Monday 25 March 2013

Current ear worms

You know those songs that just get stuck in your head and you can't stop singing them?  And when the radio plays them you sing along with every word? Those songs where you've sung them so much, if you start a line, your partner can finish it? Well, here are my current top ear worms:

#1 Just Give Me A Reason - Pink featuring Nate Ruess
Love this song. Just love it. I'm still kicking myself that yet again, I missed tickets to see her show - she's an amazing person, artist and mother. And Nate? Well, I have loved all the songs he's released with Fun so far.

#2 Impossible - James Arthur
Mr Fork informs me that James is a contestant on some music talent show, which makes me like him a little less really.  This song though? Fabulous.

#3 Beneath Your Beautiful - Labrinth feat Emili Sande
Yes, the grammar/spelling in the title annoys me like you wouldn't believe. Hey, it works for them and gets people talking about it. The song itself used to bring me to tears, but that could probably be written off under hormones... yeah, let's go with that.

#4 I Could Be The One - Avicii, featuring Nicky Romero
I don't know. I'm not usually into dancey stuff, but something about it just gets stuck in my head and won't come out. Probably because it only has about 10 words and they're all very catchy.

#5 Candy - Robbie Williams
This song reminds me of summer. Or of when I was small and used to be a roller skater and during social skating sessions, they'd put on something boppy and happy sounding like this song. Also, Ellie loves to use her jolly jumper to music and this is one of her favourites. 

#6 Wish You Were Here - Delta Gordon
Ever since I saw her on 'The Voice' tv show, Delta has annoyed me. I love this song though.

#7 Small Bump - Ed Sheeran
I first heard this song while I was pregnant, and I had to listen to it a few times before the words sank in and I understood what he was singing about. And then I cried every time I heard it. I still get a little teary now, especially when I think back to how I felt carrying my tiny human around inside of me. I think that's something that makes a song great though - the ability to make people think and feel when they hear it. 
And, finally to my shame,

#8 Little Things - One Direction
I don't know what to say. Except that I'm a sucker for a boy band and an even bigger sucker for a good love song. Shush.

Needless to say, poor Ellie is being serenaded with quite a few of these at the moment, mainly because I know all the words and can croon them at will. I shudder a little to think that these will be the songs my daughter associates with me when she's older but I'm unable unwilling to change them.

Do you have any songs you can't get our of your head? Any songs you know all the words to? I'd love to know what they are and why - share your current ear worms with me in the comments!

Saturday 23 March 2013

Things that make me go ahhh

As a mother, I've learnt to take my 'me' moments where I can get them.  Often they are snatched when Ellie is sleeping, and it's hard to tell how long that might be for.  It could be 10 minutes or it could be a couple of hours.  

It's a tough gig, motherhood.  Movies I watched growing up showed Stepford mothers in aprons whipping up a daily roast, having time to garden, bake nutritious home made snacks, wash, fold, iron and still have time to socialise and have a coffee.  Lies, I say. Or maybe I'm just doing it wrong. For a large percentage of the day, I have a small human attached to me. She is completely dependent on me to anticipate and respond to her needs. I can't really have any 'off' time when it's just me at home and I've never been able to nap when she naps. When she was very small, Mr Fork used to bring Ellie into bed with us. He would fall asleep instantly, but I would lie awake twitching at every small snuffle and sigh she would make in her sleep. It was a huge relief when he stopped doing that and let her sleep in her cot in her own room.

I digress. As I was saying, it's important to me to be able to grab some downtime when I can. At the moment, food is really helping me in those moments. Breastfeeding really takes it out of you, and it's tough to eat when Ellie constantly wants to grab what I'm having or gaze adoringly into my eyes when all I want to do is finish the page I'm reading and relax.

Here are things that are making me go 'ahhhhh' when I get a moment to myself:

  • Chai tea mix. I used to spend a fortune on chai lattes when I was working. Now I can have a cup when I feel like it in my own home. Win! Next step, learn to make the mix myself

  • MaltEaster bunnies. Need I say more really?

  • Candles. I love them and this vanilla bean scented one reminds me of many good things such as cookies and baking and summer moisturisers

  • Cupcakes. Even better if they're homemade and vegan. These are sexy low fat vanilla cupcakes from the 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World' book. They are amazing. Just saying!

