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The 5 Love LANGUAGES

10TH MAY, 2018

 

 

I’m no self-help book fanatic but this particular book, which I stumbled across a few years ago, has definitely helped me when it comes to understanding the needs of my partner and strengthening our relationship.

What are the Five Love Languages?

In a nutshell, it’s how we love others and how we feel love from others in the forms of the following aspects:

• Acts of Service • Personal Touch • Quality Time • Words of Affirmation • Receiving Gifts.

We all have a primary and secondary love language. How we show love is generally how we wish to receive it, as we naturally practice what we preach. According to the 5 Love Languages, Dalton and I are complete opposites. Reading this book and understanding each other’s needs and making an effort to meet them has been paramount in maintaining a strong and healthy relationship.

My primary love language is ‘Acts of Services’ followed by ‘Quality Time’ and Dalt’s is ‘Personal Touch’ and ‘Words of Affirmation’. Before completing the online test to determine these aspects, I knew what we both already were. If I looked back at previous fights or arguments, it was easy for me to see where our weak points were and that it was mainly because we saw acts of love in different ways. Our priorities were different, so we were busy showing love in ways we wanted to receive it, but not meeting what each other was yearning for. While to me, ‘love’ was looking after your partner, doing things for them and spending time together, Dalt was the opposite. He saw love as a big hug, a hand on the lap in the car, a brisk touch as we pass each other in the kitchen or telling me how much he adores me or appreciates me.

While I was busy making sure the house was clean, dinner was on the table when he got home from work and that we spent quality time together at night, his needs weren’t being met. Of course he loved all of these things that I was doing and he always showed gratitude to the effort I put in at home, but all he really needed was a hug when he walked in the door and for me to tell him how much I appreciated him. I thought I was giving him all the love in the world, as I was doing what I would of liked to receive but that isn’t what he needed to feel loved. The more he yearned for me to love him, the more I did around the house, trying to make life a little more easy for him or plan things to do together so we spent quality time together.

I remember a while back, when he was having a really hard time at work. I completely cleaned and sorted out his wardrobe; colour co-ordinating his clothes and organising everything he owned. I went out and bought him new socks and jocks and had them all lined up in individual containers. He got home from work and I was so excited thinking I had done this amazing act of love but all he really needed was for me to hold him in my arms and say how much I appreciated him and everything he does for our family. It didn’t need to be that hard. I just needed to listen to his needs and change my way of thinking. A little effort on my behalf to hold his hand, or stroke his hair while he lay in my lap. I started telling him how proud I was of him working hard and providing for our family every day and voicing my appreciation as much as I could. Things that seem so simple, but when you’re not used to this way of loving or it’s not what you need in return, needs a constant reminder.

This worked both ways. Dalt would constantly tell me how much he loved me, hug me and always touch me if we were together. He was giving me what he would love to receive but this just wasn’t what I needed. I would feel suffocated by him constantly touching me and showering me with words of affirmation. What a thing to complain about right? My partner overly touches me and tells me how much he loves me. Of course these things are great to have in any relationship but when you’re not built this way it can just seem too much. I would feel more loved if he took some chores off my hands or if he planned to spend an afternoon with me, doing something I enjoyed. Once we understood that we were different, we just learned to meet the other’s needs.

For me, this is making a conscious effort to show him love by holding him or touching him, affirming him daily how much he means to me and that I appreciate him. For Dalt, it’s helping me around the house, maybe doing a chore he knows I don’t enjoy or planning something for us to do that I would like. It doesn’t particularly come naturally to me, so it’s something I think about daily. As time goes on, I see our needs are better met. If there is a rough patch, it can generally be traced back to either of us not feeling the love by the other ones actions. Taking a step back and rethinking what the other person needs and trying to meet these has definitely helped to keep us moving forward positively.

Relationships take work and need constant conditioning and I’ve found this book and understanding the love languages has helped strengthen us along the way. I now understand everyone is completely different and it’s extremely interesting learning about how people can feel ‘loved’. I highly recommend reading this book and taking the online test.

