September 2013Life Love and Hiccups: September 2013
Life Love and HiccupsLife Love and HiccupsLife Love and HiccupsLife Love and Hiccups

Monday 30 September 2013

Our Version of Happy Ever After ...

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I am such a sucker for a good love story - I always have been.

You know those really mushy chick flicks where the guys and the girl meet fall in love, break up, get back together, deal with great tragedy and hardship before finally living happily ever after?

Man I LOVE those movies!

I'm not even fussy - I will take the teenage love triangle movies along with the classics and everything in between. The Notebook, The Holiday, One Fine Day, Some thing's Gotta Give, Safe Haven - I seriously will quite happily watch them all.... however I only like happy endings.

Happy endings are my one criteria in a love story. I know that is probably far to Pollyanna-ish for many to deal with, but I make no apology for the fact that I totally subscribe to the Happy Ever After dream. And although I know that sometimes one must endure heartache before they find theirs, I do believe that there is a Happy Ever After allocated for all of us in this life .... sometimes it just takes longer for some to find theirs than others.

Carl and I started going out when I was 17 going on 18 and we married when I was 22 which by today's standards in very young. You can read about how we met here if you are interested. Many questioned us as to why we wouldn't wait a while before we get married and our response was always - "why wait?"

We figured if and when you are lucky enough to find the love of your life, why wait a moment longer to begin spending the rest of your lives together.

Just like any great love story we fell in love, broke up, got back together, faced some tragedy and hardship and now we are hopefully (touch wood) smack bang in the middle of our happily ever after part .... give or take a handful of 'I'm not talking to you' days.

I'm not saying the past 23 years have always been easy and I know that part of the package means that there will be days in the future where we will drive each other completely insane.... but that's okay, I'll gratefully take that package deal as long as he is part of it.

We fight, like most couples do and most of the time it is because I am being a cranky cow and when he is nice to me and tries to appease me, I get even crankier - just because he is being so nice to me and I don't deserve it and .... you know the drill.

But at the end of the day Carl is my best friend, my lover and my everything. He is the only one that I would want to play the handsome lead role in our version of happy ever after, and he is probably the only one that will ever truly know me to the core.

He is the most incredible father to our children and he is my soul mate and I probably don't tell him nearly enough as I should. So Carl, I know you are reading this ... consider yourself told huni ;)

See I told you I am a sap when it comes to love stories and of course being the busy body that I am, now I want to know about your love story.

Has it happened yet? Have you met the love of your life? 
Are you still with the love of your life and how did you meet him / her? 
Do you believe in Happy Ever After?

Sunday 29 September 2013

Happy Sunday To You

Pin It I just wanted to poke my head in for a tiny second and say Happy Sunday to you before I head back out to the garden to help the hubby with the turfing.

Yes I am avoiding.... :)

Anyways, wherever you are and what ever you are doing - May your drink be cold, your heart be full and your ears enjoying the sound of laughter.

Friday 27 September 2013

September Reviews, Discounts & Giveaways - Winner Takes All

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**This Giveaway is now closed - thanks for entering. The lucky winner was Jenai G**

It's been a while since I have done a Reviews and Giveaways post - well a month anyway cause somehow I managed to just completely skip August. Life is kind of like that though, when things get busy you seem to just miss days, weeks and clearly months.

So this month I have some fabulous goodies for you. For those of you who are new around here, the way this works is like so; From time to time companies send me goodies to try and possibly review if I like them and I agree to do so on the basis that one lucky winner gets to try the products to.

Everyone wins right?

Now naturally the companies that provide these products have some they are trying to achieve, whether it be creating Brand Awareness, Delivering a Key Message or Growing their Facebook following. So to be in the running to win these prizes, you do need to do a few very simple things in the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post - for example, LIKE a Facebook page.

for more information on the individual products, simply click on the Heading for each product and you will be taken straight to their web page.

Comprende? Sweet!

Let's get started shall we - This is what is up for grabs this month.

WORK WOMEN WANT by Jennifer Forest

After the birth of her daughter, Jennifer was wondering how she could possibly make some decent money whilst still being there to care for her daughter.

She wasn't alone in her thoughts as she had the same discussion over and over with other mothers about how they could work from home or work part time so that they could still be the primary carer for their kids.

And so Jennifer set out to find the answers and Work Women Want was born.

The book shares the journey's of 12 mothers as they set about creating money by working from home or part time. Jennifer explores how to make an income from avenues such as Etsy, eBay, share trading, Professional Services, Party Planning and Blogging among other things as well as negotiating how to turn your current job to a part time position.

