My #shopsmall faves – small, ethical & handmade businesses I adore for mama & child

kids, lifestyle & fashion, Motherhood, mum & baby

Being concious of our impact on the environment & buying smart whilst on a budget can be difficult I know, but supporting small, handmade & eco friendly businesses is something very close to my heart.

Coming from a family of makers & shakers myself, I have a deep appreciation for spending my money on things that were created out of someone’s passion & creativity, things that are made with love & pride, that take time to create & support families not big corporations & are ethically made ♡

These items stand the test of time & will be cherished by me & my littles until they are handed down to the next generation!

I find alot of things that I absolutely adore, but simply can’t afford to buy on our family’s budget. I get around this by taking advantage of sales & buying staple pieces I know we will get alot of use out of, whether it be toys, clothing or decor. Also Afterpay! If used carefully, this is a really useful tool.

I want to share some of my favourite small businesses with you all, these stores are all run by beautiful souls who share my appreciation for creativity, handmade, & the environment ♡

You will find some wonderful ideas for Christmas gifts this year which is fast approaching! For some of these stores I have a discount to pass on to you all too which makes it even nicer!

Shop mindfully for your style & budget and you’ll be left with a feeling of deep satisfaction rather than falling into the impulsive consumerism that blows up around this time of year! Think about the wrapping too – my kids love decorating recycled brown paper with jute string & making cards, great way to create personalised wrap & less impact on the environment by recycling where possible.

In no particular order, here are some of my favourite small biz stores!

Growing Kind

For all things nature play & montessori learning, you will find everything from wooden toys, play prompts, sensory & small world play, books and so much more! Use code MUMNEEDSCOFFEE for a discount!

Dough My Dear Playdough

My favourite playdough in the universe! Scented with the most beautiful aromas & 100% non toxic, perfect party gifts or stocking fillers for little ones! Use code MUMNEEDSCOFFEE for a discount!

Little Monkee Moos

Whimsical & realistic animal art by talented Aussie artist Ljae. Prints, flash cards & more, her art appeals to young & old alike!

Frankie Jae & Me

Beautiful leather footwear for little ones, designed in Australia & really well priced! My babes live in theirs! Use code FRANKIE10 for a discount!

Page & Pine

Handmade in Australia by a gorgeous couple, so many amazing wooden toys & decor! We love our alphabet blocks, their attention to detail is phenomenal!

My Family Book

Beautiful customised cloth books for little ones, these make a gorgeous gift to be cherished forever!

Mama + Daisy

Prints & cards with a difference – you plant them and daisies grow! Beautiful artwork printed on seeded card, I love these so much! They have a gorgeous Chistmas range too!

Francesca

Beautiful jewelry that can be personalised making it that little bit more special! Great gifts for mamas. Use code MUMNEEDSCOFFEE15 for a discount!

Mom k Baby

Handmade clothing & footwear for littles, her pieces are devine!!

Oliver & Amber

Handmade crochet goodies for littles, her fur pom beanies are my fave! She will not be reopening until March 2019

The Mum Life

For all things stylish for mama & child, so many beautiful brands stocked here! Clothing, decor & play. Use code MUMNEEDSCOFFEE for a discount!

Mini Zoo Shop

Your one stop shop for animal small world play! Australia’s biggest range of all the brands you love like Schleich, Mojo, CollectA & more!

The Small Folk

Photo via The Small Folk ♡

So many beautiful goodies that encourage holistic play & learning! Wooden toys, books, small world play & more.

Ladybug Custom Print Design

Custom prints, milestone cards & more! Her milestone cards are my fave, beautiful thick card, matte finish & rounded corners!

Klader & Hem

Think Scandi, eclectic & funky, here you will find so many unique gifts for all ages! Use code COFFEETIME for a discount!

Baeb Label

Photo via Baeb Label ♡

The sweetest Monstera leaf teether for all you tropic loving babes!

Baby Jumpie Store

Pic via Baby Jumpie Store

For all you monochrome loving mamas!

Itchy Baby Co.

A super useful gift for babies & new mums! We absolutely swear by this brand & the whole fam uses it. Aussie owned & made using all natural ingredients. Perfect for sensitive skin & eczema sufferers!

Bubstone

Baltic Amber & birthstone bracelets, anklets & necklaces, all handmade with such attention to detail!

Dusty Child

Photo via Dusty Child ♡

Beautiful clothing & accessories for all you boho beach loving babes!

Dannie and Lilou

Gorgeous handmade clothing for your littles, so many beautiful coordinating outfits for boys & girls, great for special occasions!

Fawn & Lace

Photo via Fawn & Lace ♡

Beautiful handmade bonnets that support women at risk. Eco concious, slow fashion pieces made with so much love!

