Me “It’s 5am”

3 Year Old “But I’m not tired. I want the iPad. I want hot milk”

….and so it begins.

I have a 2 year old who doesn’t sleep and a three and a half year old who is an early riser. Suffice to say my husband and I are a little tired. After writing a recent post about our sleep deprived lives on my blog, several people suggested I try a Gro-clock. Whilst we knew it couldn’t stop our 2 year old from waking frequently, we hoped if we could keep our eldest in bed a little longer we may be able to catch up on some of those missed zzzzzzz’s.

THE DAY IT ARRIVED I posted a photo of it on Facebook. I received lots of comments from other Gro-clock users, mostly positive. Apparently lots of people were already members of the Gro-clock fan club. I was excited to be joining the gang.

THE CONCEPT IS VERY SIMPLE – For anyone who is not already in the Gro-clock club or in the know about Gro-clocks it is meant to encourage your child to stay in bed until YOUR desired time in the morning instead of THEIRS!

HOW IT WORKS IS SIMPLE TOO – you activate the clock by setting the time you would like your child to wake up from both day sleeps and night sleeps (morning time). Once activated, 12 small stars appear around one big star and throughout the night at certain points a small star disappears. This is the countdown until wake-up time. When it is time for your child to get up, the star is replaced with a bright yellow smiling sunshine which stays lit up for 2 hours.

After posting the photo on Facebook everyone was eager to find out how our first night as a member of the Grow-clock– group had gone.


Night 1

The girls were excited looking and playing with the clock. They helped me set it and we enjoyed watching the cute demo of how it would work (the star winks as it says goodnight and the light saver mode come on). When it’s time to get up the bright smiley yellow sunshine also provide them with lots of amusement. There is also a colourful rhyming picture book included to read to your child all about the animals on a farm going to sleep with the aid of a Gro-clock which the girls enjoyed me reading to them.



Aware that our 2 year old wouldn’t understand the concept our focus was on our 3.5 year old. We explained that if she stayed in be until the sun shone we would let her choose a present from the shop.

The following morning we were woken by the sound of our eldest daughter padding into our room saying she had lost her teddy bear. It was 4.20am.

Initially disappointed we located her teddy and suggested she go back to her bed. She wasn’t keen and not long after woke her sister up.

My husband and I blearily grunted at each other and discussed why it hadn’t worked. The answer was obvious. She shares a room with her sister and has always been instructed to be quiet if her sister’s asleep. She woke up and we couldn’t reasonably expect her to lie in the dark for 2 hours, even I wouldn’t do that. I re-read some of the comments from the Gro-Clock fans on my Facebook, most mentioned that they encouraged their child to play in their room quietly until the sun came up. Our daughter can’t do this as she will wake her sister. I needed a better strategy.


Night 2

So I told her. If you wake up before the sun shines. TRY to close your eyes and go back to sleep. If you Really, Really, Really can’t get back to sleep. Then you can come and play in the lounge with your toys until the sun has come up. You are not allowed to demand hot milk or breakfast UNTIL the sun is shining (and mummy and daddy had had what would be deemed as a lie in in our house).

SUCCESS – I heard her get up and go into the lounge where she played quietly with her my little ponies until I got up. She didn’t make her usual demands until I informed her that the sun was now up and she could have breakfast. She was so excited to see the sun shining and know that she had made me happy she proceeded to run into the bedroom and wake her dad up “daddy, daddy the sun is shining”.

Night 3

Was a bad night for everyone due to coughs and frequent waking by her younger sister. She managed to stay in bed until 20 minutes before the sun arrived and still knew not to demand hot milk or breakfast pre-sun

The Gro-clock has definitely had some positive impact for us with regards our eldest daughter however I don’t feel we have been able to really put it to the test whilst she shares a room with her younger sister who frequently wakes her through the night.


It arrived quickly – 2 days after confirming my review, it arrived in the post.

The clock is lightweight with no sharp edges so would be safe for a child to play with (as both mine did).

The user guide is SO straightforward to follow and they really have thought of everything

If the light is too light throughout the night – you can change the LED setting

If the child plays around with it – you can lock it so they can’t affect the settings

If they can’t see it for any reason – there is an audible alarm

If you want the same system for day time naps – you can set it for day time naps and sleep times so you don’t need to re-set it

If you want to show your child how it works – there is a demo mode

They even remind you not to let your child see how you set the key lock….sound obvious but as I was working through the manual I very nearly did it in front of my daughter who continually surprises me with her knowledge of technology.

There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about it. I feel confident that if our daughter was in her own room it would work. I intend to keep using it to encourage her to stay in bed longer and as soon as her sister is a little older we will explain it to her too so hopefully they will both use it.

The Gro-clock is available to buy for $59.95 and can be purchased online at:

I was gifted the Gro-clock but did not receive any payment for writing this review

After sending my review to Gro-Store they provided some additional feedback:

Hi Lucy,

Thank you for sharing your review.

I have read your review, it seems that the product was unsuitable for your situation and appreciate the angle you have had to take.