If you have ever asked how to make money whilst still caring for your kids, then this book is for you.

You can purchase it from Amazon here ... or enter this competition for a chance to win a copy.


Both the kids and I LOVED this product.

Funkins are a totally cute range of reusable cloth napkins that are perfect for lunchboxes, picnics, meal times and snacks on the go.

My boy's school are trialing a Rubbish Free day every month where kids are encouraged to bring their lunch with no disposable packaging and become more environmentally aware. You can't get a product with more of a conscience than a reusable cloth napkin.

They come in a a huge range of gorgeous designs including seasonal themes like Christmas, Halloween, Valentines Day and even Earth Day.

Personally, I like to keep these in my bag for when we eat on the run and I don't want the kids eating off grotty public benches that haven't been cleaned.

Yes I am that anal.

You can purchase the Funkins Napkins online here

The lucky Winner will receive 3 Funkins Reusable Napkins.


I have told you before about how sensitive I am to the scars on my legs and foot and so I have been a fan of this product for years.

I only wish I had known about it when I was pregnant with my boys as I have been told by friends this is the most awesome product to prevent stretch marks from occurring.

Lucky for me it is also incredibly effective in reducing the appearance of stretch marks after they have appeared along with scars and other skin discolourations and uneven skin tones.

Hyda Oil also helps to smooth, moisturise and tone wrinkled skin.

Say no more.

The lucky Winner will receive an anti-ageing tissue spray and 200ml oil.


Bisbell products have been designing, manufacturing and supplying magnetic products to both the domestic and professional market since 1971 - before I was born! Don't you love it when you are still young enough to say that :).

One thing that terrifies me is having sharp knives floating around drawers or stuck to a wall within reach of little hands. It seriously freaks me out.

So you can imagine how stoked I was to receive some of the Bisbell Magnetic Blade Guards to protect my boy's hands and protect the knives blades.

If you also use the high strength magnetic tape, you can have your knives in their protective covers hanging from any surface in your kitchen. This pleases me very much as I have always loved the way those industrial style domestic kitchens have their knives on the wall.

Come on - it's the small things.

You can buy the Bisbell range of magnetic blade protectors, knife blocks and racks & tapes online here.

The lucky Winner will receive one Large, Medium & Small Professional Magnetic Blade Guard and a 3 metre Magnetic Tape & Dispenser.


You gotta love a a really effective product that you can keep in the shower and use daily without blowing the budget.

The Clearasil Daily Wash and Daily Scrub is skin care for Grown ups, but is also fabulous for teens and pre teens too.

The vitamin E and avocado in this range helps to keep the skin nourished and the Pomegranate fruit extract is a powerful antioxidant that is known to help keep skin looking healthy.

A small amount goes a long way with this stuff - although I need to keep reminding a certain 12 year old of this fact.

The lucky Winner will receive one 150ml Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Scrub and one 150ml Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Wash.


I adore what Jane does with her gorgeous photography and when she dropped off a print with my beautiful boy's names and birth dates captured, I literally cried.

Jane kindly reached out to me at a time when I was was feeling really down with the health issues I was going through last month and her gift just touched me in a way I cant even begin to explain.

Family is everything to me, and having something as precious as this on the wall in my home is the perfect way to commemorate them.

These Keepsake prints come in a variety of designs including stunning beach photography and would be ideal as a new baby gift, or to capture and celebrate wedding dates, new homes, Christmas and inspirational quotes.

Jane has a discount on offer for Life Love and Hiccups Readers where you get 20% off your order by using promo code LIFELOVEANDHICCUPS when you purchase from Ocean Drop Photography's Etsy Store.

The very luck Winner can choose a Personalised Family Nest keepsake print from Jane's range on the Ocean Drop Photography Etsy Store.


Have you ever wished you could actually do something useful with some of your favourite photos you have sitting around on Instagram?

I have, and I have the answer for you  .... StickyGram Fridge magnets.

Seriously - how cool are these!

For $14.99 you get a sheet of 9 magnets with Free shipping world wide.

Use them on your fridge, or paint some magnetic paint on your wall and create a massive mural. However you display them, I guarantee when people visit your home they will ask you where the hell did you get those awesome things.

You can select from your instagram photos and order your magnets at the StickyGram website here.

The lucky Winner will receive 9 Fridge magnets of your choice from your own instagram photos.