You can read more about The 5 Love Languages and do the online test at 5lovelanguages.com


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@ponoprobiotics

1st May, 2018

I'm just going to start this blog off by getting one thing out of the way. If you're going to go camping, like sleeping on the beach, in a swag camping, I suggest wearing pants. I know right, something so simple and yet last camping trip I didn't wear any pants to bed. Go figure. I got bitten on my leg overnight and in the morning it just looked like a mosquito bite. A good 12-18 hours later, that bite started to swell. It became red, swollen and extremely tight and uncomfortable. I tried applying ‘stingose’ but I didn't feel any relief, resulting in a very unsettled sleep that night. The next day I went to the chemist and the pharmacist suggested seeing a home doctor. I bought a strong anti-histamine and cream and after a few hours, neither seemed to settle the swelling or pain, so I called the home doctor. As soon as the home doctor arrived she diagnosed it straight away as ‘cellulitis’. A bacterial infection brought on by an insect bite. Why had it taken so long for the symptoms to happen? My body had tried to fight it but my immune system wasn't strong enough at the time. The doctor gave me steroids and antibiotics and we outlined the area with a pen. She said it would take a few days to heal and if it was to spread any further I would need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.

Even after hearing the severity of the bite, I was hesitant to take the antibiotics. Every course I've ever had of antibiotics, I've always had bad symptoms from them, particularly thrush. The doctor explained that thrush was a far cry from what could happen if I didn't take the antibiotics and that a good dose of probiotics would help with the symptoms.

The difference between taking antibiotics now and taking them back when I didn’t have a good probiotic on hand, has been life changing to say the least. I've been taking Pono Probiotics daily for almost a year now and have increased my dosage to assist with my antibiotics. The doctor suggested taking my Pono Probiotics powder two hours before or after the intake of the antibiotics. So far I have had no thrush, no symptoms and my gut and body have worked in sync to fight the cellulitis.

There's so many brands of probiotics available but I highly recommend Pono Probiotics. I have the coconut flavoured powder and it tastes delicious and is easy to drink with water or in smoothies. They have plenty of products available and cater to all ages.

I started Evie on the Pono Baby Probiotics and after being at day care for four months now, being around up to 48 kids, she's only been sick twice and has fought it off quickly both times. I pop her probiotics in with her breakfast, smoothie or with some water.

Pono Probiotics is a local business started by a fellow Mum doing what she needed to for the health and wellness of her family. After her children had a string of illnesses, she began researching probiotic health and from there Pono Probiotics was born.

I got in touch with Daina, the Mama behind this business to answer some questions about all things probiotics and gut health.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are the good bacteria (live bacteria) that are beneficial to your health.

What are the benefits of taking a probiotic?

So many people still do not understand the crucial role our gut plays in our overall health. The gut contributes to our immune system, depression, digestion, anxiety, energy, stress, sleep, our skin, bad breath and also weight loss. By just taking a multi strain probiotic daily, you will be boosting your gut health and supporting your overall health and wellbeing.

How do probiotics help the body whilst taking antibiotics? / Why is it essential to take probiotics especially when on a course of antibiotics?

Antibiotics tend to disrupt your digestive tract environment and can kill off your good gut bacteria. So it's important to take a probiotic after or even during your antibiotic course. Research has shown this will reduce antibiotic associated side effects, however ensure you do not take them at the same time. Spread out your doses by a few hours.

 

 

 

 

Are probiotics safe to give to babies?

Yes, it has been shown that probiotics play a crucial role in building the good gut bacteria which is so important for our children to assist their metabolism, good gut bacteria and immunity. Ideally a child should be benefiting from a probiotic when in the womb. Once born, we recommend a child begin taking a daily probiotic (we have some great tips on our website how parents can do this).

PONO’s Naturopath/ Nutritionist Jess Blair explained in a recent blog that, “The lactobacillus organisms, found in probiotics, have been found to lower serious infection in pre-term babies and reduce the risk of the baby developing atopic dermatitis, atopic sensitisation and gastro intestinal symptoms later in life.” A probiotic in infancy can assist in easing colic symptoms and support the gut as solid foods are introduced.

Can you take Pono Probiotics while pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant?

We have a fantastic blog online about this - visit: https://ponoprobiotics.com/blogs/news/pono-probiotics-fertility-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding
However, It is important to note that each person is biologically different and we always recommend seeking advice from your GP before taking a probiotic during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Why should I choose PONO Probiotics?

PONO Probiotics is a family business built from experiencing firsthand the benefits with our children. We believe in living a healthy life. So with countless hours researching probiotics and the benefits, we then sought the very best suppliers for a product that we believe will keep our family fit, happy and healthy long into the future.
For our product, taste is everything. Our products need to taste great and be family friendly. We use ingredients that we know will be a delicious additive to your daily smoothie, sprinkled over your cereal or simply added to a glass or water.

Thanks Daina for taking the time to answer all my questions. If you're looking for a good probiotic I highly recommend you check out @ponoprobiotics for all your family's needs.


