time ‘Oh mummy will just take it away, I better eat’.”

It’s okay if they miss a meal

As we all know hunger is  great motivator and sometimes you have to be firm with your child if you want them to break their fussy eating habits. “It isn’t such a bad thing if your child misses a meal if they’re very very stubborn about trying something new because the hungry child will try something new and they’ll break that pattern. If they don’t break that pattern then they don’t get the nutrients they need,” says Karmel.

Variety is key

It can be tempting to keep giving your child the same tried and tested foods over and over again because you know it’s something they’ll eat. However Karmel says this just ends up making them more fussy. It’s important to introduce a variety of different foods to your child’s diet to get them used to trying new things. Case in point: Karmel’s frozen food range has 33 different food options such is her belief in this philosophy.

Don’t underestimate your child’s palate!

Given the chance you’d be surprised what food your child will actually like. “People make the mistake where they have this stereotype of children’s food that they only like chicken nuggets and pizza but actually they don’t,” says Karmel. “They like stir fries, they like butter chicken and if you try these things and eat as a family together you’d be surprised at what your child will like. And sometimes they don’t like bland things and if you make them tasty and you add spices and herbs they like that kind of food.”

Presentation is important

Food presentation is important to kids too. If their plate looks nice, you have a better chance of your child wanting to eat what’s on it. Karmel suggestions include having small portions on a plate rather than overloading it and instead of just putting a whole piece of fruit in a bowl, create a fruit skewer by cutting fruit into pieces and threading it onto a straw.

Don’t force them to eat

“I wouldn’t keep a child at the table for more than 15 minutes because after that it’s really counterproductive. They don’t want to sit there because they want to do other things,” says Karmel. So Karmel suggests after 15 minutes to let your child go then bring them back to the table.

Don’t give them unhealthy foods early on

Your child will eat what you give them so if you don’t give them unhealthy foods then they won’t have a chance to develop a taste for them. “You are the custodian of your child. Your child is not born with tastebuds that like salt and sugar,” says Karmel. “If you allow your child to have children’s food which unfortunately ends up being low quality food like the sugariest breakfast cereals and the saltiest chicken nuggets and pizza they will like those foods. It’s important to try not to give them those foods in the early years. If you don’t give them the sugary cereal they won’t crave it.”

Introduce a reward system

If you’re really facing an uphill battle with your child’s eating habits, consider rewarding them when they try something new. “You can have a good food reward chart where if they get 6 points they can watch their favourite TV show or get a trip to the zoo or something. Bribery works quite well as long as it’s for the right things! It’s a good way initially to get them to try something new,” says Karmel.