Make It Look Easy - Nat and Tatum

March 30, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
3 Comments

Finding my style – The Tuck

Are you one of those mamas that I’ve seen at kindergym, or the library, or the supermarket, who look effortlessly made up and put together? You know, one of those mamas that I’ve stared at in wonder as I try to spit-and-scrub the mashed banana stain from my jeans and tug on my second-day-wear t-shirt? How I envy you.

My everyday style usually revolves around:

  1. high waisted “hide the muffin top” jeans, cut off jean shorts or long “hide the leg hair” maxi dresses
  2. a baggy singlet/t-shirt/top
  3. a black or plain coloured waterfall cardi
  4. flats or thongs

Ditching the frumpy mama - doing the front tuck

Comfy. Easy. Presentable. YES.

Stylish? Flattering? Confidence boosting? NO.

Luckily for me there are people to help with this sort of rut. People who know clothes and body shapes and style and how to have FUN with fashion. People who can help you stop trying to hide your body and start celebrating it…. People like Nat and Tatum from Make It Look Easy. Come on, I’ll introduce you, they’re super awesome ladies, you’ll love them :)

Make It Look Easy - Nat and Tatum

Nat (on the right) is a Personal Stylist and will help you whip your wardrobe into shape in no time. Tatum (on the left)  is a Personal Health Coach and will make getting nutritious dinners onto the table a breeze while getting your fitness routine in order. Who doesn’t need these two ladies in their lives, really?

Nat and Tatum popped over to my house for a visit recently, as a part of their MILE High First Class Personal Package. Full disclosure: this session was a gift to me from Nat and Tatum – as always my opinions are honest and my own. And you know what? I can’t recommend it enough! The session involved four and a half hours dedicated to my style and health and I came away from it feeling excited, motivated and ready to ditch this frumpy mummy for good.

I’d love to share everything that I learned with you all but for now I’m just going to share one thing that I have embraced in my everyday style. The Tuck.

 The TuckI’d never usually tuck in any top of mine. Surely the point of the top is to try to cover up? But I love how tucking this big, voluminous top gives me more shape.

Now, I’ll be honest, these jeans are not the best for tucking, and with Nat and Tatum’s help I’ll be finding the perfect pair of jeans soon. These jeans are a little high and can give the illusion of a very large… um…. front lady bum? You get what I mean? It’s not a look that you want to achieve any time soon. But they’re what I have to work with for now.

I also learned that switching the dark flat for a light coloured shoe also helps the onlookers eye travel the full length of my body, making me appear leaner. Nifty, hey?

What do you think? Would you try the The Tuck? 

Simple science with kids - things that roll

March 27, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
0 comments

Simple science with kids: things that roll

Simple science with kids - things that roll

Rocky loves anything that rolls – wheeled toys are his favourites from prams to trucks, balls and walkers. He will often find a wheeled toy and flip it on it’s back just for the pure pleasure of being able to spin those wheels. One day I thought we’d have some fun with all things roly poly asked Pebble the question:

What can we find in the house that rolls? 

Simple science with kids - things that roll

We found lots of things! Balls, trucks, cars, ride ons, cylinder blocks and rattles. Pebble pulled them all in to a pile and I asked the question:

How can we make these things move? 

Pebble, with Rocky joining in, pushed and pulled the toys and showed how they moved, brrrrming and beeping and  rolling. They rolled the ball to each other, Rocky is getting quite good at that. They played cars on the car mat.

Then Pebble had an idea! She made a little ramp with one of the couch cushions and sat with Rocky on the couch. Together they took turns (kind of) pushing toys down the hill and chasing them, then doing it all again. There was lots of giggling and only a little bit of fighting. Winning!

Simple science with kids - things that roll Simple science with kids - things that roll

What next? We might try these simple science ideas:

More simple science  with kids:

Rainbow Coloured RosesMake your own wizard's brew

Parenting Moments - Five low cost ways to spoil yourself

March 24, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
4 Comments

Parenting Moments: Five low cost ways to spoil yourself

Sponsored by Schick

Parenting Moments - Five low cost ways to spoil yourself

It’s been nine weeks since I returned to work and I have been doing the working mama thing again. As most of you know I’m a teacher, and I work with a class of five years olds two days a week. Of course that two days a week is often more than just the two days at school, when you include planning and all that goes with being a teacher. I carry those twenty five kids in my head and my heart all the time, always thinking of new ideas for their learning.

