My Vintage Childhood

My Vintage Childhood: January 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Family Tradition of Friday Night Movie Night.....

The school year finally started for the kids on Wednesday, but I'm already saying TGIF.

I love having the kids home on school holidays, even when the summer holidays start to get a bit long and weary towards the end of those six weeks. The last week to ten days has it's moments but I still love having them home and soon as school goes back I miss seeing them and all the extra cuddles, kisses and craziness.

So when holidays end and normal daily life and routines resume, I look forward to the end of the school and working week and for Friday to arrive, because it marks a special day in our family.

Every Friday night we have a family tradition we like to call:

It means once everyone is home from school, family day care and work it's our time to be together as a family without home work and mid week running around to do. The lounge room is made all cozy with blankets, doonas, pillows and cushions and an easy dinner is arranged for a picnic on the lounge room floor. Then it happens, the opening credits of a family friendly movie start to roll.

This family tradition of ours was born a little over two years ago when Cohen was asking his dad and I what kind of movies and shows we watched as kids. Of course we told him of all the childhood greats we enjoyed, which lead to him asking if he could watch any of the movies and shows we watched.

 It's wonderful bonding and sharing parts of our childhood with our children, the kids get to understand more about who their mum and dad are and what we were like as kids. It's beautiful to see them take an interest in the story lines and characters we have adored as kids and for them to fall in love with some of them too.

But Friday Night Movie Nights aren't all about us reliving our own childhoods we mix it up and the kids and us all take turns in choosing movies, so everything from new releases to old children's classics get a viewing here.

The most beautiful thing of all with our Friday Night Movie Night's is that it developed from a conversation about two years ago into a Friday night routine, and in time it became a family tradition. Every Friday night is the same and it's something that is important to every member in our family and is anticipated every week.

Sometimes we share our Friday Night Movie Night with others and if friends have been trying to plan a catch up, we invite them over for our relaxed Friday Night Movie Night with BYO pillow and snugly things. It's our thing, it's our family thing, it's what we do and for our friends children who have joined us on occasion, we are always told they enjoyed it so much and want to do it again. It's a beautiful thing to hear about our family tradition and that it's been enjoyed by others.

Family routines and traditions especially those that happen on a daily or weekly basis, help give a calm and consistency to home life that children and adults alike can find comfort in. Having sacred things that your family share reaffirms that family is important whilst affirming your bond and connection to one another. Children especially find great emotional security in being able to expect and rely on these moments.

Do you have a family tradition that brings you and your family/friends together each week. Maybe it is a regular Sunday lunch or a games night. Please share what you and or your family do, as I'd love to hear what brings others together. 

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Australia Day: Celebrating Vintage Australian Children's Literature.......

There are loads of ways to celebrate Australia Day and as you read this you quite possibly have plans to spend the day with some mates and family. Perhaps you're heading to the beach, having a BBQ, going for a bush walk watching the tennis or just enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful country in you own small or big way.

With the school year about to start for most Aussie kids tomorrow, some families will be enjoying low key celebrations at home with some great Australian kids movies or quieter pursuits. I can totally recommend two Australian family friendly movies we've watched in recent times Paper Planes and Oddball they are both fantastic movies my kids have watched many times over.

Keeping quieter pursuits and kids in mind I thought it would be wonderful to celebrate Australian Children's Literature and Authors, on this Australia Day.

I'm sure you will recognise some of these titles and authors from your own childhood or school days. I have some of these titles and authors, including some first editions in my personal collections and stock. I've also recently bought second hand copies of some some Australian Children's books I had as a child, to share and relive with my children.

How many of these titles and authors do you recognise or have read? Wouldn't it be a great shared goal to have with your kids this year to read as many Australian Children's Classics as possible?

The first eight titles that you see below will be very well known to many these eight titles are relatively easy to come by in a second hand and collectable book shops or op shops.

Seven Little Australians - Ethel Turner
The Magic Pudding - Norman Lindsay
Blinky Bill - Dorothy Wall
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie - May Gibbs
Bush Christmas - C.J Dennis
The Muddleheaded Wombat - Ruth Park
Waltzing Matilda - A.B (Banjo) Paterson
The Rainbow Serpent - Dick Roughsey

Other notable Australian children's authors and classics are:

