Inspirational Monday – Natalie creator of Nattydesigns

Meet          Natalie

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From         NattyDesigns

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

Originally I’m from the UK and moved to Sydney 8 years ago for work and haven’t looked back, I love it over here. I used to work as a full time packaging designer but for the last 5 years I have been contracting and mainly working from home, I love the flexibility of working for myself but it can have its down sides too (paperwork, I hate).

All my packaging work is computer based and I missed being physically creative so I started making my cards again which also kept be busy during quiet times of contracting.

How did NattyDesigns come about and why?

NattyDesigns has been around for long time, after leaving university in 2001 I did some bar work while looking for my chosen career path, I missed being creative so I started the play around with cards, papers, jewellery making and pretty much anything hands on, I’ve always been creative/ artistic since childhood so it was a natural fit. I sold my cards back then in some local shops, friends, family and word of mouth.

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Can you tell our readers a little about it and where you source your ideas from?

Where my ideas come from is a hard one to pin down really as they come from so many places, fashion, nature, materials, I love shopping for pretty things and have a collection nick-nacks, ribbon, buttons, papers & cards which I’ll play around with until I’m happy with a design.

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What is your most popular design ?

Wow that’s a hard one as I have so many but my Christmas range is big at the moment, particularly my little cute reindeer’s.

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Where do you create and make all your work?

Our spare room is my little hub, I have my PC for my design work and a separate desk for all my creating, I have drawers, boxes & jars full of beautiful papers, cards, ribbons, buttons & nick-nacks.

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How do you juggle working and a family?

Juggle is certainly he right word to use, I’m not going to say its easy far from it some days as you feel like you don’t stop from getting up to going to bed, but watching your little one develop, learn and grow is priceless and worth all the hard work and sleepless nights.

I try to do most of my work while she is either napping or at night or weekends when my husband can look after her but I try make sure we make time for fun stuff altogether each night and weekends.

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Parenting has definitely changed since I was small, I think there is a lot more pressure on woman to return to work in fear that they will loose stature in their careers if they take too much time off with their children, even my sister who is 10 years older than me said “child care was never even a consideration” this was a main topic in my mothers group!

Dads play a much bigger role these days too which I think is great & important for both the child and mum, they are much more hands on well at least all the people I know.

 Have your own self expectations changed since having children? How?

I think for me it has to be realizing that I can’t do everything all of the time and being more realistic as to what I can fit in a day.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

hahaha this is a great question, do you want the list….

I swore I wouldn’t give our child a dummy, well that lasted all of about a 2 weeks, my daughter was a comfort sucker not much fun when you’re breastfeeding, she still has it now at 14 month for sleeping which we are slowly weening.

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

My daughter wakes us generally 6-6:30am although sometimes that can be earlier, she always come into our bed for morning cuddles. Breakfast around 7am, Chloe plays in her cot while I shower quickly unless I have been lucky enough to sneak one in before the hubby leaves. Once we are both ready we often go out for a walk to the park/ run errands or play at home if the weathers wet, she’s just starting to pay an interest in crayons and finger paints which is great fun.

Lunch is around 11:30am and then its time for her nap, this is when I get my time to create & do any design work, wash the dishes, do the washing and any other chores that need to be done. Once she has woken its play time, dinner for her is around 5pm we sometimes watch a few cartoons while we wait for daddy to come home and then 6:30 its bath, book, bottle and bed. My husband generally puts her to bed while I prepare/cook dinner then its upstairs for me around 8pm to sit down and do some more work.

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

A couple of things I’d say, having a loving and supportive husband as the early days and sleepless nights can get tough, I have a new found respect for single mums (and dads). Having a great mothers group to support each other and my work.

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

Don’t be too hard on yourself we all try to be super-mums these days but remember you’re not superwoman!

Find out more and take a look at Natalies gorgeous creations..

facebook.com/cards.nattydesigns

or email her on

natttydesigns.au@gmail.com

Inspirational Monday – Sophie from Small to TALL

Meet    Sophie Ellis

Jack-Sophie-Cam

From     Small to TALL

Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

I’m English by heritage, born in Hong Kong and spent my primary years in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. I then went to the UK to study and started off my career in London in digital production during the early days of the internet.

After 5 years working as a digital producer I specialised in the area of user experience design which is a fancy way of saying I help businesses design a product for the people who actually use it. During my 15 year career, I have worked with a number of large eCommerce, Financial Services and News Media clients both in London and Sydney. I still consult part-time and am currently working with consumer association CHOICE on redeveloping their website.

