I usually do a big clean at the start of Spring but with a two year and two month old a spring clean is looking about as likely as me being able to say no to chocolate at the moment (I swear, it's the nursing that makes me do it) It's hard enough to find the time to clean plus my little mess monster, aka Matilda, loves to get everything out all day, every day (lucky she's cute! hehe) So this year I'm going to work smarter not harder when it comes to our annual spring clean. Because lets be honest, there's plenty of other things I'd love to be doing this spring than spring cleaning. So read on for my top 3 cheats for a busy mum to spring clean.
1. Let's get sensible - Call a house cleaner in.
Time is of the essence for us mama's and as fun as scrubbing a toilet sounds, taking the girls to the park is sitting much higher on the list. So I decided to get a professional in to take over some of the cleaning duties. I worked with Homejoy, a clever website full of certified cleaners ready to make your house spotless. Holla! I could book my session straight off their site and choose what area's I wanted her to focus on. I'd always been hesitant to get a cleaner partly because of the cost, but partly also because its like having a stranger in your home .... going through all your stuff. The good news is Homejoy background checks all of their experts and only keeps them on if they have stellar customer reviews. Loves. For our cleaning session I asked Mary, our cleaning professional, to take care of a normal cleaning job and tackle a few of the bigger spring cleaning jobs I was dreading. So that meant giving the bathroom (and I mean the whole bathroom) a big clean, plus she got into the kitchen appliances for a special scrub. So while Mary was tending to degreasing, I was tending to Matilda's play kitchen for a heavy session of "let's pretend to make pancakes". How good was that? Mary even did a few extra tasks I hadn't asked for because she noticed they needed to be done. Once more, how good is that?!? These pictures are the 'after' of our house. I'm loving how clean everything is looking.
2. Prioritise - Cherry pick the area's that annoy you most.
Ready for cheat 2? Okay, lets get into it. A normal spring clean might have 30 to do's on the list. That's all well and good if your name is Martha Stewart but for me I decided to prioritise the area's that bothered me most. You know, the things that you see every day and think "I really should clean that" but never get round to it. I'm sure we've all go those right?!? So think year my top priority man you are annoying me areas are scrubbing the master bathroom for head to toe (That's got a big fat tick next to it already hehe) Clearing out the entry cupboard and console, degreasing the kitchen, sanitising all the girls toys and deep cleaning our bedding. If I get to anything else after this it's a bonus, if I don't, well I can pat myself on the back knowing my daily annoyance factor is about to go down.
3. Be realistic about your mama time - Pick one task a day.
The last of our top 3 spring clean cheats is all about fitting things into the mama schedule. The old days of dedicating one whole day to cleaning isn't realistic. My day is now full of chunks of time. Nap times, meal times, play times, you get the drift. So I alot one chunk of time a day to pick off a spring cleaning task. By splitting the tasks out over bite size chunks it means that I feel like I'm getting the job done and achieving something.
I'm curious, let me know if you've got any mum friendly spring cleaning tips. And if you are after a great deal then for the next two weeks Homejoy are offering $25 off your first appointment! Just go to homejoy.com/raisingmissmatilda to redeem.
PS - 3 ten minute tricks to a clean house + 15 ways to survive a bay day in mama hood
26 March 2015
In May I'm going to turn 35 so before I hit my bday I've set myself a challenge. 35 things to do before I'm 35! Thought it would be better to be productive that wallow in the I'm getting ooooold vibe. I've got 30 so far, is there anything else you think I should add?
1. Go on an all american trip to the lake
2. Be responsible and visit a bank manager about buying a house
3. Take up another photography course
4. Go on a mountain hike
5. Invest in some good basic wardrobe pieces
6. Get another writing job
7. Surprise Aaron and show him how much I love him
8. Embrace lip color
9. Book a trip to Washington to learn about American history
10. Take a family portrait photo booth style
11. Make a really fancy cake
12. Enter the green card lottery
13. Do a giveaway for raising miss Matilda studios
14. Put the finishing touches on our place by finally getting all the art up
15. Loose baby weight
16. Make Matilda and Lucy some angel wings
17. Send a handwritten thank you note
18. Surprise the girls and show them how much I love them
19. Stay in my pjs for a whooooole day
20. Keep a consistent food diary and hold myself accountable
21. Host a really fancy brunch
22. Prep for going back to work by meeting with some recruiters
23. Take Matilda on a mommy daughter date
24. Make a best of 2014 book for our family
25. Roast some s'mores by the fire!!!!
26. Bite the bullet and get some nice workout clothes
27. Be more appreciate! Pick 3 things I'm thankful for. Do it for a week
28. Watch all of the 2014 Oscar best film nominations
29. Send some surprise flowers to my mum just because
30. Do a random act of kindness
So what do you think? Any ideas on what else to add?
