How to Get Organised: Using a Year Planner

It’s no secret that I love being organised, but I have fallen off the organisational-bandwagon since becoming a mum. Life is hectic and busy, and there isn’t much time for anything. But since sharing some of my time management hacks last week, I decided it was finally time to get back to being organised – especially since I’m juggling teaching, blogging, and a family (not to mention all the other things I do in my ‘free’ time!).

But how? How can I get myself organised again without creating more work for myself?

Do I accrue lists on numerous pieces of paper and try to bundle them altogether? (Guilty).

Do I allow Google Calendar reminders to keep popping up on my computer, or on my phone? (Also guilty).

What I want is a full proof plan to be organised day in, day out, without getting lost or overwhelmed with the crap I pile onto myself (not literally).

Finding the Perfect Life Planner

So I’m a traditional pen and paper type of gal, and I decided I needed to find a planner that works for me. I used to have one when I was teaching full time, but then once I went on maternity leave I figured there was no time for “planning” (because I was breastfeeding and trying to get my boy to sleep!). Fast-forward almost 14 months, and I’m now running a blogging business, working as a teacher part-time and managing life in between! I need a new planner that will help me keep on top of all these things I’m juggling.

When looking for a planner, I wanted something that could do the following things:

  • To-Do Lists
  • Weekly and Monthly Calendars for Overall Planning
  • Goal Setting and things to keep me Accountable
  • Pretty (because if it is pretty, I’ll use it more right?!)

I’ve had some pretty great planners in the past, but when I found The Inspired Yearly Planner, I knew it was the one – we were a match!

year planneryear planner 2(I received the Inspired Yearly Planner for the purpose of this review as part of the Blog Tour at One Love Paper Co. All opinions are my own).

The Inspired Year Planner

The Inspired Year Planner was created by the lovely Kathy from One Love Paper Co. as a way to not only plan tasks for the year, but also set goals and work to achieve them. As a longtime entrepreneur, Kathy understands that passion, purpose and hard work combine to make dreams become a reality. The Inspired Year Planner helps you to work through all of this to make your year successful and joyful.

What is inside the Inspired Year Planner?

Here is a brief Run Down of the Inspired Yearly Planner:

  • It has Monthly tabs running down the side. Mine starts from July this year to June 2018, perfect for when I received it. There is the option for planners starting from Jan-Dec as well.
  • It is full of motivational quotes to keep you going for the year!
  • At the start of the planner are some activities to help you set heart-centered goals. There are instructions and suggested time frames for each of these tasks.
  • There is also a goal-setting challenge to set 3 big/long-term goals for the year.
  • At the start of each QUARTER of the year (July, October, January, April), there are activities for you to focus on your work+life balance, and to set new goals for the 3 months (short-term goals).
  • Each month has a monthly overview, as well as a weekly overview so you can plan your time. These overviews also include space to write down your goals for the month to help you keep focused and motivated to complete them.

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First things first, my planner is just gorgeous! I love the colour combination of the cover and the features throughout, and while it might sound a bit vain, this in itself makes it more useful for me as I’m more inclined to use it. It is filled with motivational quotes, and tasks to help you set goals and work towards achieving them.

At the start of the planner, you are welcomed with an inspirational message to get you ready to start using the planner. There are beginning activities such as recognising your feelings and passions, and creating these into heart-centered goals for the year. These long-term goals are also broken down into short-term goals every 3 months. 

The Inspired Yearly Planner has a calendar for each month so you can plan your time and any outings coming up. Each month also has a weekly calendar to help break up your time – this for me is one of the big things that I needed because I’m juggling so many different areas that I needed a simple and easy way to keep on top of it all. I use diferent colours for each area (because colour coding is amazing and I’m a little OCD like that), so for example the Mumma Morrison blog is dark pink, freelance work is purple, School is dark blue, and my work with Baby Hints and Tips is light blue.

I also love that the planner has a section each quarter to assess your work-life balance. This has obviously been a big thing for me (something that I really need to work on) trying to juggle so many different things. It has given me real perspective on my priorities and my areas for improvement. The best thing about this activity is that on the opposite page is a chance to create 3 short-term goals linked to your answers in the work-life balance, so you have actionable goals to change the things you’re unhappy with. I’m looking forward to seeing how my balance of work and life changes in 3 months’ time.

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How To Use Your Inspired Year Planner

Now that I have my year planner, it is time I got myself organised for the rest of the year and the start of 2018. Here are some ways I’ve already started using my planner:

  • Firstly, I dedicated TIME to sitting down and completing the activities to help with my overall planning. It has helped me to clarify what I am wanting to do with my blog, work, and life in general, and to write these down for accountability and motivation.
  • I completed the beginning activities to assess my feelings at the moment (unfortunately a lot of negative ones in there due to juggling work and motherhood).
  • Then I assessed and created some heart-centered goals around my dreams (mostly around blogging and being able to work full-time from home).
  • As I mentioned earlier, I used colour-coding throughout the planner so I can see what area or project I am working on, and making sure I am putting the same weighting on each area (where possible or necessary).
  • Using the planner consistently – obviously the main thing with trying to accomplish goals is to maintain them and stay motivated to complete them. So I have been copying my goals onto each week’s calendar so it is there as a reminder to keep me inspired.