Possum Creek and the Animals that Noah Forgot - A.B (Banjo) Paterson
Bottersnikes and Gumbles - S.A Wakefeild
The Story of Karrawingi the Emi - Leslie Rees
It Happened One Summer - Joan Phipson
All the Pride Tribesmen - Kylie Tennant
The Brown Land Was Green - Mavis Thorpe Clark
The First Walkabout - Norman B. Tindale and H.A Lindsay
A Little Bush Maid - Mary Grant Bruce
The Spirit Wind - Max Fatchen
The Sun on the Stubble - Colin Thiele
By the Sandhills of Yamboorah - Reginald Ottley
Children of the Desert - Phyl and Noel Wallace
Longtime Passing - Hesba Brinsmead
Whalers of the Midnight Sun - Alan Villiers

Ivan Southall, with:
  • Ash Road - The Children's Book Council of Australia - Book of the Year 1966
  • Hills End 
Patricia Wrightson, with:
  • The Crooked Snake 
  • The Nargun and the Stars 
  • The Bunyip Hole 
Nan Chauncy, with:
  • Tiger in the Bush - Nan Chauncy 
  • Tangra - Nan Chauncy
Do any of theses titles bring back childhood memories of reading escapes to other places?

I've been lounging around in quiet moments over the last few days reading Ash Road by Ivan Southall (pictured and listed above) which is a first edition second print, I recently picked up at my favourite collectable book store haunt here on the Gold Coast. So that will be my Australia Day today with a bit of reading, a bit of sunshine in the yard with the kids, some vegemite sandwiches, some Aussie tunes and a relaxed day before school goes back tomorrow.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Find Your School Mum Tribe.....

With the school year about to start next week, I have noticed that there is talk and worry in various online groups and social media circles with mums of children starting school for the first time. Their worries aren't just extended to their children having a successful start to school, but they are also concerned about themselves, and navigating what some perceive as the "school yard mummy scene".

It possibly doesn't help when there is on line and social media sharing and publishing of styling tips for "school mums" with suggestions that you want to look like you made an effort but not too much of an effort. What's wrong with too much effort, I ask? There is quite a bit of nervous conversation around (like there is every year) about school mums making new friends with their children's friends and concern about cliques, attitudes, opinions and parenting styles.

So if you're concerned about this new phase in your mummy life I want to share a few things with you and encourage you to leave your worries at home before you head out the door to take your special little person to their first day of school.

First up these schooling years are long and if we just think of primary school for now, you've got a good seven years ahead of you with mostly the some kids and families you will be seeing day in day out, week after week of the school year until you start thinking about high schools.

Seven years is a long time, so be open to forming friendships with other school mums, you'll need them believe me! You will need other mummy friends when the chips are down and you're too sick to get out of bed and your partner has gone to work and the kids have to get to school. These will be the angels that will swoop in save the day, manage the kids for you and drop you off an easy dinner for that night so you can recoup as quickly as possible.

Don't worry although it may seem daunting believe me you will find your tribe of mummy friends that you fit and gel with and you might be surprised how diverse you all are. Of course certain personalities will be attracted to one another, both good and bad, but that's life and just one of those things so don't waste your time with questioning it. These days everyone seems to have an opinion, which I have felt the public confrontation of, but at the end of the day someones opinion of me is none of my business and it's a clear indicator to me that it is not someone I would want in my mummy tribe.

Please don't hide who you are, the passions you have, down play your style or fashion tastes or your parenting styles to make others feel comfortable or to be accepted. Be true to yourself and attract those to you that genuinely have an interest in who you are as a person, this will be the foundation of forming friendships of trust and understanding.

Since Cohen started prep three years ago now I have ended up with an awesome tribe of mummy friends and we are an incredibly diverse group of women. Within our group we have varied ages, religions, relationships, home lives and family structures, some of us have one child, some of us have two or more and some of us have children with additional needs. The list goes on, but boy oh boy are they an awesome bunch of women to have in a tribe and we all have genuine care and concern for each other and each others children.

Just remember aside from your family that you wake up seeing every day, your school mummy friends are the next group of people you will see the most of with the exception of workmates if you are also a working mum (and if you are a working mum, power to you and that juggle you're a rock star in my books). It'll be one of the women in your tribe who you will need to call on when you just can't make it that school event, assembly, carnival because you're working or bed ridden with the flu. It will be one of your tribeswomen who will be sure to take photos and clap and encourage your child in your absence and send you a text message and photos to show you that everything is okay.

Next week when school goes back and on that first afternoon you go into school to collect your child from their first day you'll find yourself standing outside the classroom. Take a breath and have a look around there will be a lot of people looking nervous and shy about this new journey and where it will take them. So smile, be brave, be you and remember there's little people watching, they're always watching and you're the greatest example of being open, accepting and understanding of other people despite differences.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Old School Lunch Memories Don't Let Your Kids Suffer....