Oh Method - I love you long time!

There is honestly not a single Method product I have tried that I have not liked.

For reals. And the Daily Shower and Glass Cleaner and Glass + Surface Spray is no different as I freaking love this stuff.

We keep a bottle of the Daily Shower cleaner sitting in our shower. We spray the screens after every use and it prevents Soap Scum and lime residue from building up. And since the ingredients are non-toxic, it is family friendly and kid chore friendly too, if you know what I mean ;)

The Glass + Surface Spray is a plant based formula that leaves you with streak free, squeaky clean glass without that stinky ammonia smell you get with most glass cleaners.

Again, you can get the the kids cleaning windows with this product without any worries of them being exposed to nasty chemicals.

You can purchase the Method products online here.

The Winner will receive one of each of the following Method products - an 828ml Spray Bottle of Daily Shower Cleaner plus a 2 litre refill and an 828ml Spray Bottle of Glass + Surface Cleaner plus a 2 litre refill.

So, don't muck around OK - get cracking on your entry. 

Just follow the steps outlined in the Rafflecopter Widget below and Good Luck! 

Entries are open now and close 8pm AEST 11/10/13.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday 26 September 2013

The One Where I Get Off The Fence To Discuss Immunisation

Pin It It is common knowledge that I have a massive dent in my bum as a result of years of sitting on the fence. I am not one to chase controversy or get on my high horse and start dictating how one should live their life, raise their children and yada yada yada. 

But this is one time that I am getting down from my fence and asking you to at least consider the following message I am giving you today.


A couple of weeks ago I was incredibly privileged to attend the studios of one of the world's most respected photographers - Anne Geddes, and I was even more privileged to watch her in action as she took photos of THE most beautiful little girl - Bernadette.

Bernadette is not your average little 6 year old, this little girl is the epitome of inspiration and survival because this little angel survived one of the most deadly diseases - Meningococcal disease.

Sadly Bernadette's battle was not won without the tragic loss of her legs and some fingers after her parents Mary and Danilo were forced to make the heart aching decision to amputate them in order to save her life.

Of course it was a no brainer, and today as they watch Bernadette and her three brothers play together, they are eternally grateful to the medical teams that saved their little girl's life.

Having nearly lost my own son to bacterial meningitis, this is a cause very close to my heart.

The incredibly talented Anne Geddes, together with patient support groups from around the world, are leading a global awareness campaign aimed at educating parents about the threat of meningococcal disease.

Anne is travelling to 6 countries to photograph and celebrate survivors of this disease and honour those who tragically lost their lives. 

You can watch this clip from The Project to learn more about Anne's involvement in this campaign and to see more of precious little Bernadette's survival story.

Meningococcal disease is an acute bacterial infection that can cause death within hours if it is not recognised early and treated straight away. The disease can appear as meningococcal septicemia (blood poisoning), meningococcal meningitis ... or both.

There are 5 main groups of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease - A, B, C, W and Y, however in most developed countries like Australia, it is B and C that are the main cause of the disease. 

The goods news is that since the introduction of a vaccination against C into the National Immunisation program, we have seen a significant decline in C as the cause of disease from 162 cases in 2002 to 9 cases in 2011.

Meningococcal B now accounts for 89 percent of meningococcal disease among 0 -19 year olds in Australia, but there is more good news in that in August 2013 the TGA approved a new vaccine that provides immunisation against strain B. The vaccine is not yet available for supply, but its coming, so talk to your GP and they will keep you updated on it's progress.

It is estimated that about 10% of the population can carry meningococcus in their throat and / or nose at any one time and show no symptoms. It is transmitted to another by respiratory droplets and is spread by prolonged or close contact.

Now I know that immunisation can be a very controversial subject and there is a fear among some that the vaccinations themselves could be the cause of something awful. 

I took the opportuntity to raise these fears with Professor Robert Booy - the head of Clinical Research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

I asked him about the concern I most frequently hear from those who are anti immunisation, the fear that the MMR immunisation may be linked to Autism. 

Professor Booy informed me that this fear initially came from a Doctor in the UK who released this theory in 1998. The theory was disproved within a year and following a systematic review up until 2004 where hundreds of thousands of valuable research hours were spent on researching any potential link, the original theory was withdrawn. 

The Doctor responsible for releasing the initial report was found to be fraudulent and unethical and has since been struck off the Medical Register.

Unfortunately the damage was done. A fear was created and still remains with some today.

