Browsed by
Month: June 2015

Busy Bags for busy little people (and their busy parents)

Busy Bags for busy little people (and their busy parents)

I feel bad that I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. The personal side of my blog. The moments that make us Mums and Dads. The little moments, the big moments. I confess that I’ve been neglecting my writing becauase I’ve been, well, busy. Crazy busy. Busy working as a Deputy Principal, busy designing prints (here is an unashamed plug to my new NAME IT range here), busy being a Mum! Like all of us, the days seem to be rolling into weeks and months quicker than I can keep up. When I write the date, I literally have to stop and think what number I need to write. Whilst it’s currently July, I’m totally sure that I will wake up in the morning and it will be December. Far out….being busy is exhasuting!!!

Well now that school holidays are here (cue clapping sounds), I have a few moments more to spend on the things that I’ve missed, like writing about being a Mum and the things that we can all relate to. Something that has been keeping my mind really occupied lately is how to keep Miss Ella engaged and happy in those moments that Im helping Hudson, settling, cooking dinner etc. Whilst I’m partial to rely on my good old friend Mr iPad, I am becoming more and more conscious of the screen time she is facing each day. Whilst it is a great tool for learning, there is no substitute for other ideas that get her to use her senses. Being immersed in activities that encourage her to use her hands, her eyes, coordination, fine motor skills. It’s hard to think of ideas, and its even harder to find places to store the never ending supply toys, puzzles and games that seem to be filling our house. So what to do???……..

After attending Masada (also known as baby sleep heaven), we were encouraged to create ‘busy bags’ for our toddlers whilst we were busy settling our babies. Busy bags are small games that can be easily created that focus on fine motor skills, and keep toddlers engaged (ideally), thus giving you a moment to do the things you need to do. Obviously it would be great if you too can sit down with your toddler and play together, but there are just some times that you need time to do things around the house, and you need your toddler to be busy doing something on their own. I’ve recently made a few busy bags for Ella and I can tell you that like all things new, she really finds them fun and engaging.

All you need is a printer, laminator and some other crafty things like popsical sticks, pom poms etc. and bobs your uncle. There are loads and loads of ideas on the web and today I thought I’d share some of the activities I’ve created with you. Best thing of all, these are FREE to download and print.

So if you need some ideas to keep your little one busy whilst you are, then feel free to download and print away. All you need is a snap lock back to keep everything in it’s place….or you will be very busy cleaning up!

Click on each link to go to the game…


 Matching Game

Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.00.27

Snowflake Cotton Bud Pattern Game
Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.02.10
Counting Caterpillars
Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.03.15
Animal Puzzles
Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.04.27
Alphabet Road Trip Tracing Game
Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.05.22
If you want more ideas, just Google ‘busy bags’ and ‘printable PDF’.
Hope they help you!!!!
*Links to resources are via each image


5 gift ideas for newborns (and the parents who had them)

5 gift ideas for newborns (and the parents who had them)

*A Sponsored Post from Personalised Favours

So your friend, sister, cousin…. has had a baby. Maybe it’s their first? Second? Third? Gift giving can be tricky at the best of times, but when buying for a newborn it can be tricky to find a gift that is both unique and practical, especially if they’ve ‘done it’ before. Things have changed so much, even in the last couple of years, and luckily, many websites like have a wide range of gift ideas for any occasion.  If you are time poor like me, then being able to click and send via a website is practical too. Here are some tips that I’ve found to be helpful, and unique!


Cuddles galore
Cuddles galore

A hamper

A personalised hamper full of useful items is a great gift to celebrate the arrival of a newborn. There are plenty of  small items that can go into the hamper that can be both practical and personable including bibs, sleep suits and bathing products for the baby. I’ve given a few of these and they have always been a hit!


This is probably the most overlooked, yet probably most practical present of all! The reality is, once a newborn has arrived, they will be using a LOT of nappies. Why not make it easier on the parents by bringing them a supply, or even a nice chest or box to store them in; why not buy a storage solution that can be used for toys once the child is out of nappies. This is a practical gift, and the child’s parents are sure to be grateful., especially when they run out in the middle of the night and they find your gifted box of nappies in the cupboard!


It’s amazing what babies get up to in their nappies. And once they’re crawling, their clothes don’t stay clean for long, that’s for sure. A great gift for newborns are some  practical plain white sleep suits and singlets that are easy to clean and allow for  lots of changes of clothes.  Remember that babies grow so quickly that whilst it’s nice to give them something cute and small, the reality is that they won’t wear it long, so larger sizes are always great.

A Pamper package for Mum & or Dad!

My favourite of all. Give something to the Mums and Dads who have been busy raising the newborn. Guaranteed to be a winner, the  package could include massage vouchers, chocolates, bath products and other items designed to help them relax.

Other ideas 

Some other ideas that have been a hit include getting them a cleaner, a baby sitting voucher, and personalised art work with their child’s name.

There are so many ideas out there, and most of them can be purchased from the comfort of your own home!


