Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Late last year, I embarked upon the "84 Day Body Challenge" to change my body shape and get healthy.
After having Little Mia, I had put on a few extra Kilos and never really got rid of them. (who says that Breastfeeding miraculously helps you shed your pregnancy weight?..... Grrrr)
I have never really had success from diets, fitness regimes or promises to myself to get healthy, however - I stuck to the challenge, and lost almost 8kgs in total (over the 84 days) and felt amazing. Since then, I have continued to eat well for months, however the excercise has dropped off with the cooler months, and the kilo's are starting to creep back (maybe this has something to do with my love of chocolate and wine?)
So - last night, lying in bed, I thought to myself, I really need to get back on the challenge and motivate myself to make some changes again. I have been eagerly awaiting medication from New Zealand (not available in Australia) for a crappy allergy that I have issues with, and the lovely side effect of this is considerable weight gain. ENOUGH!! - I will not have extra kilo's piled on just because I need to get well - I have made the decision to beat this medication at it's own game, and get in first.
About the challenge.
Some good (and beautiful) friends of mine, Matt Thom and Monica Wright are the most amazing people you could ever come across. Completely focused, super healthy, lovely, caring and considerate - they have the whole package. It's no wonder that they run a highly successful Gym/Training Centre in Flemington, Melbourne - they are also the "World's fittest Couple" , holding the champion title an amazing 7 times! (You can understand why I trust them with my health and fitness!)
After many years of hard work and research, they have released their book "Change your body, Change your life" and their 84 day Body Challenge manual. I followed these (as best as I could) and had a fantastic result. My health improved 10 fold, my energy levels shot up and I lost almost 8kgs (and lots of cms off problem areas) - I couldn't be happier.
Don't get me wrong - this isn't one of those "you cant eat anything other than cabbages and lemons" diet - it is more a way of learning how to eat healthily and exercise to improve your body and health. Sure - there is some lovely supplements that you can take to improve your wellbeing (and yes, they do taste like lucerne chaff that you would feed to a horse) however I have never felt and looked as good as I did at the end of the 84 days (I actually weigh less now than before I was pregnant, so that's a bonus).
The good news is, that after the first 2 weeks of healthy eating, you can indulge on 1 day of every week. Eat what you want, when you want and not feel guilty at all. I can still have my wine and chocolate, as long as i do it on the same day!
This being said, I am looking forward to embarking on this journey again, and sticking to it with the same enthusiasm as last time. Why am I blogging about this I hear you ask - well, I really need to commit to myself, and so thought it best to let you all know. Next time I reach for the chocolate, I hope to think "Can't let all of those friends and followers down!" and this will be good motivation for me!
GO CHALLENGE! - If you are interested in joining me (yup- 3 whole months), you can read more or purchase the book and manual from Fitness Kick online - it has all of the eating plans, weekly checklists and food and excercise suggestions. A lot of things, you can do with toddler or baby in tow (I used to do a workout at the park when Mia was playing - you can do chin ups on the bar - tricep dips on the step near the slide, push ups anywhere and other assorted stuff after a huge walk or run with the pram) - I also take her swimming a lot and have devised a range of stuff i can do while supervising her in the pool. I am so looking forward to starting again - it will mean that I have to go out and buy yet another wardrobe (but who doesn't love an excuse to go shopping!)
Wish me luck - I will keep you updated as to how it is going. Tonight, I may just sink a bottle of wine and eat (another) block of chocolate in preparation (LOL).
Friday, July 10, 2009
Petit is the importer/distributor of so many gorgeous brands. They have a luxurious range of clothing, accessories and toiletries for children of all ages.
I am loving their latest additions:
Bright colourful organic clothing from Organic Beginnings,
Natural Silk and Organic cotton clothing from absea baby,
gorgeous boyswear from Bobinette and beautiful organic style from Angel Dear.
Not only does Petit stock all of these gorgeous garments, they have a fabulous range of luxury fragrances for little ones. (Having a little daughter, you can imagine which range I like!)
Well now they can have their very own. Petit has a range just for them. Every little girl should have a bit of perfume to call her own, a bottle or two to spritz or dab on when she pleases. The Petit Amour range of colognes is the perfect cologne for girls who want to "smell nice".
Fragrances make a great gift for youngsters especially since kids often love the idea that they are "all grown up". Giving kids their own perfumes to play with will keep them from getting into Mommy's stash of fine fragrances -- we hope. Petit's colognes also come in gift packs with a Body Spray / Deodorant (non aerosol; no aluminium) which are also suitable for girls who are slightly older and who are just starting to try perfume for the first time."