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@kellective_by_nikki

5th September, 2017

I personally do not own a lot of jewellery, so most of the pieces I have all have a little story behind them.

My current pieces are mostly gifted or bought throughout my travels. I had seen so many businesses on Instagram that created personalised necklaces and I really wanted a piece with Evie's name and also one with Dalton and my initials. I was just so undecided on where to buy it from! I’m a huge believer in supporting local businesses so when a friend showed me Nikki's (@kellective_by_nikki) Instagram page I was convinced that my new necklace had to be from there.

Nikki is a small local business mum doing all of the work on her own, so I knew I wanted my necklaces to come from her. I got in contact with her and she helped me pick the perfect necklaces to personalise with Evie's name and our initials. The necklaces were made in no time and I was able to wear them that week! I was so happy with how they turned out. They have stood the test of time with Evie pulling on them, perfume being sprayed on them and don’t forget the tangle they get themselves into! They wear and clean very well and came with a polishing cloth. If you're looking for personalised jewellery from a small and local business here in Brisbane then I highly recommend @kellective_by_nikki.

I had a chat with Nikki about how it all began...

Where and how did Kellective By Nikki begin?

Lots of places!! I've always been quite creative - it seems to run in my family. So, I wanted to venture out and do something for a while but always put it in the ‘too hard basket’. Then I was a week away from maternity leave and my corporate job made me redundant. I felt sick about starting maternity leave without any idea where I'd end up. But with some encouragement from the Hubby, I started Kellective 2 weeks before having my first son.

How did you come up with the idea of handmade and personalised jewellery?

I always wanted to sell my jewellery but I originally only sold little gifts like keyrings, collar stays and bookmarks until a year later when I finally got my shit together and started actually selling my jewellery. It’s been a bit over a year now and I'm so glad I took the leap!

How did you come up with your brand name?

My business was originally called Kellective, which my sister in law came up with years ago, it's a play on our surname Kelly. Then I thought it wasn't personal enough and given my whole business is based on personalised jewellery, I added the 'by Nikki' part a few months later.

This particular market is so competitive at the moment for personalised jewellery. What makes yours stand out from the rest?

I think my product is different for two reasons. The first is that I only use quality precious materials. I work with sterling silver and gold fill and I don't use any plated items as they just don’t last. I want people to wear their jewellery for a long time! The second is I think I have a certain style, I like the minimal, simple pieces that can be worn by themselves day to day and then layered for a more statement look.

What do you think has been your biggest challenge so far since having your business?

There's been so many challenges, work life balance is an ongoing struggle. I've turned into a bit of a workaholic as I have such a passion for my business. I find myself up late on the computer when the kids are in bed or staring at my phone in the middle of the night. Confidence is another one, I'm usually a confident chatty person but it's really quite hard to put yourself out there and say this is what I do and it's really good. Small things like sharing your own business posts on FB is hard. Or saying how pretty something I made is. Small business is a really hard game and it certainly makes you very aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

Do you do all of the work on your own?

I have actually just employed my first person to help me package. She's lovely and it's so nice to have someone to chat to. She's brings her son to work with her and he plays while we work. It's a lovely atmosphere and it helps me get some of my chattiness out before Scott gets home.

Where do you see your business going in the future?

I'd like to continue to grow my business while keeping in mind my reason for being. The whole thing exists so I can be around for my kids and provide the flexibility that our family needs. I'm not too sure where we'll end up as it's only really been 18 months so far and so much has happened already!

Thanks to Nikki for chatting to me and please do yourself a favour and check out her Instagram! @kellective_by_nikki


@joovy

31st JUly, 2017

Most Mum’s, Dads and even grandparents would understand the stress when it comes to choosing prams, not to mention the hundreds of different options available to families.

Do you want a pram that has a capsule for the car? A pram where the baby faces you? A pram where the baby faces out? A pram that easily folds and is compactable for the car? A pram that is khaki, blue, green, red, black and every other damn colour of the rainbow? A pram that has 3 wheels for jogging and exercising? Or maybe 4? It just goes on and on and on, also price is a major factor for most people when choosing a pram. The more you research, the more options and information you will find.

As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I wanted a Bugaboo. It was my "dream pram", the Ferrari of prams for some people and something I had always wanted for when I had a baby. We purchased the Bugaboo Chameleon and the honest truth is that I used it more when I was pregnant than when Evie was born.

We purchased it when I was only 9 weeks pregnant and had it set up in our lounge room and I would wheel it around the house (weirdo right?!).