  • Marie Claire magazine. I was gifted a subscription while pregnant and it's been a great gift. Unlike a book where I can get lost for hours, magazine articles are short(er) and easier to read in a sitting so I can pick it up and put it down. Even better that this magazine is not just full of celebrity gossip (don't get me wrong, I do enjoy that!), but articles where I feel my intelligence isn't constantly being insulted. Pre-baby, I used to tear through a magazine in less than a day, but now it takes me the whole month to get through in between doing other things. And it's delivered to my door. Perfect!

How do you spend your downtime and take a moment for yourself?

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Moogoo keeps the nappy rash in check

Recently the little miss has had the most awful nappy rash. As with her cold, she doesn't seem to know that something is amiss and doesn't show any reaction except for smiles and giggles. I suspect one of the main culprits is the horribly acidic urine associated with teething, so it'll pass eventually, but it sure looks painful!

As we're using modern cloth nappies, we have to be careful with the creams we put on as certain ingredients tend to coat the fibres of the inserts, making them less absorbent. Tip #1: if there is one quality you want in a nappy, absorbency is it, so don't mess with that!

Tip #2: If there is a place you want to use a good quality product, it's in the the nappy area! I make a habit that with every product I use on the little miss, I also test it on myself. Yes, this means that I've tried some pretty awful things (certain teething gels, panadol, and nappy creams, I'm looking at you) but I've also discovered some great products too.

Nappy free time is only practical some of the time, we definitely can't go out in public comfortably that way! I went through the contents of my baby sample collection to see what I had, and tested them one by one.  I even went to far as to use creams I knew I shouldn't be, having to add extra liners to the nappy so they wouldn't touch the material but nothing was clearing up this rash - if anything, it was getting worse.  In absolute desperation, I turned to my trusty MooGoo MSM soothing cream. I'd originally bought this to help soothe some itchy spots I had on the scalp, and hoped it would help with nappy rash too. The real bonus is that it doesn't have any zinc in it, which is something that most nappy rash creams contain and a big no no for the modern cloth nappies.

Verdict? Since using the MSM cream, the rash has noticeably improved and there was no need for more icky zinc creams and added nappy liners. The cream is soothing without being thick and gunky, and really does help keep nasty acidic teething rash at bay.  I've learnt that if a product is natural enough, it can be used on both mama and baby skin with fantastic results for both.

As a new mother, it's hard to find products that I trust, but when I find one that I like using and that helps my baby feel better too, I'm sold. Yay MooGoo, thank you for making a natural product good enough to eat and safe for baby's bottom!

Do you have any products you share with baby? Any baby products you've stolen for use yourself? I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Home made pillow covers and wet bags

Ellie uses the Ikea Antilop highchair and tray, with the matching Barnslig supporting cushion.  While I love that the chair and the tray themselves are all plastic and easy to clean, I find that the cushion tends to get coated with whatever she is eating.  She also has a tendency to chew on it as well, which doesn't bode well for the cushion's life span.

Antilop highchair with Barnslig cushion - naked 
As with all Ikea products, the cushion really just performs the basic task of a cushion. It doesn't have any fancy bells or whistles, so there isn't a case that I can take off and wash when required. What better reason to set up my sewing machine and take a trip to Spotlight?

Turns out, Spotlight had a whole bunch of fabrics on clearance, so I walked out of there with a bevy of goodies!  The top three fabrics are 100% wool felt, marked down to $4 a metre. The bottom fabric is a plain cotton but the little blue mice couldn't be resisted, especially at $3 a metre! I also picked up a couple of zips which were going for $0.50 each, because who doesn't need zips sometime?

Spotlight haul
The felt was very quickly turned into simple pillow cases. I know that felt is most often used for craft projects but for what I wanted it for, it was perfect. No fraying and a nice, warm cushy fabric to sit against. There are no buttons or zips to complicate things, although I did make it so the pillow can be tucked in at one end to neaten things up.  I also sewed some loops in so that the highchair seatbelt could hold the cushion in place with the cover on. Including cutting and pinning time, the cases probably took about 15 minutes each at the most.

While I was on a roll, I used one of the zips to sew another wet bag with some PUL waterproof fabric that I already had. These bags are super handy - we mainly use them to store dirty nappies in while we're out as they hold in smells and wetness, but they're also great for when we're swimming, as all the wet clothes get put in to be dealt with later.  This took me a little longer as I'm not the best seamstress, especially with slippery fabric and zips to deal with, but probably only 35 minutes all up.

