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Month: May 2015

Kids & Carpets : Can they co-exist?

Kids & Carpets : Can they co-exist?

A sponsored post from Stain Master

I am smack bang in the thick of dirty carpets right now. Hudson knows no rules. Like any baby, he is blissfully happy making a mess and exploring food. After renovating our house, we decided on floor boards, however we also have a beautiful rug in our living room. Whilst I try my best to keep it clean, inevitably it always ends up covered in food, dirt and every possible tiny little piece of fluff.

So it was with great relief that ideas for keeping your carpets clean came through my inbox recently. If you are prone to spills, it is definitely worthwhile to know a couple of common stain removal remedies. Spills are a fact of life but it doesn’t mean the fabrics and carpets have to be ruined – try these  suggestions to keep your home stain-free.

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 Remedy 1: Prevention Before Cure

If you are lucky enough to have this option, it is worthwhile to invest in a carpet that is resistant to stains. You don’t have to forego comfort or style with a stain resistant carpet; there are plenty of stylish and plush carpets available with high levels of stain protection. Look for carpets that have built-in stain protection included (rather than a stain protection product applied after installation).

Companies such as Stainmaster have some great demonstrations on their www.stainmaster.com.au/page/our-carpet that show how effective stain-resistant carpet is.

Remedy 2: White Vinegar

Vinegar should be a staple of every home’s cleaning cupboard. It is environmentally friendly, cheap  to buy and works wonders for a range of cleaning tasks. A half-and-half mixture of water and white vinegar can remove a range of stains, including coffee, tea, beer and even messier spills. Once you have removed the excess liquid, apply the water and vinegar mix. Use a clean cloth and blot the  stain. It will lift out without causing damage and it helps neutralise any smell.

 Remedy 3: Salt

If you have to deal with a red wine spill, salt just became your new best friend. Sprinkle it over the stain and let it stand for about 5 minutes. The salt crystals will begin absorbing the liquid and drawing the wine out. Salt makes treating stains on large fabric products such as curtains, carpets and sofas easy.

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 Remedy 4: Shaving Cream

This is the remedy best for cleaning oily or greasy spills. Firstly, make sure it is a plain shaving cream. Avoid using any coloured foams or shaving creams with Aloe Vera or silica as they will make the stain worse. Again, blot any liquid or residue with a cloth before applying the shaving cream. Coat the stain with shaving cream and let it sit for between 15 to 30 minutes. After this time, blot the area with a clean cloth to remove the shaving cream, then use a water and vinegar mix to remove any leftover suds from the carpet.

Remedy 5: Baking Soda

Baking soda is ideal for removing vomit or urine from carpets. Not only is it easy to find in most pantries, it is easy to use on a carpet stain. Blot up what you can before sprinkling baking soda over the spill or stain. Let it dry thoroughly before running a vacuum over the spot. Baking soda is an odour neutraliser, but it also draws moisture away from carpet fibres, leaving the floor less prone to staining or mould.

These creative remedies can prove very valuable next time you are faced with a nasty stain, or your baby decides to throw all of their dinner on the floor, rather than eat it!. While the majority of these products are safe to use on your carpet, it is always recommended you do a spot test first to make sure no further damage is done to the fibres. Good luck with that stain, (and those babies who make them)!

kate

Ella Loves Local: Nat from ChiKhi

Ella Loves Local: Nat from ChiKhi

Hold Up, Hold Up! In case you have been living under a rock somewhere, you NEED to know, see, touch and experience the gorgeous new threads that are Chi Khi! The brain child of the ever so cool, and passionate Mum to boot, Nat Basingthwaite, Chi Khi kids has burst onto the scene with gusto.  Their range is inspired by the edgy moochrome palette and features unisex designs, many of which can be worn by both girls and boys. We’ve been lucky enough in the Korber household to experience the gorgeousness of Chi Khi first hand, and all I can say is that as a Mum, the quality of the fabrics is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Thick quilted dresses, soft bamboo cotton, warm luxurious knits. Honestly I wish that they came in bigger sizes so that I could wear the stuff myself. What’s also unique is the passionate way in which Chi Khi’s CEO and creative director, Nat Bassingthwaite, manages to find the time in her crazy schedule to manage Chikhi. Hashtag ‘MummyCrush’. Along with her two real life children, Chi Khi is certainly a love that she clearly wants to nurture, and by the looks of it so far, it is paying off!

Here are some of my favourite threads….

The Nylah Knit

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The Willow Bamboo Quilted Dress

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The Frankie Striped Knit

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The Lennox Reversible Bamboo Vest

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and here is my own Chi Khi Monkeys rocking their outfits…

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and now, from the amazing Nat herself….