Once Evie was born we used the capsule predominantly to carry her around. She slept a lot, as newborns tend to do, so taking her out of the car in the capsule while she was already asleep was so convenient. I would often carry the capsule into cafes and put it on a chair or on the ground next to me instead of having to find room for the whole pram.

After a few months, Evie started to get heavy and wouldn't sleep ALL the time so I had to start using the pram. What was great about the Bugaboo was its bassinet. It was like having a cot on wheels as I could swaddle Evie like I do for her sleeps and she would crash straight away in the pram.

Now you’re probably thinking – hang on I thought this was a review about the Joovy pram? Correct, so continue reading.

The bugaboo bassinet pram worked wonders until Evie learned to sit up. We had her sitting up in the bassinet getting the strangest looks from people and that is when I knew it was time for an upgrade.

Along came Joovy. Their ‘Balloon Pram’ was affordable and looked so convenient. All of the cons that the Bugaboo had, the Joovy outweighed. It was one piece, light, easy to unfold and pack away and was a "big girl pram". We got the Joovy Balloon with the original intention to use it as a day pram and then use the Bugaboo during her sleep times, at night and when we went away.

The Joovy arrived and when I wheeled it around the house I was frustrated at the turning circle when the pram was in reverse mode (Evie facing me). When I turned it around though so that Evie was facing out I found it so much easier to use. This was the primary mode, so the wheels are locked at the back making it slightly harder to steer when in the reverse mode. Luckily the canopy can push back all the way so you can look down on bub.

Once I put the pram in the back on the car and took it out for an outing, there was no turning back! The Joovy Balloon weighs under 6kgs and is one piece. This makes getting it in and out of the car so light and easy. You don’t have to pull it apart into two and it doesn’t take up the entire car boot. The canopy is HUGE. It comes down right to the bumper bar meaning complete coverage and then folds all the way back. The reverse handle means you don't have to take the seat out and turn it around to change the mode. You just have to swing the handle over to the other side and boom! It's in reverse mode.

The bassinet mode allows you to drop the back of the seat to a near-flat recline. All this time I thought Evie needed her "cot on wheels" to get to sleep but she's gone straight to sleep in the Balloon too. There's also two cup holders and a huge, easily accessible storage basket. My hesitation and fear of taking a pram with me has now completely faded because the Balloon is so quick and easy to zip around in. I hated being that person with the huge pram looking for somewhere to put it in the small cafe but with the Balloon it's small enough to have Evie sitting right next to me at the table. The price points for Joovy prams are attractive too!

If you're looking for an ultra-compact, lightweight and affordable stroller I highly recommend the Joovy Balloon.


@bubsfirst

27th JuLY, 2017

Another late night Instagram scroll during my pregnancy led me to @bubsfirst. A family business, founded by mums, designing beautiful and practical baby items. Their wipeable change mat cover caught my eye immediately. It's a cover that fits most change mats. Half is a soft mink fabric and the other half is a wipeable PUL (polyurethane laminate) fabric. After watching the demonstration video on their Instagram page I knew it was a necessity for Evie's nursery.

In the video, they smear Vegemite on a normal cloth change mat cover and Vegemite on their PUL cover. It easily wipes off theirs compared to the normal one, meaning you wouldn't have to take the cover off to wash it each time there’s a mess. No more stain removing and soaking for nasty nappy accidents!

Having babysat my nephews and nieces in the past, I knew nappy accidents do happen, so the thought of having to strip and wash the cover every time didn't seem practical. The other option on the market was an all plastic cover for the change mat. I still wanted something that would be comfortable for bub to lay on every nappy change and this product was the perfect combination of both.

We bought two covers and I've machine washed them fortnightly for the last 8 months and they have stood the test of time. The wear and tear on them has been fantastic for how much they have been used, wiped and washed.

Dalton and I always joke that our little princess would never poop all over the place. I can tell you right now, as cute as she looks, she has caught me out a few times when changing her nappy. Just like the video they advertise, the change mat is easily wipeable making those accidents quick and painless to clean up.

I highly recommend these covers for anyone changing nappies! The process stays clean and comfortable for bub too!

I got in touch with the lovely mum duo to ask them some questions on the background of their business.

How did you come with the idea/ how did it begin?