I came to Sydney, Australia with my now husband in 2003. We intended to stay for a couple of years but it seems we are still here :)

Small to TALL – love it – how did the name come about and why?

Thank you so much! I have a nephew in the UK who is two years older than my eldest son, Jack, so we were lucky enough to receive lots of fantastic hand-me-downs. I struggled to find similar items at a similar price in Sydney and knew that other mum friends felt the same. After many a playdate moaning with Sarah, a good friend from my mothers’ group, we as good as dared each other into setting up shop and our new baby was born.

Sarah and I worked together to set up Small to TALL and ran it as a partnership for the first couple of years. At the start of this year, Sarah made the difficult decision to leave the partnership as she wasn’t able to give the time to it any longer. I decided to give it a go alone which was a massive change but it has been a really exciting time for me.

Can you tell our readers a little about your Small to TALL and your products.

Small to TALL is about finding gorgeous gear for kids that doesn’t cost the earth, literally. When we started, Sarah and I very quickly realised the importance of developing relationships with designers and labels who stood for same things we believe in. This enabled us to build a collection of ethically produced clothing and accessories which use recycled or organic materials and sustainable methods of production.

What are some of the most popular items and where do you source them from?

Our most popular local label is Anarkid organic baby wear [www.smalltotall.com.au/anarkid] designed by the very talented Kelli Marchewka. These items are so popular because they are gorgeous but they are also made from high quality, soft organic cotton and printed with non-toxic dyes. It is also very affordable. Win, win, win!

Our collection by London label Boys&Girls is also really popular [www.smalltotall.com.au/boys-girls]. This is a fun and playful label which is more playground than country and it resonates well with our Sydney and Melbourne customers. The majority of their pieces are designed to be unisex, which I love as they can be handed down regardless. These items are also ethically produced in GOTS certified organic cotton using non-toxic dyes. Quality at a great price.

Finally, one of our most popular items this year have been our First Baby Shoekits [www.smalltotall.com.au/first-baby-shoes] designed by a lovely family business in Poland. These kits come in a lovely little gift box with a full set of instructions and all the bits and pieces you need to hand sew baby’s first pair of shoes. The kits are a great present for a new arrival.

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How do you juggle working and a family?

Add into the mix that I am still working in my first career, it can be tricky! Some weeks are more productive than others and I am learning not to be too hard on myself during those weeks where the to do list ends up longer at the end of the week than at the start. It is easy to panic when there is no one else to pick up the slack and it is tempting to just keep going into the wee hours of the morning, but, in the long run, it’s not sustainable and sometimes you just have to cut yourself some slack. At the end of the day, the boys have to come first.

I am nearing the point of no return, where I am ready to take the big leap into focusing solely on Small to TALL, I can’t wait!

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Yes I do. I think there is a lot more focus on what parents should and shouldn’t be doing than when I was being raised. I try to parent in the same way I was raised, relaxed and with love and guidance where needed. I try not to take on board everyone else’s opinion (and everyone seems to have one!). On the flip side, there is a lot more information and support out there to help guide parents nowadays, which has been pretty invaluable to me.

Can you describe to our readers your work place..

Sure, I have commandeered our spare room as my study! It runs the risk of been overtaken by family life but it means I can pick up work whenever I have a spare minute. I love working from home as it gives me so much flexibility, although you have to know when to switch off!

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? How?

Yes, in a way. I guess I still have the same expectations of myself and what I want to achieve but the focus has shifted. Having children has really motivated me to create a sustainable business that gives me the flexibility I need as a mother to give my children the support that I feel is important.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

Haha, so many little things! I think the biggest shock is when I hear my own mother’s come out of my mouth. “Don’t do that, it’ll end in tears!”. I see my children making the same face I used to give my own Mum :)

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

My week is broken up into 2 ‘mummy days’, 2  ‘work days’ and a short ‘Small to TALL day’. I do get some Small to TALL time in during ‘mummy days’ but my rule is to primarily be with my boys on those days and give them the choice of what they would like to do.

It’s always a mad dash on ‘work’ days, doing two drop offs and getting to the office or back to my home office. The days fly by in a mad dash to get as much as I can done and then it’s off to pick up. I’m usually running late. Then dinner, play, showers, stories, bed.. wine.. aaah! I usually hit the computer of an evening to catch up on things if I can face it.