As I mentioned earlier, my family have been in the position ourselves of very nearly losing a child to bacterial meningitis. 

At age one our oldest son Kai fell victim to this insidious bacteria, and although he was one of the lucky ones and survived, he now lives with a compromised immune system. We rely on the wider community to be vaccinated to protect him from the diseases he does not have acceptable levels of immunity against. 

This is known as Herd Immunity and it is a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. When a high percentage of the population is protected through vaccination against a virus or bacteria, it makes it difficult for a disease to spread because there are so few susceptible people left to infect.

One conversation with a Professor does by NO means make me an expert, so I would suggest that if you have concerns or questions about immunisation, please discuss them with someone who is educated to answer them or you can visit Professor Booy's Chain of Protection website for more information.
Most importantly,  you need to know the symptoms of Meningococcal disease which can include;
Information source
image source
If you see any of these symptoms in your child or yourself - seek help immediately. 

Although Meningoccocal disease is quite rare, peak season has arrived, so we cannot afford to be complacent. 

Trust your gut instinct and insist upon an urgent blood test, and don't be afraid to ask the Question of the Dr "Can you rule out Meningococcal"? 

Rest assured they will not risk letting you leave until they can safely rule it out. Doctors are now being trained to listen to and trust a parents instinct, and above all else it is far better to be overly cautious than live with what could be the greatest regret of your life.

Further information about Meningococcal disease and prevention can be found at Meningoccal Australia's website here.

I understand that this post may encourage discussion in the comments section and it is a subject that can entice an emotional response. I am not going to switch off comments on this post, but I do ask that if you wish to discuss or express an opinion on immunisation, please do so respectfully and be considerate of each other, their beliefs and their experiences. Thank you

I was not paid to write this post or for my opinion on the matter. It is a subject I feel very strongly about and a message I feel a responsibility as a parent of my own survivor, to share.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

A Juicy Spring Fling

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You thought you were going to come here and find some sort of deep dark confessional didn't you?

I love it!

Go on admit it - you thought I was going to tell you something reaaaaallly really juicy and scandalous.

Maybe something kind of like how when I was leaving LJ Hooker Real Estate last week I just happened to bump into that totally hot guy that plays Jack in Revenge - the one that I have no idea what his name is but I know he is super hot.

And how 'Jack' followed me home and politely asked my husband if he could steal me away for a completely platonic weekend in the Hamptons, because there was some amazing real estate he had just received a tip off about and that I simply HAD to see it.

You are then going to die of shock when I tell you that since we are indeed in the market for a rambling beachfront Hampton's home, my trusting husband insisted that I go immediately with Jack, check the property out and buy it there and then if my heart told me to.

You'll start screaming at the computer screen in pure envy when I tell you that I did indeed go with Jack but then spent the whole time fighting off his amorous advances when he admits that his intentions really were not so pure after all and that ultimately he wants me to call home and send for my toothbrush and go and live with him in a house that he spontaneously bought for me - which just so happens to be the house from Somethings Gotta Give - fully furnished!

And then finally you will throw your coffee cup against the wall in pure frustration when I inform you that I pushed Jack away and said "no Jack NO" "I Will not give in to you, you devilishly irresistible man, as I am far too in love with my husband and my kids to ever think of leaving them for some hot guy and an even hotter house in the Hamptons. And even though my children at this moment are waiting patiently at home for me to return so they can finish their drive mum irreparably insane project, my decision is final - I am leaving you alone in this totally to die for and exquisitely furnished home you have just wasted your money on in an attempt to steal me away from the man I love".....

or something like that.

Holy Shitballs, I think I just gave you ultimate fantasy all neatly bundled up in less than 300 words.


Now the stuff I was actually going to tell you about today seem like a big bucket of poo in comparison to that epic story.

I was just going to show you how Spring has led me to have a little fling with colour this season, only I find myself torn between my love of a neutral base with a pop of natural colour from some greenery or letting my inner Bohemian Goddess come out of the closest and indulge in one great big colour orgy.

Now that sounds totally boring in comparison to what you thought you were coming here for so I am just going to leave you with a couple of mood boards I created to help me decided which theme I love more this Spring, and I'll go back to my fantasy and pretending that those screaming kids in the other room aren't really mine - they belong to my real estate agent.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Rainbow Connect

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When I mentioned the 'Rainbow Connect' ritual I have with my boys in yesterday's post, a few of you asked what it is - and I am more than happy to share that with you.