Ella Loves Local: Melanie & Lesley from Mr Willo

Ella Loves Local: Melanie & Lesley from Mr Willo

Screenshot 2015-06-18 10.16.07I don’t know about you, but after having a boy I was pretty shocked to see the lack of range for boyswear when you walk into the clothing departments in several kidswear stores. After having Ella, the range seems endless, however unfortunately for boys it’s been really limited. That said, if you turn to local businesses like Mr Willo, who have clearly found a gap in the market, you will find the most divine, funky, hip and cool shirts for little dudes that you ever did see. Like most of my finds, I stumbled across Melanie from Mr Willo on Instagram. A fellow Primary teachers who was also on maternity leave, I was captured by their unique designs and cool edge. Who says that boys shoudln’t have all the fun? I’m thrilled to share their range and story with you today and I’m sure you will fall in love with their amazingly cool shirts, just like I have…..

Their signature GUTHRIE shirts…

unnamed-1 unnamed-2 unnamed-3 unnamed


A little bit about Mr Willo:

Mr Willo is a Melbourne label, made up of Melanie, and her mother-in-law Lesley. She is a primary school teacher on maternity leave and has always had an interest in colour, pattern, fashion and design but without any training in the fashion industry she never dreamed of finding herself in the world of fashion and design let alone in children’s wear!

Lesley always thought fashion was a field she belonged in. She has forever loved it. Throughout school she sought out creative subjects and studied textile design, pattern adaptation and pattern making. With life’s twists and turns she was tugged in other directions, pursuing many others things. The sewing machine has been a constant throughout- making, altering and repairing clothes but it was with the arrival of her first grandchild, Mr A, that she has come full circle and ended up using the skills she had such a thirst for earlier in life to set her on the path that is Mr Willo.

Mr Willo is a lot about who they are and their passions. From the beginning they decided to name each range after a musician as music is a constant and something they both have strong ties to. Each of Lesley’s children are musos in their own right and they wanted to bring Mr A up surrounded by music. Their debut Guthrie range was named as a cheeky nod to him. The incorporation of the flannelette they love into our Guthrie range was due to the strong connection to the fabric through their dads and CJ, Lesley’s son and Melanie’s partner, Mr A’s papa. Family is important and this is a small family owned and run label.

Together they design and create super cool handmade threads for littles with big style. They strive to challenge the babywear norm. To design clothes that are eye-catching, fashion-forward and meet the needs of the little wearer. Clothes that reflect the personality of the little person and their parents. Mr Willo aims to inspire fun. In life. In fashion.

1. What inspired you to start Mr Willo?

We formed Mr Willo to challenge the lack of inspired, quality boyswear choices for little misters. As a new mother, I struggled to find a dapper yet practical outfit for my 2 week old son (Mr A) to wear to a wedding. Discouraged, my complaints to my very talented mother-in-law Lesley about available options turned into an excited discussion over breakfast burritos at a local café and ultimately led to the decision to go ahead and start a new label. Our objective is to create high quality, unique items with our shared ideas of aesthetic and practicality in mind.
2. How do you juggle business and family?

Like most mumma’s running a small business from home, I work when Mr A naps. Thankfully he’s a pretty great sleeper. I can noisily hammer away in the next room applying press-studs to our shirts and he’ll continue to sleep. When he is going through a change in routine or is unsettled and I’m unable to get anything done during the day I am fortunate that I have a wonderful support in my partner CJ (AKA Papa Mr Willo). He’ll take over with Mr A and allow me the time and space I need to get things done.

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

Definitely seeing photos of little people wearing Mr Willo! We love that our customers adore their Mr Willo pieces and feel honoured that they share photos on social media of their gorgeous children enjoying their threads. The feedback we have received so far has been incredible. It’s great to know that children are chasing adventure, making memories and reaching milestones wearing Mr Willo.
4. What has been your biggest challenge?

Time. Managing it, longing for more and realising that building and growing our label is going to take time. We get so excited sometimes and want things to happen instantly. We can’t help but want to speed up the time from idea to conception and having the finished garment in our hands, or our piece in a magazine, or our next range to be realised and released. We need to be patient and let it evolve.

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

Take the leap. Just do it. Learn as you go. Find a supportive creative community, join it, build relationships, make friends, ask questions. Enjoy yourself. Celebrate your achievements. Be humble. Get excited. Have fun!

6. Three words that describe Mr Willo…

Distinctive. Considered. Evolving.

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

Our signature ◆ G U T H R I E ◆ shirt is our absolute favourite! Each and every one is unique; you will not find another just like it. It was our first item and it grew from our love of flannelette shirts. Both Lesley and I have a connection to flannelette through memories of our dad’s wearing it. The first ◆ G U T H R I E ◆ was made especially for Mr A. We include many small design features to ensure complete comfort and practicality. Flannelette is great to work with. It’s hipster, it’s cowboy, it’s city, it’s country, it’s just cool. It suits everyone and can be styled in so many ways. The fabric is so perfect for little people. It’s soft, cosy and easy to care for. It actually gets better with wash and wear. Precisely what is needed in children’s clothing.