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

My mum has helped me enormously in my being a mother. Although she is on the other side of the world she has a lot of wisdom to share if I ask. She was (and still is) a great Mum. Calm, kind, full of laughter and always patient. I am not always all (or any) of those things but having a good role model has helped!

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

If there is ever any concern that you might be getting above your station, just hang out with the children…”Mum, why are you going out in your pyjamas?”

Check out Small to TALL here

https://www.facebook.com/smalltotall

http://www.smalltotall.com.au/

Inspirational Monday – Stacey from The Veggie Mama

Meet Stacey

vegetable mama

From  The Vegetable Mama

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

I married my best friend in 2007 and we travelled. I finished a degree in journalism, politics, and international relations while also working as a high school teacher aide and vacation care educator. I was a newspaper editor for a while and then taught media law and on-line journalism at uni just before (and for a few years after) my babies were born.

How did The Vegetable Mama come about and why?

newspaper editor looking for a post-baby job + wanted to write about food but had never had any food articles published = food blog as potential portfolio. Once I realised you could carve out a career as a blogger, and write from home around your kids, I was sold. I have been honing my craft ever since.

Can you tell our readers a little about it and where you source your ideas from?

Initially, it was a food blog and the ideas all came from my making a ton of vegetarian recipes and everyone wanting to know what they were. Then I had babies and people liked my stories about motherhood. Now I’m a mix, and my ideas come from being a vegetarian work-at-home mum with
a toddler and a preschooler. That’s a lifetime of blog posts right there!

What is a great recipe you can suggest for busy parents that is easy yet full of vegetables?

I always want to say soup, but not all kids will eat soup. Neither of mine will touch it with a ten-foot pole, despite my repeated attempts! So I do second-best – a super-easy veggie-tomato sauce that I just throw together from whatever’s in the fridge, and serve on pizza and with pasta.

http://theveggiemama.com/2013/08/meatless-monday-wholemeal-tomato-pasta-for-fussy-toddlers/

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http://theveggiemama.com/2014/08/hidden-veggie-pizza-scrolls/

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How do you juggle working and a family?

Very poorly up until a few months ago! It was by the seat of my pants, and I never felt like I was on top of it all. Now I’ve got more of a routine and some structure, which involves only doing certain tasks on certain days so I stop wasting time. The girls also go to day care two days a week so one day is devoted to writing and creative things, and the other day is a meeting.

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Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Yep, I think there is too much worry, and judgement from other mothers. I know I’ll never be able to let my kids out to play all day unsupervised like I’d like to (and like I did as a kid), there will always be someone wanting to frown upon my free-spirited choices. And tell me about it.

Can you describe to our readers your work place..

The laundry.

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? How?

I have to simultaneously require more of myself (patience) and cut myself some slack (when a tough day means I’m not patient).

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

Refer to myself as “mummy” in the third person.

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

Eat half my breakfast, wrestle two small kids into clothes, brush all of the teeth, and then a mix of refereeing fights, laundry, overseeing sharing, laundry, washing dishes, picking playdough up off the floor, more fight refereeing, reading Winnie the Pooh, laundry, cutting crusts off sandwiches, picking up apple off the floor, laundry, checking email, vacuuming, shouting down the stairs to stop doing something This Minute, forgetting to put the laundry away, trying to go outside for some portion of the day, wondering if it’s bedtime yet, having plenty of intentions about getting some work done, fail at that, make dinner, bath kids, pass out.

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What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

My husband.

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

When all else fails… TV.

Read more about Stacey, here recipes and her fantastic blog that I am now hooked on!!

https://www.facebook.com/VeggieMama/info

http://theveggiemama.com/

Babywearing Week Winner!!!

Last week we held a competition to win a Manduca Carrier for babywearing week.

Manduca

And the winner is….. (drum roll….)

Caroline Dale!!

Congratulations Caroline – we can not wait to fit you and your gorgeous little man into his new Manduca Carrier!

The Manduca is a fantastic carrier that comes with the newborn insert already attached, a sun shade, 5 adjustable points, straps that you can cross over your back (makes it so much more comfortable), padded shoulders and hip belt, back extension to be used as your child grows and can be worn in the front, hip or back carry.

Just a few of the reasons why we love the Manduca carrier here at flowerchild.

BABYWEARING WEEK winner

Drop in to flower child to try one on today

xlisa

Inspirational Monday – Franjo’s Kitchen – Fran, Jo and Kate

 

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Come and meet    Fran, Jo and Kate

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From     Franjo’s

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children… 

Fran is a corporate lawyer working for a large fashion retailer. Jo is a naturopath and nutritionist and Kate is an art director.  Jo and Fran are mummies to Matilda (nearly 2) and Phoebe (21 months). They have continued juggling their careers pre-children with running Franjo’s and being mummies!