When my oldest son Kai was about 3, I was doing a lot of travel for my work. I'd get on a plane on Sunday night and arrive back home on Friday afternoon. I would do this for a month, then have a couple of precious weeks break from the travelling ... and then rinse and repeat, yada yada yada, we would start all over again.

Every Sunday there would be lots of tears from both my beautiful boy and myself, and every week as I wiped away his tears and kissed him goodbye, my heart would shatter into a million pieces.

I remember one particular Saturday night as I was saying goodnight to Kai, he asked me "Are you going away again tomorrow Mummy?"

When I answered "yes", he started sobbing and wouldn't stop.

So I told him that we could connect our hearts with an invisible rainbow that can stretch to the moon and back and back again. No matter how far away we are from each other, through that rainbow we would always be connected and can send lots of love to each other whenever we feel sad or lonely.

He liked that and it gave us both of us some much needed comfort when it came time to say goodbye. The last thing we would do before I left was touch each others heart with our finger and say "Rainbow Connect".

When Kai started school we used the rainbow to connect to each other and to connect him to Daddy and his little brothers - that way he could get loads of love from us all whenever he needed it whilst he was at school.

As the little boys got older they too learnt how to rainbow connect and we still do it now when they leave for school in the morning or for a sleep over at a friend's house.

We have adapted it so that they don't feel embarrassed if they want to do it when saying goodbye to me in front of their friends. There are no words needed to make the connection work, we silently touch our own hearts with our finger and then point that finger to the others heart and just like that, the rainbow magically connects us.

So that my friends is a Rainbow Connect and although I am aware that it may sound completely out there, strange even, it is a ritual that saw us through some tough times and continues to be very special to our family.

Monday 23 September 2013

Weekly Rituals

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I was watching the Jack Nicholson movie 'As Good As it Gets' on Friday night  - you know that movie where he plays a character that has a serious case of OCD?

I was actually freaking myself out a bit as deep down I worry that some of those traits are a little too familiar... little rituals that I do each week, each day even, out of .... I don't know, habit? Compulsion?

Whatever the reason is, it's just a pity I am not a bit more OCD when it comes to doing the laundry.

I don't for a minute think that ALL rituals are a symptom of OCD.

Some of my weekly rituals do nothing more than act as reminder to myself to appreciate and enjoy the simple pleasures, little things that are so easy to forget when you are immersed in the busyness that is life.

The act of doing these things makes me more present in the moment and their faniliarity brings me a strange kind of comfort.

I have told you before about some of my rituals - like my Friday ritual of putting fresh flowers around the house.

The morning ritual where I lie in my bed and stare out of the window while I drink the coffee that my husband quietly places on the bedside table every morning before he attempts to wake me (bless him).

There is my evening ritual of lighting a scented candle before we sit down to dinner. It marks the end of the day, the end of the crazyness and time to begin to wind down.

My magazine ritual where I can't / won't sit down to read my new magazine until the housework has been done and I have a hot cuppa or a cocktail in hand. I may also threaten to cut the fingers off anyone that dares to disturb my ritual by turning even a single crisp page of that magazine before I get to.

There is my ritual with the kids where we Rainbow Connect our hearts every time we say goodbye to each other for the day and we even have a hand signal where we can do it without anyone even knowing what we are doing.

And let's not forget my evening Vodka Lime and Soda ritual which really has no purpose other than a ritualistic way of paying homage to my love of Vodka Lime and Soda.

These are all little things that to anyone else may seem silly or strange, but to me, they mean so much more.

More recently I have introduced a new ritual - one that involves making sure I get myself out of the house and changing my usual environment, which is particularly therapeutic on those weeks where the work is piling up, routines are threatening to take over and life just gets a little too busy to be enjoyable for anyone.

At least once a week now, I make sure that I get out of the house and work somewhere other than my office for a few hours. I try to coincide it with a meet up with some friends, or even a business meeting because it means I am less likely to try and make an excuse to NOT go which I have a habit of doing when I get busy.

But when whoever I am with leaves, it becomes my time and I pull out my computer and work or just write.

I don't know if it is because I am in new surrounds or because I still get that awesome buzz like I am wagging by not being in the office. Whatever it is, when I am somewhere different, I feel free and less stressed and it makes me feel good. Really good.

Which is kind of the point really isn't it?

Doing something because it makes you feel good.

 Do you have any rituals? What are they and why did you start them?

