Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Style It Project - Frocktober Mix White Dress

I'm a big fan of dresses - particularly in the warmer weather. What isn't to love? They are easy to slip on, cool to wear, they often cost less then buying an outfit with multiple layers (although of course layering dresses is fun too!) and most importantly, I find that dresses are flattering. Another little bonus is that dresses are uniquely feminine and I find that my husband and sons, even at this young age just love it when I wear a dress. I will often get comments like, "You look pretty Mummy" or "You look like a ballerina" and if they will point out something in the cupboard for me to wear, (yes my boys are interested at times in styling!), it will always be a dress.

It makes sense that in Frocktober the Style It Project with Kimba Likes and Redcliffe Style would feature a dress. I bought the dress on sale for $29 from my local Coles Mix section. (Yay for sales!) The dress isn't a perfect fit for me, it's snug on the waist and it's better suited for bigger busts, although the ties at the front can help pull it in and are helpful for those of us sporting a flat pack. I decided to keep it because for that price, I can afford to be forgiving and it's still looks nice, it's easy to launder and will be a great frock to wear casually throughout the summer.
The white easily leaves it open to being styled with colour, but except for a bit of colour in my sun hat, I kept it simple wearing this dress to the beach at Bargara recently teaming it with my Rare Rabbit chunky white geo beads. (My little splurge prior to going to ProBlogger, but I am finding so many occasions to wear them. You will keep seeing them on me this season, and probably beyond!)

 And best of all, for trips to the beach with the family - you can climb trees with your sons wearing this dress (the little bit of length helps there!)

Are you a fan of dresses? Why/Why Not?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Triplet's 3rd Birthday - 3rd Birthday Toys

Three year old triplets! It has happened! Yesterday was the triplet's 3rd birthday so now there are three three year olds in our home. Can you believe it? It doesn't seem like that long ago I was in labour and then giving birth to triplets by caesarian.

The triplet's have been excited about the upcoming birthday. Imogen especially has been right onto it. The boys took a little bit longer to work out what a birthday was. While they were figuring that out, Immy was literally figuring out what she would wear on the special day. During a road trip last Friday night, I heard her musing aloud in the back, "On my birthday I'm going to wear a pretty pink dress." She actually received a fairy dress from Target and was very excited to put it on yesterday. (Until she had a little accident in it.)

I was exhausted by the end of the evening last night. New toys are so exciting, but when there are three different sets of toys and three three year olds, fights are inevitable. Learning how to share and how to be gracious is such an important life skill, but oh my, it's a wearying lesson to teach! Most of my morning talking through fights and meltdowns and building toys that kept falling down and apart,  (I'm sure The Accountant would not agree,  but I was wishing I had spent triple the price and bought some toys that were more sturdy. Honestly, quality can be such an issue these days!)

For their birthday they didn't receive anything particularly extravagant. They each received two presents. I had bought a very large bucket of mobilo and split it into two boxes for Toby and Jayden. The older two boys have spent hours playing with mobilo at Kindy, so I thought the next two would probably love it too. The big boys were very excited that it was in the house and built all types of contraptions which the little boys played with happily. The little boys haven't quite worked out how to clip it all together, and it is a bit hard for their little fingers, but I'm sure they will get the technique down very soon.
Triplet 3rd birthday present - mobilo
Playing with the mobilo.

Toby, who is mad about drumming, got a Wiggles drum kit. Hopefully he will stop emptying the Ikea buckets of toys and turning them all upside down and banging away with kitchen utensils now! It was a big hit yesterday and there were lots of fights over it. But every spare moment he could, Toby was clicking the sticks together in his intro and then banging away. I have to admit I had a headache at the end of the day, although I don't think I can solely blame the drums.
3rd Birthday Drum Kit for Triplet
Drum away Toby!

Jayden got  a marble run. These are great for creativity, problem solving, science and, as it turns out, learning about gentleness and patience, because the silly thing was very easy to knock over and fall to pieces.
Triplet's Marble Run Third Birthday
Opps, over and out.

Once again, they were unable to construct it at this point, but I have no doubt that throughout their third year they will be able to piece it together to make runs. In the meantime, they loved being mesmerised by the marbles rolling down the various tracks.
Triplets third birthday marble run
Ready to go!

In addition to her dress, Imogen received two Lottie dolls. I had first seen these on Instagram and I loved Kelly's review of the dolls on Be A Fun Mum. I really loved that they were dolls that would fit inside Imogen's dolls house, yet the dolls looked like girls rather than adults, they had flat feet to walk in and no boobs! Plus their clothing and accessories were modest and super cute! I couldn't get any in Toowoomba, but luckily I was able to pick two dolls up on a recent visit to Brisbane. Immy was thrilled with them and immediately wanted to undress them, it may take a little while for her to get used to putting such tiny clothing back on the dolls though!
triplet girls third birthday
Miss Im with her dolly.