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Where Can I Get An Inspired Year Planner?

There are a range of gorgeous designs for the Inspired Year Planners that you can choose from, as well as having a planner that starts at the beginning or in the middle of the year. To get your Inspired Year Planner, visit the One Love Paper Co. Site HERE, or their socials here: Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest

PLUS KEEP AN EYE ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE TONIGHT FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THE INSPIRED YEAR PLANNER!!

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Facing the Reality of ‘Split Personalities’ As a Mum

Yesterday morning I was laying in bed watching our video baby monitor, waiting to see if Starfish was stirring. It was 6.20am, and I had to get ready for work in about 15 minutes. I sat and watched, then slowly staggered out of bed. I got myself ready, and then I got Starfish out of his cot and set him up in his highchair with his bottle of milk. I prepared his

I got myself ready, and then I got Starfish out of his cot and set him up in his highchair with his bottle of milk.

I prepared his breakfast.

I got him sorted for the day as his babysitter came to watch him.

I drove to work and listened to a podcast about blogging, trying to glean as many tips and tricks as I could in the mindless waste of 1 hour I had to spend commuting to work. I tried to think about this blog, and all my hopes and dreams I have for it – the goals I’ve set to achieve over the coming weeks and months. I passionately and enthusiastically motivated myself (in my mind!), revving myself up to get ready for the things to come.

And then I was there, at work. I got out of the car, unlocked my classroom, and prepped myself for the day.  

Turned the computer on. 

Wrote the timetable for the day on the board.

Got the resources out of the storeroom for the day’s lessons.

And went to meet my class in lines. 

I had my teaching hat on (metaphorically… Well, until lunch time when I was on duty), and nothing else could really enter my mind until I took my teaching hat off at the end of the day and I prepared for my trip home from work.

Why I think I have Split Personalities

As I was driving home from work, dazed, frazzled and just plain exhausted from a day of working with kids (to only come home to another child who was cranky from lack of sleep), it hit me. I feel as though I am suffering from having split personalities.

Two lives that are so diverse and separate from each other – both in mindset and distance! – that I am struggling to reconcile them. 

For 5-ish days of the week, I am a mum.

My days are filled with pooey nappies, excess food (SO MUCH FOOD), countless renditions of the Wiggles or “Galumph went the Little Green Frog”, and stepping on random pieces of lego or wooden cars or little books.

We go to Playgroup, hang out with our Mother’s Group friends, and talk about babies and children. We go for walks to the park and play on the swings or the slide.

I am a mum blogger and I work from home. I spend my days talking to mums about #mumlife and talking all things baby. I talk with adults. I occasionally have a hot cup of tea when I want, and have a bit of say as to when I go to the toilet (although I usually have company…).

It is Starfish and I and our life.

And then there is my new work life.

For 2-ish days of the week (because I also need to plan), I am a teacher. I don’t have time to think about Starfish or the blog because I am working with 6-7 year-olds. They need assistance, they need support, they need help. My time is spent defusing situations, trying to teach content, marking work. It is spent planning lessons, collecting resources, and writing my program. There is less say on the hot tea and going to the toilet whenever I want. I spend my time sometimes with adults (although I am usually busy planning in my lunchtimes so I can leave at a good time), and mostly with children. 

It can be really lonely.

Last night as I was sorting out our dinner, I felt a real tension between these two aspects – or ‘personalities’ – of my life. I am unable to fully participate in my mum life with my mum friends because there is time that I’m at work, or planning for work. I miss out on catch-ups or have to cancel playdates because I need time for preparation. I had to leave our mother’s group dinner early on Wednesday night because I needed sleep to get up early for work. I’m gradually feeling that I’m missing out on more opportunities to cement friendships with these other mothers.

But I also can’t fully participate in my work life either. I am unable to spend time with my colleagues after work because I’m coming home to my son. I am spending my lunchtimes planning and marking rather than socialising. I have missed a year of work, and so the social (and practical) climate of my work environment has changed; everything has kept moving on and I’ve tried to slide back into it.

It is a difficult, awkward tension that I feel like I’m battling with. As a full-time mother and part-time worker, it is tough.

Where to go from here?

It is about managing your time wisely, and coming up with effective strategies to do that… Click To Tweet

I think there comes a point where I have to try and take responsibility for this tension. I could make more of an effort to socialise while at work. I could try and manage my time better when I’m not at work to catch-up with my mum friends. I could sacrifice an evening here or there to hang out with people. 

But I also need to take care of myself. 

