Raising Miss Matilda :: San Diego Mom and Lifestyle Blog
15 December 2014


Last night we decided to get some Christmas cheer and visit the Garden of Lights festival. I love how local areas get behind the festive season and the North County is no different. Side Note: It's a real american thing to have such a great community spirit and its one of my favourite things about living in the US.  That along with delicious cookies, sunny San Diego sunshine and HGTV (jokes, jokes....well kinda :) 

When we arrived the San Diego Botanic Gardens was lit up with over 100 000 lights and was full of festive cheer with mulled wine, marshmallow roastings, horse and carriage rides, sledding and santa visits.  I think my favourite was singing carols with Matilda at the Christmas show.  It may be my overly pregnant state but it really made me so happy that we could sing with the carollers and dance to the christmas songs. She really has grown up so much in this year. I mean, she wears her hair in pigtails now! That is major in itself. I can't even imagine how much she is going to understand and enjoy about Christmas next year. 

And for my San Diego mama's I've got a good inside scoop for you - Check out North County Deals because they are offering close to the 30% off with $10 adult and $6 kids tickets to the Garden of Lights Monday - Wednesday.  That means more money for your hot cocoa and marshmallow roastings.  Hooray for that!  So be sure to visit North County Deals and grab your tickets pronto!  

Oh and PS - check out Matilda visiting Santa.... she's still not sure about him so I had to sit between them as a safety buffer.  ha! 
05 December 2014


It's only 6 weeks till our little baby is due so I about time I share with you our baby shower before time slips away.  You might remember a while back we went home for a visit to Australia, while we were there we decided to throw a relaxed gathering to celebrate baby number 2's arrival and homecoming.  Since we'd already had a traditional baby shower with Matilda full of girly touches and pink flair I decided to keep the theme here more modern and I guess a little untraditional - so we went with black and white stripes with pops of feminine colours (after all, we are having a little girl :)

We had a great backyard to hold the party in and lots of kids attending so we decided to create a little tee pee village for the kids to play in.  The tee pee's are an exact copy of the one I made for Matilda's santa present last year that has sat in our lounge room, play area and her room so I knew it would be a great starting point.  To keep things festive and add some pops of colour we added some weather balloons with tassle bunting in shades of mint, gold and peach (this is a great tutorial for the tassles, I'd sit and make them in the kitchen while Matilda would eat her dinner :).  And to add a bit more fun to all the tree's we added some white paper lanterns and with some tissue paper hanging down.

We kept the food and drinks super simple and kid friendly. Donuts, cookies and the most delicious buttercream polka dot cake (which my mum made!) went down a treat.  The table setting followed the black and white theme also, I used my mum's collection of white serving ware and then we used black or black and white paper plates, cups and napkins all from good old Walmart. Given how many kids there were we decided to have some activities like play dough and a bubble machine. The day was a brilliant celebration and we were so thankful to see all of our family and friends. 

26 November 2014


The thanksgiving day holiday is upon as and I love the idea of 4 whole glorious days.  I wish I could say we are going to be cosy inside our little house but San Diego is set for a mini heatwave so we'll be celebrating with temperatures in the 70's-80's.  Crazy right?  

One of the things I love to do on a long weekend is have a project to tackle during nap time.  It gives me a great excuse to be creative and to use all that extra festive time to good use.  So, today I've got 3 DIY projects for you to try this holiday weekend.  Are you ready?  Lets crack into it!

 1. Globe Pendant DIY from A Beautiful Mess.  I love the modern industrial design and you could easily crack this one out in a couple of hours.  Tick!

 2. A frame tent goodness - If you've been eyeing off a tent or teepee for your kids then this one could be for you.  With some simple woodwork and some creative treatment of white fabric this could make a stellar christmas present.

3. Cat Planter from Brudiy.  You wouldn't believe it but this cute planter is made from a soda bottle and some paints.  The kids could easily get involved in this one too but personally I'll be saving this up for nap time so mama can get creative :)

17 November 2014


Top Row: 1 / 2 / 3 Middle Row: 1 / 2 / 3 Bottom Row: 1 / 2 / 3

Happy Monday my darling ones, did you have a nice weekend?  The sun was shining in San Diego so we got in some beach time, some friend hang out time and ..... some baby prepping time!  We're on the search for a baby bassinet, a car seat and some new clothing additions.  A lesson I learnt from having Matilda was it's hard to find fashion forward clothes for little bubbas. There's playsuits in neutrals and soft pinks but adding a bit of flair is tricky.  But at the same time, that new little baby is so sweet and innocent so I know I'm very conscious of keeping everything appropriate for that darling little one. I've worked with the guys at Cotton On to find some fun but baby appropriate options that both you and your baby are going to love.  And these are going to break your budget.  Hurrah.  What do you love from my top picks?

PS - My top toddler girl fashion picks for fall
15 November 2014


This week we had our 32 week doctors visit.  If you know me over on Instagram you know I can sound like a broken record, but it really isn't long till baby number 2 joins us so my mind has turned to how to prepare Matilda for her new role as a big sister (and how to share mama's attention)

Here are my top 5 tricks that we've been using to get Matilda as ready as possible for the new baby.