We would normally recommend that you use the clock from as early as 2 years of age, you mention in your article that your youngest was too young to start but we recommend starting the product as early as possible and feel that this is the ideal time for you to start.

We encourage our users to start with the book first and then introduce the clock. We also encourage people to start the process very slowly, if your little one wakes at 5am and you want to get them to sleep longer we say to increase the time to say 5:30am and then when they achieve this goal increase the time and so on. Therefor we probably think that this will work better on your younger child. To further encourage children to respond we have a reward chart that you can use this helps to keep them motivated. (See attachments)

Thank you again for taking the time to review our product. Happy for you to share on your blog as you feedback is invaluable.

Key Account and Marketing Manager



We don’t go away very often as a family. In fact the last time we did all go away was nearly a year ago. The reason for this is because our 2 year old still doesn’t sleep. The idea of all being in a hotel room together feels like self-harm to our already sleep deprived little minds.

When my husband first suggested that we join him on a work trip to Hawkesbury (he was going to the races with work), my initial reaction was, NO WAY. He then suggested that we could get a separate room for the girls and given it had been a long time since we last went away, I agreed. He booked us into The Sebel Resort and Spa in Hawkesbury

Read More »

From Butterflies To Batman, Frozen To Flowers – Anna Banana Is Not Phased

Recently I’ve been thinking about the avenues my blog could potentially go down and one area that interests me is reviews. I’m a stickler when it comes to good customer service. It astounds me daily how many businesses out there operate appallingly, without a care in the world for the customer/consumer experience. I believe when you pay for anything you deserve to, at the very least- get what you paid for. If it’s done well you walk away happy, sometimes delighted. It sounds so obvious to say ‘and if you are happy you will return and refer’ – yet so many businesses just don’t get this.

This week I happened to see a request for a local blogger to do a review on one of the Mums Facebook pages I’m a member of. I immediately held my hand up.

The business is called Face Painting With Anna Banana and is run by a lady (not surprisingly) called Anna Brown.

Anna asked me to write a review for her, offering to paint my children’s and a few of their friends faces in return.

With two girls myself (19 months and 3 years old), I’m aware that the usual picnic at the playground with a bunch of my mates, ‘aint gonna’ cut it for their birthday parties much longer. As they grow, so too will their expectations. I will need to arrange activities and entertainment. Therefore, I was personally interested in the service Anna provided and if it would be something I’d consider for my girls in the future.

I’ve been to a couple of parties where face painting has been available. Unfortunately my 3 year old has always been too shy to let them anywhere near her. I explained this to Anna, challenging her to succeed where others have failed – she didn’t seem phased.

We chatted on the Tuesday and had arranged the gathering for that Friday morning.

Our correspondence was via email and I found her quick to respond, friendly and efficient. It was easy.

When she arrived, laden with a table and various cases, it started to rain. She took this in her stride, happy to set up her table and paints outside, prepared to move them if the rain persisted. Eventually the rain stopped.

Whilst Anna is chatty and friendly and fitted in very well with my friends, she didn’t get distracted from what she was doing. She understood the importance of ensuring that every child that wanted their face painted had it done. She understands how to interact with children. Her relaxed and calm approach seemed to work as all the children took their turn to get their face painted into their chosen picture. I couldn’t believe it when my daughter requested to go second.

As someone who can’t draw for toffee, I’m always in awe of artists. Watching how easily and beautifully she fulfilled each child’s individual request was incredible.

A unicorn, a rainbow, batman, a butterfly, a flower, Frozen….it didn’t matter what they threw at her she delivered.

My youngest daughter (19 months old) demanded to have her face done too. Unfortunately she kept rubbing it off with her hand whilst Anna was doing it. Anna laughed, grabbed a wipe and started again…..not phased!

At the end we rounded the kids up to try to get a group photo. You can imagine how tricky this was with a group of 8 children under the age of 3.

Anna casually started to sing and act some songs out which got the children’s attention and even some of them joining in. She did this naturally and wasn’t in their faces or over the top. With Anna’s help we managed to get them sitting down for a few minutes to take the picture.


To Sum Anna Up I would Say

‘Anna is talented, professional, friendly, relaxed and DOESN’T GET PHASED! (I wonder what it would take to get her stressed?) The fact that she has many years’ experience working with children, as well as being a mum herself, shines through by the way she interacts with them in an approachable and non-patronising manner.  I would have no hesitation recommending her and her services to anyone’

A Bit About Anna

AnnaAnna Banana originally hails from Wales but is now a fully-fledged Aussie having lived here in Sydney for 14 years. Her experience ranges from being a dancer on television and stage, a dance teacher for children and adults and a children’s entertainer. She has over 20 years’ experience working with children, which includes children who have learning, behavioural and physical disabilities.

During her time teaching young children dance for Bubstep (her dance company), she picked up her brushes and began face painting to help promote the dance classes. The obsession began. Anna has now found a new passion that combines her love of working with children and expressing her artistic creativity.

She also offers pregnant belly painting and has hopes of becoming an FX make-up artist one day.

