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Month: July 2014

I’m no Martha Stewart, but…

I’m no Martha Stewart, but…

I’m no Martha Stewart, but I have to admit, I do love a bit of DIY crafting. It must be the Primary School Teacher in me. There is nothing more exciting than a glue gun, some patterned scissors and some Pinterest inspiration.

Recently, I’ve been decorating my kid’s new bedrooms. There have been so many gorgeous things I’ve bought, many from local businesses, but I have to say that there has been nothing better than making my own decorations and adding them to their walls. There is something about knowing that you have put your love into things for your kids. It may not turn out as wonderful as the photo you saw on Pinterest, but if you choose things that are simple enough, you can’t go wrong. It’s a lot cheaper too, and many businesses have DIY kits that help you to source the parts, but put them together yourself!

Some of my favourites have been…

The felt ball garland. As easy as pie, all you need is some felt balls, thick thread and a needle. I purchased these balls from Felt Foxes in packs of 50 for under $20! This one was made by myself, and Ella helped me choose the colours.

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Another garland, this time in classic black. Perfect for a little boy’s room. Sorry no, Hudson didn’t lend a hand with this one!

 

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This one was made by my dear friend Janine. A name canvas. A beautiful way to welcome people to your room.

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Whilst I didn’t actually make these letters, this OMM Design banner allows you to create your own magic, words of wisdom and inspiration! I reviewed this product last week and you can read it here.

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A simple Tea Towel in an Ikea Frame!

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And probably my favourite would have to be these button hearts. I saw them on Pinterest when Ella is born, and headed to spotlight for supplies to put them together. They took a while (I’m talking months), but when I had time I made them bit by bit, and I think they look beautiful in her new room.

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So whether it’s a large project or a small one, there is nothing nicer and more satisfying than creating something for your own children, and seeing it on their walls. It may not stay there forever, but whilst they love it, I will too.

kate

Friday Find: OMM Design DIY Banner

Friday Find: OMM Design DIY Banner

9814749-origpic-e42d11-320x320Those of you who follow Happy Ella After on Instagram will know that recently I’ve been going a little crazy decorating Hudson’s ‘Super Hero’ Themed Room. There have been so many super cool things I have found, many of which are very reasonably priced. One item in particular is the OMM Design DIY Banner. An old fashioned letter banner pack, containing 122 characters, metal joiners and strings. 

It can be used for any occasion, from birthdays, to graduations, however hanging it on the wall of your child’s bedroom is, I feel the most beautiful use. You can change the banner however and whenever you like. I have decided to go with a super hero theme and have hung the banner in two places…

To Infinity & Beyond
To Infinity & Beyond
The First Avenger
The First Avenger

Characters and Symbols include:

AAAAA BBB CC DDD EEEEEEE FF GGG HHH IIII JJ KK LLLL MMMM NNNN OOOO PPP QQ RRRR SSSSS TTTT UUU VV WW X YY Z ÅÅ ÄÄ ÖÖ ÆÆ ØØ Ë Ï Ü ßß Œ Ç Ñ & ! ? ‘ ‘

♦︎ ♥︎ ★ ♠︎

They are currently sold out in lots of places, but you can try to purchase or pre-order them from Leo & Bella  or Lark Store. They retail for approx $18.95.
To follow more design ideas and inspiration, follow me on Instagram here.
kate
Should I stop breast feeding my baby?

Should I stop breast feeding my baby?

photoI need to start this post by saying that I am not in any way, a medical expert, nor am I writing this to bestow advice. I’m writing this post because I am a Mum with a problem, and I want to find the solution. I actually know the answer, but I feel that writing about my fears, concerns and hopes will help me to come to a better resolution. I find that the advice of my readers often helps me to put problems in perspective, and this is what I’m hoping to get out of this post.

