Raising Miss Matilda :: San Diego Mom and Lifestyle Blog
26 October 2015

Our Favourite Milestone Memories

The lovely people at V Tech asked me to share a few thoughts on some of the girls milestones.  Sure I remember Tilly's first steps or Lucy's first crawl but practically every day the girls celebrate their first of something or other.  It made me realise just how much Tilly and Lucy have grown, developed, changed and celebrated successes big and small.  Here's some of my favourite moments. 

1. First time graduating. Here Tilly is finishing from speech therapy, a huge day for both Till and I after a long journey of getting her speech started.  And of course she had to wear a graduate banner for the day.

2. First smile from Lucy - she smiled at two weeks and hasn't stopped since.  She literally is always smiling, laughing and being such a happy soul.

3. First family holiday as a family of four.  We went to the La Quinta in Desert Palm.  We seriously had the BEST time and it made me realise things are getting that bit easier now that Lucy is getting older.

4. Our first experience with the Potty. Never mind that it's dolly not Tilly sitting in that potty. It was the first time she showed interest and made me realise she is growing up.

5. The first time Tilly and Lucy showed sisterly love. Let me tell you this was a sloooooow burner to say they least, so when they started showing affection on their own it was HUGE.

And because I couldn't resist, here is one more.......

6.The first time Lucy sat up - her face says it all doesn't it!  She's like look at me mum!  I'm sitting!  This is awesome!

V Tech love milestones too and they've created an online hub to help parents select toys based on what your kiddo's needs are. You can choose an age range and then see what are the cognitive and language, motor skill and social and emotional milestones are and which products are the best suited for their stage. 

And while we are on the subject, the girls have loved playing with their new V Tech toys. And I've loved how smartly they are designed. The alphabet train works for both girls - Lucy loves practising her sitting up while she gets busy banging on all the buttons and watching the lights go while Tilly loves riding it around and repeating the the alphabet as the blocks run through the shute.  The ball tower is another great one for Lucy because she can practise her sitting up while Tilly pushes the balls into the tower and through the winding tunnel. Out of all the girls toys these do the most towards meeting their milestones.  They are intuitive, they talk to the girls and they encourage not only physical development but mental development. A double win!  

You can check out V Tech's milestone's site here. 

** I was provide samples from VTech in return for an honest review.  All content and opinions are my own **

19 June 2015


I'd read somewhere the term of the perfectly imperfect home and I think it describes exactly the type of family home I strive for.  As I look around I can see our pretty mid century credenza, so shiny and new sitting right next to well loved and slightly dinged up stroller along with her baby dollies - one she's had since birth and one that my mum and I lovingly (and painstakingly ....) made for her second birthday.  While they may not be the most obvious pairing they show our family living a full and rich life.  Beautiful things, meaningful things, a bit of chaotic mess - they all mix together.  Today I want to show you how to have a beautiful home AND have it chocked full with love and meaning. 

Do: Surround yourself with things that have meaning
When I was younger I use to watch the Nate Berkus show religiously.  He'd always talk about surrounding yourself with things that have meaning and now it's something I live by. Furniture, books, decorative pieces and artwork can help tell the story of your life.  We have so many pieces that tell ours. The close up print of my wedding dress and shoes as we were about to leave for the church, the large poster of the deep blue shores at La Jolla on that perfect family day we took Matilda and Lucy to see the seals, the vintage chair that Tilly loves to play trains on that takes me back to the flea markets of LA. These pieces reflect who we are and what we are about.

Don't: Be afraid to make a mess
Being a bit of a control freak means I hate when the girls get messy and dirty. But the other day I decided to throw caution to the wind.  Matilda has been dying to help me garden but I always resist as I think it will be too hard with all that dirt, water and other garden gooies.  I pushed away my concerns and Matilda and I watered the plants together. She LOVED it and to my surprise she didn't get very dirty. It taught be a great lesson that if I let go some pretty cool memories can be created.