How did Franjo’s come about and why?

Fran struggled with supply issues when Phoebe was little and did what every mum does and turned to google. After discovering a few recipes for lactation bikkies Fran started making her own. Around the same time Fran met Jo whilst out walking, the two were neighbours and became fast friends. A few mums had been asking Fran to make lactation biscuits for them. At the time Jo was starting another little biscuit company and the two got talking and came up with Franjo’s Kitchen. Jo helped develop the recipe naturopathically and the rest is history!

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Can you tell our readers a little about Franjo’s and your amazing products.

The three of us are passionate about beautiful, wholesome and functional foods. We want to celebrate and support mums at every stage and provide them with delicious, and healthy snacks.

We currently have two products, our Tanker Topper lactation biscuits and our Belly Bump Biscuits.

Tanker Toppers

Both products are naturopath and nutritionist designed and contain real functional ingredients with mum’s health and well being in mind.

What are the benefits of Tanker Toppers and Belly Biscuits?

Our Tanker Toppers are full of natural galactagogues oats, brewers yeast and flaxseeds. They also contain superfoods chia seeds, coconut oil and buckwheat flour. We have two flavours, fig and almond and choc chip. Our Tankers are dairy, egg, wheat, refined sugar and preservative free. Nothing nasty!

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Our Belly Bump Biscuits contain fibre, omega 3, iron, calcium, b vitamins and zinc. They also contain ginger which has been used for centuries for nausea. Like our Tankers, our Bumpers are dairy, egg, wheat, refined sugar and preservative free.

Ethos

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

We live in the information age and mums these days are bombarded with parenting advice and information. This places at lot of pressure on us. I think most mums analyse their parenting in ways that never used to happen.

On the flip side, we have so much more support, better maternity leave, gender equality in the family unit, washing machines and disposable nappies(!) and more dialogue about the challenges facing parents so in many ways we are much better off!

Can you describe to our readers your work place..

We all work from home, for Jo and Kate their office is in a bedroom and Fran’s office is tucked away off the dining room! The three of us get together once a week and drink bottomless cups of tea and plot to take over the world. The rest of the time we just send hundreds of e-mails and text messages to each other!

Have your own self expectations changed since having children?

Jo and I (Fran) often talk about this. We are both ambitious and drive people, but parenting forces you to slow down and not sweet the small stuff. As a result I think we are kinder on ourselves than before.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

Give in to everything! I hate tantrums and am a massive softie (Fran).

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

Every day is a juggle – working, friends, sending out orders, meetings, playgroup, cooking, washing, walking the dog, the endless to do list that goes on and on. But no day is the same.

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

Definitely other mum friends. We’re all on one crazy rollercoaster ride together.

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

Turn on the news. It’s a big bad world out there and we are all blessed to live in this beautiful part of the world.

Find out more about these amazing woman and their fantastic business..

http://franjoskitchen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/franjoskitchen

Inspirational Monday – Katherine and Sophie – Dinner Ladies

Meet    Katherine  and  Sophie

dinner ladies

(These woman are fantastic and I think the answer to a lot of  our prayers!!! Keep reading and I promise you will not be disappointed and you will google to find out more about their business – oh and it’s a funny read as well!)

From      The Dinner Ladies

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

 In the distant past before we had kids (pre-1998), I started my working life as a journalist before working for a literary agency. Katherine worked in marketing for business television. So no professional food background for either of us but always a passionate, personal interest in cooking.

Dinner Ladies – love the name – how did it come about and why?

I’d just had my third child, Joe (now 7) and I was having a whinge to some dear old friends in the park about not having money to buy my husband a 40th birthday present. They were all mothers of young children who also worked part-time and one them, knowing that I was a mad keen cook said, “I’d pay you to cook me some dinners.” A little light bulb went off and I thought, “Aha. There might be something in this.” I got together with my friend Katherine who, with four children to wrangle, was a master of logistics (something I knew this fledgling business would need) and started cooking on a couple of camp stoves in the shed in her back yard. That first week, we sent out a chicken and celeriac pie and a lamb roghan josh, for free, to ten friends and family. The following week we emailed them a new menu (just two dishes a week in those days), leaving them free to order or not and to pass the email onto others or not. Seven years later our weekly email goes out to 6000 and we deliver five days a week across Sydney. And do you know what? I’m pretty sure those first customers are still ordering from us. 