I need to stop worrying about what everyone is doing or thinking, and do what is best for Starfish and I. Some weeks will require more planning and preparation for work. Other weeks will involve more playdates and coffee catch-ups. And some weeks I’ll need to sit at my computer and get my blog work done. 

It is a balance. It is about managing my time wisely, and coming up with effective strategies to do that consistently. 

And at the end of the day, I’ll probably never get it 100% right. Because, like with all things that happen with mum life, there are always ups and downs. There are unexpected circumstances that arise that will change things – like having a sick Starfish, or having an extra day of work, or having a friend who needs some extra time and attention. But as long as Starfish is my priority, I take care of myself, and 

But as long as Starfish is my priority, I take care of myself, and I make an effort (on my part) to fix the tension between these different personalities, it’ll only be a matter of time before it works itself out.

Have you ever felt a tension between your work/life balance as a mum? How did you work through it?

XX

7 Easy Time Management Hacks for Busy Mums

I’ve always made life difficult for myself by being a ‘yes’ person. One who has to always say YES to every opportunity that comes my way, or every request for help that is asked. This, in turn, has made my life very busy. But adding onto that a child, my own business and part-time work, now life is just chaotic. Once an organised person, motherhood has thrown everything into disarray as time slips away and gets the better of me. What I need are some time management hacks to help me get re-organised (I’ve already got a few other mum hacks up my sleeve at least!).

So I’ve decided to compile 7 Easy Time Management Hacks for busy mums, in the hopes that this will help you through your day-to-day (busy!) lives as well! x

7 Easy Time Management Hacks For Busy Mums

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1. Have 1 Must-Do Goal A Day, Followed By Smaller Can-Do Goals

The point of this exercise is to set achievable daily goals. For a perfectionist like me, I get bogged down when I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything. But setting myself one must-do goal a day, I feel a sense of accomplishment once it is completed. This then turns into motivation to keep going with my other can-do tasks for the day, and I am then more productive throughout the rest of the day. Even if your must-do goal for the day is to cook dinner or hang out the washing, you know that by the end of the day you will have achieved something.

Set 1 Must-Do Goal a Day to increase your Productivity and Motivation. Click To Tweet

 

2. On The Weekend, Write A Daily List For The Coming Week 

I am definitely a list person, as I can then write down my must-do and can-do goals for the day/week. I have a new planner, because I find pen and paper easier to manage somehow. I try to write my list for the upcoming week on the weekend so I can see what the week looks like, and I colour code my list based on my different ‘work’ areas (blog, school, home/personal, Babes + Picnics, freelance work, etc). My “Must-Do” goal is at the top of my daily list, followed by my Can-Do goals, and I tick or cross them off as I go.

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3. Group Similar Tasks Together Without Becoming Monotonous

When planning out your week, or even your day, try to group similar tasks together. For example, if I need to do 3 freelance articles, a pile of washing, preparations for dinner and a blog post, I try to group the computer work together without becoming monotonous. By that, I mean I still take short breaks between my computer work, but I avoid the excess transition time between a freelance article, a load of washing, and back to a freelance article. By grouping similar tasks together – such as household chores in the morning, followed by computer work in the afternoon – I can save time I would waste transitioning from different tasks.

4. Set Aside “Free” Time

If you’re like me with many buckets to fill, it is important to “schedule” in some free/me-time amongst it all. I find that some days I am so bogged down in my list of things to do, I don’t even get much time to spend with my son (which is my main priority!!). Make it a MUST-DO goal to set aside some free time at least twice a week, even if that must-do goal is spending time with friends or going for a massage/hair appointment.

Free time is important for time management as it decreases the likelihood of procrastination, as you know you have some downtime coming up and are much more likely to remain on task to get things done.

5. Meal Planning will Save your Life

I’ve never been one for meal planning in the past, but since becoming a mum and juggling so many different ‘hats’, it has become a must. Whether it be a written meal planner on the fridge or an app or site, writing down a plan of the meals you will have during the week will save time in grocery shopping as well as daily time in deciding what to cook (or even playing around with ingredients while you’re cooking). I’m a big fan of the Foost Meal Planner (which I’ll be reviewing on the blog later this month), as I can also see what my son is getting with each meal. There are also services that send out recipes and ingredients to you to help meal planning easier, such as Marley Spoon, which I find incredibly helpful!.

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6. Have a Go-To Bag for Outings

I have found a lot of time has been wasted double and triple checking that I have everything before I need to leave the house. This usually results in us being late to leave the house, or wasting time beforehand running around to get organised. Have a Go-To bag ready by your front door with all the things you need to just get out and leave the house. For me and my 13-month-old, this includes everything for changing (nappies, baby wipes, spare clothes, etc), play (hat, sunscreen, a couple of toys), and my things (wallet, keys, sunglasses). This means I am ready to leave the house at a drop of a hat, which is usually right after my son has woken up and we just get up and go.