With approximately two weeks before the school year starts for most Aussie kids, there is a lot of action on the interwebs with people sharing wonderful and healthy school lunches for kids.

I'm not a foodie or nutrition blogger so I'll leave that up to others. But when you start to think about school lunches, isn't your mind always cast back to your own school days?

Talk to any grown adult these days born from the 1980's or earlier and you can almost see them shudder at the memory of their school lunches that were packed off to school with five days a week. Then there are also just as many people who highlight some of the favourite lunches from their school yard days as well.

I put the call out some time ago to my friends and asked them to throw some of their school lunch memories and stories with me.
  • A personal favourite of my husbands and many others it would seem is the good old Strasburg or Devon and tomato sauce sandwiches. Personally I this makes me feel a bit ick.
  • Peanut butter sandwiches, which is a big no, no these days in most schools with so many concerns about allergic reactions.
  • What about some other favourite and loathed sandwich fillings like baked beans and cheese, squished banana, leftovers, tomato and cheese, Vegemite, Devilled Ham Paste......have you got a favourite out of those mentions? Perhaps you're feeling a bit squeamish?
  • Twenty cent icy poles at the tuck shop, it was a cheap chilly thrill as a kid and we loved it, am I right?
  • Who else got a frozen popper/juice box or frozen drink bottle with tea towel wrapped around and held in place with a rubber band......I did!
One old friend of mine recounted this school yard drink bottle story:

"In primary school, my mum once made my cordial with dish washing liquid instead of cordial!! They were both stored in the same cupboard at home and both yellow. I remember running out to the playground and having a huge drink because I was so thirsty."

Is it any wonder we survived as kids with no such thing as insulated lunch boxes and bags with ice bricks to stop our cold meat sandwiches from turning to a food bio-hazard sweating it out in school bags in the hot sun of the bag racks.

Some of us didn't even have lunch boxes and pails and lunch was in a brown paper bag, if your sandwich got beaten around and squished beyond recognition, too bad if you didn't want to starve all day you ate it.

Some of us had friends though, with amazing lunches who we traded with because all they wanted was a normal lunch like everyone else.

These days our kids go to school with insulated lunch bags, bento boxes and myriad of different lunch options that change things up from the monotony of sandwiches every day. Now that I've sufficiently helped you recall some of your worst and best school lunch memories from your childhood, if you'd like to not have your child endure living out some of these lunch horror memories, I've rallied a little help for you.

Here is a list of some Australian Blogging friends that I called out to to share some of their best back to school lunch inspirations and suggestions. I'm feeling hungry having just checked out these healthy and nutritious ideas, which is just as well because we all know we function better when our bodies and our children's bodies are fueled with good food.
  • Stacey at Veggie Mama has got some divine sweet and savoury options.
  • Kylie at Kidgredients has a whole site dedicated to feeding our kids yummy food.
  • Lee at Healthy Natural Changes has an awesome post with lunch box ideas, including paleo suggestion and store bought snacks and options that aren't junk.
  • Eloise Emmett is a qualified chef, experience food stylist and mum to three children and has also written The Real Food for Kids Cookbook, so you know she's going to have some great advice. 
  • Over at Mumma Hack there is loads of great ideas and tips on being organised with healthy options for the whole week. 
  • Mandy over at My Lovely Little Nest can help you with those creative looking lunch box ideas which can be incredibly handy for fussy eaters who might need a bit of wooing.
  • Finally if you're needing some advice or reviews on which lunch box to buy, to hold all these yummy offerings from these awesome mums Oh So Busy Mum can help.
I hope these awesome Aussie mums have helped squish some of those school lunch box memories of your own, that I may have forced you to relive.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to Earn Store Credit for Used Books.....

I think it's fair to say that most book lovers and avid readers have certain books on their shelves that they will just never part with. But in turn always have loads of books that are good reads that aren't necessarily keepers and as a result are often held on to, because they can't bare the thought of seeing books being wasted or destroyed.

Of course you can always donate books to op shops but I've certainly seen over the years that some op shops are reluctant to take too many books on in one hit, and I've even been told by some volunteers over the years (in hush tones), about the amount of books that get thrown out.

However if you are a book lover or avid reader and are always on the hunt for another good read, why not consider checking your local directories for specific second hand, rare, antique and collectible book shops. Many major cities have them, but they're not often largely advertised and are somewhat of a sub-culture these days as people are keen to connect back to what they're reading through the turning of pages and not a swipe of finger on a tablet.

