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


Nursery artwork is a great excuse to get playful and have some fun. This little DIY project I worked on for Matilda's new nursery is no exception. Better yet, it was super simple to do (even for non-artsy types) and came in at a budget friendly $10.

I always think art should have some special meaning to its owner so when I saw this picture of my mum as as a little girl I knew it would be the perfect piece to install for Matilda's room.  In fact, I already had a copy of this picture blown up for Matilda's newborn nursery in Australia.  But Matilda's a little older now and I want her room and any art to reflect just how fun and playful she is.  So it was time to create 'Granny playing on the beach 2.0'

Let me break down how to make your own vintage photo art. First up, here's what you will need:
- A vintage photograph 
- Paints  (I used a mix of what I already had at home - a watercolour palate and some gold acrylic paint)
- Tracing paper
- White paper 

1. First up I took my vintage granny photograph down to my local Kinko's. While I was there I scanned the photo, increased the contrast and had it to have it blown up to an engineer print size. Now just to warn you - this isn't going to be a crystal clear print of your photograph - but given we are going for a customised look by adding on some extra embellishments it's okay that the print doesn't hold all the image detail.   

2. Next, I picked out a few elements to embellish with paint. I used my trusty watercolour set to paint one of the buckets in a bright pink.

3. Then I painted the other bucket in a mint hue.  I really love a pink, mint, gold combo but you could choose any paint / colour combination you like.

4. Painting done it was time to mix up the media (like my artist term there?) and add another whimsical  element to the image - this time with a crown.  To ensure the right scale I grabbed some tracing paper and drew a crown over Granny's head.  As they say measure twice, cut once.

5. Next I grabbed some white paper and painted that gold.  When it was dry I used my tracing paper crown pattern to cut the gold paper to size. 

6. Home stretch now!  I pasted that crown down and when everything is dry framed it up!

26 December 2014


Merry Christmas lovely friends, I hope you had a great day.  We are still recovering from eating too much and hopefully you are too.  With baby boo boo number 2 due any day now we had a very quiet but festive day as a little family of three.  Aaron and I had spent weeks prepping Matilda's gifts and I can't wait to share a breakdown of her DIY'd IKEA kitchen as well as her new dolly stroller and carrier but for now you can check out the loot ready and waiting after Santa's visit. 

Matilda has really started to understand Christmas this year so when she woke up the first thing she noticed was santa had eaten his cookies and the reindeer had eaten the carrots! I can't tell you how cute it was.  After a quick breakfast we settled in with cups of tea to watch Matilda open gifts galore.  I was really trying to be good and not buy her many things (I mean she's not even 2, its not like she needs alot of stuff) but after spreading my present purchasing out over a few months I realised maybe I'd gone a little overboard - whoops!

After breakfast we went down to the beach for coffee and the chance to take dolly out in her new stroller.  The weather has finally cooled in San Diego so it was brisk but with the sun still shining - perfect! After that is was time for a nap and the cooking to begin!  It was a perfect day and although I really missed being at home I think we made some great memories for our little family. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones xxx
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. Fun side note: I've found it's a real american thing to have a strong Christmas spirit and last night's was a true testament to that. It's one of the reasons why I love bringing our little family up here.  

When we arrived the San Diego Botanic Gardens was lit up with over 100 000 lights and full to the brim of festive cheer with people sipping mulled wine, marshmallow roastings, children taking horse and carriage rides, sledding and visiting the all important Santa.  I particularly enjoyed singing carols with Matilda at the Christmas show.  It may have been my overly pregnant state but it my heart swelled as I watched her take pleasure from cheery little Christmas songs. As she danced and babbled, correction, sang along I realised how much she has grown up 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. 

Take note San Diego mama's as I have a good inside scoop for you - Check out North County Deals because they are offering close to the 30% off if you visit the Garden of Lights this 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.... while she may love Christmas carols she still is not sure about good old Santa!  I had to sit between them as an official Christmas safety buffer.  Bless.  Luckily we've got a good 12 months on that whole Santa thing. 
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. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Cotton On Kids newest brand rep - Matilda!

Cotton On Kids has always been one of my favourite Australian brands since Matilda was born - their clothes, accessories and kids items have a look I really love - fun, bright and full of pops of pattern and colour! I was always popping into their stores to see their latest offerings.

But when we moved to the US I was kinda lost searching for a similar offering. Don't get me wrong, there are some brilliant American offerings. Gap does sweet stuff but it is more classic than I prefer and at a higher price point. Old Navy have cute pieces but I found they weren't on trend enough.  Carter's on the other hand has some good options they weren't afraid of being cutesy. So I had resorted to my mum and sister picking up a fair amount of Cotton On Kids goodies from Australia and bringing them over when they visited to stock Matilda's wardrobe.
When Cotton On got in contact with me I was SO surprised and excited to learn 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 right now please. 

To celebrate Matilda's brand ambassadorship I thought I'd share some of my favourite girl s fashion 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.
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