Then I have my own two cherubs (aged four and one) and our days are swept up with playing and cuddles and the mundane things that make up our existence, dinner, laundry, dishes, housework. Somewhere in there I fit in time with my husband too (poor bugga!) and family and friends and kindy meetings and grocery shopping and buying birthday presents and….. phew!

I know I’m preaching to the converted. If you’re reading this then chances are that you’re a Mama  too and have your own fair share of stuff that’s got you rushed off your feet. The truth of it is that we’re all busy and we’re rarely taking time for ourselves. I’ve been trying to take care of myself a little bit more lately. It can be really, really hard to squeeze in the time, and if I do it can be really, really hard to do it without feeling guilty. But that has to stop. A happy mama makes a happy family so it’s time to take a break. Here are five easy and cheap ways that I like to give myself a treat. You might like them too.

Five low cost ways to spoil yourself

Fresh flowers

Whether they’re from your own garden or yesterday’s flowers going cheap at the market, you can get yourself a gorgeous bunch of flowers to brighten your home and your day for very little money. Look for flowers that are in season and in abundance, they’ll always be cheaper. We have some roses and some of these lovely blue pretties in our garden. I’m not good with flower names, does anyone know what they’re called? I’ll also gather some lavender from our little bushes too, they make a nice posie in a pretty glass next to my bed or on the window sill.

Clear your mind

Wave bye bye to the kiddos and your hubby and step outside for some fresh air and a clear mind. Go for a walk around your neighbourhood or find somewhere nearby that fills your heart with happiness. Maybe you live near the beach or a national park? It’s amazing the noise that clutters up our minds every day, we really need to step away from it and let it all fall away to give our minds some space and clarity. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and much more ready to tackle the busy day ahead.

Parenting Moments - Five low cost ways to spoil yourself

Soak in some bubbles

Want to know a secret? Until recently I hadn’t had a bubble bath for five years. Yep, FIVE YEARS! With one thing and another I just hadn’t made time for it, which is very sad because I always loved a long, hot bath. I’ve recently reclaimed bath time as my indulgence and not just a time that I play with the kids and get soaked by their splashes. I use bath time for a bit of pampering and relaxing, getting a few of those little beauty jobs done and then soaking up the serenity with some scented candles. Since having children I’ve found it almost impossible to make time for a salon appointment and it can be a loooooooong, long, long (did I say long?) time between waxes. Instead I have been including shaving in  my routine (ha! routine!) to keep myself hair free. Schick sent me their new Intuition pure nourishment razor to try. I love that it doesn’t need any soap or shaving gel, you just add water. The coconut milk and almond oil lathers and moisturisers while you’re getting silky smooth. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Parenting Moments - Five low cost ways to spoil yourself

Pretty toes

Now that your legs are silky smooth you need to get those toes looking pretty. I don’t know about you but I feel strange when my toe nails aren’t painted. The trouble is that I don’t have as much time to keep on top of that these days and often the paint is chipped or faded. I have been paying more attention to my tootsies lately and have found that I can give myself a super quick pedicure in about ten minutes. I do it while catching up on my recorded TV shows at night. All you need is:

  • A quick wipe of any old toe nail polish. Nail polish remover wipes are awesome for this.
  • A speedy buff all over your feet with a pumice stone or foot file to remove those scratchy bits.
  • A slick of new nail colour. I love any nail polish that sets in under one minute. Any longer than that and it’s quite likely that a kid will step on them and smudge it :P
  • A generous slather of moisturiser to keep more scratchies at bay.

There you have it, pretty toes that will have you feeling gorgeous, even if you’re the only one that gets to see them.

Parenting Moments - Five low cost ways to spoil yourself

Lose yourself in story

I adore reading and have really missed it since having kids and not making as much time for it. I’m just starting to read a little bit more. To get hold of some books head to your local library or invite your friends for a book swap. Don’t look for anything too heavy, you just want to escape. Now snuggle up under a nice warm blanket or find yourself a spot in the sunshine and lose yourself in the story. I love reading just before bed, it helps to switch the chaos off in my mind. If you like something just a little bit racy one of my closest friends is an author and has published several romance ebooks that you might enjoy.