Well the idea for the business came about when I was shopping with my sister and we were looking for a wipeable change mat cover for her two bub's. We couldn't find anything in the shops that weren't the all plastic mats. When we went home she mentioned that it would be great if there was a change mat cover which was half wipeable so she didn't have to wash it all the time, but that was half some sort of soft material so her bubs were still comfortable and warm. I was also pregnant at the time and thought this was a great idea so I researched and couldn't find anything like it. We decided to pursue the idea and from there, my sisters, my mum and I made some prototypes to test. We started sharing the idea with our friends and family and had a really positive response so started selling to the wider community.

How did you come up with your brand name?

We actually had our whole family trying to think of the perfect name and had so many names at the start. In the end though, we chose Bubs First for a few reasons. We wanted to convey that this was a premium brand that put your bubs' comfort first, and also that our products might be the first blanket or change mat cover etc that your bub would have. We liked the simplicity of it too.

What are the benefits of your product(s)?

The benefits of our product are that the half mink and half PUL fabric design means that you are easily able to wipe down any messes that arise from changing bubs nappy, saving time and washing but at the same time, the soft mink fabric will keep them warm and comfortable. For those change mat covers which are plain coloured, the textured mink dot is great for tactile babies and for those which are chevron the pattern is visually interesting for them.

What are the feedbacks from your customers so far?

We've had an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone that has used our product which is very humbling. We are really happy that we've been able to help mum's, dad's and caretakers in our small way by them not having to wash their change mat cover every single time and for us to be a part of their dream nurseries. Our social media accounts are full of great reviews for the invention and some beautiful nursery pictures and bubs.

What do you think was your biggest challenge so far since having your business?

I think the biggest challenge for us has been just getting our brand and product known in Australia and Internationally. In saying that I wanted to thank you again for allowing us to be on your blog.

Where do you see your business going in the future?

We have been working on our rebranding and packaging which we are so excited about. Its very different from anything else that's out there and has an environmentally conscious focus to it. We have a new product in development stage at the moment and there's always the goal to be stocked in more stores across Australia and New Zealand.

Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Aunties and everyone with bubs - you MUST do yourself a favour and purchase one of these changeable covers. You will not be disappointed! Follow them on Instagram to keep up with their posts @bubsfirst.

 


@bondibeachbaby

8th July, 2017

 

When Evie was only a couple of months old, I caught up with a girlfriend and her newborn for breakfast. We were both breastfeeding at the cafe table, but the only difference was that she had a beautiful leopard print muslin wrap covering her and bub and I had a see through wrap with owls on it. Baby products can be pretty unflattering at times, but with her leopard print wrap, she was looking pretty damn stylish. When I asked her about it and she said it was 100% organic cotton, I knew I had to have one. After jumping online, the options were endless and picking one was nearly impossible because all of the prints are amazing! When the wraps arrived and I first swaddled Evie in them, I knew that we had been missing out! The Bondi Beach Baby wraps don't only make Mum's look less 'daggy' but they are high quality and large enough that I can use it as pram cover, swaddle her snuggly, trolley cover, breastfeeding shield or throw it around my neck as a stylish scarf. I asked the lovely Teena, the mastermind behind Bondi Beach Baby, some questions to gain a better understanding of her business and how it all started.

Where did you come up with the idea for Bondi Beach Baby?

After the birth of my beautiful baby girl, I used swaddles every day for so many different reasons especially breastfeeding or covering my pram. The main frustration I had was feeling like a daggy mum covered in baby pictures over a nice outfit, or shading my lovely pram with cheap fabrics. I thought to myself, why isn’t there a range of swaddles that are fashion based prints with high quality material that also complements my style? I couldn’t find anything like I wanted on the market, so I started designing some for myself… and Bondi Beach Baby was born!

How did it all begin?

As a mum you can probably relate to this, after my girl turned 1 I was thinking, ok so what’s next now? Everyone starts going back to work but I wanted to stay home with my daughter but I also wanted to pursue my creative dreams so I started my own business.

What inspired the idea?

Being a new mum, understanding what other Mum’s want but also loving design and fashion.

Do you do all of the work on your own?

As the business grew, I couldn’t keep up with all the orders, so now I am the Queen of outsourcing where it’s needed! But I love running my business on my own.

Who designs the wraps?

I have always loved to draw, paint and take photos. Being creative is just an extension of who I am so I am lucky to now have a wonderful outlet for all my ideas and designs… swaddle prints!

What makes your wraps different to other brands?

We like to focus on Mums just as much as we love to care for our babies. It’s so easy to loose your sense of style and identity as a Mother, and I wanted to design something that is functional but also beautiful. The biggest compliment I can receive is that a swaddle brightened a mums day, or made her feel more confident walking her pram down the street.

Do you eventually want your wraps stocked in stores?