7. Break Up Your House Into Zones

When it comes to cleaning your house (or even grouping similar tasks together), create imaginary zones in your house. These zones might look like the following:

  • The Kitchen – Cooking, cleaning, and washing dishes.
  • The Living Area – Vaccuming, tidying, and dusting (if you’re into that sort of thing).
  • Children’s Areas (Bedrooms, Playrooms) – Tidying, vaccuming, and putting away toys.
  • Your Bedroom – Vaccuming, tidying and dusting.
  • Laundry – Washing and putting out clothes.

And so forth. Once you have broken up the house into zones, you can concentrate on these zones as part of your Must-Do goals for different days. For example, on Mondays I concentrate on the Children’s Areas, and that is when I would clean my son’s bedroom and organise his toys for the week. This means that it is more or less done for the week, and only involves minor tidying later on in the week. Of course, there are some zones that will need constant touch-ups throughout the week (cooking and washing dishes, washing clothes, etc), however once you have broken your house into zones and can concentrate specifically on a different zone each day, it avoids unnecessary ‘faffing’ around the house on different days – decreasing procrasti-cleaning!

So there you have it! My 7 easy time management hacks for busy mums! What is your best time management hack? 

Please also share the love and share this with the mums you think will benefit from these time management hacks!

 xx

PLUS, COMING SOON: 7 Days to Organisational Success for Busy Mums

Keep an eye out on Friday, 6th October, as I will have a new challenge coming out to help time-poor mums. If you’d like to be on the list to receive this challenge, please sign up in the box below (you’ll also receive my FREE New Mum Guide!):

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time management hacks

5 Sensational Play Activities For Sick Babies

There is nothing worse than having sick babies, especially if you’re trying everything to help them get better (if you’re looking for some ways to relieve your baby’s cold, here are 5 ways I’ve come with to combat your baby’s cold). But what do we do if our baby is sick enough to be kept in isolation at home, but well enough that they still want to play and explore and climb all over you every 5 seconds? I have found this to be one of the most challenging things this last season, as Starfish has been battling colds and the flu. Here are 5 play activities for sick babies when you’re at home, unable to leave the house and wish to maintain your sanity!

No-Mess Painting

A friend from Playground introduced this activity to us that she found on Pinterest, and it was the perfect activity for us the do with Starfish indoors. It involved no mess or clean-up, so I didn’t have to wash him, his hands or his clothes afterwards (so he didn’t have to get cold in the clean-up process). I put some blobs of paint on the piece of paper, and then zipped the paper inside a zip lock bag. Starfish was able to smoosh the paint around without getting it all over his hands, and once he was done (there was lots of picking up and scrunching in his fists), I could take the paper out of the zip lock bag to dry.
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Bubble Bath

Always a fun and simple activity, but running a bubble bath for your baby and having a couple of toys inside will keep them warm and entertained at the same time. Have a variety of toys for your little one to play with as well as a non-slip bath mat so they can sit safely in the bath. My favourite bath toys for my boy are the Mini Lolo‘s because they have no hole, reducing the risk of mould (plus he loves them!). 

Books, Nursery Rhymes and Peg Dolls

You can never go wrong with reading picture books or singing songs, but there is something very soothing and relaxing about a calm, adult voice when your baby is sick. Make the most of this time for some extra snuggles, a few choice books and songs. We recently got some gorgeous Little Peggy’s farm animal dolls for Starfish to play with, and he enjoyed playing with these while we read his ‘Noisy Farm’ book. This is also a great way to cement their development such as associating animals with the sounds they make, and recognising that objects can have different shapes and forms (for example, the cow in the ‘Noisy Farm’ book is grey and big, whereas the Peggy doll is thin, with a white and black colour). I’ll be sharing soon some more reasons why we LOVE the Little Peggy’s Dolls, but they’ve been a perfect toy for Starfish while he’s been sick!

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Sticky Wall

An activity I came across on Pinterest as well (LOVE Pinterest!), which I, unfortunately, didn’t have the resources for to put together photos today. BUT I’m looking forward to trying this with Starfish soon. Grab some contact or clear, plastic adhesive and upt it up on the wall with some blutack or the like. Have a variety of objects such as paper, feathers, pom-poms, etc, for your baby to pick up and stick on the contact. This engages your child’s fine motor skills in picking up different objects and placing them on the wall, as well as promoting creativity.

Sensory Play with Cloud Dough

I came across Cloud Dough when the lovely Casey shared with me a few months back her top 5 Sensory Tubs for Little Learners. I was a bit hesitant to try this when Starfish was so little, but today was the perfect opportunity to make it and let him have a play. I mixed 4 cups of plain flour and 1/2 cup of baby oil to make the dough, and then let Starfish have fun exploring it with some plastic measuring spoons. Any of Casey’s sensory tub ideas are awesome for sick bubs to play and learn at home while they recover.