Most used book stores trade in everything from current/modern used books right through to rare, antique and collectible books. As a way of serving their customer base and inventory they usually have a credit system in place, where you can take in your used books which you can earn credit for in their store(s). Each shop and book store owner will have their own credit system in place for valuing and determining how much store credit you will receive and some books stores will even pay cash for very rare books, so make your enquires.

Great Ways to Utilise Used Book Store Credit
  • If you're an avid reader use the system to feed your passion, it'll be kinder to your budget than buying new and can be even cheaper than ebooks in some cases, depending on what you like to read.
  • Use store credit and shop employees knowledge (which is often vast) to help you track down those books that you've long heard about but have been struggling to come by for favourite store on the Gold Coast has close to half a millions books.
  • If you have collections or sets that are incomplete this is a great way to completing them. 
  • Put store credit towards purchasing your favourite book from your childhood if you no longer have it.
  • Use your store credit towards purchasing first editions of your favourite books or authors/illustrators....something I've done recently.

A few weeks ago I dropped a load of books into my favourite (and the Gold Coast's best) second hand, rare, antique and collectible book shop and earned myself a healthy store credit. With my love for vintage children's books I was thrilled to scan the shelves of this wonderful two story book store for some of my and our family favourite authors and illustrators. 

I gushed over early editions of Anne of Green Gables, Enid Blyton's and books illustrated by my favourite Lucie Mabel Attwell. I finally settled upon purchasing a UK 1970 1st Edition Dr. Seuss of I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! We are all big fans of Dr. Seuss here and his stories have helped Cohen have a greater desire to read, so it's a special one to have and add to our personal collection of keepers.

Get yourself some keepers or a good new reads and get those books you're happy to part with into your local second hand book shop and see if they have a store credit system you can take advantage of.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

24 Old School Ways to Feel Like a Kid Again.....

Do you remember that feeling when as a kid you would push your legs out and lock them back on the playground swings over and over again so you could go higher and higher. You'd get to the point where you'd reach the limit and the chains on the swing jerked and wobbled a bit.

In that moment at the peak of how high you could go, you felt on top of the world, the wind blowing in your face and you couldn't help but feel happy and free, like anything was possible, like leaping from the swing and landing on your feet like an Olympian.

These summer holidays I've been attempting to live out the fun with the kids, like I'm having a second childhood. I guarantee you that it's easy to turn a difficult day to a good one by taking your grown up self out and let yourself feel like a kid again.

So if you're feeling like you need to let loose and get in touch with your inner child, here is a list of 24 Old School Ways to Feel Like a Kid Again, give one, some or all of them a go. These suggestions are graurantteed to make you see another perspective to anything that is troubling you or help you free the mind into a more liberated creative space.
  1. Blow a bottle of bubbles until they run out, bonus points if you giggle and chase after bubbles to pop them.
  2. Draw with chalk on the concrete or sidewalk, stick figures are totally ok.
  3. Go the park and swing high on the swing, and if you're brave let go and jump it's freeing.
  4. Grab a colouring book, time with pencils will calm you and if you want to colour out of the lines in crazy colour combinations do it, let your heart lead you.
  5. Build a cubby house and hang out.
  6. Have a sleep over night with your child/children, bonus points if you indulge in a midnight feast.
  7. Play marbles.
  8. Play hand clapping games like when you were at school.
  9. Play hopscotch.
  10. Go to sleep listening to the radio
  11. Have a water balloon fight.
  12. Play hide and seek with your kids.
  13. Play elastics
  14. Grab a skipping rope and get skipping, bonus points if you can get others involved and you do a bit of double dutch action.
  15. Play in mud, jump in puddles and dance in the rain.
  16. Do a dive bomb into the swimming pool.
  17. What about some good old slip and slide fun.
  18. Take a bike ride around where you grew up.
  19. Read your favourite from when you were a kid.......I loved reading Anne Of Green Gables.
  20. Find an open grassy field and spin around and around until your dizzy.
  21. Find a grassy slope and roll on down like a big sausage. 
  22. Climb a tree and hang out there for a while watching the world go by.
  23. What do you see in the clouds? That one there looks like a dragon! Lay back and watch the clouds float on by and see what you can see.
  24. Have someone tuck you into bed like mum used to and read to you.
I bet you're feeling a little bit like a kid right now just reading that list and being reminded of some wonderful childhood memories. Let yourself free to feel like a kid again and feel the weight of worries lift by having a mental escape and a change of perspective. 

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Round Up: Jupiters Casino Rotary Antiques Fair 2016.......