Petit will also be exhibiting at the upcoming Kids In Style trade fair in Melbourne, so make sure you drop past and browse through their range, I will be making a special trip to have a look myself!
Petit's new website is currently being redesigned to incorporate all of these amazing products, however I am sure that you will love browsing through their range as much as I did once its ready to go! Be sure to follow their blog - they are often in the press for their gorgeous collection and celebs worldwide are using many of their products. Thanks for bringing us such a gorgeous amount of goodies Chriss!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Ever thought of joining a Fruit and Vege Co-op?
I haven't done this yet, however I am seriously considering starting one of my own in our local area.
For those who may not have heard of this, a Co-op (Co Operative) is a great way of pooling resources and money and saving time and money in the long run.
It goes a little something like this:
*Get 10 or so families to join/commit.
*Each family pays an amount each week or fortnight (say $20)
*1 Family each week/fortnight has the responsibility of going to their local produce market (not the fruit and veg shop, I mean the BIG markets)
*The "shopper" uses the $200 combined money to make their purchases (eg, bulk bags of carrots, boxes of apples/avocados/mangoes etc
*The "shopper" comes home with the "loot" and divvies it all up between 10 boxes
*Each family gets their box (depending on the co-op, members may collect it, or the shopper may deliver)
*Money is collected for the next run when veggies and fruit are delivered or picked up.
So, in short - by getting together and doing some smart shopping, everyone benefits. The overall cost for the produce is reduced and items are always so very fresh (as the middle man or chain supermarket) is cut out of the equation and profits go directly back to the grower via the market.
A good co-op can run for years with the same members and quite often new ones join as they hear about the benefits.
Some rules must be laid down, as to payment, collection times or delivery etc and most importantly, in a large group, there needs to be understanding that each week will bring differing produce as different shoppers make their purchases. It is a good idea for groups to work out "staples" such as apples, onions, potatoes etc, however the bonus items over and above these can keep you on your toes coming up with new recipes and food for the family. Great for households with kids, or those who are time poor, as you only have to go fruit and veg shopping every 10 weeks! (Albeit that you may need to be up at sparrows fart) to get to the market!)
Take the rest of the family with you and have fun shopping in co-op style!
For anyone interested in setting up their own co-op, here are some major markets around Australia that are a good starting place:
Adelaide Produce Markets
Brisbane Produce Markets
Sydney Produce Markets
Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market
Sunday, July 5, 2009
While many of us may struggle to make changes in the home, workplace or everyday life, if our children are brought up being taught by example and by understanding impact, future generations will surely benefit.
As a 30 something first time mum, I have found that I have the “best of both worlds”. I grew up knowing how much fun it was to run under the sprinkler on a warm day, to stand and water the plants until they are floating in a pool of goey mess (not sure if this was my best gardening feat) and to run a bath so full that it overflowed all over the bathroom floor!
Nowadays, I find myself congratulating my family that we have managed to meet the governments targeted water usage of 155 L per day. I bathe my daughter once a week, and bath time is a special occasion and one to be enjoyed. Every other day, it’s a quick jump in the shower to save water, but still fun nonetheless
We have fun playing with the big bucket in the shower, (this collects the shower water that not only our indoor plants, but half of our grass “patch” as well!) and we take turns bucketing water from the bath to the garden to ensure that the bath water is recycled as well. By involving Mia in this process, she has learnt that water is precious and needs to be used wisely.
Now that my parents have retired, they spend an amazing amount of time in their super-dooper “organic patch” at the bottom of their garden. It is always a trip to look forward to when visiting, as Mia enjoys a special trip to the “Patch” with Grandma and Grandpa” to find hidden delights! Some of her favourites are the Raspberries, Strawberries and baby carrots. She not only understands at the age of two and a half, that fresh foods come from plants or in the ground, she has started to grasp the concept of “seasonal” and loves going to hunt around for the best of the crop.
(Oh– it was a sad day when the raspberry canes stopped offering their succulent berries though!)
Another favourite is Grandmas 3 chickens. A warm egg that she saw drop straight from the bum of a chook soon set her straight as to whether eggs “materialize on the supermarket shelf each week in their little boxes, or whether they come from somewhere else….” in fact, if you ask her where eggs come from, she proudly tells you that its from a chickens "bot-tom"
You may not have your own chickens, veggie patch, or parents who have the time to maintain one, yet there are many ways we can introduce this concept to our little ones—Many communities offer a “Municipal or community garden”. Our council has set one up with around 6 large garden beds, full of a mix of herbs, veggies and fruit, along with a big wood fire oven and other areas to cook. Take your child for an outing, meet new people and lend a hand in the garden! In areas with strong multicultural groups, there is a lot to be learned in relation to gardening, preparation and cooking. Other great day trips can be farmers markets or berry/fruit picking in outer regional areas. Your child will love the fresh air, the amazing taste of organic produce and the boundless knowledge that is to gained from visiting these places.