Boho Motherhood

Photo via Boho Motherhood ♡

Gorgeous tees for mamas & littles & great selection of oil blends. Use code COFFEE10 for a discount.

Chasing Rivers

Pic via Chasing Rivers ♡

Gorgeous boho clothing for mamas & littles

Chalk Store

Curated vintage & eco friendly goodies including Osh Kosh overalls. Use code MUMNEEDSCOFFEE for a discount

Mondo Bazaar

Clothing for mamas & littles including brands like The Bee and the Fox, Savage Seeds, etc.

Piper & Me

Pic by @my3ratbagz3614

Gorgeous clothing for mamas & littles including matching sibling outfits

Eco Child

Pic via Eco Child ♡

Huge range of ecofriendly goodies for mamas & littles, this is where I buy our Natursutten dummies from!

Little Merchants

Hand woven, ethically made baskets, moses baskets etc.

The Lost Gypsies

Pic via The Lost Gypsies

Beautiful fashion for mamas and minis, designed & made in Australia

Harvest Bliss

Pic via Harvest Bliss

The most lucious range of all natural aromatic bath & body products

Lastly, I want to also include my little store!

Stylinmum

Bespoke tiedye & knitwear for babies, kids, adults & home! Custom orders are my specialty & every piece is one of a kind! Use code MUMNEEDSCOFFEEBLOG for a discount!

I hope you love these beautiful stores as much as I do!

This is not sponsored in any way, just sharing the love ♡

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Poca Designs Agile messenger camera bag – I’m LOVING it!

lifestyle & fashion, Motherhood

I’ve been searching for the perfect camera bag that i can take on my mini adventures & I’ve totally found it!

Designed in Australia, it’s got all the features you need without a hefty price tag. There are 3 sizes to suit your equipment needs, I have the medium size which easily fits my dslr, multiple lenses, charger, timer button, etc. I can even get 2x dslrs in there with a bit of tetris work! All the foam moulding inside attach with velcro so can be moved to suit your needs that day.

The bag consists of 2 separate parts – the inner bag which is rigid & padded and the outer bag, which is very lightweight & has stretchy mesh pockets that are super handy to hold your lens cap or your phone!

It also features an adjustable long strap with padding, this design is great as you can pop it across your chest with the bag at your back & it stays put, keeping all your gear within hands reach without getting in the way! It also hangs over the pram easily too, great for us mums who are juggling kids whilst taking photos!

It weighs practically nothing, super easy to clean & does a fantastic job of keeping your gear safe whilst still accessible. The multiple size options mean you can get a bag that is perfect for your needs – I particularly wanted something that wasn’t too big. Also, I love that it doesn’t look like an obvious camera bag!

If you love taking your camera out on adventures like I do & but want to make sure it stays safe, you need a good bag. This one is my pick!

Making the switch to cloth nappies #PlasticFreeJuly

Motherhood, mum & baby

Since I first became a mum the shock of just how many nappies we go through hit me hard. The amount of extra household waste we had was astronomical, just in our family alone. When you stop & think about how much waste is created worldwide if the majority of us are using disposables on our babies, it is mind blowing!!

Disposables take up to 500 years to decompose, which means every single disposable nappy that has been used by a baby since they were first made available in the 70s is STILL decomposing & will still be decomposing when my kid’s kids inherit this Earth!! This is not cool!

I don’t have enough time.

That was my number one excuse for not making this change sooner. With 3 kids, in between school runs & working from home, I figured I didn’t have enough time to cope with the extra washing that came with using cloth nappies. I also worried about the amount of nappies I’d be going through considering we go through about 8 – 10 disposables in a typical day.

Most of my preconceived worries came from my lack of knowledge, after trying them out, I have been so pleasantly surprised!

What I’m using:

Bambino Mio Miosolo nappies

These are an all in one design, the absorbent pad is joined to the nappy & slides inside, this prevents bunching up & makes it super easy to use, no fancy folding for you mama!

They have wide grippy tabs with the softest velcro ever!! They also feature snap tabs so you can contour the fit for a smaller bub (these fit from birth to potty training so one size fits all!)

I am using nappy liners too which makes number 2s a million times easier to clean up!

I have started with 3x nappies & a booster pad. If you are planning on converting full time to cloth, I’d say get about 7 nappies so you can keep them in rotation, we’ve been using on average 4 a day. These nappies retail for $29.95 each & the booster pad is $14.99 for a 3 pack.

To clean:

Mio fresh nappy cleanser & my standard washing powder

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

• Day 1 •

I prewashed our cloth nappies & packed away the disposables. I intended on replacing some, not all of our daily disposables with cloth at first, depending on how easy it was to keep up.

First nappy I changed was a big, sloppy poop. I pulled the liner out & rinsed the nappy off & put it straight in a bucket with a pinch of nappy cleanser & some warm water. Gave it a shake & left it to soak for 5 minutes before throwing it in the washing machine. Despite the nappy being completely soiled & my less than average domestic goddess status, it came out looking brand new!

