Monday, 30 October 2017

39.52 The Wall with Friends

A school holiday outing with friends to the National Museum to see the Towers of Tomorrow Lego Exhibition. 

Of course, an outing to the museum is never complete without a clamber along this big rock wall just outside. Over the years I have so many memories of the kids scaling the edges, walking the ledge, being ever so brave and generally making me bite my lip as I watch them from afar!

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017. 

The November Christmas Shopping Challenge!

Are you up to the challenge?!

That's right, challenge yourself to get ALL your Christmas shopping done in November - well, as much as possible anyway!


  • Because it means you get ALL of December to enjoy the magic of the holiday season with your friends and family without the stress and frazzle of last minute Christmas shopping.
  • You can avoid the hectic shops through ALL of December!!! #BONUS
  • Plenty of time for your online shopping to arrive (I do pretty much all my Christmas shopping online, how about you??)
  • You (and the kids!) don't get drawn into and tempted by all the crazy last minute Christmas advertising - shopping is already done, so just ignore the ads and go sing Christmas carols together, lol!
  • More time to enjoy Christmas parties, summery outings, school concerts, Christmas lights with the kids and even.... relaxing!!
  • If a last minute need for a present for someone crops up, it's not such a drama as you have plenty of 'bandwidth' to get something 'cos everything else is taken care of.

Every year, for the last few years, we have aimed to do all our Christmas shopping during November. A flurry of emails go back and forth between hubby and I from November 1st as we finalise our gift list (we do talk in real life too, haha) and get everything sorted. We don't really buy much for the kids or a huge extended family, but it still makes such a big difference to get it started early and be able to have that stress all taken care of come December 1st. Honestly, it's a huge relief and makes such a difference to launch into the silly season with the main to-do all taken care of.

More time for memory making and holiday fun? YES PLEASE!

So, why not join the challenge? Get cracking now and have it all done by December 1st.... then enjoy a fun, relaxing, magical Christmas season with your family and friends.

Let's do this!!!


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Christmas Wonderland // Family Photos

Christmas photos!!!! In October!!! Please don't kill me, haha!

It was such a wonderful treat to get Christmas photos this year.... I just had to share them.

Huge thanks to Mel and Mallie of Mel Hill Photography for having us as the guinea pigs for their Christmas mini-sessions. We have never had Christmas photos done before... not even Santa photos... so this was wonderful fun and a good excuse to get Christmas cards made this year! But how will I ever choose a favourite for our card!? #HELP!

Isn't this Christmas scene so magical.... like the Pottery Barn Christmas Catalogue of my dreaaaaaaams. We are not really this classy, lol. But the team worked magic on us, even with the kids tired and grubby coming straight from school. Amazing what some beautiful natural light and talented camera work can do!

And so... Christmas 2017, here we cooooooome!

There is always that one random kid licking the Christmas tree, haha!!!!!

But seriously.... so in love with these images. To be honest I never really considered a Christmas photo shoot before but now I am soooo glad I have them. So magical and precious and fun - and some plain family shots too which are good for all year around :)

Ok, I know it's only October but now I am soooooo in the mood for Christmas!

PS Definitely highly recommend Mel Hill Photography if you live around Canberra and are looking for a local photographer. Her studio is so gorgeous for all kinds of photography, I was dying over the cute newborn gear!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

A Family (Abstract) Art Project!

Sometimes I just get a vision in my mind and I can't shake it till it's fulfilled, even if I don't quite know how to do it, haha. Is that just me!?

Backstory: I had this big canvas hanging above our dining table. When we moved into our home about seven years ago (!!), I couldn't afford a nice artwork so hung up a simple canvas covered in a pale blue fabric (using the good ol' staple gun) and grey chunky wool twined around it... a 'temporary' solution of an abstract art work that ended up staying quite a while. Like, seven years....oops!

I was finally ready to do something different but just felt like I still wanted to use the canvas I already had... and had a hankering to do something with it involving the kids so it could be a family project and a family artwork to hang above the family table (are you sensing a theme? #family). Something abstract, something colourful, something that suited our house decor colour scheme, something drippy or splattery, something that involved the kids but didn't look like it had been done by kids, if you know what I mean!?! I mean, is all that too much to ask!? Ha!

I scrolled Pinterest like crazy and asked arty friends, but just couldn't find anything that exactly fit my vision. So, I combined a few techniques with a big dose of 'let's just try this and see what happens' and here's where we ended up!

Well, I love it and the end result totally fit my vision! The whole family loves it and we all especially love that we all got involved. The kids are super proud of their contribution (they show it off to every visitor!), it's the perfect piece to sit over our dining table and I think it's going to suit our family home for many years to come!

Our beautiful mess.... kinda perfect to represent our family life. Perfectly imperfect. We love it 'cos it's ours!

If you want to have a go, whether by yourself, with family or your classroom, here's how to do it!

Basically, I made up 'spray bottle' paint for the fun dripping technique... spray paint is pretty toxic so didn't really want the kids going crazy with that! It's so easy and fun to do.