I have been lucky enough to naturally grow my wholesale business, a lot of gorgeous stores find me on instagram and then enquire about stocking Bondi Beach Baby. We have over 20 stores throughout Australia and internationally now so we are working our way around the world.

Where do you see the business going in the future?

It’s so wonderful to see Bondi Beach Baby growing as my daughter grows up! So as our needs evolve so is my range. This summer I am launching ‘The Bondi Bag’ an amazing all rounder day bag for mums, and have some cool ideas for new products. There are endless possibilities and I am so grateful to all the beautiful mamma’s who have made my dreams possible. Thank you for all your support x

You can check out Bondi Beach Baby on Instagram - @bondibeachbaby

 


@pennynco

19 June, 2017

 

About two years ago I posted a photo of my baby niece and I on Instagram. Jessica, the owner of @pennynco, saw the photo and commented saying that I should enter the brand ambassador competition they were running at the time, looking for a mother and daughter duo to be ambassadors. I explained that it was my niece but started following their page anyway. Side note: For those of you who don’t follow Penny&Co, they are the makers behind beautiful Angel Wings and premium quality girls’ clothing ranging from sizes 0000-8. They are definitely worth a follow! Over the coming months, which turned into years, we kept in contact. Talking all things babies, men, relationships and life in general. She became my dear diary, someone to talk to and give unbiased opinions. When I found out I was pregnant with Evie, at the very early mark of 3 weeks, Jessica was one of the first few that I told. As I became sicker and the pregnancy symptoms started rolling in, it was Jessica that guided me in the direction of calling for help. Seeking medical advice by calling midwives and getting the home doctors around when nausea and vomiting was at its worst. Dalton was working away from home and not everyone knew I was pregnant so she became my closest companion. I had always wanted a baby girl and looking daily at her Instagram feed of all the baby girls with their beautiful wings got me through the tough days. The night we found out we were having a little girl, I couldn't wait to get her in her first wings. Eve arrived and has been wearing her wings since we left the hospital. I wanted something special and different for her milestone pictures and have had her in wings with a floral number each month. I can't wait for her 1st birthday when I can put all 12 months together.

Jessica is the designer of the original Angel Wings. From starting out as a mother looking for something different for her little girl to wear, Penny&Co has now turned into a worldwide business. The quality of the onesies are exceptional and for someone that doesn't hand wash clothing, I've been able to wash all items in a delicate bag with all of our normal clothes. Even though they look like special occasion wear, they are easy to wash and practical enough to be everyday wear for little girls of all ages. The onesies have snap buttons on the crotch for easy access to change bubs nappy and are made from a beautiful and soft fabric.

Jessica and I caught up to do an interview so that I could share with my followers the background story of Penny&Co.

You are the original designer of the angel wings. How did you come up with the idea?

The wings were being sold as 'collars' by a lace & fabric flower supplier at my local boutique markets. I was still hand stitching love hearts onto Target onesies at the time and I fell in love with the embroidered lace. After having a play with it, I realised it would look cute as flutters on the sleeve of singlets. Bonds had just released their non-ribbed chesty, and everyone else was selling ribbed. I wanted to do something different. Something that looked special. So, I did.

Did you always know how to stitch and sew or was it something that you've learned recently?

Most definitely not. When Penny was born, I wanted to do something extra to make some money, so I asked my mother in law to come over and teach me how to do a simple straight stitch by hand. I became pretty obsessed with learning how to sew and went out and got a machine from spotlight, watched a bunch of you-tube videos and went from there.

Penny & Co is now a well-known Australian business within the Instagram community of mums. How did you go from hand stitching to manufacturing?

Once Penny started crawling, my business had grown to a point where I was needing to hand stitch over 100 pieces every 3 weeks, and I still wasn't meeting the demand. I had issues with supplies, so lace for example was unavailable for a period of time and then Bonds was sold out of the chesty singlets everywhere I went! I had people in every state searching for them for me and sending them to me. It became quite stressful, as you can imagine. I was venting about this to a lovely lady at the boutique markets one Sunday and she referred me to her brother in law who was Australian but owned two fair trade factories in China.

Do you have any plans of introducing boys clothing into your range?

Not at this stage but possibly in the future.

Head over to @PENNYNCO on Instagram and give them a follow. Something that I find very important is supporting and following small businesses. You know that when you are shopping with Penny&Co, you are not only purchasing amazing, high quality products but you are also supporting a beautiful lady and her dreams. Enjoy!


