June 2014Life Love and Hiccups: June 2014
Life Love and HiccupsLife Love and HiccupsLife Love and HiccupsLife Love and Hiccups

Monday 30 June 2014

The Great Laundry Makeover & Giveaway

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This post is brought to you by Howards Storage World

Congratulations to MeAndMyReadyMadeFamily
"My laundry tip is to do what I did. I put my cross face on, told my hubby I couldn't cope with all the housework and he could either clean both our toilets every second day or do the washing. I don't even remember what our washing machine looks like!"

The laundry is often one of the most neglected parts of our homes and if there was an official protection service for laundries then I probably needed to be dobbed into them a loooong time ago.

We bought our house 9 years ago and with only 1 child at the time; I didn't put a lot of thought into the laundry. From memory I think I just kind of poked my head in there and went yep theres a laundry and moved on to look at the next room.

At the time I didn't notice how small the laundry was, how dark or dingy it appeared or how very little there was in the way of storage.

Skip forward 9 years and approximately 6570 loads of washing later (yes I actually did the math) and I have developed somewhat of a phobia about my laundry. For so long it has been a sad sad place and I have avoided going in there as much as possible.

It wasn't just the dingy room that was putting me off doing the laundry; it was the act of doing laundry itself. I mean all that time washing and drying and folding and sorting and then the clothes would sit in baskets or hang on the curtain rod in the toy room until they were required because no one could be bothered to put them away.

Seriously who really wants to live in a Chinese Laundromat? Because thats what the kids toy room looked like!

So once again my fabulous friends at Howards Storage came to the rescue. When we were discussing our next potential project together, the laundry came up and of course they wanted to see it.

The horror on the HSW teams faces were only rivaled by the shame on mine as I did not even bother tidying it up when they came to have a look. It needed to be seen in its authentic dysfunctional state to get the full picture of what everyone would be dealing with.

Now as is always the way with the HSW organisational Ninjas, they came up with the most awesome of plans and a date was set for a makeover.

In the meantime, I set about giving the rooms a bit of a facelift by pulling everything out and painting over the drab beige with a couple of coats of fresh white paint.

The difference that made was phenomenal and things were already beginning to look a lot brighter pun totally intended.

My mate Ali came in and fixed the dryer to the wall and installed some elfa tracks. The idea was to create storage in there but as it is a very small room, we needed to make sure we didn't overcrowd it and make it feel even pokier.

I have been a huge fan of the elfa system for a while now - ever since it was installed in our garage makeover. It is a fabulous storage solution that allows you to use the wall space to hang shelves or utility hooks and even dirty clothes baskets, keeping everything neat and organised and of the floor.

Throw in some pretty and practical accessories to house the laundry and cleaning items and ta da - behold my beautiful new laundry.

OK so the laundry was finally shmicko and inviting as well as being a bright AND functioning space, BUT I still had the issue of living out of clothes baskets and clothes hanging on the curtain rail in the kids toy room.

The kids havent used the toy room for a while now and so as a family (and with a little gentle persuasion from me in the way of a new video game) we decided to reclaim that room and turn it into command central. A place which would act as the central organisational point for the day to day running of our family including laundry distribution, homework station, school uniforms, notes and sports rosters etc. It was to become a utility room of sorts that stores everything we need for coming and going as well as things like towels for the pool etc.

Our boys get dressed downstairs for school. They come down in their PJs half asleep and their school clothes are all laid out waiting for them. Honestly I cant see the sense in taking all their school clothes upstairs to their individual rooms to then have the hubby or I go around each night and collect them to bring back downstairs for the morning. So we decided to store the school clothes, socks and undies downstairs in the new utility room.

As for the rest of the clothes, well they now get folded on the folding table and placed straight into a drawer for each family member.  The drawers are then distributed to their owners to take upstairs and put away.

Oh my heart has been singing with this new system

Clothes are no longer hung to dry on my long suffering curtain rail because we have a fancy shmancy family sized clothes airer that we can hang everything from undies to full length dresses on. This airer can be moved from room to room or folded up flat and put away when not in use.

School notes and assignments, sports rosters and reminders are kept on the memo board and homework books are kept in a drawer with the boys names on them. Our oldest boy has a basket where he also keeps the text books he doesn't need to take to school that day.