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Can you tell our readers a little  bit more about Dinner Ladies and the amazing meals you have…

I think that probably what makes the Dinner Ladies special is how personal the service is. Almost all the dishes evolved out of dishes we’ve cooked for our families (and in my case, many of which my mother cooked for me and my four siblings in my own childhood) and even though we’re cooking on a larger scale, we still cook in exactly the same way, using the same ingredients, no rubbish or shortcuts and, most importantly, tasting everything all the time. Everyone who uses us for the first time is amazed that the food tastes genuinely home-made, and made with love. Our weekly email is a really important way to communicate with our customers – we tell them about the new week’s menu and about what’s going on at the Dinner Ladies.  They email back with comments, suggestions, praise (and the odd criticism!) so it’s a two-way relationship which allows us to be flexible and responsive to our customers, who are universally wonderful.

duck confit and lentil salad

(Check out one of the menus for a week – yummy!! Hardest decision is what to choose…)

http://www.dinnerladies.com.au/menu

What are some benefits you think would be for families to use your service and are they suitable for children to eat??

The vast majority of our customers are families and from what customers say to us, there are two main stages of family life when our help is really welcome. The first is parents of new babies and little children who are still adjusting to the complete disappearance of their personal life, identity and sleep. When they can snatch a little time together as a couple and sit down to a beautiful dinner (even eaten with one hand while jigging a crying baby up and down), it reminds them that yes, they have a relationship and a life and that one day things will return to normal. The second stage is when kids are older, possibly both parents are working but in any case the children’s school and extra-curricular demands eat up all their free time. With a stash of Dinner Ladies in the fridge or freezer, they can meet as a family around the dinner table even if only a few times a week, without the stress of fitting in shopping and cooking as well. Talking, sharing stories and laughing around good food is one of the best, most cementing, things a family can do – who actually did the cooking is pretty irrelevant.

Almost all of our food – with the odd exception of a really spicy curry – is family friendly. We do season our food with salt but we’re mindful not to overdo it,  although if I was feeding a baby, I’d probably blend most dinners with some bland, unseasoned potato, rice or pasta. I had a customer tell me yesterday her daughter’s first taste of solid food was one of our sticky date puddings! We have found there’s a big demand for good, properly made versions of kids’ favourites so we now always have free-range chicken nuggets, home-made barramundi fingers, burgers (I could make these twice a week for my teens without complaints) and individual margherita pizzas always available on the menu, as well as more sophisticated offerings for adults.

pizza

How do you juggle working and a family?

Katherine and I are very fortunate because what we produce in our work makes our lives so much easier at home! We actually couldn’t survive without the Dinner Ladies (in more ways than one). It’s also been great having both of us with similar family demands so we know that sometimes you just have to leave early for a parent teacher meeting or to drive kids to sport. It’s been really important for us to create a family-friendly workplace for our staff too; it makes for a very happy environment for us all. In fact,  I’m writing this in the office now, with Katherine’s youngest child, Iggy,  watching TV in the staff room because he’s away from school with a cold.

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

I was born in the late 60s and grew up in the benign neglect of the 70s, where kids ran rampant on the streets, climbing trees, skateboarding, making explosives, all that good stuff, and parents had no idea or, frankly, interest, as long as we were home by dinner time. We are more minutely interested in every aspect of our children’s lives and seem to think that parenting is something that we can perfect and that perfect parenting will create perfect children. When it doesn’t happen, we just can’t understand it. Fortunately as Katherine and I have become busier, we’ve become less hands on (read, more slack) as parents, so we’re probably reverting to the sort of parents our parents were. Hopefully, minus the explosives.

Can you describe to our readers where Dinner Ladies takes place..

About a year and a half ago, we bought a disused, incredibly run-down commercial kitchen on an industrial estate in Matraville, and brought it back up to scratch. Having started in the backyard shed, then shared a kitchen at a bowlo, before renting an old butcher’s shop (where Denise, who runs the office, had her desk amid the plumbing in the basement), we now can’t believe the luxury of having an actual office, a staff room and a big kitchen, complete with walk-in blast chillers, a giant freezer room and two cool rooms. We just love it and couldn’t be more proud.

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? How?