I love starting each year off with the first thing on my "vintage events calendar" by attending the Jupiters Casino Rotary Antique Fair. This years fair was its 29th year, and it truly is the best antique and collectibles fair to grace the Gold Coast each year it's an outstanding event with quality pieces to wow. Here is a round up of last years fair.

There are stallholders who travel from interstate to be in attendance and selling at this fair and you are sure to see quality high end pieces right down to quality affordable collectibles.  I headed along to the fair on Saturday with Sarah and a good friend of mine.

It was the first time I've taken Sarah along to this fair since she was a baby, and now at nearly 5 years old she's developing an eye of vintage and quality things. It was lovely to see her ohhh and ahhh at all the pretty things, however what was not so lovely was the odd occasion her excitement over things was too close to thousand dollar items. But she really is very gentle and delicate (as she kept reminding me) just like any child gentle reminders are always good.

The fair was very enjoyable and there were lots of people out and about looking and buying. I only managed to snap a few photos inside the fair after having a stallholder tell me that I was not allowed to photograph his stall. Admittedly I had my big DSLR out trying to snap decent photos, so had I used my iPhone like I saw others there probably wouldn't have been an issue.

One of the pieces that really stole my heart this year (but with a price tag beyond my budget) was a Llardo Head Vase/Bowl similar to the one you see below. The one a the fair was nice and in person presents beautifully that I found myself unable to stop looking at her and thinking about her later. She certainly would have come home with me, if I had pockets lined of gold.

Image Credit Here

Even without pockets lined of gold I manage to buy myself a little something as did Sarah. I think my buy might surprise some of  you knowing how much of fan of the 1960's and 1970's I am. This lovely 1940's felt hat stole my heart once I tried it on. I have no practical use for it at present but for $20 I knew I wanted it and needed it after seeing it on myself. It's a great piece at an awesome price for a genuine 1940's hat in overall great condition.

Thankfully I have a friend who is a very talent hobbyist milliner who will be able to assist me with cleaning, streaming and reshaping should I have a troubles with it myself. Anyways I'll be looking for  a wonderful excuse to wear this beauty as soon as I can.

Sarah's ohhhh'ing and ahhhh'ing stopped us many times at the fair as she looked at pretty jewellery, miniature dolls, thimbles, tiny trinkets and collectibles. We popped in our dearest Kittys Vintage Kitsch said hello's and had cuddles and Celia gift Sarah a sweet rose brooch to matched the pretty dress she was wearing.

With money jingling in Sarah's tooled leather handbag she was keen to buy a little something so after looking around for some time what finally won her over was the jewellery. We had stopped at a stall that lots of stunning pieces but Sarah spotted a little display with lots of old silver charms. It was very cute and funny watching her take her time investigating them and even holding ones with gem stones up to light like a pro, she finally settled on a small vintage silver love hear locket with gem stone.

She endeared herself to the stall holder with her manners, charm and big vocabulary (which had us all laughing) that she scored herself a lovely discount on top of a reduction. We had such a lovely time all together and it was nice to have taken my friend out to enjoy it with us. I hope Sarah wants to continue coming to the fair each year with me, I'm thinking it could make a nice tradition to share and maybe each year I'll buy her a locket to add to her collection.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Handwritten Word: Bring Back the Pen.....

About a month ago I came across a blog post you may have seen written by Richard Branson titled Bring Back the Pen, which spoke of his shock about an article he read* of a study done by BIC stationary showing statistics that half of today's 13 to 19 year olds have never written a thank you letter. Branson's was further shocked that the study reported that one in ten 13 to 19 year olds don't own a pen.

Although we live in a technologically advancing time, I'm even astounded by these figures. How is it even possible we have got to this point?

The way we all connect and communicate has changed and is done at our fingertips on mobile devices and keyboards within moments. When I think about the statistics in the BIC Stationery's study, and I think about Richard Branson's thoughts in his blog post. I think about how quickly things have changed in the last 20 to 30 years.

I'm a child born in the late seventies and had a childhood through the eighties. I had pen pals that our school teachers arranged with other schools around the country. If we weren't writing to pen-pals, we would often write notes to friends in the evening after completing homework and exchange them on the bus or at school the next day. It was fun, we shared our lives and it connected us to people in a heartfelt way.

Heck I even remember my best friend I having a special encrypted code we wrote our letters in that I nicked from an old book I bought with my pocket money at the local second hand book shop. If friends went away over school holidays handwritten post cards and letter were sent, and if you had a birthday party you had to purchase an invitation pad and fill out the blank spaces by hand. If you got something handwritten it was exciting, you knew someone cared enough to take some time to write those words for you.