The kids are now responsible for packing their bags the night before with what they need and I can see what notes need to be signed and what assignments I need to hassle them to get done.

a: elfa Mesh Storage Bags
b: All Purpose CaddyHousekeeper Caddy, Laundry / Soaking Poweder SetPeg Bucket
c: Laundry Basket, Large Ultra Basket White
d: Storage Totes Large Stone, elfa Hanging Solution, Flocked Hangers
e: elfa Hanging Accessories
f: elfa Gliding Drawer Frameselfa Gliding Mesh Drawers
g: Howards 42 Rail 3 Tier Family Airer
h: Tubtrug 75 Litre
i: Shoe Shine Box

So there we have it - the Great Laundry AND Family Organisation Centre makeover. Can you hear my OCD heart going thumpety thump?

You can find a whole load of ideas to help you organise your laundry in the latest Howards Storage World Catalogue here, as well tips and tricks to save you time and even a video showing my laundry makeover.

You can also enter to win one of 5 x $1000 Gift cards over at the Howards Storage World website so that you can make over your own laundry.

Make a purchase from Howards Storage World (either in-store or online).
Retain your Purchase Receipt
Enter the unique receipt / transaction number at: hsw.com.au.

Each unique receipt / transaction number provides one entry into the competition. So, the more you shop at Howards, the more chances you have to win! Head here to enter in that competition now. 

Alright folks, now who fancies winning a $100 Howards Storage World Voucher from me to put towards organising a room in your own home?

All you need to do to enter is tell me what is the best laundry tip you have ever been given?
Then follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget below and you are in with a chance to win.

Competition is open now and closes Sunday 13/07/14 at 7pm AEST
Open to Australian residents only sorry

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 27 June 2014

Weekend Rewind Blog Hop - The Working Mother's Guilt Trip

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So the school holidays have officially begun here in NSW and as is the usual way right at the beginning of the holidays, I am super excited at the prospect of no packed lunches, no homework and no stressy mornings.

Give me a week of arguments and kid's dying of boredom and that will most likely change.

I have stocked up on the coping cordial (special shout out to all the school mums I ran into at Dan Murphy's), I have semi stocked the pantry (Not that I really believe it will last long) and I am ready for the holidays to begin.

I have had a big old dose of the working Mother Guilt's lately. It's not that I haven't been doing stuff with the kids, cause I have. It's just that when you work for yourself and you take time off to do things at school or sport etc, you need to make up those hours right? And those hours are typically stolen back from the evenings.

Last night I sat in bed on my laptop working on some worky stuff when my youngest son came in to see me.

"Hi Mum" he said as he climbed up onto the bed to snuggle with me.

"Hi mate" I replied as I continued typing up an email

"Whatcha doing?" he asked

"Just working sweetheart" I said as I pulled him in for a cuddle.

"Why are you always working Mum?" he asked with a side of big fat guilt

"Well because I spent all day with you at school today and I still need to get my work done" I explained. "Did you like having me at school with you?" I asked to change the subject and totally expecting an ego stroking.

He looked at me and smiled his big goofy grin and said "Yeahhh it was good, It was like having the whole school at our house and you get to boss them around for a while instead of me".

Okey Dokey Artichokey. It wasn't exactly the ego boost I was hoping for but I am sure deep down somewhere in his remark was an I love you Mummy oh best mummy in the world. Somewhere... deep... deep...

I don't resent his remark about my working. I mean how can I when it's true. But I do need to address the balance somehow.

So whilst I still need to work in the holidays and I am planning on a whole lot of cuddles, movie nights and hot chockies with the boys Leisurely mornings at the park and the coffee shop and afternoon craft and knitting sessions. I'll just need to hide in my bedroom at night with the laptop and a pack of gummie bears and get some work done when they are asleep.

Do you suffer from working mother's guilt?
How do you appease your guilt?

Don't forget to join in the linky party and link up your favourite post from the week.

Link up your favourite post from the past week and then pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Maxabella)Sonia's blog (Sonia Styling) or Kelly's at A Life Less Frantic
It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Procraftination 9 Funky Craft Projects For Your Home

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As you have probably guessed by now one of my favourite ways to waste some time is ProCRAFTinating. 

I'm not fussy, I'm happy to be crafting or myself or just pinning other peoples fabulous work on Pinterest and getting myself all amped up to make some stuff. Either way it is one of the most glorious ways to put off doing any of the boring stuff I am supposed to be doing.

I have my pinning routine down to a fine art these days. On the night I have set aside to get pin happy I sit on the couch at night with my G&T in my left hand and I right click and pin with my right. 

It is fluid and easy and it soothes me like a baby on a boob. Except there are no boobs and no babies involved which kind of mutes that analogy but whatever. You get what I mean.