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What is your baby’s favourite activity for when they’re a bit under the weather and stuck at home?

xx

play activities for sick babies

Infant Friendly Things to See and Do

Over the past month, I’ve FINALLY been able to start taking Starfish out and about to some infant-specific places as he’s become more aware of his surroundings and can crawl and engage a bit more. But I’ve found it really hard to find places he can enjoy at such a young age, especially since he isn’t walking yet. So I’ve compiled a list, with the help of my lovely followers, of places I’d like to take Starfish (as much as is possible) – his (temporary) Bucket List, as it were – and I’ll tick them off as we’re able to go and visit the different places! I’ve tried to include information such as the ages the places will suit (as I’m able) and will update the list often when I can. I’ve included links to other bloggers who have tried and tested infant friendly things to see and do, so you can see their reviews of these places as well!

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Infant Friendly Things to See and Do

Okay, I may have snuck in a couple of things for primary-aged children because they look really cool, so if you have older children or friends with older kids, make sure you share this with them too!

Across Australia in September

New South Wales

Australian Capital Territory

Victoria

Queensland

South Australia

Western Australia

Northern Territory

Tasmania

Do you have more to add to this list for us? Leave a comment below with the name and state of the venue and I’ll add it on! 🙂 

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xx

Simple Style Tips for the Busy Mum

When I became a new mum, I lived in sweat pants, baggy shirts and no bra. I needed easy access clothing so Starfish could feed, and comfortable clothes for me because everything still hurt and I was still carrying excess baby weight. I felt drab, unappealing, and just plain gross. While I have never been the most stylish lady around, I used to love getting a bit dolled up in summery dresses and feeling feminine. As a mum though, this has been virtually impossible as I struggled to find the right (appropriate) clothes and 5 minutes to do anything with my hair or face. However, after 13 months with my boy, I’ve finally found some really simple style tips for us busy mums to use once a day, or every few days, to help us feel a bit like our beautiful, confident selves again!

Dress up with Beautiful, Simple Accessories

My best (fashion) friend as a mum has been using accessories to style up simple outfits. In the early, cooler months I used scarves to add to my jumper and jeans combo. The scarf was great because it had multiple uses – fashionable and otherwise – that I could use when my son was younger.

Now my favourite accessories are from Mummy’s Pretties, a range of gorgeous jewellery that I can add to my simple outfits to feel dressed up. No longer do I hear crickets when I walk out of the house in plain clothes. Since becoming a Bran Rep for Mummy’s Pretties and donning some gorgeous earrings and a matching necklace, my friends have not been able to stop commenting on them! My confidence goes way up and I feel dressed up without even trying (wohoo!). Accessories like these are a great way to style up your outfit as a busy mum!

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Give your nails some simple bling! 

I’m sure most women have heard of Jamberry before – if you haven’t, you can read my review of them here (and why this mumma loves them!). I’ve found these nail wraps are a quick and easy way to jazz up your nails without wasting the time (or energy) at a nail salon getting a proper set of nails. Plus the nail wraps sit straight on your nails (no fake ones), and I’ve found this more practical with a baby than trying to pick things up with or clean fake nails. If you’d like to learn a bit more about Jamberry, you can see my review of them HERE.

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Find Stylish (and practical!) Nursing Wear

If you’re a breastfeeding mum, find some practical nursing wear that will make outings simpler and easier for you. However, for a long time I thought this meant I had to wear sweatpants and baggy tops, but no more! You can find gorgeous and practical nursing wear (and maternity wear) that will make feel beautiful and confident, even if you did only spend 5 minutes getting ready while holding onto a baby the whole time!

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Take care of your skin

While it may not seem like much of a ‘style’ tip, looking after your skin will definitely help with boosting your confidence, and may minimise the need to constantly apply make-up before leaving the house (like I need to). Find a deep cleanser that will help clean your pores, and commit to a 5-minute daily cleansing ritual (I’m still working on this!). I aim to do this just before I get my son up for the day, and just before bedtime to help my skin look and feel better (adding to my overall confidence). 

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That’s it! My super simple 4 easy style tips for the busy mum! What would you add to this list? x

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Mumma Loves: Jamberry Nails

As a busy mum, I’m all for things that will make my life easier and simpler. This also includes fashion. While I’m not stylish by any stretch of the imagination, I do aim to look semi-presentable when I leave the house. Unfortunately, there are many times when I look anything but. However, I’ve found that there are some simple style tips I can use to help me feel dolled up, pretty and more confident in my day to day life. One of these has been my new Jamberry Nails. 

What Are Jamberry Nails?

A few years back, I was into (fake) acrylic nails. I loved the french tip ones because they looked simple and chic. However I found it difficult to perform simple tasks like picking up bobby pins, or typing quietly on the keyboard (I sound like a monster truck reversing at the best of times), plus when they started to wear and tear, they could be quite annoying.