When it came to these times, everything had a more personal touch and you knew that if something was handwritten that the person writing to you, had to take time out and connect to what they were doing to reply via the hand written word.

I have always loved sending and receiving notes, cards and letters with the most precious being with my Nana. I have kept many of our written exchanges over the years. I have seen her handwriting change over time as she ages and it makes me think how in the world we live today where we respond to digital messages pinging and beeping off on all manner of devices, that it's so easy to become oblivious to the fragility of our words, our time and connections to people.

Some handwritten words and updated photos off to Nan and Gran this week.

The handwritten word carries the soul of someones life through pen to paper. The soul and form of the written word can show us so much beyond the words when we are often separated by oceans. We can see the maturing of a child's abilities, the wobbly written words of someone grappling with pain and loss, we can see the flurry of joy and anticipation of exciting times and new beginnings and we can see the shakiness of script in an aging hand all in the written word.

As we continue to move forward in this digital world, try as many might with advancements in communications there will simply never be anything else that can replace the SOUL of the handwritten word and connect us with something tangible with those we are connected to.

I agree with Richard Branson, bring back the pen, bring it into your home and your everyday and let people connect with your words and soul. Start small with a letter of love with your children perhaps and go big with time, it takes only mere moments more to grab a pen and note paper to write a few words of gratitude, share joy, send well wishes, offer sympathies. The handwritten word gives comfort to us because we know the hands of those we love have laid upon these tools of communication.

I pick up my pen today and let my words live and connect to those I love and care for in my physical absence and give them subtle traces to my soul upon the paper I write. I encourage you to pick up your pen today and to do the same and vouch to feel the written word flow out of your fingertips and to the eyes and heart of those you wish to connect to.

*For further reading Branson's words were in response to this Daily Mail article in the UK.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Thrifty & Spontaneous Holiday Day Tripping.....

Anytime that Ben is on annual leave is extra special especially when it's over the Christmas and New Year break because our whole family of five are together for a solid amount of time with no school or work schedules.

No schedules means that there are more opportunities for spontaneous adventures and day tripping. Like last Saturday when we had a leisurely morning at home having breakfast, watching movies, pottering and playing with Lego, when I randomly asked out loud what we were going to do with the rest of our day.

Suggestions were thrown around and a few standard suggestions were rejected, and then there was success, we agreed to head to an area of the Gold Coast that we have spent very little time investigating. Seems crazy for me to say that considering I am pretty much born and bred here. 

The area I'm speaking of is Beechmont. Now I don't know if you are familiar with the Gold Coast, but being a local we have spent a lot of time in the Gold Coast Hinterland and surrounding areas, mainly Mount Tamborine, Canungra and Springbrook. However the only time we have visited Beechmont was on an occasion Ben and I were working and were on mission to photograph a wedding (Ben used to photograph weddings and I'd assist him and more often then not the bride and bridesmaids as well with various wedding day dramas). So even though we've spent plenty of time enjoying our Gold Coast Hinterland, we haven't stopped to really enjoy Beechmont.

So our adventuring last Sunday was wonderful. How can it not be when you stop and take in views like you see above?  I would be utterly content to live in a place like this until my very last days. It's what my heart yearns for.....maybe one day it will be a reality.

We drove and took in scenery and stopped to watch paraglider and hang glider pilots take off and soar in the sky. We stopped and enjoyed icy poles and more scenery, saw farm animals and homes that looked like castles.

Whilst venturing back towards home we stopped at Hinze Dam for lunch and snacks, and walked a little. It turned out to be a beautiful unexpected day with the sights we came across and it didn't cost us anything other than a few dollars for some icy poles for the kids.

What I wore: Thrifted Denim Skirt & Sandals, Hat, Camisole: bought on clearance at Kmart with a gift card I was given.

We created memories and took time with each other and let the world go by around us. This is what holidays are all about, each other, our bonds and the moments.

Are you making memories and being spontaneous these holidays?

P.S: For the longest time Wednesday's on the blog have been a day that I have shared a style post for the week. I love sharing my style and various outfits, but I often want to share other things as well. So I'm making a slight change to Wednesday and they will now be what I'm calling "Life & Style" posts. It will allow me to share other life and style stories and elements that are of interest or things I have been pondering. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Boost Children's Creativity & Storytelling Skills with Story Stones....

One of the extra surprising joys of it be the summer school holidays and having the kids home, is that there is so much more time for arts and crafts. I get to do so many more projects myself as well, because the kids and I are able to work alongside each other on various things.