Her other present was an ice-cream stacking game. They are having a small little ice-cream party on Sunday for lunch so I thought this game that I picked out of the Kindy Scholastic book club would be good to play then. I really liked playing it with the triplet's yesterday. It comes with sounds and teaches following instructions and listening skills as you need to listen to the pre-recorded voice telling the player what colour or how many scoops to pile high. It also requires patience, motor skills, carefulness and turn taking.
triplets ice cream party
Stacking the ice creams

In the evening the triplet's had chosen (influenced by their big brothers) pizza for dinner. I would have liked to let them make their own pizza again, but with such a busy day playing hard and having only arrived home the evening before, it was a relief that Daddy picked up pizza from the shop. I made some  wonky cupcakes so they could blow out some candles.
Triplets with birthday candles

Nanny and Uncle Peter had come over for dinner, I suspect they too went home with a headache. It was lots of fun, but oh so noisy. I think we need to do a little more work on demure table manners.
Triplets 3rd Birthday cake
I was taking a photo of Immy here, but hasn't Toby done the cutest photo bomb?

So today, we are off to playgroup where they can share their marble cupcakes (I thought it was fitting to do three colours for the three children who are turning three) with their friends. When we come home again, I'm sure it will be more lessons in playing nicely. It's hard work, but it is so worthwhile to learn multiple lessons through play. Buying gifts that the children can grow into also means that they will get a lot of value and use out of them. I look forward to seeing how they develop and get better at using them.

What type of games/toys do you like to give as birthday presents?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Moments in Childhood - Spiderman Visit in the Shower

I was showering. Spiderman appeared silently and stood at the screen door watching.

"Hi Spiderman." I reply. Sometimes it's best to treat random with normality.

He continued to stare.

Then it was gravely stated.

"It's just me Mummy in the shirt you gave me."

"Oh, that's good to know." I give a relieved sigh. "I was feeling a bit awkward having spiderman watch me have a shower."

With a giggle and a skip Spiderman disappears and I continue to wash my hair.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Style It Project - Peter Morrisey Zebra Cami

There's nothing like a little bit of animal print to bring a bit of pizazz to one's wardrobe. I wasn't sure whether I was going to like this little cami on me when I saw it for the Style It Project, (even though I liked it on others!) but oh my, the moment I slipped it on in the Big W change rooms, I knew it was a keeper. Plus it was 30% off - score! $13 for a little top I've already worn several times. (But keep forgetting to photograph - Sorrrreeee!)

I went with hubby to one of his mate's 40th birthday in Brisbane recently and wore my zebra cami.  It was already happy I was wearing it as we glided to our venue in the city cat.

Perfect for picnic lunch on the banks of the Brisbane river and then onto a bar then Turkish for dinner later in the evening. Surprisingly for Brisbane I didn't need to take my jacket off the whole time as the sky was overcast and there was a bit of a nip in the air. My white Sussan linen jacket (current season) was a perfect accompaniment along with my (current season) Rare Rabbit wooden beads.

I have also worn the cami with a jacket to playgroups and shopping. It will be a lovely cool option on its own when the weather warms up too. It's great with a little white bolero cardi that I picked up at a sample sale at Kaffe Boutique. (Locals: I can't believe it's in Cliffo! It's like a little corner of European class. Who knows it might inspire some of the locals to ditch the uggies and leggings(with short shirts) and dress up a little!)

Today I'm dressed in it ready to take the kids to a concert. We're seeing Colin Buchanan, we saw him last year when he was in town and the kids were delighted when Daddy brought home tickets last night for them to see him today!

And you know, because it is a concert, I thought I'd look like the cool Mum (Ha!) in my pink biker jacket. Although one look at the five kids I have in tow, nobody will be fooled that I would be riding a motorbike. Yep, it's a mini-van for me the whole way there.

What was the last concert you went to? I think I see more kids concerts and theatre productions these days then I see the grown up variety. But that's still cultured, isn't it? Right? RIGHT???

Linking with Kimba Likes and Redcliffe Style.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When I Realised I Was Not OK.