1. What inspired you to start Chi Khi?
My children were the biggest inspiration. The choices I was making always had them at the forefront of my mind. I have always thought about being a working mum and how I could balance that work family life.  Having invested in property and business before I thought I could take the step in creating a brand, inspired by my children, my experiences as a mum and my love of design and fashion.

2. How do you juggle business and family?
It is never easy. I do have an incredibly supportive husband who is like my right hand. It is a constant juggle of who is doing what and who has the kids. Ideally we try and have one of us with them all the time but we support each others dreams. I don’t have much of a social life but I prefer tp love my work and spend time with my family. Also my job is fairly social so I don’t feel like I really miss out on anything. Except for sleep!

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?
As a mum it is watching my daughter conquer her fear of the water. That was beautiful to watch.

With Chi Khi it really is just seeing what you have in your mind come to life. Also the response has been extraordinary. We have had so many people place an order and then once they receive their order they buy more. That feels amazing.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?
Has been learning how to run your own business. I do love to learn and this has taken it to a whole other level. Also time management.

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?
Take your time. Learn as much about the business and what is involved before you start so you know what it takes.

6. Three words that describe Chi Khi….
cool.considered,comfy.

7. What’s your favourite current product in your line?
The Evie Dot Cardi is a real statement piece. Double fronted knit is made from 100% cotton. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this is something a little different. Beautifully finished with matte black buttons.

8. Pay it forward to another local business.  Chi Khi loves…
Stylerunner, is the best Online store for all active wear. The two girls who founded this are super talented Julia and sali and have been instrumental in helping me with Chi Khi. Every step of the way!

Nat, your new line totally rocks. From style to comfort, Chikhi has got it covered!

#supportsmallbusiness #ellaloveslocal #shoplocal

kate

 

 

 

Netflix: The initial verdict

Netflix: The initial verdict

images-2I was recently thrilled to have been asked to be a member of the new NETFLIX Stream Team. A select group of Australian and New Zealand bloggers who have been asked to try and share our experiences with this brand new service that has hit our screens. Over the next year, I’ll be sending you all reviews, tips, and previews of what’s to come. I have to start by saying that my husband was pretty excited to “finally’ be able to reap A reward of my hard work in blogging over the past three years. I have been lucky enough to review many products and experiences that focus mainly on children and Mums, and this new feature to my blog, certainly appeals to all members of the family.  So with our subscription and iPad mini in hand, we excitedly signed us all up, and from the get go, it has been a great experience so far.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Netflix and how it works, let me give you a brief summary:

  1. It is an online streaming service for your television, and mobile devices. It features hundreds of television shows and movies from the USA, UK, Australia and around the world.

  2. You pay a monthly subscription cost for the service. A very reasonable $8.99. The first month is free for you to trial.

  3. You can watch whatever you like, when you like. It is ‘on demand’.

So with those three things in mind, here are my thought’s so far…..

  • I love how you can create profiles for each member of your family. When you switch on it asks you who is watching. It remembers what you have watched, and suggests TV shows and movies based on your preferences.
  • I love how you can watch it on two devices simultaneously.
  • I love the search function and easy use. It is simple to navigate, on any device.
  • In the KIDS section, you can browse in so many ways. I love how you can browse based on your favourite character!
  • If you love Spotify, then you will love Netflix. Much like Spotify streams music, and you basically ‘rent’ the songs, so does Netflix with movies and TV shows. The best thing is it can travel with you anywhere you have access to the internet.
  • There is a great range of shows for any taste and age. The range is continuing to grow.
  • You can create lists to watch shows later. For me, as a Mum this is more like  a’wish list’ of shows that I’d love to watch when I have the time. The best thing is though that it will remember it…for when I eventually find the time!
You can search through the KIDS section based on your favourite characters!
You can search through the KIDS section based on your favourite characters!

Some things to keep in mind…

  • You really need to ensure that you have an unlimited plan for your internet usage, if you plan to watch shows regularly. There has been some debate about how much data it uses, so you need to ensure that you have the right plan to fit your needs.
  • You can access parent controls for children and teenagers. Something to definitely keep in mind if you are concerned about ratings.
  • WIFI signal. You need to ensure that your signal is strong in the areas of your home where Netflix will be accessed.
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Play on 2 devices at once!

Above all, we have simply loved Netflix so far. It is so incredibly easy to use. The set up is almost non existent! So if you would like to know how you can access netflix in your home or mobile device, then head on over to their website today!

kate

 

Busting those wintery cooking woes

Busting those wintery cooking woes

**A Sponsored Post from Asko Induction Cooktops

By far, the hardest part of returning to work for me has not actually been work itself, but coming home at night and cooking dinner. Winter is the season of comfort food. No matter what type of food that means to you, it will most likely be warm and tasty. It’s so hard to cook things after coming home from work that not only taste great, but are nutritionally good for you and your children. Cooking in the winter tends to bring out a different recipe book that you would normally not utilise during the other months of the year. Winter almost forces people into a sense of hibernation; we crave thick foods that fill both the stomach and the soul with warm deliciousness. I don’t know about you, but I crave home cooking in the winter months, and yet it feels like I don’t have the energy. After renovating our home however, I’ve developed a keen eye towards appliances that help you cook with ease, and look stylish!