Alex spent the rest of the day in his cloth nappies & the night too & we had zero leaks!

• Day 2 •

We woke to a full nappy, no leakage & popped on a new one. I’ve found he’s been pulling on his nappy alot less with the cloth ones, they seem to let his skin breathe alot more than disposables too & he has had no nappy rash or chaffing! Disposables tend to dry out his skin with the chemicals, I’m all for using the most natural products possible, especially on my babe!

I intended on using the extra pad at night, but i keep forgetting!

• Day 3 •

Today we went to the park in our cloth nappy, Alex was super comfortable & I didn’t need to change him until we got home.

He sleeps through the night & despite sleeping for a 8 – 10h block & me forgetting the booster pad, we have had zero leaks!! These nappies are alot more absorbent than a disposable & I’ve actually been changing him less often in the cloth!

While I had intended on starting off slow & working up to converting to cloth 100% of the time, the change has been so easy that we’ve basically converted already! Just in the 3 days we’ve been using cloth, we’ve had sooo much less household rubbish, it’s astonishing!!

To think about the impact it’s had on our family alone, it’s truly mind blowing to think about how much less landfill we’d have even if people even only converted to using cloth at home.

My only concern is being out & about & him filling his nappy with a number 2 & having to carry it around all day! A wetlock bag is a permanent addition to the nappy bag now.

After this, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to disposables except for convenience sake when we are holidaying or camping or those days when I have alot on my plate! I hope I can inspire even just a few of you to give cloth nappies a go, if not for the planet, then at least for your pocket!

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Bambino Mio nappies are available direct from their website, check out the whole range to find some to suit your style! We are using the new rainforest collection which has the cutest animal & nature inspired designs! I have been so impressed with every aspect of this nappy’s design & the customer service from this company, I can’t recommend them enough!

http://www.bambinomio.com

Sign up to their mailing list to save 15% off your order too!

This is not a paid post, all thoughts are my own & only my honest opinion!

#nappies #clothnappies #childhood #reducereuserecycle #baby

BIRTH OF A MAMA ♡ An evolution of mind, body & spirit

Motherhood

Motherhood ♡

Sometimes I think back to the person i was before i became a Mother & she seems like a complete stranger.

I was reckless, had no desire to grow old & lived completely in the moment. I had a whole lot of fun, but never felt content in what i was doing. When my first child was born, i loved him with every fibre of my being & found myself immersed in a new role as a stay at home mum which was both deeply satisfying & totally issolating at the same time.

I was 21 when I fell pregnant with my first babe. Not even one of my friends had a baby, this whole motherhood gig was all new to me & i didn’t realise how much it would be for me to adjust too, let alone without my network of friends around. My mother lived interstate so she wasn’t able to be around much either. My man was working long hours & we barely had any time to spend together. Slowly the days started to roll into each other & although i loved my new mama role, i felt so disconnected from my old self & the life i used to know.

This was such a tough time for me, around the 1y post partum mark I was in limbo – not the same person i was before bub, but also not ready to rock a mumbun everyday & swap recipes in mum groups. This is when I first started using social media to talk to other mums. Mums all over the world, who just like me, were struggling with one thing or another, coming together to form a village across the web.

This was exactly what i needed! Like minded mamas both new & experienced, guiding & building each other up. When i found my tribe, I found my peace, my mind frame shifted & I was able to become the Mother I wanted to be, rather than the one I thought I had to be.

I still took in all the advice, as any new mum knows it comes in copious amounts! The difference was, I nolonger wondered what I should be doing, I realised nobody has a clue anyway! I had faith in myself & the decisions I was making. Some of the ways I parent may be unconventional to some – I am not just their Mother, but their closest friend. I cosleep with my babies, not to say that it is right or wrong, but it’s what works for us. This is what i realised after finding my mama tribe, it’s not a matter of a right or wrong way to do things, but rather about finding balance. Picking your battles & standing strong on things that are close to your heart.

By the time I fell pregnant with my second babe, I was in a whole different mindframe. I was not only prepared emotionally & physically, but I had a network of mamas to share my journey with. This made it so much more enjoyable for me! These women were from all walks of life, some young, some old, bringing a wealth of information & support to each other. This tribe has helped me grow & evolve into the Mother I am now & I’ll be forever grateful to them!

When i fell pregnant with my third babe, my tribe just grew again. I loved sharing stories with other mamas, seeing their children grow, being that friend that they vent to when something is getting to them. It feels so good to give, especially when you can relate to what that person is going through. Only a Mother understands how you can be completely exhausted, in tears, pleading with your babe to just sleep so you can get some things done, then when they do go down, you spend the next 30 mins watching them sleep, in complete awe of this beautiful little creature that you grew ♡

It truly does take a village, not only to raise a child, but to build up a Mother & social media despite all it’s negatives has brought so much love into my life!