Definitely – but it’s funny, I have both higher and lower expectations of myself. I expect that I can (and do) do a million things at once, preparing lunches and breakfasts, walking dogs, sticking a load of washing in the dryer, signing permission notes, listening to home-reading with one ear and French verb conjugations with another, all before drop offs and work  (incidentally, and quite nobly, without throwing anything at my husband who has been sitting, calmly, reading the paper throughout). But I don’t expect to do any of these things perfectly, or even moderately well. My house is a bit of a tip, my children have never known an ironed school shirt and sometimes lunch is Vegemite Vitawheats but it doesn’t fill me with guilt or make me feel like a bad parent. 75% is sometimes more than enough, considering how much we have on our plates.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

Stalking your own child on Facebook when they’ve blocked you (me – let’s hope Fred doesn’t read this blog, as he’s a 16 year old boy, this is a fairly safe bet). Letting a 9 year old watch an MA 15+ video (Katherine). Oh no, now our shameful secrets are out.

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

I think I’ve already covered the dog-walking, breakfast, lunch, drop-off chaos. When we get to work, Katherine and I meet in the office where we have a couple of big whiteboards, one with the menus for the next two weeks, and one with our daily tasks. These whiteboards are our brain substitutes for the days when things are a bit fuzzy and if they were wiped out we’d be totally lost. Our days used to be spent in happy tasks like plucking herbs and less happy ones like chopping kilos of onions but now there’s a lot more admin, planning, ordering goods and communicating with customers and we have a great team in the kitchen who don’t seem to mind the onions. We’re up and down all day from the kitchen, tasting and finalising dishes and testing new ones. Depending on the day, we’ll pick up various children from their various after school activities and I’ll always have grabbed something from the cool room to take home for dinner. A couple of nights a week, I’ll whack something on the stove, with instructions for the 16 year old to dish it up, so that I can get out to yoga, otherwise we’ll all sit down to a family dinner around 7, accompanied, in the case of the adults, by a very large glass of wine.

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

Would it be wrong to say alcohol? Oh dear. It’s probably true though, particularly in those early years. Now I’ve discovered vinyasa yoga which is probably a healthier thing to depend on and gives me good practice at keeping at least trying to maintain a calm face in the midst of chaos.

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

As Quentin Bryce said, you can have it all, just not all at the same time. Enjoy whatever stage you’re at, don’t stress about perfection and look for whatever help you need – which may just include ordering from Dinner Ladies!

Find out more about Dinner Ladies here..

http://www.dinnerladies.com.au/

and here on facebook..

https://www.facebook.com/dinnerladiessydney

Inspirational Monday – Sue O’Hara – ByKay Carriers

Meet        Sue O’Hara

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From       ByKay Carriers

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

I spent nearly 20 years in the Fashion/Apparel industry (eeek – that makes me sound so old!). I kind of fell into the baby/nursery industry really. At university I was studying business accounting and then decided to get a job and go to Uni part-time. My first job was with Bonds – oh so very long ago!

ByKay carriers – how and why did you get involved in these beautiful carriers?

After the international trade shows late last year, there was a lot of buzz about babywearing and wrap-style carriers. I looked into it, contacted about 5 international companies about their products. Incredibly, all 5 came back and were interested in us Distributing for them here in Australia. I fell in LOVE with the ByKay range. It was the only Brand that offered both the jersey and woven products, and the denim is gorgeous – we have a carrier to suit everyone for every situation!

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What do you think the benefits are of using a carrier?

Where do begin? First and foremost I think the main benefit is having your little one close. Research shows that it’s the best for mum and bub. Worn or carried babies sleep better, feed better and even develop better – it’s amazing.

I recently read an article from the USA that detailed research showing that when your baby is close to you, their antibody production can increase to help them fight off illness; it’s part of the reason little ones become clingy when they’re unwell.

Can you describe some of the features that ByKay carriers have that other carriers may not..

ByKay carriers are outstanding quality. The fabrics are Oeko-Tex 100 approved, so you can be sure they’re safe for you and your baby and all of the carriers are made in Europe.

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The Denim woven collection – Wrap-Style Carrier, Mei-Tai and RingSling are very unique. They’re made from a lovely cotton/linen blend, so they’re nice and cool to wear, yet sturdy and safe. And best of all, they look GREAT!

Which carrier is your favourite and why?

My favourite ByKay Carrier would have to be the Mei-Tai Deluxe Denim. It’s such a versatile carrier… you can use it from newborn right up to 20kg+. It’s perfect for all types of carries – front, hip or back and so easy to use.

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How do you juggle working and a family?

