Our Play Kitchen hack

Our very own play kitchen make over is complete!


We picked up this pink, grimy Barbie kitchen from Gumtree a few weeks ago and got to work on fixing it up for our little princess.


So so happy with the results! The marble wallpaper from Kmart Australia is a popular hack I picked up from others on Facebook and Instagram and it adds the perfect touch. The black and gold was Hubby’s idea and it looks great.


Our little Lottie is obsessed with her new kitchen and we look forward to many more tea parties and creative play this weekend!

Liz x

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All is calm, all is bright

December is such a whirlwind. Family, friends, shopping, cooking, noise, wrapping up at work and keeping up at home knocked the wind out of my sails this year. 


Regardless of the manic moments leading up to the day, this Christmas was wonderful. Watching our little angel poke at her presents on Christmas Eve and fuss over the perfect carrots for Santa’s reindeer were beautiful little moments. Someone once said that they thought being a kid at Christmas was the best then they had children and discovered having kids at Christmas was even better – they are so right. 


After a beautiful Christmas Day spent in true Australian style with family, sunshine, white wine and good food by the beach we took a little break to the country to recalibrate and round off the holidays.


I’ve shared about this beautiful retreat on the NSW South Coast before. It is one of the calmest and most stunning places I’ve ever been. Perfect for a quick escape to the country to clear the head and reset the soul. 

Hubby genuinely surprised me with a beautiful oil painting set for Christmas. I took so many photos to serve as inspiration as I re-discover drawing and enter the brave new world of oils in 2017.

I hope you and yours had a merry and bright Christmas 🎄💕✨

Liz x

Pokéball Crochet Pattern

My family is majorly in to Pokemon Go right now. My husband actually walks home from work to catch more, our 3 year old is utterly delighted that she caught a Pidgey all by herself, I’m impressed by the game and all three of us have spent so much time together rediscovering something my hubby and I loved as kids and introducing it to our own child.

The original Pokemon series is on Netflix here in Australia, and Little Lottie is working her way through the episodes. A Pokeball is an obvious thing to crochet for a child who is now calling herself Pikachu instead of her actual name but it only occured to me to sit down and make it when I caught her throwing her hard, plastic pencil sharpener shaped like the Death Star at the TV.
I only found one pattern on Pinterest and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. It was too small and didn’t look quite right. So I set out to write my own and after some trial and error – documented here and here – the pattern is finally done!

Crochet Pokeball Pattern

 What you’ll need

  • 8 ply acrylic yarn in red, white and black
  • 4mm crochet hook
  • Darning or upholsterer’s needle
  • Scissors
  • Toy stuffing

Terminology;
Sc = single crochet,
(SC2) = Sc2 in the same stitch to increase stitch count
(SC2tog) = SC two stitches together to decrease.
SlSt = Slip Stitch
(no.) = Indicates the stitch count for the row

Pattern

  1. Start with white yarn. SC6 into a magic circle, SlSt together. (6)
  2.  Sc2 in each stitch around. (12)
  3. SC1 (SC2) x 6 (18)
  4. SC1, (SC2), SC2, (SC2), SC3, (SC2), SC2, (SC2), SC3, (SC2), SC2 (23)
  5. (Sc2), Sc4, (Sc2), Sc3, (Sc2), Sc4, (SC2), Sc3, (Sc2), Sc4 (28)
  6. Sc3, (Sc2), Sc6, (Sc2), Sc6, (Sc2), Sc6, (Sc2), Sc3 (32)
  7. Sc 1, (Sc2), Sc7, (Sc2), Sc7, (Sc2), Sc7, (Sc2), Sc6 (36)
  8. Sc 6, (Sc2), Sc11, (Sc2), Sc11, (Sc2), Sc5 (39)
  9. Sc8, (Sc2), Sc12, (Sc2), Sc12, (Sc2), Sc4 (42)

Switch to Black yarn
10. Sc15, (Sc2), Sc26 (43)
11. (Sc2), Sc42 (44)
12. Sc44 (44)

Switch to Red yarn
13. Sc42, (Sc2tog) (43)
14. Sc26, (SC2tog), Sc15 (42)
15. Sc4, (SC2tog), Sc12, (SC2tog), Sc12, (SC2tog), Sc8 (39)
16. Sc5, (SC2tog), Sc11, (SC2tog), Sc11, (SC2tog), Sc6 (36)
17. Sc6, (SC2tog), Sc7, (SC2tog), Sc7, (SC2tog), Sc7, (SC2tog), Sc1 (32)
18. Sc3, (SC2tog), Sc6, (SC2tog), Sc6, (SC2tog), Sc6, (SC2tog), Sc3 (28)
Stuff your Pokeball until it firmly holds it’s shape.
19. Sc4, (SC2tog), Sc3, (SC2tog), Sc4, (SC2tog), Sc3, (SC2tog), Sc4, (SC2tog) (23)
20. Sc2, (SC2tog), Sc3, (SC2tog), Sc2, (SC2tog), Sc3, (SC2tog), Sc2, (SC2tog), Sc1 (18)
21. (SC2tog), Sc1 x repeat around (12)
22. 4 x SC decreases. Fasten off and weave hole shut.