Think about ways of teaching your munchkin to recycle. Every 2 year old will love taking their empty containers (eg: yoghurt cups/sultana packets) and placing them in the “special” bin. Make these important steps in learning to recycle and talk about the various items that are suitable for recycling. Another great idea is to make a “recycled” projects—but more about that next time!
We set up a worm farm around a year ago—not because I need bait for fishing but because, like everyone, we have loads of food scraps, a garden that is sorely deprived of water, and a daughter who is intrigued with all things animal!
Where possible, our food scraps form the basis of dinner for these little beauties, Mia squeals with delight when we get out a worm and “play” with it in the garden, and our “liquid gold” worm wee has greatly improved the quality of our soil and plants. Worm farms can be purchased at Bunnings, and many other garden centers and are great fun to set up in any size backyard.
Louise created Scamps after she had her first child and found the wide choice or cloth nappies was somewhat confusing. Having discovered that there was a lack of affordable, eco friendly products for babies and children, she set to the task of creating Scamps, one of New Zealand's first stores to sell cloth nappies on line - and she hasn't looked back since!
Specialising in New Zealand made cloth nappies, babywearing wraps and slings, cloth mama pads, natural baby skin care and hand made wooden toys for all ages, there is something here for everyone. For all of you Australian readers, don't be afraid to buy from New Zealand, they have some of the most fantastic products and shopping on line has never been so easy!
I particularly love the Merino Snuggle Wrap (pictured above) and at $35 NZD it is extremely affordable. Why Marino?
If you have any questions about Cloth Nappies, Louise will be more than happy to answer them, so don't be afraid to thy them out. A great option for our environment and for the health and care of your little one.
Other great finds at Scamps are the Honey Sticks - NZ Beeswax non-toxic Crayons for kiddies. All natural and super safe - these crayons even smell like honey! Your little "scribbler" won't be able to break these, they are perfect for all ages.
Soap Nuts (no, I am not being rude here) are a wonderful eco friendly alternative to doing your washing - pop them in with the clothes, and hey-presto! 100% Organic Soap Nut Berry - No added chemicals, fragrances, or fillers. a 500gm bag ($24.90 NZD) will give you around 190 washes worth, and soap nuts are Non Allergenic - Kind to humans & pets and great for allergy, eczema & psoriasis sufferers.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Anyhow - I will get back on track - I was chatting with a friend on another forum and discovered she has the most fabulous business - Annika's Favourites - based in St Kilda, Melbourne.
Basically, Katie understands that not every parent is able to concoct gourmet purees, bite sized bits'n'pieces or tempting toddler treats every single night of the week.... Let's face it - we are all only human!
Annika's favourites offer an affordable and convenient solution - Frozen trays (conveniently in 6 portions) of super meal choices for any baby or toddler. To support the theory of freezing, numerous studies have shown that frozen fruit and vegetables are equally or more nutritious than the fresh equivalent (Journal of Food Quality, Choice Magazine), this is because the produce deteriorates over the length of time that it is picked to when it arrives in a store (Choice Magazine 2007). Annika's Favourites pick the very best produce from local farms, so food will always be that of which is currently in season. They then prepare their delightful meals and freeze them immediately to conserve the fantastic nutrition levels.
So, on those nights when you just can't face boiling the broccoli and carrot and pureeing it until smooth in consistency only to find that it goes untouched - simply break out a favourite of Annikas, and ....... who loves ya baby!
The thing that i totally adore about this idea is the names on their menu - worth having a look at, but here are just a few - I know Mia would love it if i made up names like this for her each night.
Starting out Menu (4+ months - puree)
Penguin Pumpkin and Polar Bear Pear
Now Im Eating (7+months - Textured and tasty)
Ralphs Dahl with Brown Rice (sounds delicious)
Eating with Gusto (9+months - lumpy)
Sea Lion Bolognese Pasta
So, as you can imagine, your freezer can hold a veritable delight for your little bub, established eater or fussy toddler - and you dont have to worry about a thing! No shopping tonight - no cooking either...... Maybe an ideal moment to put your feet up and have a wine.
Annika's deliver, so even if you are unprepared, you can call in the morning and have dinner "on the plate" in no time. I urge you to check out Annika's Favourites and try some on your little one today.
Katie has also kindly shared one of her special meals on her blog, I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it with you, it sounds perfect for winter and little hungry tummies!