My husband and I were talking last night about whether or not I should continue to breast feed Hudson. Medical experts and most Mums would agree, that if you can breast feed, it is best for your baby. Each Mum is different however and should feel supported with what ever means of feeding they choose for the health of their baby. I have been lucky with both of my children, that I have found breast feeding relatively smooth and easy. Sure, I’ve suffered from sore, cracked nipples, engorgement and painful lumps and blocked ducts, but I have never suffered through Mastitis, or the pain that comes from not being able to breast feed. The problem here, does not lie with me. It lies with my son.

Hudson has, in his short life so far, suffered from shocking colic. In the day he is currently coping ok, but at night never seems to settle after 2am. Nearly three months in, we are almost at our whits end, and are desperate for an answer. We have tried everything….Reflux medication, Dairy free, raising the crib, Infacol, Infants Friend, Gripe water..the list goes on. What does seem to help him is the one bottle of breast milk we give him before ‘bed time’. He sleeps from approx 9pm – 2am fairly soundly. This bottle contains a thickener in it, however I believe in my heart that it is the bottle, not the thickened that is helping him.

The reason I believe this, is Hudson has become increasingly fussy whilst breast feeding. He is on and off, thrashing around and I’m constantly confused as to how much milk he has taken in.  I guess I am feeling confused as to what is best for him right now, Is he taking in too much air whilst feeding, and thus suffers shocking gas pain? He certainly takes the milk from the bottle very well, and is settled afterwards.

However in my heart, I do not want to give up breast feeding yet. I feel he is still too little. I would express after each bottle feed, however given the fact that I have a toddler this is not practical. I don’t want to dry up. I breast fed Ella until 8 months, when I went back to work and naturally dried up. It would break my heart if this happened at such an early stage. Bottle feeding also has its draw backs. Night feeding with bottles is time consuming. He also hates the car, and if he ends up screaming, it’s not like I can easily get a bottle ready.

I want to do what is best for him, and I know that breast milk is best if I can. The problem is, he is getting such little sleep in the night, and so are we, that it is starting to take it’s toll. I feel for my Husband who has to get up and go to work every day. We are all doing ok, and have moments where his beautiful smile makes it all worthwhile. I just want him to be a little more comfortable, so that both he and we can all sleep a bit better.

Thoughts?

kate

Friday Find: Superhero Felt Mobile

Friday Find: Superhero Felt Mobile

Happy Ella After followers would know that my recent Superhero love is bordering on obsession. I have loved every second of finding super cool Super Hero themed decor for Hudson’s room. We are almost there, and just waiting on a few little touches to finish it off. I’m afraid however, that I won’t be able to stop. Yesterday I found, what is possibly the cutest item yet. A simply beautiful, hand made felt mobile, with superheroes of your choice. My problem (apart from the obvious) is that Daniel has now banned me from buying anything else for his room. Is there a God I can pray to, to bring this mobile to me (I mean Hudson)?

There are lots of different versions on Etsy, but this one is my favourite. It is made by Felt N Joy. At $106 Aus it is a little pricey, but one can only dream! Maybe I can have a go at making it myself? (cue laughter…)

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Your choice of heroes…
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Super coolness!

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How could I not get this???? Sooo adorable!

kate

*Images from Felt N Joy and linked to original source on Etsy.

A simple smile changes everything…

A simple smile changes everything…

The first few weeks of having a newborn can swing between blissful love and exhausting monotony. The song, ‘Eat, sleep, rave, repeat’ can be used to describe the routine that never ends, and I whilst we are not raving, we are certainly raving mad at times. You cuddle this little baby, kiss their forehead, change their nappy, burp their tummies, feed their apetite, rock them to sleep. You calm their cries, wipe their tears, sing them a song and shield their fears. You begin not knowing them at all, and after a few weeks, can tell the difference between their cries. When they are hungry, tired, in pain. It is all so different. And yet, for the first few weeks, it is hard to tell if they know you. If they know that you are their Mother or their Father. If they know that you would do anything to protect them or make them happy. The sleepless nights and the long days are spent together, and for weeks on end, they are there, looking around, in your arms. However it is not until that first glance, that first smile, that everything seems to fall into place.