Are you making time for yourself? What’s your favourite indulgence?

Baby Obstacle Course - tips for setting up an obstacle course for your baby or toddler

March 21, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
3 Comments

Baby Obstacle Course

Baby Obstacle Course - tips for setting up an obstacle course for your baby or toddlerRemember that pic of Rocky falling from the tower of cushions? What WAS he up to anyway? Well, this is what he was up to – a baby obstacle course! We were kicking around at home on a day when Pebble was at kindy and I thought it would be fun to set one up just for him. It was kinda hilarious to see him giving it a go, he had a lot of giggles and a few tumbles. It made our afternoon fly by much faster. Here’s how I made the obstacle course. You might like to make one at home for your kids too.

Zero to Two - the book of play

Baby Obstacle Course

You will need 

Objects that suit your babies ability, eg. rolling, climbing, reaching, grabbing, crawling.

We used:

  • a small pop up tent
  • sofa cushions
  • a tunnel
  • dining chairs
  • muslin wraps
  • sticky paper
  • shiny paper

Other ideas:

  • small or large balls
  • soft and fluffy rugs
  • large boxes to crawl through
  • baskets or tubs for climbing into and out of
  • a box of rattles or shakers
  • baby safe mirrors
  • bubble wrap

How to create an obstacle course

Set up the objects around your home or in your garden and encourage your baby to explore them. There’s really no right or wrong way!

Baby Obstacle Course - tips for setting up an obstacle course for your baby or toddlerBaby Obstacle Course - tips for setting up an obstacle course for your baby or toddlerBaby Obstacle Course - tips for setting up an obstacle course for your baby or toddlerBaby Obstacle Course - tips for setting up an obstacle course for your baby or toddler
The sticky paper was an interesting experience for Rocky. I stuck it with the sticky side up, so that as Rocky crawled across it his hands touched the sticky surface. He has played with it before but not for a month or two and not like this. He reached out to crawl as usual, then pulled back quickly and scrunched up his face as he felt the sticky paper on his hands. He sat and stared at the sticky floor for a few seconds, then reached out and quickly pulled back again. He repeated this exploration again and again, until he was comfortable enough to cross the sticky paper.

Baby Obstacle Course - tips for setting up an obstacle course for your baby or toddlerDo your children seek new sensory experiences? Or do the struggle with new sensations?

 

Teaching children to be risk takers {via Octavia and Vicky}

March 16, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
3 Comments

Do you encourage your children to take risks?

Encouraging children to be risktakers and learn about determination, success, failure and resilience through play {via Octavia and Vicky}

Oh my GOODNESS our boy is a dare devil! Unlike our quiet, focussed, careful and tidy first born (who happens to be a girl) Rocky is like a little tornado. He bulldozes through obstacles in his path as he walks across a room – sometimes he trips, sometimes he falls flat on his face – but he gets right back up again and keeps on going. He likes his swings to be pushed high and fast, he likes to be tipped upside down and whizzed around. He smashes toys together and yells in delight. Rocky is an adventurer. He’s curious, determined and a risk taker.

I’m a big believer in encouraging children to be risk takers, both physically and emotionally. This has been tricky with Pebble. She’s four now, and much more likely to have a go, try something new and get out of her comfort zone. But she often needs just a little bit of hand holding, a little nudge to help her along. Don’t we all, sometimes?

Teaching children to be risk takers {via Octavia and Vicky} 2

Risk taking is an important part of childhood – it’s the ability to let go of dad’s hand and take those first independent steps, it’s walking up to a new kid in a playground and saying ‘hi’, it’ s trying that weird dinner that mum and dad have served up tonight and it’s creating artwork without fear of doing it ‘wrong’.

I must be honest. Hubby and I are not natural risk takers. We both like to stay in the safe zone throughout life, stable jobs, stable home, stable family. It’s taken us a while to settle into our role as parents and be more comfortable with encouraging our kids to have a go when they’re out of their comfort zone, with choosing the right time to let them fall and pick themselves up.

Do you encourage your children to be risk takers? 

Zero to Two - The Book of PlayZero to Two - The Book of Play

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