Juggle is the perfect word – isn’t it? I have 3 kids (12 years, 9 years and 5 years). My husband and I work as a team to ‘make it all happen’. We have a BIG whiteboard in our kitchen that tells us what’s on each day (and a week in advance). If it ain’t on the whiteboard, it ain’t gonna happen!

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Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Of course in some ways it’s the same. But I think the challenges parents face today relate more to being time-poor and keeping on top of what’s going on in each of your kids’ lives at any one point in time. This sounds like it should be simple, but it’s not. For example our 12 year old started high school this year and she’s a little younger than most of her classmates. They’re all on facebook etc…  and she’s not… yet! We don’t want her to feel left out from her friend group, but at the same time we want to ensure we set the right example and create fair and reasonable boundaries for her to be happy and SAFE.

Have your own self expectations changed since having children?

I think so. Sometimes I think we’re too hard on ourselves as parents. I try to remind myself that I’m only human and it’s the basics that my kids need… love, attention and food/water of course.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

Use sayings that my mother used to use when I was a kid… like ‘money doesn’t grow on trees you know’… the kids just look at me like I have 2 heads. And my 5 year old recently came back with: “we’ll have to get one of those trees then Mummy”.

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

I wake up at around 6.30am each day, make myself a green tea and check emails. Because we deal with Europe, a lot of the communications come through overnight. I then spend about 15 mins putting the final touches on my plan for the day and start getting the kids school lunches ready.

The kids are up by about 7.15am, they have breakfast and we all get ready for school/work. I drop the kids off at school at around 8.30am and either head out to appointments or back to the home office for more emails and any other sales/admin stuff that needs to be done. For ByKay, we pick and pack our own orders, so pretty much most days involve a little of that.

It surprises me every day how quickly school pick up comes around.. so I need to make my way to the school by around 3pm.

My kids play quite a bit of sport, so generally each afternoon one or all of them have some type of training etc….

Start dinner at around 5.30pm – eat at around 6.45pm, watch a little tele until 8.15pm; kids to bed at 8.15 with 15 mins reading time.

Then the fun begins – ironing school uniforms, completing school forms for excursions/photos etc… for the next day. And back to the computer for a few more emails or maybe a skype call to The Netherlands or the UK.

I’m generally in bed by about 10.30pm.

Hmmm – reading back over this doesn’t make my life sound too exciting! It is though. I love selling ByKay and working with people on marketing the products etc….

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg…. book, person, website

I’d have to say my Mum. I’m one of 6 kids (she had all 6 of us over a 10 year period)… she’s not a ‘pushy’ advice giver. She’ll normally wait until I ask for it. But she ALWAYS makes a point to tell me that I’m doing a good job! That my kids are gorgeous and that she loves us all VERY much. Oh and I read the Kaz Cooke book with my first child – LOVED IT!

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

The KISS principle – keep it simple stupid. I tell myself this in relation to parenthood and my business every day! Don’t overthink it and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Find out more about BYKAY Carriers..

http://www.bykay.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/bykayAUS

At flower child we stock all the denim Bykay carriers so that you can come in-store and try them on. x

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What do I need for a newborn baby – the REAL list

Baby showers and new babies = what the heck do I buy?

Trust me, we see it every Saturday (usually at around 10.30am – we call it the baby shower rush).

Unless the lucky recipient has been kind enough to put a registry together (which does happen, and we can certainly help you with yours if needed), it can be quite a quandry, what to buy. Especially when it comes to buying for someone in the workplace.

So we asked on facebook, what was the ONE thing you wish someone would have bought you?

What do you think the top answer was?

Wait for it………

reusable nappies!

Ok, so we’re a bit biased, in that we’re the only cloth nappy store in Sydney, but the majority of people wished someone had introduced them to cloth nappies BEFORE their babies were born. Food for thought.

Are you interested in what else made the list? What do you need for a newborn baby?

Reusable breast pads

Rainbow Ripple Blanket

Vapouriser

The big clips you put on your pram to hold shopping bags

Caboo baby carrier “instead of the baby bjorn that hurts my back”

Need some inspiration on what a new parent REALLY needs? Download our new baby checklist. It’s a range of functional products, drawn from our experience, and the most popular items that go onto gift registries instore.

What do you wish someone had given you?

 

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Our latest edition needs a name

Here’s our latest pinafore dress, and she needs a name.

Our lovely, vintage style dresses are handmade, here in Australia. We work with a company that provides meaningful employment to people with disabilities, to bring this fabulous range to you

Usually, we pick girl’s names, but this time, we headed over to our facebook page, to get YOUR ideas.