So just incase you haven’t heard it today, you are amazing & you’re doing an incredible job at this motherhood gig! Find your tribe & love them hard, we’re all in this together!

Mel xx

Mindful Motherhood tee from @bohomotherhood ♡

Dough My Dear Playdough – the most magical playdough in the land!

kids, Uncategorized

There is something very special about this playdough. Smooth to the touch, a delight to the nose & finished with that beautiful Dough My Dear stamp on top, it’s a little jar of pure magic!

My girl Luisa is the mama maker behind this brand. She is a true super woman!! She has 3 gorgeous babes & she runs this small biz with such a diligent & creative eye, I have loved watching it blossom over this last year!

All Dough My Dear playdough is 100% non toxic & made with all natural ingredients, so safe for tiny humans, even if they taste test it!

The range of shades available is devine, all with a unique scent that will have you cracking open a jar just so you can breathe in that sweet aroma! They truly are a delight to the senses ♡

They make a beautiful gift for little ones with that handmade touch, Something you know they will love, but that is also unique. Who doesnt love supporting small business too!

Playdough is not only a lot of fun, but it is phenomenal for a little one’s development of hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, imaginative play & exploration of their their senses.

Play based learning is what comes naturally to a child’s inquisitive, fun seeking mind & playdough offers limitless opportunities for them to learn & explore!

Check out this gorgeous playdough for yourself & use the code MUMNEEDSCOFFEE at checkout for 10% off!

https://www.instagram.com/doughmydearplaydough/

http://www.doughmydearplaydough.com

♡♡

Other brands featured in photos:

Alira’s dress, bow, socks & Alex’s romper from Ma Mer Sydney, Alex’s tiedye from Stylinmum, Alex’s leather boots from Frankie Jae & Me, socks from Little Light Feet & his crochet beanie from Oliver & Amber. Animals from Mini Zoo Shop. Crochet throw from Cintachild. Mini baskets from Little Merchants & Young Natives xx

#doughmydearplaydough #learnthroughplay #creativekids #ministylekids #kids #techfreeplay #playdough

Colourblind kids – how we knew our child was partially colourblind

Motherhood, Uncategorized

So our eldest child is red/green colourblind. Although we had reason to believe he might be (my Dad & uncle are both colourblind) it was clear from very early on, before he was old enough to even take the visual test at the optometrist!

I want to share with you all some of the early signs that we noticed.

From about the age of 2, little man was able to easily identify a colour & point to it when you said it, but he consistantly got mixed up with orange, pink, green & purple. Being the artistic person I am, i was immediately aware that all the colours he had trouble with contained tones of red or green, he especially had trouble if they were pastel colours. He also didn’t have much interest in colouring in but loved to draw.

The fact that we already had it in my genetics meant I was aware of this being a possibility already. We did the colourblind test at home online ( google Ishihara test ) sure enough, he answered most questions correctly without hesitation, except the orange/green ones which he struggled to see anything in!

So with our suspicions confirmed by our home test, we booked him in with the optometrist and had his colour vision checked – hello red/green colourblind diagnosis!

As far as treatment goes, there is none that I am aware of, however having the diagnosis was useful not only to be sure ourselves, but this is crucial information for his teachers to know when he started school!

There are some new things out there like the Enchroma glasses – they have lenses that up the contrast of colours and help a colourblind person see the world the way that a person with good colour vision does.

We haven’t tried these ourselves, but a friend who also has colourblind children has them and they have had fabulous results! They are quite expensive, but if you can afford them I’d totally give it a go!

Ultimately, this diagnosis just confirmed what we already thought, but knowing this has helped his teachers understand why he might mistakingly identify colours & also helped him understand why he was finding it so hard!

Useful links:

Enchroma glasses:

http://www.enchroma.com

Ishihara test:

http://www.color-blindness.com/color-blindness-tests/#ishiharatest

The basics of shooting in manual mode on your DSLR camera – put simple!!

lifestyle & fashion

So many people these days buy a decent dslr camera & shoot on auto 24/7. While you will get good images this way, if you want to really take control of your shot & experiment with different effects, you need to be shooting on manual mode!

When you are a rookie, all the technical terms can be confusing, so I want to break it down super simple so it doesn’t seem so daunting!

There are 3 main settings to think about when shooting in manual mode – shutter speed, aperture & ISO. I’ll outline the basics of each below:

Shutter speed

This is the amount of time your shutter stays open for when taking a shot and in turn, the amount of light that enters your shot. As a general rule, if you want to capture movement in focus, your shutter speed will be need to be quite high. While if you are taking a long exposure say of the night sky, a longer shutter speed will work better. If you are taking long exposures, you really need a tripod!