Sweet baby cheeses there are some clever clogs in this world of ours. Some of the things people make are seriously so clever. Here are some of the funky projects for your home that I have pinned this week on Pinterest. If you are keen to give them a go you can click on the links below to go to the tutorials or if you aren't feeling quite that energetic, why not come on over and play with me on Pinterest. You can find me here.

What sort of things get you into a mad Pinning Frenzy on Pinterest? 

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Old Foxes, Technology Addictions and 1st World Issues

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Last night we had a blackout on the Northern Beaches and the first thing I thought of was "Thank God it is not Offspring night.

I know 1st world problems right?

We raced around finding candles and torches and the kids ran around squealing like the world was about to end. The sudden darkness was the equivalent to a cup of creaming soda in the hyper stakes and they didn't want to go to bed because it was too dark. Ruheally? I had no comeback as I was too damn stupefied to respond.

After piling all the kids into one bedroom so they could keep each other company... you know... in the dark and all... *insert major eye roll* I grabbed the phone to ring my parents who live only 2 minutes up the road to just check that they were OK. Except of course the power was out which meant our digital phones weren't working.


So I reached for my laptop to check the news and find out what was going on with this blackout? Except I had no wifi.


I grabbed my trusty iPhone to check the Internet that way, and I found that the network was down and I couldn't get online... like AT ALL!

It was then that the shit I have no access to any technology panic set in.

No lights, no TV, no electricity, no wifi, no phone. OMG the kids were right this really was the end of the world.

We eventually gave up and went to bed about 4 hours earlier than we are used to. As I lay there staring out the window watching the wind bending the trees and praying that the basketball hoop didn't fall on the car after I had mocked my husbands suggestion of moving it, I thought to myself "holy shitballs I really am addicted to modern day technology aren't I".

I couldn't stand the thought of not knowing what was going on outside of our little world and I was struggling to cope with not being able to log into Facie or anything else. And then I started thinking about what it would be like if the world had a major crisis and we were forced to live in a world with no wifi or electronics and I swear I could feel the hives practically bubbling to surface of my skin.

I have teased my kids about their addiction to their gadgets, I have laughed mercilessly at my husband's Internet surf checks and yet here I was lying in bed at 9pm at night going practically mental from withdrawal.

This is where I am supposed to say how I had an epiphany about my unhealthy attachment to technology and how I am going to ween my family off it just in case the world does face some catastrophic incident that sees us living underground with no power ...right?

Except I'm not.

Instead I am sitting here googling residential generators and battery operated phone chargers cause you know, old fox, new tricks and all that.

I like technology... very much it seems and with more wind predicted for tonight and the risk of another blackout on the cards, I am looking for a back up place to watch Offspring.

Any space on your couch? I come with vodka and Malteasers.

Do you have an unhealthy attachment to technology?

Tuesday 24 June 2014

The Light Bulb Moment

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After being reading Em's post the other day about the demands of Motherhood and working and life becoming a chore, I had a light bulb moment. 

Em said in her post "The answer isn’t as simple as cutting back on work, the answer is complicated. It is about accepting that this is the way my life is right now and dealing with it." 

Bam. That was it. That was the answer I had been looking for myself.

Life is always going to be busy, unless of course you are a millionaire lounging on the beach in Barbados but even then you could kind of be busy counting hundred dollar notes to pay your bar bill. But for the rest of us, life is just going to keep on throwing 'busy stuff' at us. Most of us need to work but how we deal with that ... well that is our choice.

We can play the old 'When' game, you know - when I have done this or that then I can relax, when the kids are bigger it will get easier, when I have more money life will be easier, when when when...

But what if when never comes? What if there is no such thing as when?

What if all we have is right here and now and we can choose wether we live this moment feeling stressed and not enjoying ourselves or our loved ones? 

OR what if we accept that there will always be something to stress us out or place demands on us and we just accept that as a fact but not let it dictate how we live every single moment of our lives?

I am notorious for not doing something I want to do with friends or family because I have too much to do. 

Just yesterday I said "no thanks" to grabbing a coffee with some mums from school because I had 'too much to do'. It wasn't until I got to the car that I thought "Damn it, no one would die waiting for me to return a phone call or a couple of emails. Why did I say no?". 

But it was too late, my friends had already moved on to wherever they were going and I had missed the moment, just as I have missed many moments because of this mindset of mine.

I know that I can't turn my back on responsibility, but surely somethings can wait until tomorrow?

Watching my boys laugh and enjoy enjoy themselves on a spontaneous night out was all the validation I needed to let me know that living in the moment is the way to live. They aren't thinking about what we should be doing. 

They ... WE were living in the moment and in that particular moment, life is pretty darn good.

Lesson learnt.

Thanks Em.

That is all.