A smile to speak a thousand words...
A smile to speak a thousand words…

With one little smile, your heart melts. With one little smile, your chest bursts and you actually feel your entire body light up. They know you. You make them happy. Happiness can be defined in seeing your child smile for the first time. You see muscles in their face that you hadn’t seen in the weeks before. You thought you knew them so well, and yet, with that first smile, you seem to meet them again for the first time. That little baby becomes a person who feels and knows what it is like to be happy. You make them happy.

It can be the moment that gives a parent the energy to keep going. The exhaustion seems to fade away, and it all seems worth it. You know that you have done something right. That little smile is the best feedback in the world. No words. Just a little signal that speaks volumes.

You are their Mum, and they know it.

Ten weeks and he smiled for the first time!
Ten weeks and he smiled for the first time!

Last week Hudson smiled for the first time. Given that he was four weeks prem, we have been told to add four weeks on to any expected milestone. The timing was spot on! It is funny that with this smile, he has seemed to turn the corner, and his colic seems to be settling somewhat. The connection that I have felt with him over the last few days has been wonderful. Seeing his sister see him smile has brought me such joy. Seeing his Dad besotted with love all over again.

Seeing your baby smile changes everything. If you are a new parent who feels tired, exhausted and a little overwhelmed…. hang in there. A simple smile changes everything, and makes you feel like the happiest person in the world.

kate

Friday Find: Love to Dream Swaddles

Friday Find: Love to Dream Swaddles

Sleep time with babies is hard. Some babies settle easily, whilst others require their parents to jump through a million hoops just to get them to shut their eyes. Swaddling is one of those techniques that seems to really help babies feel safe, comfortable and settled for sleep. Research says that swaddling helps babies sleep better, and soothe better. All new parents know that swaddling is an art form that some people find easy, whilst others never seem to be able to keep their little one’s hands inside, and wriggle out as they sleep. There are so many ways to wrap, it’s hard to know which one works. To make matters worse, some babies like to be swaddled, and some don’t. Some like their arms swaddled beside their bodies, and others like them to be up near their chest or around their face.

Hudson was both premature and suffered (suffers) from shocking colic. I’ve come to find out that babies like him, feel better when they have their arms across their chest to mimic nestling into their Mum or Dad’s chests. It makes sense, it brings them comfort from the pain that they are feeling. No one likes to have their arms by their side when they are in pain, and adults naturally curl into a ball on their side to find some relief.

Hudson in his Love to Swaddle Up sleep suit
Hudson in his Love to Swaddle Up sleep suit

So it came to great releif myself when I was reccomended to try the Love to Dream ‘Swaddle Up’ suit. Lucky for me, the company also sent me a sample to try, to see if my little man enjoyed it. There have been a number  of friends who have told me that their children loved sleeping in these suits and so I was excited to give them a test run and see how they would go.

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So after using the suit for approximately a month, I’m pleased to report that I think they are fantastic. The benefits include:

  • Hudson still has the wrapped, swaddled feeling whilst having a little more room to move his hands. He doesn’t need to fight the wrap as there is just enough give in the fabric to help them wriggle and squirm, whilst still feeling contained.
  • The zip. Oh the zip. Changing nappies in the middle of the night is a stressful process, especially if you have a toddler and you are trying to keep your baby quiet. Time is of the essence and the zip ensures that you get in and out quickly.
  • Furthermore, the double zip means that if you want to, you do not have to take the entire suit off. You can zip it from the bottom and change it quickly, whilst keeping the babies arms intact inside.
  • The zip has a cotton protector at the top ensuring that your baby is not irritated by the clip
  • They are easily washable
  • They are designed based on medical research, and the utmost care has been taken to ensure that there is sufficient room for your baby’s legs to move whilst they are sleeping. To read more about this, click here. 

ltd-web-banner-2-juneI also was given the chance to review their new Layer On Marino wool suit, designed to be worn over the ‘original’ suit. This woolen suit ensures that your baby remains warm all night without the need to use blankets to keep them warm. If you have your baby in a room that remains cold then this is a great option. The fabric is beautiful and feels lovely against your skin. It also has a diagonal zip across the body, meaning that your baby is not overwhelmed by multiple zips around their neck area.

