WHAT HAPPENED WHEN LITTLE MS TIDY PAID ME A VISIT

img_2021We substitute living in a big house in favour of location. At least that’s what I tell myself when cans of food that have been precariously shoved into the food cupboard continually fall onto my feet below or when I have to pull everything out of the cupboard to find what I actually need. The kitchen is small and the cupboards dated. Having lived in our home for 4 years now it’s fair to say that it’s something I have been known to have the odd moan/swear loudly about.

For a long time I told my husband that “if we only had a bigger fridge” it would make such a difference. So we got one. It didn’t. We just bought more food and filled it up. I still find myself playing Tetris in order to fit anything inside. And swearing.

So when my mate Kirsty told me about Tidy Cate and asked if I’d write a review for her I literally chewed her hand off.

Tidy Cate and I communicated via Facebook. Within a few days of our initial introduction she was booked to pay me a visit. I kicked my husband and kids out for the morning and was feeling excited to see what changes Cate could make to my chaotic kitchen.

Before arriving Cate sent me a great article about letting go of clutter. It was so good before she even arrived I started chucking clothes out of my wardrobe that I haven’t worn in years. I was in the mood for change, de-cluttering, getting organised.

When I opened the door to Cate she was holding 2 collapsible boxes. One for rubbish one for recycling. She took time to understand what I was unhappy with and very quickly set to work. Whilst she did the lions share she would request my input occasionally regarding what items could be chucked and which things I used frequently. She was non-judgmental as I apologised for the fact we had 4 of everything or how unhealthy some of the contents of our cupboard were. All she wanted to know was what we used and how frequently.

After she had finished sorting each cupboard she showed it to me and explained why she had made the changes. What at first seemed illogical suddenly became the most obvious way to organise cupboards ever. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before I said. ON REPEAT!

After about 3 hours of work cate had re-organised my chaotic kitchen into an organised, logical space. My husband is a creature of habit so did make a comment that he couldn’t find anything anymore but that was expected. Some of the drawers and cupboards at children level are not quite in the order Cate arranged however I appreciate that ‘this too shall pass’. One day my children will not feel the need to pull everything out of any drawers and cupboards within their reach and my husband will learn the new system in no time. I do now have is a clear understanding of a much more efficient way to organise cupboards.  And I do so love where I live.

 

About Cate AKA Little Ms Tidy

cate.jpgCate is originally from Germany but has lived in Australia for 14 years. Having worked for many years pre-children in banking she is naturally an organised and detail focussed individual. Setting up this business was not something she took lightly, she studied (I know, I didn’t realise there were courses like this either might have saved me years of ranting had I known). Once she completed the course she became a fully-fledged professional organiser.

Cate charges $40 p/h however the first hour is free if you sign up to her newsletter

She can re-organise/declutter any part of your home. I chose the kitchen as it has been my biggest cause of swearing.

To read more about Cate and the services she provides please visit her website: http://www.littlemstidy.com.au

A note from me – I am not affiliated to Little Ms Tidy in any way. She provided her services with me for free in exchange for my review

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THE SKY’S AWAKE SO I’M AWAKE -GRO-CLOCK A REVIEW

3 Year Old “THE SKY’S AWAKE SO I’M AWAKE”

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.

THIS WAS MY EXPERIENCE OF USING A GRO-CLOCK

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.

WHAT I LOVED

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: http://au.gro-store.com/gro-clock.html

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)

http://gro.co.uk/blog/latest-news/gro-clock-top-tips-and-reward-chart/

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

Plum Collections – Review

When dressing my two girls,

I need clothes that can cope –

With the food spills and playing,

And all the washes with soap.

I often think they look cute

(I’m a tad biased I know)

And like them to wear clothes,

That will allow that to show.

So the things of importance,

When I buy them such things –

Are how long they will last for?

And what look they will bring?

With all of that in mind,

It’s then time to assess –

If the price that is asked for,

Is fair – more or less?

Who are Plum Collections?

Plum Collections is one of Australia’s most loved and trusted brands for children and babies clothing, swimwear and sleeping bags and has won many awards. It is a small family business run by Genie Pepper and her husband, Shane. The business was started by Shane’s grandfather. Genie and Shane took over in 2011 which is when they revitalised the brand, introduced sleep bags and swimwear and a new more contemporary look as well as initiating a partnership with SIDS and Kids.

Denim Trousers – Size 2

Look/design – I love the pale denim look and the soft stretchy fabric means they are comfortable. The little turn-ups at the bottom of each leg are a cute feature.

Fit – they fit my daughter well (especially as she is in the top percentile for her weight). The thick elasticated waist didn’t seem to dig into her like some other leggings do.

Durability/quality – whilst they looked good quality initially after the first wash they looked a little tired and worn and the elastic waist shifted so it was no longer flat.

Price –$24.95

Jacket – size 2

Look/design – the pale peach colour with the white fluffy collar on the hood is adorable and my daughter looked lovely in it. I liked the gold zip and fastens which is a nice contrast with the peach.

Fit – the fit was great for now and I could see I would definitely get another winter out of it for her size wise. It’s a generous size 2. The elasticated wrists are great to stop her hands disappearing and getting it wet when she needed to wash her hands – so it’s practical too!

Durability/quality – the thick padded material and collar feels and looks good quality. I was concerned that I would end up washing it every day given the pale colour but it seems to be easy to wipe lots of things off rather than needing to put it in the machine.

Price –$76.95

Flowery Tunic – size 2

Look – at first I didn’t think I would like this. I’m not a huge fan of flowery clothes. However, when I matched it up with the denim leggings it looked gorgeous. I love the gathered neck and wrists and the little buttons at the back. Very 60’s and a step back to more traditional girls’ clothing (I’m sure I’ve seen photos of me wearing similar style clothes when I was a little girl).