This is a tasty dish and a bit of a variation on standard scalloped potatoes. A good crowd pleaser and (quick) comfort food during this chilly weather.
- 375 g tin of tuna, drained
- 2 cups of white sauce (equal parts of butter and flour then add milk to achieve your desired consistency)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
- 3.25 cups cooked sliced potatoes
- 1 cup of chopped onion
Make the white sauce. Add seasonings. Layer potatoes, tuna and onions in a lightly buttered oblong baking dish. Add sauce, bake at 190C for 45 minutes.
Friday, July 3, 2009
The blanket appears on Pg 15 under "Buzz- Cool bits and pieces for bub" and the romper features on Pg 120 in "Insie Winsie Onesies"
Make sure you pop out and buy a copy of Shopping for Baby - there are some gorgeous finds in there, and I am amazed at the amount of choice parents have in this day. I love, love, love it!
Basically, it went from "crappy" to "snappy", "lime green" to "gotta be seen" and personally, I'm lovin' it. I can't wait for the weather to get warmer again, so that we can go away and do some camping in it, and Mia loves to go out and play in there for hours at a time.
Yes - that is a disco ball you can see in the photos - it is the perfect addition to our little van, and you can even change the colour to red, green, yellow or blue - great for those impromptu parties while you are away.......
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Another gorgeous site that i had trouble closing down before bed last night is Lollipop Baby - where you will discover funky, quirky and cute designs that you can personalise with your name, or leave as are and choose your garment. Short sleeved Tee, Long sleeved Tee or Short Sleeved bodysuit - your choice!
What a great idea - often you find the top you love (and desperately want to buy it because it is so cute) however it is the end of winter and you just know that the long sleeves arent going to be any use over the 35 degree days of impending summer. So - visit Lollipop Baby and take your pick!
There are so many to great choices, that it would be hard to narrow it down - but i think that Mr Giraffe is the coolest!
With a great selection of prints (and for sizes 3 - 18 months) your bub can be the grooviest around with their own Lollipop Baby Tee!
A special mention must go to the one here on the right "baby bonus" as it really is very clever and will get most people you meet chuckling at the sight of it! Visit Lollipop Baby today to check out their wonderful range, and pick one for yourself (well, your bub anyhow!)
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
If you toddler is anything like she is, they will love playing "dress ups" and using any or all of your bags to transport a wide array of toys throughout the house, car and through the shops.
I have since become a collector of a wide variety of bags that she loves to take out, and so my need to invest in a Mee a Bee bag for her. How could I not? They are absolutely divine, made from gorgeous material and quirky prints for kids. This is one of my favourite - Froggy Fun and is a Green canvas bag, lined with green and blue striped cotton. The flap is lovely turquoise with green frogs and white polka dots. Strap is cotton in a bright kelly green. Mia goes "nuts" over frogs at the moment and i know she would take this everywhere!
The other one i totally adore and i know Mia would too - is the "Hide and Seek" bag for girls. This is one of those gorgeous over the shoulder style bags, and is perfect for odds and ends that you take everywhere (or should I say that our darling children like us to take everywhere!) The lining is the cutest yellow printed cotton, cars and other French street scenes. French phrases are written in a lovely hand script.
A little flower button on the front is a cute accent and the best thing is that you can reverse it! How fantastic is that!
One of the things that I love the most about Mee a Bee's creations are that they are made in Japan (I actually resided in Osaka where they are based, for a short while for work, and it is absolutely gorgeous to live there - I can see where the inspiration comes from). You can be sure that your child will look stylish and funky with one of these cute bags.
Also on offer is a gorgeous amount of "cool bags for boys" like this one with gorgeous farm animals for your little man.
Mee a Bee will be showcasing their gorgeous range of bags at Mathildas Markets in Sydney on July 5th - so if you are lucky enough to be able to go, I highly suggest a trip to check them out.
(I think I have finally made up my mind to buy the Froggy Fun messenger bag, so I am off to secure my very own for the little Miss!)
You can purchase your own Mee a Bee bag on Etsy - Meeabees Shop or you can join their blog at Blooming In Nihon(Japan)
I also have my eye on the Yee-Hah cowboy bunting - I am helping a girlfriend do up her nursery soon and have so many ideas - i can see this fitting in nicely!
Great for use in nurseries, then later on to tie in with themed parties or get togethers. Such a gorgeous concept that is earth friendly and reusable - you can even have personalised bunting! Just contact the lovely team at Festoon and they will be more than happy to help out.
Make sure you visit Festoon and have a look at their range - www.festoon.com.au