Aperture

Your aperture refers to the part of your lens that gets bigger or smaller and allows more/less light to enter your shot & controls your depth of field. Think of it like your eye’s iris, when you enter a dark room they dilate big, absorbing more light to give you clearer vision of what’s immediately in front of you, but not so much the backround. Walk out into the sunshine and they shrink, and your eyes can easily focus on both the foreground & backround. If your natural lighting is good, an aperture around f 5.6 should be a good starting point.

As far as depth of field goes, a wide aperture will blur the background and focus on the foreground, whereas a narrow aperture will increase your depth of field & keep the subject & background both in focus. This needs to be adjusted depending on what ISO & shutter speed you are using to get the correct exposure. Your aperture is narrow at the larger end of the numbers and widens as the numbers decrease ( for example f32 is very narrow )

You are better off having an underexposed or darker pic to edit with, you can fix that, but an overexposed image is not as easy to correct, if possible at all!

ISO

Your ISO is, put simply, how sensitive to the light your lens is. A high ISO can be quite grainy, I only use a high ISO when I’m shooting starry night skies or in low light. If you are in good lighting, keep your ISO low. This needs to be adjusted according to your aperture to get the effect you’re after whether it be dark & moody or light & bright!

So next time you’re snapping away on auto, flick it to manual mode & experiment! You will be amazed at how much more control you have over your shots this way and probably realise your camera was capable of much more than you knew!

Below is a series of shots that I was playing with different shutter speeds to show the difference. Both the ISO & aperture are the same on all 4 pics:

Above – f 5.6 ISO 100 shutter speed 1/1000

Above – f 5.6 ISO 100 shutter speed 1/800

Above – f 5.6 ISO 100 shutter speed 1/500

Above – f 5.6 ISO 100 shutter speed 1/200 (overexposed)

Above – shutter speed 1/250 ISO 100 F10

Above – shutter speed 1/1250 ISO 100 F5.6

Above – shutter speed 1/200 ISO 100 F8.0

Above – shutter speed 1/800 ISO 100 F4.5

Above – shutter speed 1/250 ISO 100 F10

Above – this one I brightened in editing shutter speed 1/1000 ISO 100 F5.6

Above – Edited for IG

Above – 2 examples of auto mode

Above – shutter speed 1/800 ISO 100 F3.5

Use light! Shooting at golden hour (as the sun sets & rises) make for beautiful images. Shadows can bring a lot of mood to your image, especially in back & white too!

As a mum of 3, I love having my dslr to capture all these beautiful memories being made! I am not a professional photographer, self taught & I learned most of what I know from studying YouTube tutorials, blogs, photography forums & joining community groups and also by experimenting! I highly recommend you do the same, You shouldn’t be afraid of shooting on manual mode, it is so much fun!

I’ll include a screenshot of the display on my Canon DSLR, while it may look different on your camera if it’s a different brand, the basics are universal with all dslr cameras so it should give you an idea:

Top left – shutter speed

Top middle – aperture

Top right – ISO

Also… always shoot in RAW for the greatest image quality, this will give you the best quality shots to edit later! RAW images are large files so you will need a decent SD card too, buy the best you can afford!

Once you have wrapped your head around this, immerse yourself in the sea of online tutorials by professional photographers! When you understand the terminology, it’s a lot easier to keep up and you will learn so much more than I could possibly pass on myself!

Photography is an art form, it’s not about being the best, people like different styles and learning from a vast resource like the online community will expand your knowledge more than you can imagine & give you the tools to get the most out of your camera and the shots you want!

If you are a professional photographer & have any tips to add, useful links or things to correct me on, please comment below! I hope this helps some people understand their cameras a bit better 😁 same goes if you have any questions I’d be happy to help just comment below ♡

Tip – Google ‘dslr basics’ and check out images, there are heaps of really useful pics that visually explain the differences of settings, I found this so helpful when I was learning! From there you will be on the path to many useful blogs & articles too, it is endless the wealth of information put out there by professionals!

DIY kid’s teepee – easy & inexpensive! 

lifestyle & fashion, mum & baby, Uncategorized

I want to share how I made my kid’s teepee! – this was a super easy project & cost under $40 to make. You can customise the fabric & decorations to suit your space too!

What you need:

4x 1.2m 18mm pieces of wood dowel – I got mine from Bunnings. You could go bigger if you have the space for it! This is a good size for 2 – 6 year olds. Around $7 each

3m twine or leather thonging – ebay baby!

Bed sheet or fabric (approx 5m x 2m) – I used 2x single bed sheets I picked up at the op shop, upcycle for the win!

Decorations – I used 30cm of black feather trim & a piece of boho cotton trim. There is a mini dreamcatcher inside too! 