Fit – the fit was perfect and there is room for her to grow  into it so she will get good use from it.

Durability/ quality – she has worn this particular item several times since we received it. It’s been through the wash at least 3 times and hasn’t faded or worn at all. The thick cotton material is great for this colder weather and feels good quality.

Cost – $34.95

Navy and White Dress – size 2

Look – this dress is very cute. I’m a huge fan of navy and white and love the nautical look. The waist is slightly gathered so helps the skirt puff out and the thinner material means it is a great choice for the next few months as the weather is heating up.IMG_0566.JPG

Fit – it fit perfectly now however as she is a big size 2 this dress doesn’t have as much room for her to grow. That said when buying clothes for her normally I would have gone for the next size up so I have been surprised at the fact she has fitted in Plum’s other size 2 clothing with room to grow.

Durability/ quality –generally it looks good quality and well-made however I did notice the hem has frayed slightly underneath before it had been worn. It doesn’t affect the look of the dress in any way as it is underneath.

Cost – TBC

Pink jumper – size 2

Look – I love this jumper. The speckled pink fabric is bright and funky and the sparkly circles add to the fun look of it. I like the detail of the turn up at the wrists. Both my girls loved it, it fits both of them so they now fight over who it belongs to!

Fit –it’s a generous size 2 as it fits my 3.5 year old too.

Durability/ quality – the material feels nice to touch and good quality. It’s been through the wash a few times (and splattered with food) and it has survived and still looks as new

Cost – $39.95

Peach Top – Size 2

Look – another gorgeous design. I love the peach colour. It really suits my 2 year old’s pale complexion and with 2 girls it was great to deviate from pink and purple. The gathered wrists help make it look a little more special than plain ones and the beautiful sparkly butterfly was a real hit with my daughter who I thought looked gorgeous in it.

Fit – it’s a generous size 2 so I was pleased to see there was room for her to grow into it yet it fit well.

Durability/ quality- the fabric is lovely a soft and feels like good quality. It’s been through the wash a few times and survived.

Cost – TBC

 

Glitter Tutu – Size 2

Look – This tutu absolutely gorgeous. My daughter wore it to a birthday party teamed up with the peach top and she received compliments from so many people.

Fit – this is a generous size 2 so I’m pleased she will get more wear out of it. It fit her comfortably.

Durability/ quality – with 2 girls I have a few tutus of mixed quality. This was one of the best that we have in terms of quality.

Cost – $39.95

Swimwear (various sizes)

Look – it all looks lovely and again…not pink! Beautiful designs.

I particularly liked the flarey sleeves on the black and white spotted swim suit.

Fit – the swimwear range goes up to age 7. I tried size 2 and 3. The sizes are generous so they fit both girls well with room for growing.IMG_0942

Durability/ quality – the swimwear is thick, feels of high quality and provides 50+ sun protection -this is very important considering how much time we spend at the beach. We braved the sea last week but in a couple of months it will be worn every day.

Cost – various see website

2.5 Tog Sleeping Bag

Look/design – the pattern is simple but has proved a big hit with my 2 year old. She loves identifying what all the cute animals were. I also like the spotty design inside. The double zip is great in case you need to do a nappy change so you don’t have to take the whole sleeping bag off. My daughter actually won’t let me use any of our other sleeping bags anymore she loves this one so much. My only negative is it could possibly do with a flap of material over the top of the zip as I noticed it was rubbing on her neck a little.IMG_1003

Fit – we received the 18-36 months size. It’s huge with lots of room for her to grow (hopefully she will still be up for sleeping in a bag next winter I like the fact she can’t escape from the cot when she is zipped up).

Durability/ quality- it feels lovely and soft and although I’ve only washed it once it certainly looks as though it will survive a good few washes.

Cost – $69.95

 

 

In Conclusion

When my two girls and I unpacked the box from Plum Collections, I have to confess – we were squealing in delight. Every new item we pulled out looked adorable. I particularly liked the way that so many of the pieces of clothing worked well together and it was great to have a change from pink! Everything fitted well, looked gorgeous on the girls and felt good quality. The only items I had a slight concern with regarding durability were the leggings and the navy and white striped dress. I spoke to Genie, the owner about this. She was concerned and explained it was a manufacturing issue which she would feed back to them immediately. I could tell that she takes a great deal of pride in her business and that customer satisfaction is paramount to her. I have no doubt that these issues will be rectified. Overall I would have no concern recommending Plum Collections as it offers beautiful products which are high quality and good value.

For more info and to purchase any items please visit their website: www.plumcollections.com.au

A Note from Me

I was gifted the items to review. I am not connected to Plum Collections in any way and received no payment for writing this review. I write every review honestly, from my own experience using the products.

 

 

 

There Once Was a Little Girl Who Had…A LOT of Knotty but Potentially Very Beautiful Curly Hair

With a 3 and a half year old who has long curly locks and her younger sister looking like she will be following suit,  I have been searching for natural products that would make all of our lives  less painful at hair wash and comb time. The only way it ever happens currently is infrequently, with bribes of lollies, ice-cream and the iPad whilst she sits on my lap and lets out occasional grunts and screams.

The key things for me in such a product are:

  • Not too expensive
  • Free from too many nasty chemicals
  • Smells nice
  • Aids and improves the nightmare detangling process which can take up to an hour
  • Makes their hair look gorgeous

Not too much to ask is it?

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.

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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.

anna2

Rates:

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:

Facebook

Mobile: 0405585290

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