Thursday 19 September 2013

Where I Blog From

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I make no excuses for hiding away in my little lady cave come home office. It's my happy place and it is where I write, work, create and drink vodka cocktails.

Ok I'll pretty much do the last thing anywhere because I am really not fussy like that.

I love the recent posts floating around from various bloggers about where they blog from - Cause I'm a total sticky beak remember, and I like to imagine them sitting there doing their thing when I read their blogs.

And so I thought I would share my space with you today, so you too can have a sticky beak if you are so inclined like me ;)

As you know I have been working on my home office for some time now, adding the finishing touches in the makeover that I started when I left my corporate job and began working for myself.

I think I may be done now and have achieved what I was after.

I wanted a place that was bright and colourful and inspiring. A space that I don't mind spending time in day in and day out.

I do however blog from pretty much anywhere - at home in the loungeroom, sitting on my bed, on the back deck or out and about at a coffee shop somewhere in my travels. I like that about blogging - you can pretty much do it anywhere and any time.

But if I had to pick a favourite place, it would be here where there is coffee on tap and surrounded by all my favourite things.

And my co-worker is pretty darn cute don't you think?

I'm busy playing catch up today as the kid's school musical has eaten into my working week and I am miles behind in pretty much everything. So if you need me, I will be the one with the head down and bum up trying to stay focused.

Where do you like to blog, work or get creative from?

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Would You Do Anything Differently?

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Do you ever have those moments where your kids do something or say something that just makes your skin prickle with horror and you think CRAP - Exactly WHERE did I go wrong?

Occasionally I do and although they are not big awful things that they do or say (touch wood so far) they can be small enough to kick those tiny little cogs in my brain into action and start thinking about things like what would I do differently if I got to start all over again with them?

I was thinking about this last night as I was going to sleep. Earlier that night I had enjoyed one of those snuggle up on the bed chats with one of boys where you talk about everything and anything and you get a real peek into how their little minds are functioning.

We were talking about liking things that other people don't like and what happens when the things you like to do aren't considered cool by your friends. Big stuff to be discussing after the evening performance of the school play, but when they get on a roll and are opening up to me, I prefer to just let it happen, no matter where, when or how late it is.

The point I am taking such a bloody long time to get to is that I went to sleep wondering if I have done something or set an example in some way to make them hesitant to be themselves in anyway, or to conform to what is cool or acceptable. This of course lead my mind to the point where I begin to question everything I have taught them and what would I do differently if I got to do it all over again.

The reality is I would do SO MUCH differently if I got to start over, but here's just a few things that I can remember thinking before I drifted off to sleep.

I would be more encouraging in letting them express their individuality. If they wanted to wear a Superman outfit with a Dorothy the Dinosaur tail out to dinner instead of the cargo pants and white button up I had chosen for them, well then I would just let them and I would glare down anyone who dared to look at them with disapproving eyes.

If they really wanted that Bob The Builder T'shirt that I despised and thought was lame instead of the one I thought would look better on them then damn it, I would let them choose that AND the matching hat.

I would be more proactive in teaching them the value of money from an early age and make them wait more often to get what they wanted rather than giving them too much too soon. And I wouldn't waste so much money on buying plastic crap and fads that would be played with for a short time then dumped to the back of the playroom cupboard.

I would relax more about mess and let them stomp around in that mud without worrying about stains and dirt going everywhere and I would even get in there myself and show them how to make a really awesome mud cake.

I would worry less about routine and bedtimes and spend more hours taking evening walks and reading books by torchlight under a tee pee made from the bed covers.

I would get them more involved in the community by giving and helping others so they become truly grateful for who they are and what they have.

I would say no more often so that it doesn't come as such a shock when they hear it from others.

I wouldn't make such a big deal about them eating junk food or drinking soft drink every once in a while so that those things don't become such a big deal and the craving for the forbidden become so strong.

I would get them more involved in daily chores instead of doing it myself and properly and I would just relax when they put away their clothes folded in a way that makes me all twitchy, because at least they are doing it.

I would be stronger in my resolve to not let them waste hours on electrical gadgets and techno stuff just because that's what all their friends are doing.

I would assist them to cook, surf, paint etc from the moment they showed interest rather than wait until I thought they were ready or at a safe enough age to start.

I wouldn't say I have regrets about how we have done things with our boys and they have turned out pretty damn awesome in my totally biased opinion. But with experience comes hindsight and hindsight allows you to see things from a different perspective ... and that's not such a a bad thing really is it?

Would you do anything differently with your kids if you could start over again?