A friend of mine introduced me to Jamberry Nail Wraps, and I was impressed with how stylish and simple they were. The Jamberry Nail Wraps are like stickers for your nails, but with better adhesion (when heat is applied). You can choose your nail wraps from a wide variety of designs and colours to suit your personal style, and the wraps will fit any length of nail – in fact most wrap sets will give you a full manicure and pedicure!

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How to Apply the Jamberry Nail Wraps

(I was given a set of Jamberry nail wraps and tools for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own).

I was initially skeptical of how to apply the Jamberry Nail Wraps. As my friend introduced them to me before, I could see how they could be a bit fiddly and difficult to get on (as I’m not usually great with dexterous tasks!), however when I was chatting with Nicky (the consultant who shared these raps with me), she gave me some great instructions and tips to help with my nails. As you can see in my video below, they are very easy to put on – all up it took me about 30 minutes to apply and that is as a complete newbie (don’t worry the video doesn’t go that long!).

Here are a few tips I picked up along the way with applying my Jamberry Nails:

  • Heat: Make sure you apply enough heat to make the nail wraps stick well. Apply a bit of extra heat if using a hairdryer (I was using the lowest setting, so I heated the wrap for about 5 seconds before application, and around 15 seconds after).
  • Pressure: Apply a lot of pressure, and follow the instructions of rubbing up the middle of the nail, and then out towards the sides of the nail to avoid bubbles (my biggest downfall!).
  • Apply at Night: Listen to the advice to apply the Jamberry Nails at night before bed – I needed to do it during the day so I could get good lighting for the video, however they unfortunately didn’t last very long due to the daily tasks I had to complete. Overnight gives them enough time to adhere to the nail.
  • Embrace the gap: This is the motto of the Jamberry Nails (or so my friend told me!). With the nail wraps, near enough IS good enough, as some of the wraps may not reach the edges of your nail. However, the gap is hardly distinct enough to be noticed by anyone besides yourself (if you’re picky like me!)
  • Nourish Cream: The Nourish Cream is an additional cost and doesn’t come with the nail wraps. It was nice to help my hands feel smooth after application. The pack says it helps with the application process, however I didn’t notice a difference (although that may have been due to the time of day I applied them).

The End Result…

I embraced the gap, I had a gorgeous accent nail and I was happy with how well they adhered in the end. The more I did, the better I got at it. I learnt that a bit longer heat with my hairdryer (longer than the 3 seconds, more like 5) worked better, as did extra pressure, and longer heating after the nail wrap was applied.

I absolutely LOVE the gorgeous range of styles there is on offer for the Jamberry Nails (cherry blossoms, anyone?!) and as a busy mum, I am sold by the fact I can spend 30 minutes after Starfish has gone to bed applying these and wake up fresh and ready the next morning with them on. Once the nails are full adhered as well, they sit on your regular nails as though you have nothing on them (just your plain ol’ nails!). This means you don’t have to worry about the big, clunky acrylic nails getting in the way of your day-to-day life – the Jamberry Nails can go in water, around chemicals, or any other jobs you’re usually doing!

If you’re a busy mum and you’d like a bit of extra bling for your nails, be sure to check out Jamberry Nails! For more information or to make a purchase, visit the website HERE, Nicky’s Facebook Page here or Her Instagram Here. Nicky also has a VIP group you can be a part of for tips and special offers!
Jamberry Nails 2Jamberry Nails

jamberry nails

Please Stop Asking About Baby Number 2!

As most women will know, our lives become a barrage of constant questioning about the personal details of our lives. The most common of these questions generally being, “When are you going to get married?” and “When will you have kids?”. Sometimes even random strangers will feel the need to comment on such topics, as though it were perfectly acceptable for them to judge your life on the minimal amount of information they know about you.

I thought I was “in the clear” after we had our son because, heck, I had done the marrying and the babying. I thought I was done and dusted with the questioning. Boy was I wrong!

Shortly BEFORE Starfish turned 1 (not after), we started getting some new questions. “When are you thinking about Baby #2?” I was surprised at how often I was asked it. I’ll admit though – I may have been guilty of asking this question a few times to my mum friends, but I’ve been learning that there are several reasons why I should stop asking this question.

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Some mums want to wait a while.

I have recently discovered through conversations with family and friends, that like with all things related to motherhood, there are different opinions and ideas of when families want to have a second child. I’ve found some mums want to wait until their first child is much older before they go through the whole newborn baby process again. Whether it be because their first child has been a handful, or they struggled with the demands of a baby, these mums have decided they don’t want to have their children close together – and that is perfectly okay! What these mums don’t need though is constant questioning about when they’ll have a second baby, because they might be uncomfortable with talking about their decision. 

Some mums might be struggling to fall pregnant again.

I’ve had mum friends who talked to me about their difficulty in falling pregnant a second time, and this is a source of pain and sadness for them. The question about when they’re having a second baby – much like asking people when they’ll be having a first, for the same reason – can further compound the pain around this, so it doesn’t need to be asked.