Sewing machine & thread

Felt sticky feet for the bases of poles (optional)

Paint to decorate the wooden poles (optional)

Let’s do it!

If you are painting your wooden poles, do this first! Then relax until they are fully dry 😉

Now lay your piece of fabric out and place 2 of your wood poles out in a 45° angle as shown below. Size up your triangle which you will need to cut 5 of (8 if you want the entire fabric piece to be reversible, just do 4 in one fabric and 4 in a contrast fabric or all on the same fabric!)

Keep in mind you should leave about 20cm at the top to allow room for the poles to stick out. You should also allow about 1cm for a seam allowance. Cut your triangles out and set 2 pieces aside (one of each fabric if you are doing reversible) 

Join 3 pieces together along the side seams (if you are doing reversible you have to sew your triangles together & turn out before joining them) 

Now with your 2 pieces you set aside, sew together, then stitch a joined double line as shown 2/3 of the way up. Cut in between the line & turn out. Then join to your other pieces.

Now you can hem the top & bottom & you’re done! Place your wooden poles in & one at a time, line up the poles with your fabric seams & wrap the bottom fabric corners securely to the bottom of the poles – this should pull the fabric flat & stabilize the teepee from falling over while still allowing it to be folded up for storage easily. See my pics for how the poles should sit at the top – they sort of lay on each other in a fanned style.

Next, sew the feather garland to a piece of twine or leather. I also used a piece of boho style cotton trim & attatched some feathers to the ends as well. Then tie around the top of the teepee. Add some non mark felt/ rubber feet to the bottom of your wood poles & you have a beautiful teepee your kids are going to love playing in! 

Perfect calm spot to do some reading too! It’s also really easy to fold up & take in the car for a photo shoot at the park, beach, etc.

Decorate with whatever cushions & rugs you are vibing with. Choosing demure colours for the teepee fabric like beige & monochrome make it easy to change the look with add ons, accessories can be changed whenever you like!

Some other ideas for decorating :

•Faux flowers & greenery

•twinkle lights

•lace, doilies & ribbons

•fur rugs or those felt ball rugs would be super cute!

•wooden quote/name plaques 

•You could hand paint the fabric – get the kids in on it!

You can hang things from the top of the poles either inside or outside the teepee!

I hope you enjoy this DIY project as much as we did! The kids love it so much and I love that it didn’t cost a fortune and we were able to upcycle fabric too! It’s so easy to add your own touches to this idea and have a really unique piece for your little one’s room!

Please note: your child should be supervised at all times when playing in any teepee! They can fall over especially if pulled! 😘

Alex’s 1st Birthday & beach cake smash plus tips for a successful DIY shoot!

kids, mum & baby

For my son’s 1st Birthday, we decided to do a cake smash!

This was the first cake smash I’d been to or attempted, I’ve seen so many awesome photos though, I had to give it a go!

There were a few things that made it run alot smoother than I expected it to, which I want to share incase anyone else is thinking of attempting their own!

Having someone there to help was oh so handy! No way I could have managed wrangling all 3 kids and setting up for the shoot! I will go over what we did below.

Location:

We chose the beach as it’s a beautiful backdrop and comes complete with a big bath for clean up! 😉

Outfit:

I had a few outfits in mind, but ultimately decided his birthday suit would be best! We did however put swimming pants on him because he’s a boy… he won’t leave it alone if it’s out! 😂😂

Props:

I chose to put a sheet down under him to minimize the amount of sand in the cake. I burried the edges into the sand and placed a few props like a coconut, shells, Schleich animals and a funky balloon. All finished off with the 1 year milestone card on a mini clipboard which worked out great as I could just stick it into the sand!

I tried to stick to the colour palette of monochrome and blues so everything tied in nicely with the colours of the beach.

Cake:

I totally cheated on the cake!! $7 mini mudcake from Wollies & a tub of Betty Crocker frosting with a dash of blue food colouring – that’s all I did!

I froze the cake the night before as I knew it was going to be a hot day especially out on the sand. This was an awesome move! The cake was perfect when it came time for him to smash it & held up well for the pics too!

Product pics taken from google

We now have some great pics to look back on & it was seriously so much fun!! The big kids thought it was hilarious and Alex needed no encouragement to get into it!

All pics were shot on my Canon dslr. I tell everyone I know who becomes a parent – invest in a decent camera!

You will take countless pics of your kids thoughout life, having a dslr has enabled me to get creative with my pics, if you are like me and enjoy getting artistic with your shots, this opens a whole new world of fun!

Clean up was a breeze!

The aftermath

You bet we ate it afterwards!

We even managed to get some nice Mummy & me pics afterwards too!