Button

  1. SC 6 in a magic circle (6)
  2. 2SC in each stitich (12)
  3. Change to black, SC in ea stitch (12)


Fasten off and cut leaving plenty of yarn for sewing the button on. You can increase the stitch count to 18 if you prefer but I’ve found that 12 gives a much tighter and straighter edge when the button is sewn onto the Pokeball. Sew button on over any visible colour change stitches.

And there you have a Pokéball!


This takes me about 45mins to make at the moment but I’m getting faster. I’ve already got lots of requests from friends and family for Pokéballs and I can’t wait to make them. Gotta catch ’em all!

Liz x

We’re Back!

My little family has been visiting extended family and exploring England and France over the past few weeks.


I really took the time to step away from my phone (and blog and email) and breathe. Travel is such a wonderful experience for kids. Watching Lottie’s face light up meeting her cousins in London for the first time, letting her hand her passport to the customs officers at the airport, and providing cuddles, encouragement and quick language lesson when the children in the playground in France couldn’t understand her asking to join their game – all incredibly special and memorable experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world.


Now that I’m back I can’t wait to get back in the groove of blogging and to catch up on my WordPress reading!

Liz x

Winter Essentials Round Up

It took its time this year but winter has arrived in Sydney. Along with the comfy knits, cozy coffee dates and sweet children in mittens comes sniffy noses, chapped lips and frozen little fingers on dreary days.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 9.33.08 AM

Here I’ve collected the recipes, patterns and ideas that get me and my family through winter that I’d like to share with others. All these can be found on my Winter Essentials Pinterest board which I love to add to whenever I come across something new.

Lip balm

Burt’s Bees Copycat Recipe by Karrie, HappyMoneySaver.com

I love the Burt’s Bees lip balm but hate the price tag. Although the ingredients to get started with this recipe can cost a bit they last and last. The ingredients for 2015’s Christmas presents lasted all through the winter and must have produced hundreds of homemade beauty products. I’ve found Karrie’s recipe sets in pots as well as cleaned out chap stick tubes.

burts-bees-recipe1
Click here to see the recipe on HappyMoneySaver.com!

Vapour rub

DIY Natural Vapor Rub by Claire, EverydayRoots.com

We all reach for the Vick’s when the family is sick. I’ve joined the ranks of mums who swear by vick’s on a little one’s feet covered by clean cotton socks to stop night time coughs but there are two drawbacks to Vick’s – 1) price per jar 2) I don’t know exactly what’s in it. And with a husband riddled with allergies from dust to grass to shell fish, I’d rather I wrote the ingredient list until our little one is a little older.

Here is Everyday Roots wonderful recipe for homemade, all natural vapour rub.

vapor rub
Click here for the recipe by Claire, Everyday Roots

Ear warmers

Crochet Ear Warmer by Krista, RescuedPawDesigns.com

Quick and easy is my favourite kind of crochet.These wide and warm headbands work up quickly in double crochet, are dead simple for beginners and make thoughtful little gifts. I made matching ones for a friend’s daughters (I’ll have to make another soon as she has baby girl #3 on the way!) and my own Little Lottie loves her blue ‘Elsa’ headband.

RescuedPawDesigns
Click here for the pattern by Krista, Rescued Paw Designs

Mittens

“Mrs Murdoch’s Mittens” by Brenda B. K. Anderson, CrochetMe.com

Crocheting mittens took me a bit of practice but this somewhat famous pattern that pops up all over Pinterest helped me out a lot. Brenda’s pattern comes in little kids, older kids and women’s sizes and once you’ve gotten used to it, is easy to customize.

crochet-mittens-by-Brenda-Anderson
Click here for the pattern by Brenda Anderson, CrochetMe.com

Easy Fleece Mittens by Denise, DIY-Crush.com

Everything about this sewing pattern is a big YES for me.

Cheap? Yes. Easy? Yes. Quick? Yes. Can I do it in the Disney print my kid picked out? Yes.

You will have to register for email newsletters for the template PDFs but it’s worth it (and the newsletters are actually great). This pattern is by Denise, is great for keeping little fingers warm and it’s not a disaster if one is lost at preschool or the park. I fiddled with the wrist seam and added a blue ribbon drawstring on the last pair I did.

The-easiest-mittens-you-will-ever-sew.-Free-fleece-mitten-sewing-pattern-at-DIY-Crush
Click here for the pattern by Denise on DIY-Crush.com

Beanies

Double Crochet Beanie by Laura Eccleston, HappyBerryCrochet.co.uk

Of course my favourite crochet queen was going to feature on this list. The woman who’s videos reawakened my love of crochet and turbo charged my skills with her Youtube tutorials created perhaps the best video tutorial series on beanies ever.

This link leads to the 12 months – 3 years size beanie as that is the size I tend to make the most however she has written patterns for 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 3yrs- pre teen, teen – small ladies and also ladies to men’s sizes as well. You must register or log in to download the pattern or head to Laura’s youtube channel for the full tutorial.

