Bright: Weekend Escape

Last month we were lucky enough to get away for a few days for our very first family vacay as a family of three.  We loaded up the car (literally filled to the brim with baby stuff) and headed to North Eastern Victoria to the beautiful town of Bright. For years I have wanted to visit in Autumn and see what all of the fuss is about and it did not disappoint.

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Our weekend was very chilled, we literally ate, slept and slobbed around – it was bliss! We were lucky enough to have been given a voucher for Autumn Abode cottages from my parents for Christmas. We had a beautiful fully equipped 2 bedroom cottage to ourselves, which was absolutely perfect with bubs in tow. The cottage was very homey and comfortable, with everything was provided. The owners really haven’t missed a trick.

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Of course with any trip we go on, food is my number one priority. Having done my research before we left, I had a list of cafes, wineries and pubs to try out.

Coral Lee – The best coffee in town and most delish homemade treats

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Ginger Baker – We had a yummy brunch here, the cafe is mostly outdoors (although well covered and heated) which was perfect when trying to feed and entertain a messy baby. Hubby and I had such a hard time deciding what to eat that we decided to go halves and enjoy both savory and sweet, both the french toast with poached pear and corn fritters with bacon were yummy! Highly recommend.

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With only one full day in Bright, we didn’t have as much time to explore as we would have liked. So rather than rush around trying to do too much we kept it pretty simple. We enjoyed a pretty indulgent lunch Boyntons Feathertop Winery and a leisurely stroll around Ovens River in the afternoon.

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Dinners are always difficult with a baby, so evenings were a bit rushed but we did still manage to enjoy a lovely steak at Thirteen Steps wine bar and a classic parma (voted third best in Australia on parma.com.au!) at the Snowline Hotel a short drive from Bright in Harrietville.

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In hindsight I wish we had made our trip a couple of days extra, there are so many other things we would have enjoyed such as more walks and visit to a few of the local towns such as Beechworth, but this gives us even more reason to visit again in the future.

Bright really is the perfect family getaway, with activities for the whole family. Plenty of open spaces for the kids to run around, wineries and cosy cafes and more beautiful scenery than you could poke a stick at – I can’t wait to get back there again soon.

Do you have a favourite family holiday destination in Victoria?

Kristy x

 

 

Happy Half Birthday!

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Today I am wishing my baby girl a ‘Happy Half Birthday!’ as she turns 6 months old! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, my quiet sleepy newborn has been replaced by a chubby, noisy, constantly wriggling baby who makes us laugh everyday.

There is no denying she looks just like her Daddy, but the older she gets the more apparent it becomes her personality is much more like mine (oh o!). She is bored easily and has no problems letting you know when she is unhappy, she is curious of new situations and people and doesn’t mind being the center of attention. On the other hand she is very smiley and bubbly, she doesn’t know how to sit still or relax and is extremely aware of everything going on around her.

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Things Matilda Loves:

  • Food – pretty much anything she can get her hands
  • Clapping, singing and squealing
  • Electronics – phones, remotes, cables, TV. Basically anything with buttons, pictures or sounds
  • Rough and tumble – swinging, sliding, flying and generally being flung around
  • Bath time and bubbles
  • Our dog Humphrey

Milestones:

  • Rolling every which way, spinning 360 degrees and wriggling commando style backward and forwards
  • Sitting up
  • First tooth at 5 months old

I have never been much for newborns and it has taken quite a while to adjust to my new life as a Mum. There have been plenty of ups and downs, and although I always loved Matilda, I am finally beginning to understand what it is like to be totally and utterly besotted with your child.  I can’t get enough of her chubby cheeks. I am constantly kissing and cuddling her (usually against her will) and on the very rare occasion she will snuggle into my chest or fall asleep in my arms, I make sure I am totally in the moment and savor every second.

You will never hear me say that I can’t remember what life was like before being a Mum, because it would be a lie. My life before Matilda was just as fantastic but for totally different reasons. I don’t define myself as just a Mum, in the same way I am not just a wife or just a Marketer, but I tell you what this little girl has totally stolen my heart and I can’t imagine being able to love anyone more than I do her.

We have so many exciting things to look forward to as a family over the next 6 months, and while I try not to be sad about how fast Miss Matilda is growing up, I am extremely excited to continue to watch her learn and grow.

Here are a few of the beautiful professional shots we had done just before Christmas, if you are in the market for a baby photographer in Melbourne’s South East I can’t recommend Amy Allday highly enough.