A few weeks before the end of the school year last year on you might have seen me share some story stones I was working on for the kids on Instagram if we're with each other there. I had been doing them in secret and had plans of gifting the kids a set each for Christmas, but I simply forgot about finishing them off among all the other pre-Christmas duties.

So instead I pulled them out after Christmas to share with the kids what I had been working on and from that we had an arty crafty morning, where they did their thing and I did mine creating more Story Stones.  If you're not sure what Story Stones are, they're a tool for boosting children's creativity, they can assist children in making up stories and developing characters and plots, they are also fantastic in supporting imaginative play as well.

My kids always love collecting things from nature when we take walks so they were thrilled with the story stones and when I let them at them they automatically started lining them up in various play scenes, which quickly developed into play story lines. It's so easy to see how that could lead to incidentally assisting them with written story creation and development to support them with their school work.

Knowing my kids would respond well to the story stones, months ago I also thought it would be fun to mix things up and I also did some "puzzle style" story stones. In most cases I used three stones for head, body and legs to make up various characters. Of course it's an open ended type of concept where the kids can swap and change them around to have characters appear in different ways. Sarah in particular was very intrigued with creating different people and characters.

It's so much fun having the chance to work on more of these alongside the kids and to be getting suggestions and feedback from them. Not to mention allowing me time to get back in touch with my artistic side. I'm always drawn to arts and crafts where something can be achieved in a small amount of time.

The great thing about the Story and Puzzle Stones is that it is such an inexpensive art and craft idea. All you need are smooth stones (thankfully we have countless stones around our home), acrylic paints and a permanent marker and you're good to go. Drawings can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, so there is no need to worry that you aren't a arty or crafty type.

If you like the idea and would like to try it yourself but are having arty and crafty self doubt. Just remember, in the eyes of your kids you're awesome at everything you do for them, they will think your drawings/painting are excellent. You've got nothing to lose as this is such a thrifty idea that you can add to on a regular basis.

Oh and one last thing if you really want to, you can seal your stones once you have painted them with a clear vanish, otherwise it's up to you.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Old Fashion Family Game Night on Trivia Day....

When I was growing up and birthdays and Christmas came around there was always an inclusion of games that could be played with family and friends. We had all sorts of games from Mastermind, Monopoly, Twister, Boggle, Scrabbled, Battleships, Chess and countless more not to mention things like pick up sticks and marbles.

There were always games to play that were educational and challenged the mind and called on your trivia knowledge and even when Ben and I met and started dating twenty years ago my in-laws frequently had Trivial Pursuit nights with friends which we were often invited to join. So games of all sorts have always been a thing for me, and our shelves here at home are filled with all manner of games, new and old for the kids to enjoy and us as a family.

Speaking of games did you know that today is Trivia Day?

It's thought that Trivia Day came about from the worldwide phenomenon that was created when in 1979 Trivial Pursuit was created in Canada by to men named Chris Haney and Scott Abbott who were frustrated with the issue of missing Scrabble tiles when they played, as a result they set about creating their own game and the rest as they say is history.

What better excuse or reminder on Trivia Day, to get out some of your old board games or track down some oldies but goodies and have some family bonding time over some trivia or board games. You might find you have so much fun that you'll have a family tradition of a regular trivia or game night on the calendar.

Do you have games you like to play as a family?

To whet your appetite for some trivia games here are some fun old trivia games on Pinterest I have pinned. Being a huge M.A.S.H fan I seriously think I need to track down the games.

As an added bonus today, here are some fun vintage themed trivia questions you might like to give a go. Can you answer them without peeking?

Answers are at the very end of this post in small text.

  1. What are the names of the four Sweatbogs in Welcome Back Kotter?
  2. In M.A.S.H what was Radar O'Reilly's real first name?
  3. In the Brady Bunch what Mr Brady's profession?
  4. Can you order from eldest to youngest the names of all six children from the Brady Bunch?
No cheating!

Answers: 1. Vinnie Barbarino, Freddie Washington, Arnold Horshack, Juan Epstein  2. Walter  3. Architect  4. Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, Cindy.

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Letters of Love and Family Traditions....

Do you and your family have special traditions that you share?

We do and the great thing I love about family traditions is, that they can be big or small and can be regular or random daily, weekly, monthly, once a year or even a once and while thing. The other great thing with family traditions are, there are no rules when it comes to them because they are as unique as each family is.

Family traditions often come from family routine and serve to connect family members to one another. These connections give us comfort and security as well as a place and time we can check in at and be assured about our place in the world and in our family; we confirm our meaning to others and them to us.