Do: Keep the clutter at bay
An imperfectly perfect house will embrace the chaos and love of life but that doesn't mean it should be a down right mess.  Keep the clutter at bay so your eye can focus on the things that mean something to you.  I like to use multi-functional pieces of furniture that store Matilda's toys and still look good (West Elm credenza I'm looking at you) I make sure we stick to the "use it and then put it away at the end of the day" rule so the house isn't over strewn with toys when it's time to relax.  Plus I always keep my counter tops in the living and dining room free of mess by not letting anything sit on them (aka the paperwork tornado) Pledge Lemon Clean does a great job of revitalizing my credenza and table and it makes the house smell lemony! Delish!

Don't: Follow the rules - Make it work for you!
I hate that idea that your house has to follow a formula - this type of sofa here, that type of dining table there.  Your home should be comfortable and a reflection of you and your needs.  So do what works best for you.  Our living room for example should have a coffee table but it's more important to give the girls some play space so it was bye-bye coffee table.  Matilda had a walk in wardrobe she could see directly from her bed.  It's convenient but I really wanted her to have a secret hiding place so I decided to put up her tee pee in there.  Sure her clothes sit around it but most importantly she's go somewhere to go and read her books, sit with her teddies and escape her sister.

This post was brought to you by Pledge Lemon Cleaner.  But all opinions are my own. You should check out Pledge to refresh your home and make it a place you heart.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

13 June 2015


Summer is nearly upon us and this year our little family of four are going to live that beautiful hot So Cal weather up to the max.  Today Aaron and I sat down and wrote our bucket list for the season. Do you do this?  I love doing it because it gets us excited for the season ahead, gives us built in activities which we don't have to plan and of course there is the good old  quality family time together.

1. Visit the Zoo
2. Go on a hike
3. Fly a kite 
4. Take in an Outdoor Movie
5. Make lemonade
6. Teach Tilly how to make a sandcastle
7. S'mores on the beach!
8. Visit an old San Diego mission
9. Take the girls on a wagon ride
10. Check out the baseball

PS These photos were taken last summer on a sunday visit to the MCASD.  Seems like a lifetime ago!!!!

06 June 2015


So my friends, since having little Lucy I've been busy - and not just with poopy diapers and baby spit up.  I've launched a business.  Say hello to Raising Miss Matilda Studios.  Since moving with my little family to San Diego I realised how much I love decorating kids rooms (Fun Fact: We've lived in three houses within a year of arriving, and I wanted to make each room unique and different - a record I'm sure!) 

Choosing art was one of my favourite ways to add some fun and unique expression but I was having trouble finding the perfect pieces that were handmade, on trend and could brighten up my girls room. So I took matters into my own hands and crafted a oversized linen and felt "You Are My Sunshine" banner. My nana use to sing that song to me as a little girl and I In turn sung it to my little Matilda on many a sleepless night so seeing that banner hanging in my girls room really meant something to me. That snowballed into making banners for friends and family and not long after that Raising Miss Matilda Studios was born. 

I designed my range to be a super fun mix of typography quotes of things I say to my girls or songs that we love and on trend graphics - right one I'm really obsessed with black and white animals and bright and colourful fruit!. Choice is really important for me so I've made a range of sizes that can either be mixed into a art gallery wall or can stand alone as a big impactful piece of art. Color is really important too so I've got a range of bright and colourful pieces, some softer pastels and a monochromatic options.

All of my pieces are designed and hand made by myself. I hand cut each felt piece and then hand sew each piece into place before machine sewing each banner and finishing with some dowel and bakers twine.  I've been doing quite a few custom pieces too which I absolutely love, it's always so cool to bring someone's idea to life.  

Next up I'm going to do a few more banners in the extra large size - I love the impact they have. In the meantime check out Raising Miss Matilda Studios and be sure to contact me if you have a custom banner you'd love to collaborate on. 
02 April 2015


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 
31-35. ??????

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.
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