Some mums might already be pregnant.

Just like with any pregnancy, a lot of mums like to keep their news a surprise. Asking them about baby number 2 might put them in an awkward position (or if you’re like me, you can’t keep a straight face!). It is a lot easier if the question is avoided altogether!

Some mums only want one child.

I’ve also spoken to some mum friends who have decided that they only want one child. Again, this can be for a variety of reasons. However, just like some women choose not to have any children, I have found the decision to have only one child provokes differing opinions from people. Some women may be happy to talk through their decisions, while others might not be. Once again, it is just easier to steer clear of the whole conversation!

While some mums are more than happy to talk about their decisions and reasoning, I know many who aren’t. We also shouldn’t have to justify our decisions to anyone not involved in the process (which generally involves two people!). As mothers, we should create a supportive environment for each other free of judgement or criticism. So instead of asking when baby number 2 is coming along (again, guilty!), let’s keep asking our mum friends how they and their first baby are doing!

And you might be wondering which of these categories I fall into – honestly, none of them. We haven’t thought much about Baby number 2 because we are enjoying Baby number 1 too much at the moment! 

xx

Plus, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out already, I’d love for you to check out my New Mum Guide full of tips for starting solids, looking after baby’s teeth, developmental activities and self-care advice for mums. Grab yours below!


baby number 2

5 Questions About Breastfeeding Over 12 Months

I still haven’t been able to write down my breastfeeding story with Starfish (mostly because of time!), but I’m still breastfeeding him twice a day and he’s just over 13 months old. I know some people have assumed I’ve stopped breastfeeding now that my son is 1 year old. As mums, we all know how controversial and diverse the opinions are between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. There are also differing opinions about the length of feedings. I wanted to share the story of my lovely friend Lauren, The Peaceful Lactivist, who is breastfeeding her children aged 2 and 5. Tonight on the blog she is sharing with us the 5 questions she’s frequently asked about breastfeeding baby over 12 months. I hope you find it as insightful as I have!

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5 Questions Asked About Breastfeeding Baby Over 12 Months

I never set out to be one of those mums that breastfeeds her kids forever and ever. Before having kids I honestly thought that if you did things right, your kids would stop breastfeeding once they were 12 months old, and that kids who breastfed past that had been parented wrong. I was so naïve!

Remembering my own feelings about term breastfeeding from before I landed on this journey helps me keep my cool when people ask me questions about breastfeeding my older kids, that may feel offensive to other term breastfeeding mums. It’s never nice to feel like someone is challenging what I do with my kids, and perhaps suggesting I’m “doing it wrong”, but since I used to hold similar, uninformed opinions, I try hard to take the opportunity to present a different side instead of getting offended.

Here are five questions that I get asked most frequently about term breastfeeding: Do they have teeth?

1. Do they have teeth?

Yes, I breastfeed my kids even though they have teeth. My son popped his first tooth at 10 weeks, so we have been breastfeeding with teeth for a very long time! But teeth don’t really get involved during breastfeeding. Think about when you suck on a straw that’s in a drink – you don’t need to bite the straw to make it happen.

2. But can they talk? Isn’t that weird?

Yes, my kids can talk. I don’t find it weird when they verbally ask for their milk, any more than I do when they ask me for toast or ice cream. When you think about it, they’ve been asking for it since they were born, just not using words. Even a newborn can let us know they are hungry.

That said, I have always called breastfeeds “milk”. I avoided the use of words like “titty”, and “boobs” because I personally find them a little crass and didn’t really want to hear those words coming out of my kids mouths. Generally speaking, my kids just ask for “milk”.

3. Do they grab your boobs and pull them out in front of people?

No, they don’t. My kids don’t “help themselves”, they ask. How they ask has evolved and changed over time, and has included:

  • Yawning, nuzzling and bobbing their head around for a lucky nipple that might happen to be close
  • Crying if I missed earlier cues
  • Gently placing a hand on the top of my breast, usually while looking at me with adorable, wide-open eyes (asking permission)
  • Putting their face near my breasts and making suckling faces and noises (demonstrating what they want)
  • Lying across my lap in the cradle position (showing me they are ready)
  • Simply saying “Milk” and later “Mama, can I please have some milks?”

It isn’t this way in all families – some kids help themselves and some parents are OK with that – basically, if the person who owns the breasts is OK with it, then it’s their decision and we should respect that.

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4. Why can’t you just give them a sippy cup or a bottle?

Let’s turn this question around. Instead of asking “why not”, tell me first, “why”? Why would I stop doing something that’s working for our family in favour of a solution that feels like more work? Introducing a bottle or sippy cup means I then have to spend money on buying them, spend more money when we lose or break them, and keep them clean and ready to go. I’m not signing up for that kind of workload if I don’t have to.