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Kristy x

 

Easy Sticky Date Pudding Recipe

I love puddings, the minute I see sticky date pudding on a restaurant menu all bets are off and the rest of my meal is planned around making sure I have room in my tummy for dessert. I have been meaning to share this recipe for months now and the recent cool snap in Melbourne means its not too hot to indulge in a little pudding.

This fool proof sticky date pudding recipe was given to me by a friend, and it has fast become a regular dessert in our house especially when we have guests over. The puddings are easy to make ahead of time, simply cook and then microwave to reheat before serving. These also freeze really well (see instructions below).

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Individual Sticky Date Puddings (Makes 6)

125g pitted dates
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2/3 cup boiling water
60g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour

  • Preheat oven 180 degrees
  • Chop dates and put in bowl with boiling water and bicarb soda, set aside
  • Beat butter and sugar until creamy
  • Add egg to butter mixture and beat until well combined
  • Sift in flour and stir
  • Add date mixture and stir well
  • Put in muffin cases and bake for 30 mins or until golden brown

Caramel Sauce*

Extra 40g butter
Extra 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup thick cream

  • Melt butter, sugar and cream in a pot on the stove
  • Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for 2 mins
  • Pour sauce over cooked puddings

*It is best to make sauce right before serving

Freezing Instructions: When freezing I will either freeze the individual puddings in a plastic bag and make the sauce when reheating or alternatively if you have small individual sized containers, pop in the pudding (minus the wrapper) pour on some sauce and freeze. Then it’s just a matter of putting straight into the microwave to thaw and heat, yummy!

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Enjoy!

Kristy x

DIY Farmhouse Dining Table

I love a bit of DIY but sometimes my ambitions and capabilities are not aligned. So before baby came along I wanted to try my hand at some simple DIY projects around the house, but I never got around to sharing them.  So I thought it was about time I put some pics up of what I managed to achieve starting with my DIY Farmhouse Dining Table.

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I have been wanting to replace our scrappy old Ikea dining table for years but could never justify the cost when it functioned perfectly well. I love the idea of up-cycling and DIY refurbishments to reinvent tired and well loved furniture so that is exactly what I decided to do.

Here was my inspiration for the project:

The Painted Hive – I love this blog, Kristien is so creative and all of her projects are gorgeous as is her home. Plus she is absolutely lovely! I have often reached out to her for ideas and advice and she has always been amazingly helpful.

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I purchased an old solid pine timber dining table from eBay and while I would have liked something with a bit more character, for $35 I thought this was a good test project.

With a bit of help from dear old Dad (in other words, a LOT of help…), we stripped back the old varnish and sanded out most of the scratches and dents from the table top (whoops forgot to take a good before photo of this).  I hate sanding and was a bit lazy with the legs, so instead I opted to try a milk paint. I have never used it before, but it is supposed to adhere well to most surfaces and give a nice milky antique finish.

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After what seemed like 100 coats but was actually probably only 6, I wasn’t getting the look I wanted and ditched the milk paint. I found some plain old white water based wall paint and did a final coat of paint on the legs to finish them off and was much happier with the coverage.

For the top I simply stained with Japan Black and finished off with a couple of coats of Scandinavian Oil. While my table by no means looks brand spanking new, I love the finished product. It is a bit rough and ready but I like the rustic feel, plus any damage from little people in the future won’t be any problem as it will only add to the charm.

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I bought 4 replica tolix chairs from Kmart for next to nothing and my dining room was totally transformed! Now next on my list is to get rid of the hideous brown cabinet that we inherited with the house and my dining room makeover will be complete.

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 AFTER

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Cheers,

Kristy x

2015 {A New Year, A New Me}

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Ok so a new me might be a bit drastic, but this year I want to kick things off with a positive outlook and some goals to help me get motivated. It’s not a New Years resolution as such but the new year is as good a time as any to reevaluate your life and check that things are on track.

It’s safe to say 2014 was a game changer, being pregnant and bringing home a brand new baby girl in August, totally changed my life as I knew it.  The last few months of 2014 were totally focused on learning how to be a parent and essentially keeping the baby alive. Now that hubby and I have found our feet and have grown more confident as parents, it’s time to start making more time for me and making sure I don’t lose sight of who I am and what I want to achieve in life.