What you need:

  • A canvas of whatever size you like!
  • Acrylic paints - choosing the colour combo is the best part :) 
  • Spray bottles - one for each colour you want to use
  • Jug of lukewarm water (not cold from the tap, you want it slightly warm to help make the paint nice and runny)
  • The secret weapon - a little bead or corn kernel to go into each spray bottle to help mix the paint when you shake it. Or use a kid's baby tooth like they do in each spray can (Simpsons reference, sorry! #itsajoke) 

The How-To:
  • Find a space outside to set up your canvas, perhaps with a drop sheet as well. There will be overspray! Ask me how I know, haha.
  • Mix up the paint in the spray bottles. How thick or watery you make the spray will depend on what you want the painting to look like and also I think the brand of paint will affect it too. I wanted it to be pretty richly coloured (so it looked like acrylic paint, not watercolour) so I make it pretty thick. For this, I did a ratio of about 1/3 paint to 2/3 lukewarm water. You can trial/experiment with it, for a more watercolour effect, maybe do a quarter paint to three quarters water. Start with a little paint and give trial sprays on paper and adding water till you get the effect you like!
  • So - add the water, then the paint, then lastly the bead or kernel. Then shake, shake, shake!

Also, I  wondered if the spray bottles would get clogged after the first use or be basically ruined with the paint but I am very happy to report that they didn't clog and or get ruined even after the paint sat in them for several days - woohoo! After it was all done, I washed them out and they are still fine to use :)

So first of all, my little assistant helped me make a very watery 'undercoat' layer with the grey colour (I did probably a quarter paint or less to three quarter for this one). I don't know if it really was needed but I wanted to give the canvas a good base and for the paint to run well over.

Then, it was time to spray!!! Now, if you are doing this with a bunch of kids, for everyone's sanity, I suggest just working with one kid at a time. Each kid got assigned a colour, they would come out to the carport and go on a spraying frenzy, then we would let it dry for a couple hours or longer before doing the next layer. I encouraged them to just spray along the top of the canvas and they really loved watching the paint run down!

I worked with four colours (one for each kid and then hubby and I shared the grey). I ended up doing two layers of each because I got very perfectionistic, haha and didn't like how I finished on the grey (it looked too dark) so I started layering over again!! So grey base layer then yellow, pink blue, grey, yellow, pink, blue. I would suggest starting with darker colours and layering so the lighter ones are on top.

He chose this outfit including the hat, lol. Perhaps he was channelling his inner French artiste?! 

And finally, after a very impatient wait (may or may not have been not quite dry!), it was ready to hang over the dining table! Actually, beforehand, all the kids signed the back and we put the date on it. Our beautiful mess :) 

Kinda obsessed with all the tiny flecking all over it

We are so happy with our messy little artwork and all the memories it now contains. Let's see how long it hangs on the wall.... probably for quite a few years! #familyheirloom?!

And if you get a hankering to make one too.... enjoy... and I would love to see a photo!

Monday, 9 October 2017

38.52 ...A family day by the river

It was a public holiday and I was just itching to get out of the house and spent a little time connecting with nature and my family. Life has been a little too hectic of late, for my liking!

We packed up a simple picnic and our new (huge!) picnic mat and took off to explore a new trail by the river not too far from our house. For locals, FYI, it's the Murrumbidgee River Discovery Trail which starts from the Kambah Pools. I couldn't believe we had never been there before!!! A simply beautiful area, I highly recommend it..

We first went for an hour long hike along the Discovery Trail. it was truly idyllic. Mark and I just kept taking deep breaths, sighing and smiling as we walked along the trail. It just felt soooooooo good, so refreshing and so grounding to be out in nature together! The kids alternately went racing along the track to explore or were strolling along by our sides, chattering away. We spotted birds, soaked in the mountain views, observed wombat holes, explored burnt out trees and watched a trail of ants. Out here, together, all the worries and stresses of life just seemed to melt away.

After our long walk, the little legs (and big legs, let's be honest!) were rather ready for a rest. We set ourselves up to relax for the rest of the morning by the river. It was so nice to just find a quiet space where we could just soak up the tranquillity and refuel with a few snacks. However, before too long, the kids were down in the river beds, wading in the water and digging channels in the sand. They don't need long to recover!? Hubby and I enjoyed watching them for a while, as he dozed and I read. 

It was just a few hours out of the house but it was such a recharge. How thankful I am for days like these, making memories, connecting with and in nature, just being together!

These are precious times, of this I have no doubt.

Grubby feet are always a sign of a good time....

When we head out for a picnic, I like to throw a few books in for the kids  as well as the adults. The perfect way to take a little quiet time out in the fresh air before jumping up for another play. If you know me, you know it's never a bad idea to squeeze in a little more reading! And it heightens the chance I get to read some of my own book too ;) 

Mark always squeezes in a power nap whenever possible....

I just have to say a huge thank you to Recycled Mats for sending me the beautiful Reconciliation Mat pictured, as a gift. Truth be told, I have been eyeing off these gorgeous mats online and on Instagram for aaaaages!!! So was beyond thrilled to be sent one. It is amazzzzzzing, is it not?! I'm in love :)

Finally, a mat that is big enough for our whole family to stretch out on - this one is 3x3 metres. It's soft and comfy, fairly waterproof, and easy to just hose off any mess too! I also love so much about this company's approach - recycling millions of plastic items that would otherwise be headed for landfill, and employing Indigenous artists to create many of their stunning mat designs. So much to love! Frankly, I am just so excited for this beautiful mat to accompany our tribe on many more outdoor adventures!

This beautiful Reconciliation Mat was gifted to me by Recycled Mats. No additional payment was made and all opinions shared are 100% my own. I only share about products that I truly love and use!