All products she uses are non-toxic professional paints.



1 hour $100

1.5 hours $150

2 hours $200

2.5 hours $250

3 hours $300

(On average Anna paints 10-12 faces an hour, dependent on the design requests. 20 children requires a minimum of 2.5 hours to ensure everyone gets their design choice)

To Contact Anna:


Mobile: 0405585290

*I am not connected to Anna in any way and until this day had never met her.



Crushing Self-Doubt

I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt. Hosted by Positive Writer.

When I first started writing in August 2015, I did so because I felt compelled to. With 2 toddlers keeping me busy my sleep deprived self was often pounding the streets of Sydney, double pram in tow. On these daily expeditions my head began to feel like it was bursting with stories about the craziness and often hilarious moments we were experiencing. Terrified I would forget it all, I frantically jotted notes down on my phone.

This overwhelming urge/need to write was something I’d never previously experienced. Every chance I get now – I write. I didn’t have a plan. My husband suggested a blog. I liked the idea of having my words recorded in a structured chronological order – but didn’t expect to share it with anyone (other than my mum).

One day, whilst flicking through Facebook, I noticed a friend had posted a question about whether to have more children. Having just written about this exact thing (To Three or Not to Three) I decided it was appropriate to share my article with that person. To date, the day I shared that link remains my ‘best views ever’.


My phone went into overdrive, pinging nonstop as the notifications came through. Positive comments, likes and shares. It felt amazing. The ‘number of views’ graph on my website insights page rising as rapidly as my excitement. From that moment on I craved positive comments, likes and shares, continually checking-in with my insights. It was addictive.

I set up a Facebook page, feeling a little awkward calling myself ‘a blogger’. This was when the doubts first began to creep in. I was delighted so many people accepted my Facebook invite, but why didn’t more people accept? They don’t like it? They think I’m being annoying or worse arrogant, trying to be something I’m not. Who did I think I was? I’m not a writer. I’ve got no writing qualifications. I started to review the comments I’d had again. Just to make sure I hadn’t imagined the positive feedback.

I became obsessed. Each time a new post went live I continually checked Facebook for notifications. Once again the self-doubt began to creep in. Sometimes, convinced I’d written my best post I was disappointed when comments or lack of, weren’t reflecting that. I craved positive feedback for how good it made me feel and reassurance.

I decided to get more objective feedback by submitting my work to an expat website. They shared it and asked for more. Confidence restored, I became more ambitious, submitting pieces to various publishers . I have now been published on  various sites including The Babyspot, Kidspot, and I’m a regular contributer for Mamalode and Parent Talk Australia.

There have also been some rejections. Each rejection seems to allow negative self-doubting eeeby jeebies to creep back in, questioning my ability once again. I re-read the post. Make a few edits. Submit it elsewhere – success! Perhaps my writing style is just not suited to every parenting magazine or to the person who reviewed it on that particular day. If I re-submit it elsewhere and it’s unsuccessful then I may have to concede it wasn’t right for sharing however that’s not happened yet.

When I first started writing I decided I wouldn’t read other mummy blogs, I didn’t want to risk being influenced. It didn’t take long for curiosity to get the better of me. Constance Hall – so raw, honest and courageous, The Unmumsy Mum – so funny and she’s had a book published (my dream). The self-doubt gremlins returned, “I’ll never be as funny as them”, “they have thousands of Facebook followers, I don’t”, “I’ll never achieve what they have”.

With self-doubt comes guilt. I’m spending every spare second I have writing or reading about writing or trying to figure out what avenue to go down next with my writing or what course I could do if I had the money or the time. I feel guilt to my family that I’m being so self-indulgent by spending time writing, a hobby rather than an income generator.

I’d begun to notice that some people who were commenting on my blogs at the beginning hadn’t done so for a while. I also kept seeing that statistic glaring at me every time I visited the insights page ‘August 19th best views ever’. Surely after all this extra exposure and experience my blogs should be getting more views? I started to wonder if the reason my initial ‘fans’ were no longer commenting was because my writing style had changed or worse – they just didn’t like my writing anymore.

It didn’t make any sense. Their feedback had been incredible – surely I hadn’t changed that much in 7 months. I was still getting lots of positive comments, new likers and submissions accepted. I decided to write to some of those early commenters and ask them directly, explaining I needed them to be honest. The words of reassurance I received in return put a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes. ‘Honest’, ‘funny’ and ‘relatable’ some of the words that came back. The relief I felt washed over me like a tidal wave. So I’m not completely sh*t then? Apparently they read every post that they saw in their newsfeed. What became apparent was that Facebook wasn’t showing them all.

I write because I love to write. Whilst it’s become a cathartic passion for me, driven by an innate need to get these words out of my busy head it is also motivated by hearing of other people’s enjoyment they get from reading it. Therefore, I know I will continue to crave positive feedback and check in with my insights page regularly. What I have learnt is that whilst there will always be rejection and moments of self-doubt, I must focus on the reasons why I write and the fact that whilst my writing may not appeal to everyone it will always appeal to someone.