 8. Pay it forward to another local business. Mr Willo loves…

Grandy and Baa (, sweet little friends full of whimsy and imagination. These quirky softies are lovingly handmade in Melbourne out of the most stunning textiles, think wool, linen, velvet, cotton, corduroy and cashmere, some even screenprinted by the very creative maker herself.  Each one bursting with personality. Once you start browsing the store you won’t want to leave with your shopping cart empty. Choosing the perfect friend out of this gang is quite the challenge. I dare you to adopt just one. They make a perfect gift for a new baby, a small child’s birthday or that grown up friend that appreciates beautifully handcrafted items. Be sure to follow on Instagram (@grandyandbaa) to be privy to some pretty interesting conversations between these unique characters and their talented maker Rachael.

So head over to MR Willo and grab your little man his own little GUTHRIE!

#ellaloveslocal – #supportsmallbusiness – #shoplocal

























Mr Willo

#mrwillo #welovetoplay



Instagram: @mr.willo

Facebook: /youngmrwillo


◆ G U T H R I E ◆ shirt

long sleeve RRP $65


◆ G U T H R I E ◆ shirt

short sleeve RRP $60



Ella Loves Local: Rachael from Little Olive & Co

Ella Loves Local: Rachael from Little Olive & Co

Since renovating our home, I’ve become a little obsessed with kids’ interiors. Inspired by amazing local designers and stylists, there are just so many beautiful products our there, many handmade. Rachael from Little Olive & Co has developed her own range of unique banners for children, and her use of colour, text and simple shapes has got me hooked. The cute catch phrases, the soft palettes, the bold shapes. Rachael has clearly hit the nail on the head when she developed her range, and over the last year, her gorgeous banners have appeared in rooms all over Australia. When you see one of the hundreds of photos featuring her banners, you immediately fall in love, and will want one for yourself. Here are some of may favourites…

Just always be you…


Be Brave…





Dream Big Little Girl…


However my most favourite of all, has to be her classic Batman banner, as seen here hanging in Hudson’s room…


So with that, lets hear from Rachael, and the story of how Little Olive & Co came to be…

1. What inspired you to start  Little Olive & Co? I have always considered myself to be a very creative person. Even as a kid, I always had some crafty project on the go. My Mum taught me to sew from a young age, I used to make all sorts of things for my dolls and teddies! My Mum and Nan also used to have a little market stall selling gorgeous handmade children’s clothes. I was lucky enough to help out which established my appreciation for handmade products and gave me an insight into what it takes to run and manage a small business from home.  I started sewing again after my daughter, Olive, was born. More than anything, I desperately needed a creative outlet and something else to focus on other than the constant demands of two small children! I began making bows, headbands and clothing, which quickly lead to my first Etsy store. I added a few banners for a bit of variety, and to my surprise they were quite popular!
2. How do you juggle business and family? Creating a balance between business and family is one of the things I struggle with most. I desperately wish I had more time to sew, however I also feel incredibly privileged to be able to stay at home with my children while they’re young and I would hate to compromise that in any way! I generally only sew in the evenings when the kids are in bed, and I spend every evening sewing well into the night! I am always behind with emails and social media, but that is the trade off, unfortunately! I have invested in a diary this year, which is helping to keep me focused and somewhat organised!  3. What has been your proudest moment so far? I have so many proud moments that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one! My proudest moments are receiving lovely feedback from customers and seeing my work styled beautifully by some pretty inspiring people! I always get such a buzz from seeing my banners in their new homes, and it’s amazing when the handmade aspect of my work is appreciated.
4. What has been your biggest challenge? Definitely time management and balancing work/family life.  I hate turning down custom orders, wholesale enquiries and collaboration opportunities. Learning to say ‘no’ has been challenging as I want to see my little business continue to grow. Understanding my limitations in terms of time, is something I’m still working on however, I have so many new designs that I want to try out and new things that I want to make! I can’t wait until I have the time to start making a wider variety of products and treating my business as just that, rather than a hobby. Keeping my range fresh and unique is something that is very important to me.
 5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business? Just give it a go! There is so much support for the handmade community at the moment. It’s the perfect time to take the plunge!
6. Three words that describe LittleOlive & Co… Bright. Fun. Original.
7. What’s your favourite current product in your line? It always changes! One of my all time favourites is the ‘popsicle’ banner which I originally made for Olive’s room as we had a bit of an ice cream theme happening! I also love the ‘yay’ banner. It was one of the first banners I made and it’s such a happy little banner; perfect for any space!
8. Pay it forward to another local business.  Little Olive & Co loves… Little Fox Crochet. I have been following Sarah since she started and I’m very proud to own one of her crocheted watermelon garlands. Sarah’s products are so beautifully handmade and original. I am eyeing off the crocheted pears next, they’re completely adorable!

So head to Little Olive & Co now, and get your little one their own, beautifully handmade banner to hang with love!