The pressure. Sometimes it builds up. The endless to do list constantly scrolling through the mind like an eternal tele-prompter. The inner rebukes from you own self that constantly chastises your every move for what you haven't achieved. The re-runs that continue to loop over and over in the brain's own movie theatre of the low moments because lest I forget that I am a flawed human. Add to that the negativity swirling in the atmosphere around. It's been stormy. Storms are fine when you are snug inside, but when you are in the middle of it, you don't feel safe, life is uncomfortable and things you have no control over make you feel despondent and don't make sense.

This was me. I was just battling on, trying to do it all. Be the mythical super mum, the growing blogger, the accepting friend and good Christian girl. Being a good Mum, friend, Christian and blogger are all good things. But sometimes when life gets hard, you need to pull back and gain some perspective, because sometimes the pressure builds and you start trying so hard to do it all that you suddenly realise that you're hardly being effective at all.

I suddenly realised about two weeks ago that I was on the edge and staring down into the swirling vortex of depression. I am very grateful that I was able to recognise my locale in time to back away from the edge. It's not that way for everyone. Some get sucked into that vortex so quickly like a merciless invisible and powerful vacuum. Others gaze into the vortex and cannot look up, cannot recognise that the hypnotic swirl of despondency is sucking them in. Some of us get the opportunity to recognise what is happening. Sometimes being on the brink, (or maybe standing in the shallow muddy waters), of mild depression is an overwhelming place to be, and even though the signs are recognised, the mist and fog that are descending blur the arrows showing the way out and you lack the energy to search for the exit.

For me, there was a moment that through the perpetual discouragement I suddenly thought. "I'm not OK." Once I realised this I knew I needed to fight to find the path to the sunshine. My family needed me to be OK. Depression breeds sadness. It starts in one life and spreads to others. I knew I could make changes to ensure that I could face challenges with positivity and determination to succeed.

For me, I realised that I was at the brink of depression after I had gone to a friend's house and had been negative during conversation because I was feeling overwhelmed before I left home. I also realised after I had written my ProBlogger Debrief that once again I wasn't feeling happy and a conference that I had just loved was tinged with sadness that normally I wouldn't be bogged down by. (The last few paragraphs of the post were the giveaway.) I have also just experienced an incident that has been totally out of my control where I have lost myriads of friends and acquaintances as they have stopped turning up at our common meeting place. (That is another story and not one for here or now.) I was hurting but by recognising that the actions of others didn't need to affect my own happiness or my own responses, I started to count the blessings that I do have and re-gain some perspective.
Almost depressed and walking away from the brink.
Hard to believe I could come home from the Gold Coast and be feeling very low.

If you are struggling to remain positive at the moment, here are some of my tips that have helped me so that if anyone asked, R U OK?,  I can smile and say, "Yes".

1. Look Up
Get in touch with your soul.  My faith is very important to me. It is my guiding light, so when I realised that the light was fading, I had to recognise that this was not because the light had disappeared, it's because I was no longer looking at it, or I had to wipe the tears so it wasn't blurred anymore. A lady in our church had recently shared an encouragement, "Things are not what they seem." I had to realise that I had to completely place my trust that God was in control and that he is a God of goodness.  No matter what people are saying, His master plan is good and the future may have dark moments, but the light will always shine brighter then the darkness. As I looked up and a new calmness surrounded me giving me peace and clarity. I know and respect that people have various spiritual journeys. If you are not spiritual and don't know where to start, pray your confusion to God and believe he hears you in Heaven. Then sit still and listen, you may be surprised, but most often rational thoughts and direction will be whispered into your soul. I think this is the voice of God. Whatever the case, I'm fairly confident that answers you hear will be worthy of at least further consideration and action.

2. Step Down
You don't need to go and cancel everything out of your diary and retreat to your shell. This might not be helpful at all, in fact. However, I found that I needed to prioritise what is important and start be focussing my energies there. That is why, if you noticed, my posts on this blog have been less and a little more infrequent lately. Blogging is one of my loves in life, but it can also be a pressure. By taking a short break, I was able to remind myself to breathe and while I did I did a little cleaning in the house which made me feel better also. (I can't believe I admitted that! Cleaning doesn't normally equal happiness for me!) I also deliberately enjoyed my children and the relationships that I do have. I didn't cancel all my commitments, but I slowed down and tried to stop rushing around madly and somehow in the calmness I was able to still do most things.