Happyberrycrochet
Click here for Laura’s pattern on HappyBerryCrochet.com

Bunny Rabbit Beanie by Sarah, RepeatCrafterMe.com

Unfortunately I only found this pattern AFTER I had spent $10 on one very similar beanie in Cotton On Kids. So cute, not too fiddly and the colour combinations are wide. I already have a request for a purple and pink bunny (or a “Twilight Sparkle Bunny hat” as little Lottie put it).

BunnyHat repeat crafter me
Click here for the pattern by Sarah, RepeastCrafterMe.com

Rice bags

Microwave Heating Pads by TipNut.com

I make my own little heart shaped fleece rice bags as hand warmers for our cold morning commutes. The best all round article on making your own can be found on TipNut.com. The lady behind TipNut doesn’t share her name but her site has been around for 10 years (!) and is a treasure trove of useful household articles.

rice bags tipnut
Click here for the article on TipNut.com

Hot Toddies & Hot Chocolate

I got the flu the week before my wedding. An English friend took one look at miserable and panicked me and immediately prescribed hot toddies. The basic ingredients are simple; hot water, lemon, honey, brandy or whiskey, but everyone has their own variation. This is one version I whip up the most although if I have them on hand, mine usually includes cinnamon and cloves.

hot toddy
Click here for a basic Hot Toddy recipe on HGTV.com

 

Italian Hot Chocolate by Elena, EasyAsApplePie.com

I agree with Elena who wrote this recipe 100%. Hot chocolate should be a rich indulgence that warms you to the very depths. Her recipe is everything I expect from a hot chocolate; thick, creamy, rich and topped with cream.

creamy-italian-hot-chocolate-2
Click here for Elena’s recipe

My Essentials; VeraTemp No Contact Themometer

Lottie was the most unsettled baby I have ever come across. Her first flu at 7 months was a month long ordeal and taking her temperature was an epic task. She wriggled, kicked, bit and screamed as I tried to hold a digital thermometer under her arm for 30 secs and never got a decent reading. The tympanic ones that take temperature from the ear were no better and on the rare occasion she had dozed off and was lying still enough to try this method, she would wake up immediately when it touched her ear and we’d have to start again.

But then I found the VeraTemp no contact thermometer (home use version) at the Baby & Toddler Show 2 years ago and the chaos and exhaustion that comes with a sick little one was made that much easier.

Point & Click. That’s it.

The VeraTemp Home thermometer not only measures body temp but also surface and room temperature. I’ve measured bath water and bottles as well as feverish kiddos. Oli measured everything from the Xbox battery to his cup of tea when we first brought it home.

  

The VeraTemp is listed on the Australian EvoMed online store and at YourDiscountChemist however you can usually find it on eBay too. Stockists tend to vary.

This is not a sponsored post. A contactless thermometer is just one of the most useful tools I’ve come across since becoming a parent and I wanted to share it with others.

Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Slightly sick of years of paying $45pp for High Tea each May (and alarmed at a guest list of 10+) I decided to host my own this Mother’s Day.

It was our first event in our new place and was a complete success! Any one just starting life with marriage, kids and setting up homes will understand that things have always been a little too small, not enough chairs, ran out of plates, only Peppa Pug cups left – but not this time. This time was our chance to host a really great afternoon for our families.

(Lottie “helped” with the jelly)

Hubby’s mother made tons of finger sandwiches and his little sister made a beautiful chocolate cake. Tea and conversation flowed and Grandmother-in-Law declared my scones ‘incredible’! I loved seeing so many people we love (12 of us all up) so happy and relaxed. It was a perfect day.

The most perfect part of my Mother’s Day was sharing it with my little Lottie. Her cuddles, her stories and the cupcake she iced and decorated for me were the greatest gifts I could ask for.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mums/aunts/grandmothers/guardians who’s posts I read with interest, love and empathy.

Liz x

Liz & Lottie’s Little Library

Everyone said that flood was a blessing in disguise – and they were right.

As we settle into our second new home of 2016, the feel of everything falling into place, the warmth of our books and pictures everywhere, Lottie’s toys scattered lovingly around her room and finding all the little things – throw rugs, balls of yarn, tea cups – that have been hiding in boxes just make us happier and happier.

My husband and I catch ourselves wandering from room to room smiling at each other and utterly content with where we are.

I wanted to share some images of my favourite project, our library.

    img_2712   

Lottie’s reading is coming along wonderfully. She recognises most of the letters of the alphabet, and runs to find the letter your name starts with when you come over to visit. She knows her friend Audrey starts with A and Beau starts with B. She ever spelled out ‘Pig the Pug’ after the story book they’re reading at preschool this month.

Reading brought me more joy than anything growing up and it still does as an adult. It’s wonderful to see my little one discovering that same excitement in opening up a story book.

Liz x

Wine and roses

The best part of the week is Saturday mornings. They’re almost magical. The cool breeze, sunshine, birds singing and dew drying on the trees and little Lottie holding my hand as we walk up the road to our new favourite cafe in our new neighbourhood.


The fresh flowers, the children running around, parents enjoying their time together over lattes and chia blueberry muffins. My lovely husband and I restocked our little cellar on Saturday. Sipping Merlot over homemade pizza after the little one goes to bed is just perfection. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

Liz x