21 March 2015
Matilda has turned 2 and is at such a fun age. It blows my mind how awesome she can be. Here's just a few of the things that make my little boo boo happy.
1. Pancakes. She loves them. I mean, who can blame her.
2. Going to the little tots gymnastics session at the YMCA.
3. Visiting any and every park. She literally shakes with excitement.
4. Pretending to spill a little bit of bath water on Aaron or I. Its hilarious didn't you know?
5. Climbing on my back and giving me a big bear hug. My heart explodes when this happens.
6. Singing Old McDonald. Complete with her 'e i, e i, oooo' solo.
7. Daniel Tiger. On Repeat. 24.7.
8. Sausages and Cheese. Not necessarily in that order.
9. Her NeNe and Nannie (aka the grandmas) She pretends to talk to them on the phone, she makes me draw them for her about ten times a day, she wants to skype them all the time. It's so sweet to see.
10. Dancing to Taylor Swift. She likes to shake it off. Who doesn't? amiright?!?!
18 March 2015
With a two year old and a two month old in our household, it should come as no surprise that we do laundry pretty much every day. Between the messy meal consumption, poopy diaper explosions and general life our clothes take a hammering. I'm constantly trying to keep everyone's clothing up to spec which, lemme tell you, can be hard when a) I'm not great at laundry b) blueberries and spaghetti bolognese are eaten regularly c) See above sentence. Poopy diaper explosions. Need I say more?!?
This past weekend we had quite a few social engagements - a birthday party, a baby sprinkle and a friends catch up. I was seriously contemplating quarantining some of the girls clothes during the week so they'd be clean for our weekend of fun. So when Persil invited me to check out their new line of ProClean detergents I jumped at the chance. I wanted the girls party-ready with cute and clean outfits that' didn't leave me scrambling to find something sans-stains for them to wear.
I've got to say I really liked the Persil ProClean range. The bottles were a good size - not too bulky / heavy and they fitted perfectly into our laundry shelf (unlike most of the other detergents we have bought) Our clothes came out cleaner than I thought they would, they didn't hold any residue and they felt really soft after drying. The colours were vibrant and my whites were really white. No joke the Power Pearls detergent with its pro white technology even managed to lift a month old peach yogurt stain off one of Matilda's favourite white tops and orange juice stains off Lucy's blankie. After using Persil ProClean I liked that there was no need to hold any outfits back to save for the 'good occasion'. The girls were ready to go at each of the weekends shin digs. Just take a look at them before we left for Veronica's birthday party - I mean Matilda's pig tails? I DIE! Lucy's arm roll fats? - I'M IN BABY HEAVEN! Yea okay, I'll stop the proud mom bragging now. Hehe.
Persil ProClean are offering you the chance to win a night out on the town (hello fancy meal, new outfit giftcard and transportation!) and a years supply of Persil for you and a friend. Check out the Persil ProClean's sweepstakes page for more information and to enter.
The Persil brand provided me with a sample of Persil ProClean laundry detergent in exchange for a product review. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.
09 March 2015
Cotton On Kids has been killing it with their home and bedding range. Their linens, accessories, artwork and pillows are so on point. Trendy, whimsical and fun but without breaking the budget. I see so many insta moms who have their pieces and now that Home has launched in the US I can get me a piece of the action. Holla!
So today I've got the very talented Cotton On Kids designers Sarah Lawrence to give us the low down on how to get the Cotton on Kids look for your room.
What does a great kids room look like to you?
There are no rules as to what a kids room should or shouldn't look like. I think as long as the room suits the child personality and they love to spend time in there – then it’s great!
What are your top 3 tips to decorating a good kids room?
1. Fun, colourful bedding as a feature. This can be as crazy and quirky as you like. Play around with mixing prints so it’s not too matchy. You can build the rest of your room around this.
2. Lots of soft furnishings to play with, throw around, cuddle up to.
3. No blank walls. This is a space where you can have fun with decorating walls. Use chalkboard paint to decorate a wall, or hang plenty of shelves and boxes so children can display and reach all their favourite little toys.
What's a quick and easy trick I could do to change up the look of my kids room?
Probably the quickest, easiest way for a quick update is to purchase some new bedding. It is such a key feature and really sets the tone for the rest of the room. I find mixing up the bed linen at home can really give the room a different look.
Doing a full room redo would be ideal but my budget doesn't allow it. Got any tips to freshen my kids room look on a tight budget?