We have quite a few traditions in our family of five from how things are said and done with bedtime routines to our standing family night each week known as Friday Night Movie Night (which I will be sharing more of on the blog). Then there are other traditions which are a little more random that have come about, but serve to connect us to each other and hold a great deal of meaning for all of us.

Over the years as the kids have learnt to draw and write it has become quite a thing for us to all make a point of drawing little pictures or penning a little love note for each other. At times when the kids have had trying times they have asked for notes to be slipped under their pillows at night as a confirmation. At other times little notes have served to assist Cohen with transitioning challenges he has juggled with Autism. Either way we always oblige with letter requests.

For happy times and challenging times our little tradition of letters is called upon and the notes that are shared and exchanged hold a lot of meaning to the kids (and us), who we have found stockpiling little piles of notes in special places in their rooms, where we have caught them reading them in their quiet moments.

This tradition is something we hope to continue with the kids and I hope as the children grow up that the letters are preserved as a special memento of our family life and connection. That's why when I saw an Iconic Red Post Box before Christmas in a free local parenting magazine I went searching online for stockists and came by Confetti Kids which I was surprised to discover is a Gold Coast business. With that I very quickly placed a pre-order for one and held out until until Christmas Day to see the kids unwrap it.

Come Christmas Day I was busting for the kids to open this present more than any other. Letters and sweet notes and imaginative play have been happening every day since this addition to our home, which is not just a "toy" but a piece for our home that is on display for our family to use in both play and the connection and strengthening of our bonds through the written word (and drawing of course).

I surprised the kids with a special note to each of them on New Years Day and placed it in the post box to be discovered. When Sarah finally checked the post box randomly through New Years Day she came by the notes and ran through the house squealing to Cohen with excitement. The kids where so excited with their New Years Day letter and we were later treated to a sweet note in return from Cohen.

I just love how we have this additional way that we connect in our family especially in a time where so much communication is done via social media and technology. Although our children are still young and not connected on any social media and won't be for many years yet, I hope we continue to be connected and bonded together in the sharing of feelings and love in the written word as they grow older.

Do you have special family traditions that bond you to each other?

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Improve Productivity &Throw Your To-Do List Out the Window & Try a What I Did Do List......

Coming into October of last year I was feeling frustrated with myself and what I wasn't achieving regarding working on My Vintage Childhood and other projects. Somewhere in the mix of the everyday, taking care of the kids and the various things that involves, appointments and more I lost control over things. My to do lists where long and depressing!

I have had a love hate relationship with to do lists over the years, where I've often get caught up and dragged down with the lengthy list of things that need attention. When juggling time to fit everything in, at different times depressed with "to do" lists I'd question how I would be able to do everything and maintain motivation to do so.

But not being someone who likes to sit in frustration for long I tried to take a look at our life and routines and regain some control of my time to work and create. Then I had a brainwave, if I find "to do" lists a drag why not throw the idea out the window and find another answer, and that I did.

So my endless "to do" list was thrown out the window and I set about documenting "what I did do" each day. I grabbed myself a notebook wrote the date for each day and created a title for each day that said:

What I did do.....

Each day I listed all the things I did big or small that contributed to my overall plans and goals. From answering emails, packing parcels, going to the post office, writing blog posts, research, edited photos and more, I surprised myself with how much I am actually doing everyday and how different everyday is too. 

What I found from taking the focus of my negative hang up about "to do" lists and focusing positively on "what I did do" each day, wonderful things started to happen. By freeing myself of my hang up with "to do" lists, I quickly found I was achieving more then I have previously. My "what I did do" list made me happy and along with that came even more creativity and ideas, which was an incredibly exciting bonus after feeling lost with my plans and goals for a while.

Through documenting what I was achieving each day in my notebook and the new surge of creativity and brainstorming arriving, I penned new ideas on the bottom of each page as they arrived each day. The simple act of documenting everything allowed for more flood gates to open and before I knew it within two weeks well over 150 blog post ideas and projects were brainstormed, new business concepts and ideas to try came to me and more, and it continues to happen every day.

I wanted to share this experience with you all as there is no doubt there are others who would feel bogged down by "to lists" and find them a drag and depressing like I do......I can't be the only one. If you're anything like me, with a "to do" list hate, you desperately want to achieve the things on that list but you want to be inspired to do so in a positive way with great results.

It's been three months since having my brainwave to keep a "What I did do" list and I have found it such an inspiring process for me personally and professionally. I will be continuing with my focus on a "what I did do" notebook in 2016 and beyond and hope it is something I can assist others with this year if they are finding motivation and inspiration hard.

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