3. Enjoy the Little Things
Because I had been so busy, I had been pushing the little things to one side and forgetting that the sum of the little things is actually a big deal. So I started baking with the children, sitting outside and watching them play and reading a chapter (or two…) of my novel, taking time to sip the tea and contemplative silence while they children were playing happily or walking the children down to the garden and picking some blooms. Paying full attention to my husband as he spoke and enjoying each other's company. Not only did it calm me, it calmed those around me also.
lemon drizzle loaf
Find the recipe for this Lemon Drizzle Loaf here

4. Acknowledge Your Humanity
I was trying to do it all. I'm only human. I started to get more focus when writing a daily To Do list. (Thanks Kikki K.) I wrote less on my To Do list for that day but had a list next to it for the rest of the week, so knew I wasn't going to forget those things. The beauty was, it felt better to accomplish today's tasks and when I did, I could cross off some of the upcoming tasks as well. I also had to admit to myself that doing less is not cheating.

5. You Deserve to Walk Away From the Chocolate.
OK, so truthfully, I've had varying degrees of success with this point. Normally we gals like to admit that chocolate gets us through the hard times. And it does. But then it can also cause another hard time to arise as we battle with health and weight issues. I'm trying to remind myself that healthy choices are helpful to my well being. Yes, I deserve that chocolate, but even more I deserve the apple, because after a bag of apples, my body will be happier than after the block of chocolate…or cake, or biscuits, cheese or hot chips, etc. You get my drift? But, if you really do need a hit, I've found that a bag of Tim Tam Chocolicious buried deep at the back of the pantry is wonderful. It's only a little bit, they are individually wrapped, so you can resist the temptation of eating a whole pack of Tim Tams and it just gives you that moment of indulgence to continue on life's merry way. Because life is merry, the bleak moments don't need to last forever.

Combat Depression by taking time to smell flowers

Have you ever suffered depression? Did you recognise the signs? What do you do to pull yourself out of despair if you are feeling down?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT (I Blog On Tuesdays.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

L'Oreal Make Up Tips

Mirror mirror on the wall is what most of us women look into every morning, and while we (once again, most of us anyway), are not so vain to query if we are the fairest of them all, we certainly want to look our best. I may not primp or preen like a peacock, (who has time for that when you're a mother?) but I certainly do have a beauty routine and I like to throw on some make up most day.

I like to wear make up, even if it's only a quick application of two or three things. I feel more confident knowing I look that bit better when I draw attention to my assets and hide my flaws. Make up should be not about covering yourself, but rather draw attention to your own natural beauty.

My youngest sister was once a make up artist for a leading cosmetics company, so I have been fortunate to receive several mini tutorials from her on make up appliance. Even still, it's easy to get in a rut and always do the same thing. During ProBlogger I was so excited to go to a presentation by the Australian branch of L'Oreal Paris. Eagerness to use cosmetics and try new techniques instantly emerged as I listened to Elsa Morgan, an industry leader artist who does make up for the ritzy magazines and for models strutting the runways of Melbourne, New York and Paris.

Rut. Out.

For many of us mothers, a make up regime is often one of those things that is neglected as we rush to care for children, run a household, not to mention commitments outside the home. I loved hearing Elsa encourage women to use the moments during your make up routine to slow down and make some time for yourself. (Even if it's a short make up application.) It is true that sometimes as mothers we rush so much that we don't pay attention and enjoy the small things in life. Enjoy the feeling of massaging moisturiser into your skin. Let it rest for a few moments before applying primer. (Would it be bad to admit, that I hadn't used primer before I went to this session? And I have to say, the L'Oreal Base Magique just glides on the skin. It really is such a nice experience, and it has the benefit of improving the smoothness of my foundation and accentuating my complexion. Win!)

I have always had good brows. I rarely pluck or wax them, and therefore I pretty well ignore them. I had been totally oblivious to the fact that brows are one of the in things to focus your attention on these days! A fuller brow makes the face look more youthful and can draw attention to the eyes. (Gone are the heavy plucking days of the 90's)

I definitely don't want my eyebrows looking like caterpillars, but I have started using the L'Oreal Superliner Brow Artist Shaper. It has a nifty little brush and two tips, a pencil tip (you should choose a colour about one or two shades darker then your brow).

Here are the how to tips on giving your brows wow!

Step 1:
Brush inner brow upward and outer brow up and outward.
Step 2:
Draw lightly from under brow working up and along the natural shape of your brows
Step 3:
Finish brow by tapering this soft line from the top of the arch toward the temples.
Step 4:
Set the shape with the wax tip. 

Afterwards there was a lip and brow bar, so I got the experts to give mine a little makeover.

Of all the lessons in make up we received, the thing that made me most excited was learning about winged eyes. I was trying to listen and watch very carefully, because it's a dramatic effect that I've often wanted to execute for special occasions. 

If you also want tips in achieving (or perfecting) this technique, this is what we learned.