Do you play the when game?

Monday 23 June 2014

Act Your Age Not Your Shoe Size

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I'm desperately clinging to my baby who at 7 I guess is not really considered a baby anymore.

Flynn is your typical 7 year old youngest child. He wants to act like his big brothers, talk like them, do all the stuff that they get to do and hang out with them to boot.

He annoys the crap out of them, touching all their stuff, wearing their clothes and screaming at the top of his voice to ensure he doesn't miss out on being heard... by anyone.

He licks them, karate kicks them and he eavesdrop on their conversations and then tells anybody and everybody a completely twisted version of what he overheard.

He stopped calling me Mummy at an early age because he heard his older brothers call me Mum and in so many ways he has always just seemed older than what he actually is.

He is tall for his age. He always has been and strangers have often sniffed at his behaviour expecting a child of his age to speak more clearly and act more maturely... except of course he was acting and speaking appropriately, it's just that his height means that most people misjudge his age.

If I am totally honest, much of the time I forget that he is only 7 too.

Until days like today.

Today I had a hyper little 1st grader who was beyond excited to have me go into his classroom and build shelters with him.

He woke up in the usual manner, a grumpy teenager stuck in the body of a midget. But as soon as I reminded him I would be joining him at school, the facade immediately melted away and we were left with one very excited little munchkin jumping up and down and grinning from ear to ear.

When he spied me waiting outside his classroom with all the other Mum's and Dad's I was met with the most heart melting grin and enthusiastic waving. He raced out the door to meet me with a hug and wait for it... a "Hi Mummy".

Well melt me down into a pile of goo. He called me Mummy.

As my little 7 year old proudly held my hand and walked me into his classroom, I was reminded yet again of how quickly they grow up and how important it is to let them act their age... their real age, not their shoe size.

Friday 20 June 2014

Weekend Rewind Blog Hop - Fitting In

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Sometimes I find the whole fitting in thing a little bit tricky to navigate.

I admire people who aren't afraid to stand out from the crowd through the way they dress, the way they speak or even their beliefs.  I admire them ... but don't know if I could ever be like them.

It think as a general rule we all want to fit in somehow - at work, in a group of friends even in the school yard with all the other mums. We want to belong, I guess it's only natural. And so often we moderate what we say or what we wear so we blend more easily.... or at least I do.

I sit on the fence a lot as I don't want to offend anyone.

I avoid confrontation as I don't want to hurt anyone.

I wear clothes and my hair in a way that I like but are not outlandish or necessarily a true reflection of who I am because I don't want to draw attention to myself and look too different from everyone else.

If I'm totally honest with you, it's part of the reason I hide my scars because growing up I was always in plaster or limping and I felt different to everyone else and it wasn't a feeling I ever became comfortable with.

As a parent I worry about this kind of stuff for my own kids. I want them to be individuals, to have the confidence to speak their mind, dress how they want and follow their own unique paths and yet at the same time I don't want them to be too different from everyone else because I don't ever want them to suffer the pain of feeling like they don't belong.

Do you get where I am coming from?

Probably a place of fear I guess.

I can imagine it could possibly be a little easier as an adult to stand up and be different from the crowd... not easy,  just a little less hard than it would be as a kid because well kids can be cruel and the school years can feel like they go on forever for a child that doesn't fit in.

So as a parent I end up contradicting myself in the most ridiculous of ways.

I encourage my kids to stand up for themselves and for others and to speak up for what they believe in and yet in the same breathe I encourage them to keep the peace and go with the flow to avoid any unnecessary drama.

I tell them to walk their own path and not follow the crowd and yet I buy them the labels and the latest gadgets their friends have because I hate the thought of them feeling like they don't fit in.

I tell them to be a friend to everyone but expect them to understand that not everyone is going to want to be friends with them and that is OK.

When I see a child that wears his or her individuality loud and proud I stand up and cheer loudly for them. I fist pump the air with the most stoked enthusiasm ... but it is easy to do that because I am not the mother of that child who has to worry about whether their child is happy, being treated kindly and feels like they belong.

I want my children to be as different as they choose to be, but I don't want them to have to pay a price for that.

Wow, a little deep for a Friday evening I know and it's a tricky one don't you think - to be as individual as you want to be and yet feel like you fit in at the same time?

Do you think you can do both?  
Do you ever worry about fitting in or your kids fitting it?

Don't forget to join in the linky party and link up your favourite post from the week.

Link up your favourite post from the past week and then pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Maxabella)Sonia's blog (Sonia Styling) or Kelly's at A Life Less Frantic
It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Selective Sight

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This morning I woke with a big smile and rose with a spring in my step. I had a date with my Mum and IKEA.