5. You’re doing it mostly for yourself though, right? I mean your kids don’t really need it.

It feels like this question is suggesting that I get some perverse enjoyment from having my boobs in my kid’s mouths, like I’m getting off on it somehow. I’m not.

Or is it suggesting that I breastfeed simply because I like to be able to brag about it? I’m not.

And how exactly do we define what another person “needs”? Who am I to draw a line in the sand when it comes to physical comfort? My daughter really “needed” 6 kisses before she went to sleep last night. Would it make sense to tell her she could only have 4? That seems unnecessarily arbitrary, especially when it’s not that hard to give a kiss, a cuddle or a breastfeed.

I don’t know exactly what people are implying when they ask this question, but I’ll tell you what – breastfeeding requires a certain amount of cooperation from my kids. I can’t force them to breastfeed when they don’t want to, anymore than I can force them to sleep when they don’t want them to, eat vegetables when they don’t want to, or wear shoes when they don’t want to. Any parent who has experienced a baby who can’t/won’t breastfeed should support me here – it takes two.

People will always have opinions about term breastfeeding, but I would encourage everyone to keep an open mind. One day it might be you who looks at your breastfed child, who is 11 months and 364 days old, and realise that they are still a baby. You may look at them, like I did, and realise that breastfeeding is too important to them still, for it to just be over simply because in one more day they will be a year old. My breastfeeding journeys with both kids have been so rewarding that I’ll always be thankful for my ability to let go of my opinions about age and breastfeeding, and just do what needed to be done.

Lauren is a passionate advocate of breastfeeding, and works with a number of associations to support mothers in their breastfeeding journey. She writes posts for Breastfeeders in Australia, and also has her own Facebook page for The Peaceful Lactivist.

breastfeeding baby over 12 months

Dear Struggling Mum, You Are Not Alone

This post is for all the struggling mums out there – whether it be a long-term struggle or temporary; whether it is struggling to get your kids to bed, or getting them out of bed; whether it is getting them to feed at all, or to stop feeding (over feeding or weaning). If you’re a struggling mum, struggling with your worth as a mother and a woman, struggling through anxiety or depression, struggling with relationship breakdowns, struggling with some amount of mum guilt, struggling with managing your priorities and time, struggling with keeping a clean home, struggling with fear of judgement. For all you mummas, this is for you x

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Dear Struggling Mum,

You are not alone. 

When the pressure seems to too much, and the fragile edges of your patience and motivation start to fray, you are not alone.

When you are tested to every limit, by a baby who refuses to sleep, or a toddler who refuses to eat, or a child who refuses to listen, you are not alone.

When you feel your emotions are slipping, your anger starting to boil, or the tears beginning to flow, you are not alone.

When you watch your baby along with the others, and start to feel your baby isn’t matching up, you are not alone.

When you wonder why your baby isn’t doing certain things like crawling or walking, and wondering why they are doing other things, like waking up at night or eating the sand, you are not alone.

When you sit there wishing you had more time for yourself, like 5 minutes to drink a hot cup of tea or coffee, or go to the bathroom alone, or even sit and watch a tv show or read a book without little eyes watching, waiting, and crying; you are not alone.

When you feel you’re being judged for the choices you make as a mother – whether to breast or bottle feed, slep train or not, whether to co-sleep or put your baby in a bassinet. You are not alone.

When you wonder if your body will ever bounce back to what it once was, with no stretch marks, excess skin, scars, or extra weight, you are not alone.

When you are waiting, and hoping, and praying that your child will stop crying while you’re in the middle of the shopping centre, with no immediate exits close by, you are not alone.

When you feel guilty about back to work and being away from your baby all day, and then feel guilty about being at home with your baby and not giving them space to grow their independence. You are not alone.

When you feel like you’re a single parent because you haven’t seen or properly spoken to your spouse since before your child was born, you are not alone.

When you are a single parent and you are on call 24/7, 365 days a year (sometimes even 366!), and the weight of this feels never ending, you are not alone.

When you feel anxiety and depression creeping in because you feel like there is no one else in the world who will understand, you are not alone.

To the struggling Mum: No matter what your struggle is, whether it be body image, sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, stress, cranky or overbearing children, relationship difficulties, or just the need for some TIME OUT – whatever your struggle is: you are not alone.

You are not alone.

There are mums all over the world experiencing the same struggles you are going through. There are other mums who are concerned about their weight, whether their baby is meeting milestones, or whether they will ever sleep again.

There are mums who are struggling to feed their babies, who are feeling anxious or depressed, and are single parents struggling to get through each day.

Whatever your worry, whatever your concern, whatever your struggle – please know you are not alone.

And above all else, please remember that it is ALL worth it.

For that little one who looks up to you. For that little one who is eager to see you. For that little one who needs you. For that little one who loves you.

You are their whole world, and they will make sure you are NEVER alone.

xx

 

 

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