Here are some tips to perfect your winter cooking, and if you are like me, keep you sane as you try to juggle work and a family .

Slow Cooker

I’ve been told by everyone to invest in one of these! Honestly, since returning to work, it’s bee so hard to plan our meals and ensure that we eat properly when we get home late. I’ve been assured that slow cookers are my answer. Apparently, Slow cookers are not only energy efficient, but they’re also time efficient. You can prepare your meal in advance, then keep the cooker on while you are at work. The comfort of returning home on a cold evening to a house already filled with the aromas of dinner waiting will soothe you instantly. Slow cookers are perfect for hearty stews, deep pasta dishes, and anything else you can think of. While the advance preparation does not yield immediate reward, the effort you put in early will surely pay off when you return home and have nothing more to prepare for your family’s dinner. A slow cooker forces you to be organised with your meals ahead of time; this helps you to also cut down on buying last minute ingredients or takeaway meals that offer little nutritional value.

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Wok
Possibly my favourite style of cooking, if you have time to pre cut your ingredients!  Similar to a slow cooker, a wok allows you time to prepare your meal then let it simmer for a little while. Cooking with a wok allows you to cook your meals more evenly because of the high sides and small base area. When you return home on a winter day, the last thing you want to do sometimes is cook. A wok is helpful because it lets you prepare healthy meals in a short amount of time. Because it disperses heat evenly, it can hold many ingredients at once, eliminating the need for multiple pots and pans to wash up afterwards. Woks are perfect for creating fresh stir-fry. They also work great for steaming, frying, or sautéing, depending on your preference.

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Induction Cooktop

Induction cooktops are an energy-efficient solution for cooking without gas. During the winter months, your gas usage might increase considerably, and an induction cooktop will provide you a way to ease this. Many people are now considering investing in an induction cooktop as a backup to the gas stove they already use in the winter months. Energy-efficient induction cooktops, like those offered by www.asko.com.au are both easy to clean and safe to use. Many induction cooktops turn off after a certain amount of time or at a maximum temperature; this can ease your mind if you ever find yourself wondering if you forgot to turn the stove off. Induction cooktops are made with a flat glass surface that makes the after-cooking clean-up quicker and less painstaking.

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Cooking in the winter months tends to change once the temperature starts dropping. It’s hard to find the time and energy to cook well, especially if you are working and come home late. There are so many options to help you do this, and some of these ideas may just save your sanity!

kate*All images are copyright free and sourced from Creative Commons

 

Ella Loves Local: Charlotte & Jacqui from Little Wild Things

Ella Loves Local: Charlotte & Jacqui from Little Wild Things

There is nothing nicer in my book than soft, comfy, gorgeous bamboo cotton. It feels so beautiful against your skin. As a Mum I’m always looking for gorgeous clothes for my kids that are comfortable and caring on their skin. I remember that feeling as a kid, when I’d have to wear something that was so ‘itchy’. Mum never heard the end of it. So when Jacqui from Little Wild Things contacted me about her new venture with fellow friend Charlotte, I was interested so say the least. Not only have they created beautiful t-shirts for kids, made from organic bamboo cotton, but their designs are like nothing else I’ve seen. Funky, cool and creative. I was immediately drawn to the batdog, and catgirl designs for my little one’s. Here they are, wearing them with delight….

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A local couple of girls, with extensive experience in the fashion / buying industry, they really know what they are doing. It was lovely then to meet them and get to know how Little Wild Things came to be…

1. What inspired you to start Little Wild Things…

Being from a fashion background we wanted to created something that is stylish for kids but didn’t want to over complicate it. We knew a full clothing range can be super fun to design but the logistics of running can become difficult. So concentrating on one category, the t-shirt, means we could focus. Because don’t forget there is a lot more to our lives now than just work… our beautiful kids.

2. How do you juggle business and family?

 I guess I probably answered a bit of this question above. Just focusing on one category has allowed enough head space to juggle work and family. But in the beginning it was difficult as there is a lot of effort in setting up a business

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

 I think what we really strived for is a marketing platform, so reaching 1000 followers on Instagram was pretty exciting… The last 10 followers took about a week, so we were constantly checking our status and boom we got there… now we’re aiming for 2k and then 40k!!

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

Photoshoots!!! ahhh… didn’t even think about the photoshoot challenge when starting the business revolving around kids in photos. We started with quite a few friends in the shoots but now its mainly just my (Jacqui’s) kids Oliver, Willow and Ella starting… its just easier to manage.