Step 1:
Draw wing first by making a line from the end of the lash line out and slightly up a couple of cm toward end of brow
Step 2:
Draw back toward lash line from above this line to make a small triangle
Step 3:
Continue along the lash line, tapering as you go so the line creates a beautiful almond shape
Step 4:
Apply two coats of volume mascara, fan lashes outwards

Elsa also had some top tips to share:

  1. Use a highlighter pen to clean up and sharpen the feline flick
  2. To create a smokey winged eye, line the top and bottom lash lines with a black or brown pencil. Optional: add a kajal pencil or white kohl pencil to the waterline.
  3. Take a quad eyeshadow and blend over liner working into the socket and extending the shading out and up to visually open eye.
  4. Add highlighter to inner corners of eyes to add drama.
After I returned home, my brain was buzzing so much the next morning I woke up early and since there were no children around, I had a play around while I got ready for church. The extra effort seemed to pay off, I got compliments even with my very amateur efforts, and I'm looking forward to continuing to perfect the art!

When asked what tips Elsa had for mothers who find it difficult to find the time to apply make up, her advice was to find enjoyment and pleasure in the routine and investing in yourself. Her practical advice was to have the main things you need out on your counter ready to go. Elsa believes that one of the most time consuming aspects for many people when applying make up is searching through cosmetics bags and drawers for what they want. If it's all there ready to go you only need to pick it up and apply. You will be surprised how much time you will save.

One of the best parts of the evening was the goodie bag we came home with! So many treats, it's making experimenting so much fun!

Do you get in a make up rut? What techniques would you like to perfect or are there new routines you can begin? What are you top make up tips?

Today I'm linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Pssst. Have you entered my giveaway of a baby hamper, perfect if you have a new little one or want to put away a gift for a new baby or a baby shower? No? Enter here

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gifts for Newborns - Plus Giveaway!

A friend of mine had a baby the other day. The baby was rather early and weighed a petite 5lb1oz but is an absolutely gorgeous and healthy little man. Seeing pictures of him on Facebook made my mind wander back to my own newborns, particularly when the triplets were born since of course they were my smallest babies. (Read about the triplet's birth story)

Having a newborn in your life is such a special time of life. The long lingering moments you spend just staring at the new life lying before you. The awe as you contemplate that a tiny human was once nestled within someone's (or your own!) tummy. The snuggles as that precious bundle falls asleep on your chest. The wonder of siblings as they meet a person who will forever change their life.
Newborn Trent

It's also a tiring time for the family as late night feedings begin and the weariness of finding a rhythm with the newest addition to the family. And if there are cholic and reflux in the equation or other such newborn maladies, well life is all the more complex.

I love getting gifts for newborns. The mixture of a gift celebrating a new life beginning and comfort because life isn't easy makes giving at this time delightful.

Gifts I have given newborns include:

  • A special money box with a name engraved on it.
  • Fine china child's plate
  • Melamine Peter Rabbit gift set
  • Board books. (This is a good one for new parents who often do not have a library for the child yet.)
  • Clothing, but I'm always careful to do the math and make sure the size will be for the appropriate season.
  • Clothes in larger sizes (eg. size 1. Not only does it not matter what season it is if it's size 1, sometimes I buy the gift and then it takes me forever to give it away to the recipient, in which case, I know it's still going to fit by the time I finally do!)
Recently I was introduced to Angelic Baby Boutique a beautiful online baby boutique that has a stunning selection of gifts to give at baby showers, newborn babies and even first birthdays. The gifts include thoughtful and classy hampers and unique keepsakes.

As a special treat for Caitlin's Happy Heart readers, Angelic Baby Boutique is giving away a hamper to the value of $60 with product specially selected by Sylvia. You will have the choice of whether it will be made for a boy or girl.  

This would be just perfect if you know someone who is about to have, or has a new little bundle of joy in their lives. Or perhaps it is your own newborn child that you would love to spoil.

To enter, head over to Angelic Baby Boutique and tell me which baby gift you think is particularly special. I'd also love to hear why you think newborns are so special. It's not mandatory, but I would love it if you would also follow Caitlin's Happy Heart on Facebook.

1. Competition only open to Australian residents.
2. Competition is a game of skill and will entries will close on Friday September 12, 2014 at 8pm.
3. Prize will be mailed to either yourself or a recipient of your choice. Winners will be contacted by email. If there is no response by Monday 12am, a new winner will be selected.
4. An email address must be included with your entry.

PS. It seems that some people have difficulties leaving comments on my blog. Feel free to head to my Facebook page and leave a comment there...

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