I am very fortunate to have the next 6 months off work to spend with my baby girl and I intend to make the most of this precious time with her whilst making sure I take care of myself and get back into the things I have been neglecting in life. Here’s how I plan on doing that:

My goals for 2015

  1. Get back in the kitchen:  I love to feed people and I especially love baking. I really want to find some inspiration and get back in the kitchen and try some new recipes. I am so bored of eating the same lazy dinners day in, day out so I am going to attempt to try at least one new recipe a month and try plan meals out better so that we are not eating steak and salad 5 nights a week out of sheer laziness.
  2. Embrace my Italian heritage: Last year my Nonna (Grandmother) passed away and I find myself regretting not spending more time with her learning how to cook all of my favourites recipes and finding out more about her background. I want Matilda to grow up with an understanding of her Italian heritage and so I am going to work at learning Nonna’s recipes, introducing our own special traditions, and learning more about my grandparents background so I can share these stories with her as she grows up.
  3. Get off the couch and out the door: We’ve always made an effort to get out and about with the baby but I find myself getting more and more lazy.  Sometimes it is just more effort than it is worth to lug bubs and all her crap out the door. I am going to make sure Tilly and I get out of the house everyday, even if it is just a wander around the backyard during her play time or a walk around the block. The sunshine and fresh air will make the world of difference to the both of us.
  4. Be creative, try new things: I want to enjoy every day I have at home with my little munchkin before the reality of work kicks back in. So I am going to try do more fun things with Tilly while we have the time. Have a picnic in the park, go to the pool for a swim, visit the library, join a playgroup that kind of thing.
  5. Get lost in a good book: I honestly don’t remember the last time I picked up a book. Last week I dusted off my kindle, charged it up and loaded it up with new books to read. So the next time I find myself watching an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians that I have already seen 4 times, I am going to switch off the TV and get stuck into a good book instead.
  6. Keep the romance alive: As any new parent would know, the first few months of bringing your new baby home is consumed with feeding, sleeping and playing with baby which leaves very little time for romance. We are blessed with an amazingly supportive family so we need to make the most of this, leave bubs at home and make more time for dates and special grown-up time.
  7. Stop neglecting this blog: Last but very not least, I want to get back into blogging regularly. I would love to share more of my experiences as a new Mum, recipe ideas, home renovation projects and any other exciting projects I have going on at any given time, so stay tuned for more regular updates and feel free to prompt me if it has been a while :)
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Baby Update: Matilda aged 4 and a half months

I will be very interested to come back and read this in 6 months time and see how well I have gone with my goals… I am hoping that by sharing them with you all it will help keep me accountable.

What are your goals/resolutions for the new year?

Cheers,

Kristy x

My Top 10 Favourite Baby Products

Up until 3 months ago, I literally knew nothing about babies. I could count the number of babies I had ever held on one hand and still have fingers to spare. So to say that the last few months have been a steep learning curve is a MAJOR understatement. I am so proud of how well hubby and I have adjusted to parenthood, considering how clueless we both were I think we have taken to it like a couple of ducks to water and what we may lack in knowledge and experience we’ve made up for with love and enthusiasm.

Anyway enough tooting my own horn, what I wanted to share with you today are the top 10 baby products I could not have lived without. In the lead up to baby Matilda’s arrival, I made endless ‘must have’ lists based on recommendations I found on the internet, some things turned out to be spot on and others a waste of money. So for what it is worth, here are just a few products that hit the mark for me and were worth every cent!

1. Oricom Babysense 2 Breathing Monitor + Secure 710 Video Monitor

Have you ever noticed how much noise babies make when they are sleeping?! I am a light sleeper, so as soon as we got home from the hospital baby Matilda was straight into her cot in her very own big girl room. Having the Oricom Babysense breathing monitor helps to give us peace of mind that bubs is peacefully asleep and breathing ok, while the video monitor allows us to spy on her without having to tip toe in and out of her room every 2 minutes. Love it!

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2. Mokopuna Merino Swaddle Bag

Before Matilda arrived a friend of ours lent us their Mokopuna swaddle and said it was one of the best things ever, and they were absolutley right. Wrapping and unwrapping a screaming baby in the middle of the night to check their nappy is a complete nightmare. The Mokopuna swaddle is made of beautiful merino wool to keep bubs temp regulated, the snug fit helps to make baby feel safe and the super practical double zip is perfect for easy nighttime nappy changes. This is my new go-to gift for new mums, a god send!

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3. Bonds Wondersuits

We have Wondersuits coming out of our ears in every size and colour (which is a good thing, when we can have up to 7 outfit changes in a day!). Forget fumbling with a million press studs, the double ended zip is a breeze to operate. Also the feet and hands flip over to keep little digits cosy and warm. They wash up beautifully and I can promise your bubs will outgrow them before they outwear them.