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

Just do it! expect hard work but it is very rewarding

6. Three words that describe Little Wild Things…

STYLISH, WILD, ORGANIC

7. What’s your favourite current product in your line?

Oh geeze.. I’m very happy with the new long sleeves… I guess I would choose Loco. Inspired by my Loco kids 🙂 and I like the girls contrast colours of Loco.

8. Pay it forward to another local business.  Little Wild Things loves…

Rookie&Co. We did a competition with them recently. Love their gear and they are a great team.

So head on over and grab your babies a gorgeous bamboo tee. You won’t regret it!

kate

 

Superhero Celebration – Hudson’s First Birthday

Superhero Celebration – Hudson’s First Birthday

Last weekend we celebrated in Superhero Style for Hudson’s 1st Birthday. For his entire first year, we were slightly obsessed with decorating his bedroom in all things Superhero, so it wasn’t surprising that we decided to keep the theme going for his birthday celebration. We gathered a small group of family and friends and encouraged the kids to dress up as their favourite superheroes. It was the most beautiful sight to see little Supermen and Captain America’s running around, having such fun. We decided to have the celebration at a local neighbourhood house, and an outside playground gave the toddlers a chance to run around and let off some superhero steam. Given the fact that I had just returned to work, my aim was to make the day as stress free as possible. So I started early, and turned to my trusty Etsy friends for decoration inspiration. I downloaded personalised invitations and decorations at a very affordable price (Invitation was $10, and decoration pack was $20). I then set about laminating and cutting to help create a fabulous lolly treat table in the theme colours of red, blue and yellow. Lollies and treats from my childhood, simple balloons and block colour table decor. The piece de resistance was the cake I had made by Nerida’s cakes –  an amazing creation made from a photo that I sent her of a similar cake I’d seen on Pinterest. It was amazing.

Whilst Hudson is too young to really understand the importance of this day, we hope that he can look back on these photos and see the love around him on that day. Here are some of my favourite parts of the day…

 

My beautiful family…

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Hudson and his wonderful grandparents!

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The Superhero Sweets Table….

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Lollies for everyone!!!

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The amazing cake!!!

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The lolly bags…

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Superhero Cupcakes…

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Personalised water to hydrate our superheroes…

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The gorgeous invites…

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Our little man having a ball!!!

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My boys…Batman & Clarke Kent

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It was a wonderful day. A day we’ll remember forever.

If you have any questions or queries about any of the ideas you’ve seen above, please email me at happyellaafter@gmail.com xx

kate

and then, he was One.

and then, he was One.

And then…he was One.

A year ago today, you came into our life. Five weeks early, you just couldn’t wait. Couldn’t wait to see all of the wonderful things waiting for you. For your beautiful big sister to beam at you, and love you adoringly. What a year it has been, little man. Full of magic, mayhem and milestones. It feels like yesterday, and yet so long ago that I can’t remember a  time that you were not in our life, and we were not a family of four. You caught us by surprise. Delivered healthy, but small. Your size did not stop you from showing the world what you were made of. It feels like forever ago that we ventured into hospital, day and night to feed you, hold you and will your stronger. It feels like a lifetime ago that your little feeding tube came out. There to help you feed and grow stronger. The nurses who gave us updates throughout the day. Who loved you when we were gone. Who still, to this day keep in touch. I guess that just shows how loved you are.

Loved right from the start. You have given us so much love, and we have loved you to the moon and back. Our family of three instantly becoming a family of four. Our little pigeon pair. So much joy, we burst at the seams. You have helped us to realise how strong we are, and how much we love being your parents. Not without determination, right from the start you set about challenging us, to prove that we could do it. Endless nights of no sleep, colic, rocking, swaying, walking, pacing. We tried so hard to help you through, and through we made it. Little man, we have come such a long way and now your smiling face beams with happiness as you show us what you are made of.

Little man you are, but big in heart you shine. You have grown strength to strength. We have come so far, and yet it feels like yesterday. The mountains that your Dad moved to help give you the home you deserved, and now you crawl along the hallway as though it was your little kingdom.

I did not know true happiness before you and your sister. Seeing your beautiful Dad hold you both in his arms. Having you say his name, melts my heart each time. Hearing your sister tell you she loves you.

Hudson, in years to come I hope you look back on these words and these photos and know how much joy you have brought into our life. We are so blessed to have  you as our son, and I cannot wait to see you grow in the years to come. You have the most wonderful family around you, who would do anything for you.

I cannot believe it has been a whole year. 365 days and nights. And yet, here we are…..

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Happy Birthday little man. I’m so proud of you. I’m so proud of us. We love you to the moon and back.

Love Mum, Dad and Ella.

xxxooo