And a few snaps from home 😊

Milestone blocks from Page and Pine

Leopard swaddle from Piccolo and mi

Anklet from Faith Design Jewelry

1 week old – keeping track of height with this eucalyptus branch

12 months old

Tiedye – Stylinmum & teether – Modern Monty

Store details:

Schleich animals – https://www.minizoo.com.au/categories/

Milestone card – https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/LadyBugPrintDesigns

Tiedye – https://stylinmum.myshopify.com/

Balloon – http://www.thepartyshere.com.au

Cake – http://www.woolworths.com

Anklet – http://www.faithdesign.com.au

Milestone blocks – http://www.pageandpine.com

Teether – http://www.modernmonty.com

My birth story #3 – Alex Ronin

Motherhood, mum & baby

● 10pm Sunday 11th December 2016 ●

My contractions started at the same time as they did with my last 2 births! Feint and totally bearable, I told Allan I think tonight might be it! This had been happening most nights for a week or so but this night felt different! Our estimated due date was the 13th.
I carried on as the contractions continued to progress, they were coming every 15 mins. I’d heard that the more babies you have the shorter your labours get, so i was mentally preparing myself for having this baby soon considering my last 2 labours were under 7 hours of ‘active labour’!

● About 2am Monday 26th ●

I continued labouring on, about 2am my contractions were 10 – 12 mins apart but not consistant. I continued to potter around the house doing things to pass the time. At around 3am I woke Allan up and told him I was in labour, we made a cuppa and discussed when we should call my Mum.

We decided that it was best to call her soon as things had progressed so quickly with the last 2 births, we didn’t want to get caught out and have to drag the whole family down to the birthing suite! So I called my Mum and she excitedly made the hour drive up to our house.

● Around 5am Monday ●

I decided to lay down as I was starting to worry that my Mum wouldn’t get here in time. I lay in my daughter’s bed and silently dealt with the contractions as they came.

My Mum arrived and my contractions were still 10 mins apart. I didn’t feel like things were going with the same momentum as my last labours, I didn’t feel like anything was wrong though either. I had a massive headache so continued to lay down and time my contractions for the next few hours.

● Around 3pm Monday ●

Hours passed, The pain was getting more intense by this stage and my contractions were still 10 mins apart. Mum offered to take the kids back to her place so we could have some space and i gladly agreed. While my 8 year old was nothing but helpful, my 2.5 year old not so much! We said our goodbyes and they left for Grandma’s house.

Allan and I started to pack the car and get the last bits & pieces ready. My contractions were getting stronger and were about 8 mins apart now. It was a stinking hot 36°C & I was absolutely exhausted! I’d been awake for over 40 hours by this stage.

I had a shower and my headache started to fade. Maybe it just wasn’t as noticable due to my contractions getting stronger, but i felt a new wave of energy take over me. I laboured on at home with Allan. By around 8pm my contractions were 5 mins apart and i could barely speak through them now.

Time felt like it was going so slowly! The fact that i was taking note of the time every 5 – 10 mins for the past day or so didn’t help I’m sure. I powered on until not long after midnight when I felt like we should leave now in case things move quickly like the last births… I was still hopeful that might happen!

● around 12:45am Tuesday 13th ●

We got in the car and drove to the hospital. My contractions were strong but the roads were quiet, so it was a very uncomfortable, but quick drive.

We arrived at the hospital and made our way through emergency as the main doors were all closed. A midwife came down to bring us up to the ward and she asked me a few questions while we walked. I had to stop with each contraction as I just couldn’t move during them. She didn’t seem convinced I was in proper labour and told me to wait by the desk while she checked if the room was ready because they had just cleaned them and the floors were still wet.

We waited there for what seemed like an eternity! My contractions were so strong now and I was so uncomfortable sitting on the plastic chairs that I started to pace the floors and lean on the wall through the contractions. The uncontrollable moans began, I wanted a bed or a bath so badly! A different midwife popped her head out for a moment & said they’d be with us real soon. I found out afterwards the reason I was left waiting so long was there was an emergency cesarean that required all hands on deck, i thought they had just forgotten about me!

● a little after 2:00am Tuesday ●

Eventually the original midwife came back and looked surprised at how much I’d progressed. She took us into the birthing suite and checked me and i was 8cm dilated! This is when I think she realised that I was having this baby alot sooner than she thought!

I said I really wanted to get in the bath so she helped Allan get it running then strapped me up to monitor bubs and told me I’d have to have this on for 10 mins or so first so they could make sure baby was happy in there. She went to get the happy gas tank so I could use it while I was in the bath and gave me the wall mounted mask for now and said she’d be back soon.

I sucked down that happy gas fighting the urge to rip this constrictive strap off my belly. It was so uncomfortable! The bath was taking forever to fill up! I was exhausted and determined to get this baby out, I’d had enough of being in labour!

The midwife came back with the tank and checked over the readings of baby’s monitor. She was happy that he was ok and took the monitor off. She told me I could get in the bath when it was ready and to just buzz her if I felt like it was time to push and went to get a few things that were in another room.