A fresh coat of paint is actually a really easy and affordable way to freshen up a room. Choose a colour that the child loves and you can't go wrong. If you are not wanting to make any permanent changes, some fun and colourful cushions can really add some personality to a room.
03 March 2015
My little Matilda turned 2 this past week. And let me tell you, I can't believe its been 2 years since she was born. I remember back to the day she was born, in an instant my heart grew a million percent, I took on the title of mama and we began the greatest journey of our lives. She (and little Lucy) are our greatest achievement and I know the reason why I was put on this earth was to be her mom.
Matilda has grown into such a rad little girl. She has a huge heart (the other day I caught her patting Lucy's head and covering her with kisses, I mean .... arrr!) She's reserved but as soon as she know's you she's full of love for you. She's cheeky and loves to have giggle. Daniel Tiger is her favourite show. She could watch it all. day. I repeat - all. day. Matilda loves her dad and exclaims "Daddy!" as soon as the garage door opens. She rarely gets into trouble but she's not so keen to eat dinner. ever. unless its cheese. Cheese she can eat by the truckload. She loves to grab my face with both her hands while she smiles at me. Being a ballerina is a favourite activity and that's closely followed by cooking in her toy kitchen.
My little 2 year old is nothing short of awesome and I just love her so much. Happy birthday Matilda.
20 February 2015
So I'm six week into being a mom of 2 under 2. And for the most part, its going pretty well. Of course I struggle with certain things like letting Matilda have SO much screen time while I breastfeed (I think I know every song there is on Daniel Tiger) or that I have eaten more than my fair share of sugary treats rather than making something healthy. The house looks like a mess a fair amount of the day and if Lucy spits up on me, there has to be something pretty major happening in order for me to change my top.
Sounding stressful? Well it kinda is, and then it kinda isn't. We are in survival mode at the moment. And I'm cool with that. I've been using a few tricks to get keep myself happy and not become the sleep deprived, dirty hair, nursing on the regs stressed out mom that I could be.
1. Let it go.
Before Lucy was born I worked out I've probably got a good three months ahead of me where life is not going to be like it usually is. So I challenged myself to lower my expectations. And by lower I mean really accept it for what it is and be okay with it. Instead of beating myself up over a messy living room I remind myself that I'm in survival mode, its only going to be for a short period of time and for right now, I need to let that expectation go. I do have to remind myself regularly to let it go but it's working. Because at the moment I can't change what's happening but I can change the way I think about it.
2. Break everything up into bite size chunks.
The easiest way to get my stress levels up is to put a big task in front of me, like taking the two girls to run errands, or going on a family outing. My mind will start racing about all the things that might be hard, the possibilities of what could go wrong and then that doubtful voice pops into my head suggesting I should just stay home. Oh hell no! So to take those stress levels down a notch I use this simple trick. I break my overwhelming task into bite size chunks. For example, I will only focus on getting the girls packed up and into the car. Then I will only focus on driving to our destination. And so on and so on. Suddenly my huge overwhelming task becomes much more achievable.
3. Steal time for yourself.
I'm not afraid to say that I really struggle with the lack of me time in my day. The little time that I did have with Matilda has been chewed up by breastfeeding and running the day of two girls and their needs in tandem. Rather than letting that bum me out I've started to steal a little time for myself. I look for small chunks of time, two or three times a day that I take off my mom hat and just be me. I'll take a ten minute shower, prioritise doing my make up instead of putting a load of washing on, or I'll read a few pages of my book while Aaron is bathing the girls. I feel better about myself, it keeps my happiness up and when I'm happy I feel like I can be a better mom.
Do you have any tricks you use? How do you survive those first few months?
09 February 2015
Throw back to a few weeks ago. While we'd been hunkering down getting to know baby Lucy life had (and still has) been a little slower. I wanted to make sure Matilda was still having fun so while she was eating lunch with nene (aka granny) I popped up into her room to make a surprise obstacle course.
It was super easy to do, I grabbed some yarn from the craft cupboard and started stringing it through her room. The crib and change table made great anchor points I have to say. I focussed on creating different heights so Matilda would have to climb over and under to get from one end of the room to the other.
03 February 2015
Aaron surprised me with a beautiful push present last week - say hello to this divine Lana bar necklace from Made by Mary. The inscription is what means the most to me. Aaron knows how important sisters are (fyi, sister = built in BFF) so he had it inscribed with the initials of myself and my sister plus Matilda and Lucy "L x 3 + T". Clever huh??? Trust his scientist brain to think of that one. I love how dainty the chain in and I've got to tell you it's sits at the perfect length - not so high that your neck looks chunky but not so low it's hidden under your top. I've had it on since the minute Aaron gave it to me and its not going to come off.