I have been very restrained and have stayed away from that joint for over 6 months now, despite catalogues taunting me in my letter box and emails turning up in my inbox saying "Sonia, come and see us  - we know you want to  Stop stop fighting it Sonia. Come to the dark side. Come now."

OK so the emails really didn't say that, but we all know that that is what they are really saying behind the professional yet friendly front. They want us to feel it, to need it. Temptation. What can I say - It's a beast.

So my hubby knew what I was doing today. He has had a week's warning to prepare himself, and yet he said nothing before he left for work this morning. No trying to steal the credit cards from my wallet. No siphoning of the petrol tank. No being read the riot act.


I was unnerved by his apparent lack of concern.

And so I set off with a guilt free conscience rubbing my hands in anticipation.

I won't lie to you. I bought a trolley full of stuff more than I intended to. It quite possibly could have been two trolley loads full had my mum not pulled out the old "Sonia do you REALLY need that" every time I picked something up and gave it the once over.

I also will admit to feeling a little guilty as I stuffed packages into every available space in the boot of my car, although that guilt faded to the background when I got home and started putting allt he lovely new bits and pieces I really didn't need into their new home.

But here's the thing. My husband and my children walk out of the house in the mornings and do they notice the piles of stuff they leave scattered everywhere in their wake.

Hell No!

They do not notice the plates and bowls they leave on the sink, nor do they notice the PJs and towels and shoes they leave all over the floor.

Quite possibly I could lie on the floor and pretend to be dead and they would not even notice, they would just step over me on their way out to the car.

BUT they walk in the door this afternoon and they DO notice the new cushion on the couch and the sheepskin on the arm chair. They notice the new chopping board next to the sink and they even notice the new flower pot on the coffee table.

Selective Sight or what? It's kind of like the selective hearing they also suffer from. You know the condition where no one can hear you when you ask for help but they come running from miles away the minute you open a packet of gummy bears.

Do your family suffer from Selective Sight? Been to IKEA lately? MAN that place rocks.

This post is in no way sponsored by IKEA. I chose to go and blow my hard earned money on random stuff all by myself... but they are guilty of tempting me with catalogues and emails.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

A Very VERY Important Debate

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Important stuff we are talking about today people. We are talking about beds... or bed making to be more specific.

I was chatting to a friend at the kid's rugby training the other day about bed making, as you do when a group of women are bored out of their brains. Actually we were debating more than we were chatting and we were both on opposing teams when it comes to the question of do you or don't you make the bed in the morning?

If you haven't guessed already, I am head cheerleader on team make the bed.

What can I say?

I like to get into bed at night to a made up bed with the electric blanket on and I even go so far as to spray a little vanilla room spray I keep on my bedside table for a little added indulgence.

I am so team make the bed that I make it literally as soon as I get up in the morning.

I totally get why my friend takes the meh can't be bothered approach. She figures you are going to mess it up again anyway at night so why go to all the effort.

She also raised the argument that an unmade bed airs the mattress better than a bed that is all neatly tucked in and therefore reduces the risk of bed bugs.

I can't really comment on that as I have not yet Googled it sufficiently. But even if it proves to be true, I know that personally I just wouldn't be able to do it. I simply cannot leave the bed unmade.

I liken it to how I can't go to bed at night without the cushions on the couch having been put back into place, the kitchen left in a state of distress or the front door left unlocked.

I guess it's just a quirk of mine. All be it I'm sure a very annoying one to live with.

As for the kid's beds?

My care factor is zero.

I used to race around every morning and make their beds for them in between tidying up their rooms, finding dirty clothes and playing referee to who gets the non nubby socks.

Then I wised up and made it a job that they were responsible for instead.

For ages I tried to teach them about hospital corners and folded top sheets, but their bed making skills or lack there of made me all jittery and caused my OCD tendencies to go into overdrive and I would cry with despair "Why ohhh WHYYYYY can't you get it? Fold first THEN tuck" before falling in a heap on the floor in a very melodramatic fashion.

I'm now at the stage one gets when they have beaten their head against a brick wall day in and day out for 13 years.

I've realised that if I keep beating my head against that wall it is going to continue to hurt... or possibly leave me brain dead. Either or.

These days, if they pull the quilt up and throw their pillows kinda sorta where they are supposed to go, then I am happy with that.

But our bed. Made with hospital corners Every . Single . Day.

What about you? Where do you stand on this very important subject. 
Do you make the bed when you get up in the morning?
Do you make your kid's beds every day or insist that they do?