The suits are available in a range of sizes and colours, so they can suit any one! There also a fabulous 50/50 range which allows your child to progressively transition out of the suit altogether by removing the arms one at a time.

Anything that helps your baby sleep (safely) is fantastic in my book. Anything that is reasonably priced and brings about some comfort for families, especially during the night, is wonderful. Whilst swaddling might not be for everyone, if it is for you and your baby, then this range is for you. It might not solve all of your sleep issues, but it may just help.

To find out more information about their range, you can visit their store online here.

*Stay tuned to Instagram on Monday for a fantastic giveaway. Thanks to Love to Dream, we are giving away an Original Love to Swaddle, in your choice of colour. Valued at $39.95! This giveaway will be run via Instagram, so follow @happyellaafter to make sure that you are in the running!

kate

 

Lost and (not) found

Lost and (not) found

I’m sitting down this morning to write, to de-stress and to just get it out. I haven’t sat down to write a blog post in a while. The result of sleep deprivation, being the Mum of two and just generally feeling like I am running around like a headless chook. I normally chip away at blog posts on my phone whilst breast feeding at 2am in the morning, but lately I have found myself dosing off at night, and trying to pay attention as he is quite fussy during feeds. Whilst I’m feeling ok emotionally about the whole Motherhood thing round two, for some reason over the last couple of weeks I have really started to feel the effects of the mayhem of Motherhood.

Namely, losing my memory. No one tells you that after you have a baby, you tend to be quite forgetful, and this never seems to come back. Those who know me, know that I tend to lose things. Wallet, sunglasses (think Bvlgari, Prada), keys, bags…you know, the things you need each and every day. However after having my second baby, this tendency has multiplied. I tend to pray to good old St Anthony more than a few times a week. I have the most incredible long term memory, and can recollect something that was said on the first day of prep by one of my life long friends. Ask me, however, to tell you where my hand bag is right now and I would struggle.

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It has started to really stress me out. So much so that I find myself looking back over my shoulder in the car, just to make sure that I haven’t left one of my kids at home. My husband jokingly told me last night that it doesn’t matter if I lose things, just don’t lose the kids. A joke, yes but the scary thing is I’m worried that I might one day!

It’s just so incredibly frustrating to have trouble with your short term memory. It’s often when I’m rushing out the door that the most basic of items causes me to spend half an hour searching for them. Just this weekend, I lost my wallet again. We were at Ikea of all places and I spent the afternoon phoning security and centre management, unpacking the car and wracking my brain to think of where it could be. After checking our bank accounts we noticed that no one had used the cards, so I gave it another day before I would cancel my cards. Needless to say that I found it the next day in Ella’s back pack. I had packed a bag for her (in my wisdom) and had put my wallet in there so that I wouldn’t have to take my whole bag. Last year I also lost my husband’s wallet at Ikea. Lucky for me, some good samaritan handed it in.

Keeping it real...feeling and seeing the effects of Motherhood!
Keeping it real…feeling and seeing the effects of Motherhood!

It’s really hard to keep repeating this process over and over. You end up spending so much time searching for it, only to remember a few days later that you put it in a  logical spot. I must be so incredibly hard to live with that I’m often stressed for my own Husband. My brain just feels s. incredibly full, all the time. It’s hard to actually stop and think about where I put things. To put my sunglasses back in their case. To put my car keys in my bag. I often feel like I’m losing it and know that I should just stop, take time to think and pay attention.

Like I said, I’m sitting down writing this this morning to help myself relax and calm down about it. My only solace is that apparently research has shown that the higher your IQ, the more forgetful you are.

By those odds, I must be a genius.

If you have any ideas to help me find or improve my memory, let me know. Maybe even say a little prayer to St Anthony for me.

kate

 

*Image from www.insidethebrain.com