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4. Mimco Lucida Baby Bag

I think half of my mothers group have the Lucida Baby Bag in its various colours. If you’re looking for a stylish and spacious baby bag that won’t entirely break the budget then you really can’t go wrong here.

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5. UppaBaby Alta Pram

Shopping for a pram can be sooo stressful! There are so many features and things to consider, do you want the seat to be front and rear facing, do you want additional seats to be added, do you want it to be light weight or heavy duty and the list goes on… After months of researching and shopping around we finally decided on the UppaBaby Alta. We got a bundle deal that included the bassinet and it was the best purchase ever. Matilda sleeps like a dream in the bassinet and the pram itself is very lightweight (9.9kg), easy to manoeuvre and fits into our tight car boot.

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6. Medela Swing Breast Pump

I ummed and ahhed about whether or not this was worth splashing out on, I considering hiring a machine but in the end decided to purchase my own. I literally use this every day and probably saved money in the first two weeks of owning it compared to if I had hired a machine. We’ve had a few hiccups with breast feeding so being able to express and bottle feed has been great for us.

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7. Isoki Change Mat Clutch 

Rather than lugging your baby bag into the change room and rifling around for everything you need while bubs is screaming, keeping everything handy in this change mat clutch will save you time and stress. I always keep mine stocked with a couple of nappies, wipes, hand sanitiser and cream so I can chuck it in the bottom of the pram if we are just going out for a quick trip or keep it in the baby bag for longer day trips.

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8. Cotton On Kids Baby Bibs

My Mum bought us a couple of these before Matilda was born and I have since been back to stock up (I now have 7 on constant rotation!). There are so many things to love about these bigs, firstly they are large and wrap all around so they keep baby’s shoulders clean and dry as well as their fronts. The press stud fastener allows for easy removal when bubs has fallen into a blissful sleep compared to noisy velcro which wakes bubs with a start every time! They are nice and thick so nothing soaks through and come in a range of cute designs for boys and girls.

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9. Love To Dream – Love To Swaddle UP Original

While the Mokopuna swaddles are great for newborns, the Love To Dream Swaddle UP is the perfect next step. Tilly has always loved to sleep with her hands up, in fact in every single one of our ultrasounds her hands were up by her face covering our view. The Love To Swaddle UP allows babies to sleep with their hands by their face but still keeps them restricted so their startle reflex won’t wake them. They come in a range of sizes and even have light weight, merino and 50/50 (arms can be free or restrained) versions depending on what your needs are.

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10. Terry Towelling Nappies

Certainly not the most glamorous item on my must have lit, but probably one of the things we use the most. While I have to admit we are like many other parents and use disposable nappies, these terry towelling nappies come in handy for a range of other uses. As Matilda has reflux, she brings up quite a lot of what she eats so these nappies make for fantastic burp cloths (or as we call them spew cloths).  I never leave home without one, in fact I often have two in the nappy bag, one in the pram and one in the car just in case. We also use them on her change table and tucked across her bed as a little added protection from spillages to avoid changing sheets daily.

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Here are a few happy snaps of Miss Matilda showing off some of our favourite things…

Snug as a bug in her Mokopuna Swaddle

Snug as a bug in her Mokopuna Swaddle

Taking my babies for an afternoon stroll

Taking my babies for an afternoon stroll

All smile post feeding with her Cotton On Kids bib

All smile post feeding with her Cotton On Kids bib

Bonds Wondersuits, perfect day and night

Bonds Wondersuits, perfect day and night

Pre-bedtime snuggles in her Love To Swaddle UP swaddle

Pre-bedtime snuggles in her Love To Swaddle UP swaddle

I’d love to know what your favourite ‘must have’ baby products are that you couldn’t live without?!

Kristy x

Fireplace Envy

I have a major love affair with fireplaces, and when we bought our house this was one of my top three must have features (along with high ceilings and hardwood floors – I mean really, who cares about all that practical stuff like off street parking hehe). I’m such of a romantic, I love the idea of sitting by an open fire, wrapped in a cosy blanket, snuggling my Mr with a glass of wine in hand… bliss!!

But when I wake up from my blissful dream I know that the reality of an open fire is not quite as romantic and our central heating is much more practical. So I have devised a compromise, a way to enjoy the charm and elegance of a fireplace without all the hassle. I plan to rip out the old gas heater and with a bit of TLC (aka a LOT of paint) transform our dated fireplace into a masterpiece and decorative feature of our living room.

This is currently what our fireplace looks like…

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And this is my inspiration…

Hopefully I can make some progress before Christmas and share some before and after shots soon :)

Kristy x