We had names like:

frutie patootie

fruit salad

Lily

tutti frutti

pick of the bunch

But, there can only be one winner, and that winner is……….

Fall Orchard!

submitted by Caitlin Fehring!

Congratulations, we’ll contact you to arrange to get a new Heaven’s to Betsy Fall Orchard dress out to you.

Inspirational Monday – Frills in the Hills

Come and meet Melissa - (otherwise known as Liss)

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Creator of          Frills in the HIlls

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

I grew up in Manly, Sydney and am the eldest of 3 girls in my family. All my family cook… it must be in the DNA but I can’t remember not being allowed to cook or not participating in preparing food in our family.   I travelled extensively both for work and pleasure before settling down with my ‘import husband’ who is from the Riverina district in 2003.  We’d met whilst both living in Canberra in 1997 but didn’t get our act together in the romance department until 2001..

Frills in the Hills – love the name by the way – how did this come about and why?

Well I live in Terrey Hills and I have 3 girls of my own, clearly wasn’t thinking my blog would be food based when I named it :)

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How do you juggle working, cooking, blogs and a family?

When I started my blog over five years ago, I wasn’t working – so it was my hobby – blogging to me has never felt like a job as such – I’ve made income because of my blog (writing off the blog) but my blog is ‘my place’ and I think that if I made that commercial, I would lose my attachment to it.

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Since going back to work, the posts are fewer but my love of the blog hasn’t diminished and in fact it’s super useful as my cookbook – my husband and kids use it when I’m not there!  Managing a balance between home and work is a challenge at times but I make my weekends count .Though the week my life is mostly about work,  and I travel frequently with my job, I’m very lucky I can work from home a few days a week when not travelling so that is super helpful to maintaining a good work/life balance.  I make time for my blog when I can – it can be a 2 minute Facebook interaction here or making and photographing recipes there and then blogging later another time.

The number one tip I have for working Mums out there is that you can’t have it all but you have to be happy and make the most of what you have, and that in itself can feel like ‘it all’.

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Yes and no.  I think parenting now is more strategic, we think through every risk, every possibility.  I find I’m terrible at letting my girls have the independence they need because I want to protect them so passionately… but this is where my husband is the better stay-at-home-parent because he supports their independence and it’s making our girls better people.  I had a lot more independence and was exposed to a lot more risk as a child – and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just different.

We also (and I’m working on this too) tend to give our kids everything we think they want and I think we need to pare this back a bit because we have to learn things just don’t happen and we have to learn we can’t have everything and do everything.

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? 

I thought I’d be more a ‘friend-parent’ but I’ve found I’m more effective as a ‘fair-parent’ where sometimes you have to draw that line and see through the hard lesson no matter how hard it is for you to administer it.

And twins as well – that is a huge undertaking for any family!

The first few years were a struggle, initially we had 3 under 2 with nappies (MCNs!), bottles, dummies, washing, washing, washing with very little sleep.  It was a good test for us and made us the really great parent-partnership we are today.   At this end of the scale (our girls are 8.5, 8.5 and 10) it’s great – we generally can cater to similar interests and the baby stages are long behind us.  No regrets now!

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What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do? J

I swore ironically that I would never swear in front of the kids, big fail on that one!

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

During the week I live a typical ‘Dad-day’.   My husband is the stay-at-home parent (and at this stage of our girls’ life he’s better at it!)  So my weekdays are really centred around work.  I get up, get ready for work, commute to work.  Tetris-like-schedule, rush lunch at my desk, either work late and taxi home (missing my girls dinner and bed time :( )  or come home, quick family dinner – catch up on the day’s events..  then usually more work whilst watching telly. If I’m lucky, I’ll blog!   On days I work from home  I usually manage to squeeze in some cooking and a little more 1:1 time…

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

Definitely my husband, he came into this crazy journey with a willingness to partner and share the load.  He’s completely awesome.  The other must-have is a sense of humour – if you can’t laugh you have to give up!

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

Focus on the friends in your life who don’t place conditions on your friendship.  The best friends to have are the ones that still love you even if you haven’t bothered to pick up the phone for weeks or months.

Find out more about Liss and Frills in the HIlls

http://www.frillsinthehills.com/

And check out this no-coke chocolate slice that Liss shared today on her blog – I am so making this with my boys tomorrow. YUM

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http://www.frillsinthehills.com/2014/07/no-bake-chocolate-splodge-slice.html