My contractions were so strong by now, I couldn’t get comfortable any way I laid. I was sucking down that happy gas taking breaks from it every 3rd or so breath as it was giving me head spins as the contractions came one after another at full force.

My baby was crowning and I started pushing without even thinking about it. The midwife heard me and came in holding a tray for the placenta and the scissors and dumped them on the bench and came straight over. “You were supposed to buzz me when you felt like pushing!” She said as she forced my body down onto the bed. My legs were locked, pelvis raised off the bed, I had so much pressure on my lower back and I could barely move, I was trying to get my body down but it just wasn’t listening!

She said to me “You need to do exactly what I tell you or you’re going to tear honey” I took a deep breath and followed her directions to push then stop, push then stop… after a few pushes, his head was out and with the next push my water broke like a tsunami right in the face of the midwife who was trying to position baby better for the final push.

The sound of my waters splashing onto the floor was like someone filled a bucket to the brim and straight up dumped it over our midwife. I felt so terrible and apologized repeatedly. Allan laughed! I would have too had I not been in so much pain!

The midwife couldn’t open her mouth to speak because I’d just covered her in my bodily fluids, so she dumped Alex on me and threw a blanket over him and quickly left to clean up. The time was 2:56am ❤

I held his tiny face against my own and closed my eyes and just took him in. I physically felt our connection flowing through to each other ❤ Then, all slimy with his little furrowed brow, he quietly stared at me as i stared back telling him how much i loved him and in complete awe in my oxytocin state of bliss!

Another midwife had come in when my waters broke because she heard the splash so she was cleaning up the floor around the bed so they could get to me without slipping over.

She congratulated us and laughed about my water breaking on the other midwife and told me I wasn’t the first Mum to do that and certainly won’t be the last. She said she just couldn’t believe how much there was and how loud the splash was!

Alex and I were on cloud 9 having some skin to skin, cord still attached. That feeling of being connected but separate at the same time was surreal and I could feel an energy passing through us both that is hard to describe with words. Time stood still for a little while for us then ❤

The original midwife came back in and apologized for taking off explaining that she had to clean up. I apologized profusely and told her not to worry about leaving and thanked her for all her help. She told me “You basically did the whole thing on your own!” We laughed about the bath finally being ready while Allan cut the cord and I delivered the afterbirth then they weighed and measured him before handing him back to me.

My vision started to go blurry and I couldn’t focus on anything! I felt completely fine otherwise but I just couldn’t see straight! “I can’t focus on anything!” I said. The midwife seemed unfazed and said “well let’s get your stitches done now then!” The doctor came in and told me I barely needed stitches, but it would just make things heal a bit quicker so she stitched me up as I held my babe staring at each other as I told him how much I loved him and how incredibly cute he was!

We were back in that love bubble that forms around you when you hold your baby for the first time. Pure bliss! He had the cutest little mohawk just like his siblings and I was so in love ❤
I helped him latch on and he had his first feed of liquid gold. I was feeling like an old hand at this now being my third baby!

The midwife explained that because i had gestational diabetes, they might need to give bub a bottle of super sugar rich formula before i can go to the ward if his blood sugar was too low. He was just under the ideal level, so we gave him the bottle which he gulped down and started feeding on the boob again. She checked his sugar levels and he was all good, so she told us she would get them to prep a room in the ward for us and we could head down soon.

Because it was 3 in the morning, the ward was so quiet. We snuck into the room quietly and I apologized one more time for covering the midwife in amniotic fluid and she gave me a hug and laughed and told me not to worry and that I did so well.

We settled into bed and Allan and I talked for a bit and then he left for home. We would have to introduce him to everyone when the sun came up & visitors were allowed in!

So for the next few hours, as tired as I was, I didn’t sleep. I stared at our baby as morning light began to seep into the room. Alex slept though, I changed his nappy and fed him without him batting an eyelid, My little zen baby ❤

I stared at him for so long! It never gets old no matter how many times you give birth. Just laying eyes on your bundle that you are already so in love with leaves you in complete awe!

We ended up going home the next morning so we literally had no visitors in hospital! It was actually really nice! Having that time to bond without interuptions was beautiful.

I become quite animalistic when I give birth & I don’t like the idea of passing a newborn around for cuddles, you don’t do that with animals, you let mama bond with her babes & observe from a distance. Each to their own, but that’s my feelings 😊

We arrived home and soon after Grandma came with the siblings! Alira was not too sure about him, didn’t really acknowedge him, it took her about 24 hours to go from indifferent to utterly obsessed and chanting ‘mine baby’ all day! She claimed him haha!

Jacob absolutely fell in love in an instant, just like he did when Alira was born!

And just like that, our tribe became 5! ♡♡♡♡♡