1. First up we've been reading lots of books about bringing a new baby into the family.  Some of our favourites have been this one, this one and this one.
2. We've also been watching the Daniel Tiger special where baby Margaret joins the family (Yup I know waaaaay too much about Daniel Tiger)   She loves the show and always points now to baby Margaret.
3. Next we've been having Matilda join us at our doctors appointments so she can see the new baby on the sonogram and hear the baby's heart beat.  It's backed up in the books that we've been reading so its been useful for Matilda to be involved.
4. We bought Matilda a new born dolly so she can practise 'helping mama' Shes doing well at gentle hugs, changing nappies and feeding bottles.  We've still got to work on her dumping dolly in strange places but eh, we're getting there.
5. Last up we made a photobook with baby photos of Matilda so she can see herself as a young little bubba.  She can see the kinds of things she did as a baby (aka sleep, cry, poop) and she can feel special that she was a baby once too (although now she's a 'Big Girl') I've read this is also great when the baby is born so the sibling can refer back to the book too.

If you have any other ideas or tips send em my way!  I always love hearing new ideas.
04 November 2014


You guys, I have such exciting news. Today I wanted to introduce you to Cotton On Kids newest brand rep - Matilda!

Cotton On Kids has always been one of my favourite brands since the minute Matilda was born - their clothes, accessories and kids items are totally on trend and budget friendly. As soon as Matilda had grown out of something I could always pop back into update her look in a bigger size. And its a look I really love - it's fun, bright, full of pops of pattern and colour! 

When we moved to the US I was kinda lost searching for a similar offering. Don't get me wrong Gap does sweet stuff but it's a more classic look with a higher price point, Old Navy have some cute pieces but they weren't on trend enough for me and Carter's has some good options but it's a little too junior for me. I'd resorted to my mum and sister buying some Cotton On Kids goodies at home and  bringing them over. 
So when Cotton On got in contact with me I was SO excited to learnt that there was a Cotton On Kids right here the states and better yet, they were rolling out a brand new store at Fashion Valley (literally ten minutes from my house. Ummmmmmm cue angels singing music) 

To kick us off here are some of my favourite girl picks for Fall.  In fact, Matilda has those pink and grey harem pants on today :)  Stay tuned because next week I'll share some of my favourite baby picks just in time for baby #2

                                     Top: 1 / 2 / 3       Middle: 1 / 2 / 3      Bottom: 1 / 2 / 3

03 November 2014



Last Friday marked our second Halloween in the U, S of A.  I've gotta say, we had a brilliant time. 

Matilda was a wind up doll (thanks Pinterest for the inspiration), Aaron was a lumberjack (sans the axe, bad wifey for going shopping for it the day of halloween) and I went as a pregnant Kate Middleton.  
Matilda was a little overwhelmed at first but after she realised that there was candy involved she started pointing at the door as we'd walk past each house.  Sheesh!  Talk about a savvy 19 month old.
29 October 2014


Having one little girl and another on the way, it got me thinking about what things I want to teach them. I can see the impact my own parents have had in me and I want to have that same impact on my own. Here are my top ten lessons in life I want to teach my little ones.

1. Always look on the bright side of life - by finding the good in the world you will be setting up a life full of happiness and gratitude.

2. But don't forget to be resilient  - There will of course, be challenges and disappointments, but that is a natural part of life. Get back up. There's a solution to every  problem and a brighter day is just around the corner. 

3. It's fine to take pride in your appearance but take pride in your brain - as a female it's very probable you will care about your looks, but never forget your mind. Feed it, challenge it, be quiet and just sit with it. Your brain is going to take you very far in this world. 

4. Work hard - No matter what you decide to do in this life, make sure you work hard at it. Don't give up if things get tough, because good things come to people who work hard.

5.  You can do anything you set your mind to - Dont let anyone tell you otherwise. With hard work and dedication the sky is the limit. 

6. You are not better than anyone, no one is better than you - it's that simple really.

7. Don't be afraid to fail - mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Own them and most importantly, learn from them.

8. Be rich in love - money and material things will tempt you but always remember true success will be measured by how rich you are in love, how close your family and friends are and what kind acts that you do.

9. See the world - Your academic education will be an important part of your development, but seeing the world, experiencing different ways of living and appreciating all forms of culture will help build your perspective on life in a way that only travelling can bring you. 

10. Your dad and I love you - No matter what life brings us, always know that your dad and I love you so so so very much and will always be here for you.

13 October 2014


This weekend was a quiet one - we were getting back on track with the last of the jet lag and still getting over our Aussie colds.  But by Sunday afternoon it was time for some fun.  It's funny what you think is cool now that you have a kid, because pre child I would have never had suggested this one but off we went to Belmont Park down at Mission Bay for a little sunset and Halloween action. 
It was actually heaps of fun, the flowrider was in full effect, the arcade was crammed with families and as the sun set people starting arriving in costume for the halloween festivities.  Belmont Park is set up really well with free parking, free entry and lots of beach front bar options to watch the sun set. 
We snagged a seat right by the fire pit and had lots of fun watching everyone walk past.  Matilda's really been getting into dancing so she was bopping to the random music they had playing in the bar, man imagine feeling so free you could do that.  These days I'd need about 10 champagnes and a guarantee that there would be no under 25's there. (No offense to under 25's - you just make me feel really old, HAHA!) An hour or so later we were on our way home to Spag bow, bath time and then a double header of Manhattan.  #Sundayscore!

PS - Behind the scenes pic!  Here's what it normally looks like till I can convince / beg Aaron to have a go on the camera.  He's learning manual mode so we'll make a photographer of him yet. hehehehe.

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