Cushion covers and PUL wet bag
So, all in all, with very little work, I have three unique home made items which make my life easier and add a little colour into Ellie's day.  
Antilop highchair with Barnslig cushion - covered
Have you made anything crafty lately? How do you add colour into your day?

Monday 11 March 2013

It doesn't rain, it pours

Awhile back I wrote that I was having trouble finding a child care place for Ellie.

Today I was offered two places, neither at the centre of my choice.  I called the one I did want, and asked where I was on the waiting list, letting them know I'd been offered places elsewhere.  What do you know, they found me a space, starting mid next month.  So I went from zero places to three in one day. Wow.

Next month.  I know I planned to go back to work around then, but you guys, that's NEXT MONTH.  As in, I only have a month left to be a SAHM and then I'm back to work (jiggety jig). I'm feeling scared, sad, excited and above all, guilty as hell.  Ellie is so small to be putting into care, but I really feel like I need something more to keep me occupied.  Don't get me wrong, I love being a mother, but for me, I also like to use my skills and interact out in the workforce.  Besides, I feel bad spending money on things when I'm not contributing to the household and I know that I don't have the slush fund that I used to for frivolous purchases.

Although, to segue way slightly, a girl needs a little frivolity every now and then so to prove it I got these:

and also these, both en route to my hot little feet from Funkis.

Ahem, back on track, mummy guilt is the worst.  If I stay at home then I feel guilty when I'm bored or not spending enough time helping Ellie to develop with tummy time, reading to her or paying her constant attention.  If I go to work I feel guilty for letting someone else help raise my child. I keep telling myself at the end of the day, my daughter is loved and I'm being a positive role model in showing her that women can have successful careers too.  As well as saving my sanity and keeping my job skills current.  She won't remember whether I fed her with a breast or a bottle, she won't remember if she was in cloth nappies or disposable and she won't remember that I didn't spend every moment of the day with her.  What I hope she will remember is that I was a confident and intelligent woman, that I had a life outside of the house, that when she needs me I'll always make the time and that I love her so very much.

I've got one month left before back to the (part time) workforce.  I plan to enjoy every minute of it, and I'm sure I'll be asking for coping tips when the time comes.

Have you ever had a case of parental guilt?  How do you cope when it happens?

Friday 8 March 2013

Chia pudding

A Wray Organic store recently opened close to me. Previously when I needed to get 'weird' ingredients like besan flour, amaranth or quinoa, or buy in bulk I had to make a trek to Mrs Flannery's.  Which isn't really all that far if I'm being honest, but having a healthy organic store within walking distance is a real treat for me.

I sometimes meet some of the girls from my mother's group there for a coffee date, and nine times out of ten, I'll go for a little browse around the store as well.  Last time I was there I picked up some chia seeds, cacao nibs (not cocoa!) and a couple of other goodies.

Chia is one of those great foods that's recently become super popular, and is therefore many times the price that it was when all people knew it for was making chia pets.

Chia Hello Kitty
Chia is actually a really great food.  It:

  • is rich in Omegas 3 and 6 which is great since I don't eat fish
  • is high in calcium, protein, fibre, iron and magnesium
  • digests easily and converts to energy quickly
  • absorbs over 9 times its volume in liquid, so a small amount goes a long way and helps keep you full for longer

One of my favourite ways to use chia is to make chia pudding. These little seeds go gooey when added to liquid, making a sort of gelatinous tapioca texture. As they have no taste themselves, they take on the flavour of whatever is added to them so the possibilities are endless really.  It's almost anti-climatic to call this a recipe, it's so easy.

Basic Chia Pudding
1 1/2 cups milk of your choice (I like soy, almond or for extra decadence, coconut)
1/4 cup chia seeds
vanilla essence (real vanilla bean if you feel fancy)

That's it.  Add the ingredients to a jar, and stir (or, if you trust the lid of your jar, just shake it up a little).   Make sure the chia doesn't clump. I put the mixture into the fridge to set and allow the seeds to swell for a good hour or so.  Although I'm lazy and usually just leave it in overnight.

Viola! Consume as is, or add toppings and flavouring of your choice.  Mr Fork thinks it looks like tiny eyeballs, so on the odd occasion he wants some, I add cocoa powder and extra sweetener to make it chocolate flavoured for him.