@LECOCOARCHIE

19 June, 2017

 

 

Planning Evie's nursery is what kept me distracted from the constant vomiting during my pregnancy. What cot to get, artwork to hang, nursing chair to sit in. Each item was meticulously researched and found. Which play mat to buy, was an absolute no brainer. Lecocoarchie's were the best. I stumbled across Lettie's page on one of my late-night Instagram scrolls and her play mats were beautifully designed, looked soft but best of all were handmade by a loving mother. I private messaged Lettie as there was a design that I wanted that wasn't available on her Etsy store page. She messaged me back straight away and we got talking late into the night. Lettie was warm and friendly and we clicked straight away. She still had the fabric I was after and so I ordered the mat straight away. When it arrived, it was as beautiful as I had imagined. In fact, when Evie finally arrived, I ended up ordering another two. Lettie's husband helps cut the material and she sews the trimming on. Knowing the play mats are made with such love and hard work, made the items even more special and appealing. Not only does Evie use them to sit, lay or play, but they are also beautiful photo backgrounds with reverse backings.

Where did it all start?

It started when I had to go back to work at my florists shop with Coco. I wanted something soft and pretty for her to sit on.

How did your business begin?

So, then I made some for friends and they loved them so I put them on Instagram and they went crazy. I had already started my business Instagram making dolls and plush toys.

Where did you learn to sew?

My husband bought me a sewing machine for Mother's Day 2 years ago. I had always wanted one and he got me one and said I will never use it. It kind of really pushed me to learn to prove him wrong did a few lessons and just loved it!

Why did you stop making dolls and plush toys?

I loved making the dolls, but they were really time consuming! I also realised I just loooovvvee fabric so I became obsessed with sourcing amazing fabrics and the mats show them off better I suppose.

You're the creator of the original heart mat. What inspired this idea?

I had been thinking about a new shape for a while and I got my hands on the pink quilt material and decided it had to be released as something special! With how big your business has grown; do you still do all of the sewing and online work yourself? It's grown so quickly! I really have only been doing the mats for about 18 months. I like the fact that they are hand made in my home. My husband helps a lot with the cutting and my Aunty helps with the sewing, but mainly it's just me. I try to have a kid free sewing day every week and I also sew till midnight a few nights a week.

How did you come up with the name?

Like a lot of Instagram business's I used my babies’ names and then added my initials at the front. It just had a nice ring to it. If I knew the business was going to take off like it has, I probably would have completely over thought it so I'm kind of glad I started with that! I love it!

Head over to @LECOCOARCHIE on Instagram and say hello to the gorgeous Lettie. I guarantee you will not be disappointed with their amazing products!


@spectrababy

16 May, 2017

In this modern and tech-savvy world we live in today, who would have thought that how you choose to feed your OWN baby could be such a controversial topic.

As Mothers, we are presented with limitless feeding options such as breastfeeding, express breastmilk bottle feeding, formula feeding, or combined and mixed feeding. I strongly stand by the saying, ‘Breast is best but fed is better’ and however way you choose to feed your baby, they will receive the nutrition that they need for healthy growth.

Evie and I breastmilk feed and while I share my insights on what worked for us, I by no means am saying that this is what every mother should do. This is simply what worked best for our family.

As feeding became a big aspect of Evie's life, the topic was discussed a lot during pregnancy. I started getting colostrum leakage around 24 weeks and the flow only increased as the weeks went on. I already knew that I wanted to try and breastfeed and so our intention from the start was to try and exclusively breastmilk feed her. It was also extremely important to me that Dalton was able to share the feeding bond with Evie too, so I researched expressing machines. There are a lot of options on the market and the more you research, the more options you are presented with to choose from. I knew I wanted it to be electric and a double pump for easy usage. I narrowed it down to two double electric breast pumps; the Medela Swing Maxi and the Spectra S1. They were both hospital grade machines so the price tags were quite hefty compared to the rest. I showed Dalton both machines and his responses were pretty much "Is this really necessary? Do you really need this? Can't you find a cheaper option?" I kept looking and looking but every review brought me back to these two machines. Two friends referred the Medela Swing Maxi, so I convinced him this was the machine we needed. This was the case until we moved house. We moved into a house with minimal power points, each with very inconvenient access points. The Spectra S1 had the same features of the Medela Swing Maxi but the main difference was a rechargeable battery. Having the flexibility to be able to pump anywhere was what we definitely needed in our new house. We bought the Spectra S1 a few weeks before Evie arrived and I used it the moment we got home from the hospital. In the early days, each pump was no longer than 5 minutes giving me enough milk for Evie's bottle feeds . As my milk supply increased, the time varied slightly, but at 5 months postpartum I'm still only pumping for a maximum of 10 minutes, collecting between 160-220mls. Spending that little bit extra on the rechargeable battery has been an absolute lifesaver. I've pumped everywhere in the house, the car, in public toilets and even at the beach.

