My favourite thing about the Real Mums series has been meeting inspiring mums who are open to sharing their story to encourage other mums out there. I love meeting a range of mums to hear their diverse journeys, but I also like coming across mums that are similar to me too! The lovely Erin and I share a lot in common – mostly as primary school teachers, living in Sydney with small businesses on the side. I love that Erin is passionate about promoting play in the home and that she is sharing that with other mums (and dads) out there! Check out her story below!
Hi Erin! Thank you for joining us this week for our #RealMums Blog series. It is such a pleasure to be able to chat with you this evening! As a way of introduction, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
Thanks for having me, Fiona. I’m Erin, a Mum of two, wife and Primary School teacher. I am also the owner of Nappy Cakes by Erin and the founder of Celebrate Play. I live a very busy, yet simple life in Sydney. My greatest passions are family, organisation, gift-giving, helping others and lifelong learning. I enjoy adding fun to the mundane tasks of running a household by making things look pretty and practical without reinventing the wheel. My family love celebrating events together, going on adventures and keeping busy by learning new things.
What would we find you doing on an average day?
An average day for me is planned from beginning to end so I can fit everything in – we have adopted a few systems that allow for this (Daily 4, Power hour, Zone Cleaning, visual timetables etc).
My mornings begin rather early and I spend a short period of time focusing on Celebrate Play before the mummy duties begin. I work part time as a teacher during the day and on the days that I am not teaching, I can be found spending time with my children, family and following the mummy routine. At night and for a short time on the weekend, I tend to focus on Nappy Cakes by Erin, when my children are busily playing with Daddy and/or family.
What are your favourite ways to relax or unwind? (Do we get time as mums?!)
My favourite ways to relax and unwind are listening to music, reading blogs, shopping, socialising with family and friends and believe it or not – organising – tweaking our meal plan, rearranging our play space or putting together a celebration of sorts – I simply love it. My passion for organisation has always been evident, but it didn’t truly emerge until I was a beginner teacher with my very own classroom. I loved creating pretty and practical teacher programs, classroom resources and setting up fun and inspirational learning environments for my students. Many years later with the likes of social media, organisation blogs and Pinterest at my fingertips, my love for organisation has grown and due to experience, hindsight and motherhood, my organisation has evolved.
You own ‘Nappy Cakes by Erin’. Can you tell us the story of how you began this business, and how you fit it in with your life as a mum?
I have always enjoyed creative projects – colouring in, scrapbooking, cross stitching, art, photography – you name it! So when I had leftover newborn nappies from my children outgrowing them, the thought of designing a nappy cake came to mind. Really, I thought it would just be a bit of fun!!
The opportunity came around where I could share this nappy cake and give it to a family member so they could pass it on as a gift. I received such lovely and positive feedback that I decided to make another nappy cake so it was available for the next opportunity that rolled around. Before long, word started to spread and with this came Nappy Cakes by Erin. Since then, Nappy Cakes by Erin has grown to focus on celebrating motherhood and babies by giving our followers the opportunity to interact in daily thematic threads focusing on all things that encapsulate motherhood eg. house organisation, play ideas, recipes, magical moments spent with our family and so much more.
Nappy Cakes by Erin fits in my mummy schedule of a week night and for a short period of time on the weekend when my children are engaged with family.
You recently launched a wonderful new project in January called PROJECT PLAY (name change CELEBRATE PLAY). How did this come about and what does it involve?
Yes, I did. Celebrate Play came about from a few different personal passions and inspirations (many mentioned above). I love celebrating events – whether it be birthdays, baby showers, first day of school, welcome back to school and other special significant events. I really need no excuse to celebrate and quite often can be seen creating a celebration just for the enjoyment it creates. I am also a huge fan of making memories using the Project Life App (I highly recommend your readers to check it out), teaching and learning particularly in “The World of Play” along with helping others. With this combination of passions and inspirations and something a friend said that resonated with me, came the notion of creating a platform where play ideas could be shared for other Mums to use with their children. It so happened to line up with the school vacation in January which was simply great timing to launch such a series.
Celebrate Play involves the sharing of play ideas focusing on babies right through to primary aged children (one idea/day with instructions and suggested modification and extension ideas) along with daily motivational quotes related to play. Handy hints and tips on topics such as play organisation, toy rotation systems, creating inviting play spaces and effective storage solutions are discussed daily with further opportunities for members to showcase their creations, celebrate their wins, ask questions and provide inspiration to others. It is really just one big celebration!!
You have a new round of PROJECT PLAY coming next week (I will schedule this interview for the Thursday before the 1st March). How can people join this project?
Yes, we have a new group available starting 1st March in preparation for the April school holidays. People can participate by this link and requesting to join.
Now to get a bit more insight into your life as a mum – how do you like to fit play into your family life? Do you have a favourite play activity?
Play for my family is something we are able to schedule for everyday – whether it be play at home or an outing, only in the morning, or midday or in the evening or all day – some days are just meant for play. Most of our favourite play activities are focused around imaginative play eg. morning tea in a table cubby, real birthday parties (party food, decorations etc) for the soft toy crowd, puppet shows, pretend concerts and watching a movie in our cardboard box cars. Another recent popular play activity is science experiments eg. M and M’s in water, make your own bouncy ball.
What are your highlights as a mum? What are some of the challenges?
Highlights as a Mum – there are so many to choose from. One significant highlight has been watching my children grow and learn – everyday they seem to learn lots of new things. Another highlight is the opportunity to revist fond childhood memories and share them with my children.
Challenges as a Mum – there is often a few of them too – keeping up with my children can sometimes be tricky as they pass through the many phases child development brings , learning to let go and
Lastly, what advice would you give to new and prospective mums about to embark on their motherhood journey?
My best advice for new and prospective mums is my favourite all time quote “As you sit side by side through this roller coaster of life remember to scream from the peaks, hold hands through the dips, laugh through the loop-the-loops and enjoy every twist and turn for the ride is better because you share it together.” Celebrate motherhood, babies and play. Thank you for having me, Fiona. I hope your readers enjoy our chat.
Thank you so much for joining our Real Mums series Erin! To join the next round of Celebrate play (Starting 1st March), Join the group HERE, or visit Erin’s website ‘Nappy Cakes by Erin’ HERE, visit her Facebook HERE or Instagram HERE.