  • I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but if you want to sweeten it, maple syrup or blended dates work nicely
  • Delicious toppings include one or multiple of the following: coconut, cacao nibs, fresh berries, dried cranberries, nuts, cocoa powder
  • An interesting flavour twist is to infuse the milk with chai before adding the seeds. Yum!
  • This makes a lot of pudding, so if you don't eat it all, you can top it up with more liquid and leave the seeds to plump up further
  • The pudding can keep in the fridge as long as you'd store the milk

What's your favourite go to pudding or snack?

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Wrapped, with love

I wrote awhile back about carrying Ellie in her Ergo carrier, and how I'd purchased a woven wrap so that I had a little more flexibility with the way I carried her around.

I'm not going to lie, Ellie is a clingy baby. She loves to be held and I love to hold her. When we're going for a quick trip somewhere, it's much easier for me to hold her than it is for me to get out the pram when I know she'll get bored and want to be held sometime anyway. An added benefit of carrying her is that she has a lot more interaction upright than she does lying down. There is research out there that babies who are carried (as opposed to pushed in prams) learn better, bond, feel more secure and develop better language and social skills as they are used to seeing the world at a 'big person' level.

So, let's get into details. I've already talked about the Ergo. The benefits of using a woven wrap are similar and many. Sure, a buckled carrier like an Ergo is super easy to throw on, but when I know I'll be carrying for a long period, I reach for my wrap.

Didymos Indio Porrinho (Brand, Weave, Colour/Pattern)

Wrapping Pros:

  • As it's just a length of material, it's very snuggly for me and Ellie and there are no stress points for possible failure. Different wrap materials have different qualities - mine is a linen/cotton blend which makes it supportive yet still soft and plenty of grip 
  • There is no one way to wrap; you can experiment with different carries until you find ones that suit both you and bub. The fabric wraps around wearer and baby so you get a custom fit, every time
  • It's easy to alter the way the wrap sits, so there are no digging bits or any uncomfortable places as they're so mouldable
  • Because they aren't sized, you can get a great fit with any baby, from a brand new squishy, to a toddler. I didn't start using the wrap until Ellie was a few months old, but if we have another baby, I won't hesitate to wrap from newborn
  • The wraps themselves have a pretty good resale value. In fact, I think it's better to buy them second hand as someone has already put all the work into breaking them in and making them as squishy and soft as possible
  • It's not solely a carrier, but can also be used as a hammock, a rug, a sunshade etc
  • When you back carry, little baby breaths on the back of your neck are super adorable (baby snores are even cuter)

Wrapping Cons:

  • Wraps come in different sizes. The most suitable will depend on the carries you want to do and the size of the wearer. Some people like to have multiple wraps for different purposes so it could become expensive
  • Depending on the size of the wrap, the weave, and the carry, you may have a lot of material over and around you and bub. This can be hot in warmer climates and weather
  • There is a bit of a learning curve with a woven wrap - you can't just buckle it on and be good to go
  • It's a bit of a pain in the butt wrapping when out as the ends drag on the ground until I get it all wrapped. I also look a bit vain checking myself out in shop front glass, but I'm really just checking the wrap and position
  • There are many different carries which you can try. This may take some time to learn, and you need to build up your confidence, especially when trying back carries. Many people recommend practicing over a soft surface and with someone to help spot when you are learning
  • They're addictive - there are so many fabrics, weaves and colours out there that you may find your collection getting out of control!
So, how do you learn to wrap?  Well, there are many people who like to babywear, and the best way to learn would be if someone experienced with woven wraps can demonstrate in person.  If that's not possible, then as my friend, the 1337 mum says, YouTube is not just for cute kitties.  There is so much knowledge out there, and so many great videos demonstrating fabulous (and safe!) wrap techniques.

So the wrapping verdict? I love it! I love that I can go about my day and have Ellie close in a comfortable and practical way. I still have so much to learn and now that I've practiced more, I feel like I need a shorter wrap (mine is a 5 but the tails are so long I think I could comfortably go to a 4 and still do the carries I want).  Here's a photo of Ellie in a rucksack carry.  Just look at that cute little face peering out!

Rucksack, tied behind with super long tails

Do you baby wear?  What's your favourite way to bond with hub?


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