What started out as just a machine to enable Dalton to bottle feed Evie and experience that beautiful bonding moment, has become so much more. It has given me the flexibility to be away from Evie and for her to still have her mother's milk. Since starting her on Save Our Sleep's routine at 4 months old, she rarely has a bottle and I mainly breastfeed her. In saying that, whenever we have visitors around that would like to feed her, I express and allow them to give her the bottle. It might seem like double handling but it only takes me 5 minutes to express and they get to share that moment with her.

My dad came to visit from South Australia when Evie was just born and he was able to feed her. He wasn't too hands on when I was a baby as I had three older siblings to help my Mum so seeing him interact with his granddaughter was truly special. It has also meant that Evie has grown closer with her grandparents and given Dalton and I peace of my mind to have the occasional date night here and there. When I have been away from Evie and drinking alcohol, I always take the Spectra with me and "pump and dump" my milk to maintain milk supply. If I'm away and not drinking or on my overnight pumps while she sleeps through the night, then I store and freeze the express milk. I've always had a decent flow of milk when I'm expressing so I wasn't sure if it was my body or the machine to be thankful for.

Out of interest one day, I borrowed a friends Avent Electric Pump to compare. Not only was it extremely loud compared to the Spectra, but it took me 20 minutes on EACH side to get the same amount of milk that would usually take 5-10 minutes’ total. I also had to sit on the edge of the bed so that the power cord would reach the power point. What can I say, Spectra S1 for the win!

STAND OUT FEATURES

1. Inbuilt rechargeable battery - pump anywhere, anytime!

2. Extremely quiet and comes with two-night light options for night time usage.

3. Timer! Winning!

4. Double pump - halve the time!

5. Letdown mode and program options to suit your body.


@bubnest

12 May, 2017

While I was pregnant with Evie, the one thing Dalton and I were very undecided on was which type of bassinet we would like for either in our room or in her nursery. We had Dalton's step Dad's wooden cradle bassinet but didn't have the space in our bedroom for it. I had my heart set on the Chicco Next To Me, but priced at $400, Dalton said it would be a waste of money if we only used it for a few months while she was a newborn. Putting her straight into the cot seemed like the only option but I wasn't sure if I would want to co-sleep or not when she was born. A friend actually found the Bubnest and showed me their website. I loved everything about the design and concept and after stalking their Instagram, I was hooked. It could be used as the baby's bed to sleep in, anywhere at any time, giving them the same comfort wherever they go! That same friend gave us a Bubnest gift voucher as a gender reveal party gift and I ordered one straight away. Three months later Evie arrived and from the moment we arrived home from the hospital to this very day, Evie has been put to sleep in it every night and for most day sleeps/naps. It would have to be her most prized possession and we do not go anywhere without it, including interstate trips. During the newborn days when Evie would sleep all day, the Bubnest was great to have on the couch with me or if I wanted to go to bed I could carry sleeping Evie in the Bubnest upstairs to bed with me. It was light enough to move her around and could be placed in and out of the cot too. As Evie has grown, I've loosened the drawstring and it has given her more room to move. She can now roll tummy to back and back to tummy but still can't get out of the Bubnest. The sides are still high enough to keep her inside her little nest. The mornings I had her in bed with me, the Bubnest provided a safe barrier between us, so as tired as I was, I never feared that I could potentially harm her. We've used our Bubnest in the cot, our bed, the couch, travelling, sleepovers, in the pram and to the beach. Whether you plan on putting bub straight into the cot or co-sleeping, I highly recommend the Bubnest, it allowed us to do both. It gave us the freedom to take Evie everywhere with us whilst also allowing her to have the comfort of the same bed each time she was ready to sleep. Instead of buying a cot for bubs nursery, a bassinet for your room and a portacot for any travelling or sleepovers, this can be avoided with one handy little Bubnest bed. 

STAND OUT FEATURES

1. A safe barrier between mum and bub to co-sleep. 

2. Acts a comforter for bub - a home away from home.

3. Price is affordable in comparison to other bassinets.

4. Lightweight to travel with.

5. Certified organic cotton meaning no hidden nasties.

6. Drawstring allows it to grow with bub.