Thursday, December 18, 2008

Clever marketing...

My kids favourite song at the moment? No - it is not even a Christmas song - it is the Oral B kids advert. Very clever - I thought it was a song from nick jr lazytown when I first heard it. Won't complain though because it has made cleaning the teeth much less painful!

Kids shoes ...

Love them!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas traditions...

There was an article in December's Notebook magazine written by Sarah Bryden-Brown from Kidspot about finding your own Christmas traditions. It struck a chord with me as it is something that Kirk and I are quite aware of for various reasons this year. There are lots of lovely traditions that we are a part of, the first of which we attended today.

I come from a large family and my dad's side get together a few times throughout the year. Today my fresh and delightful Adelaide cousins were able to join us enroute to Nelson in NZ to be with their parents and brother over Christmas. There are thirteen cousins and now with partners and my kids there are twenty of us to exchange Kris Kringle gifts. My cousins are a special bunch of fun and caring people and I love getting together with them. They are the types of people whom you always feel better after having a conversation with. I am the eldest and I feel privileged to be a part of the Harris clan. My kids think that they are the cousins as mummy is too old (at 32!).

As I get older, I am finding that there is so much more joy in finding gifts for others and seeing them open them than there is in receiving. I gave my 22 year old cousin a Pantone mug and a black tshirt - he was stoked with both and esp the mug. He is a designer and colours, fonts, etc are his thing. I was unaware that there is a Pantone colour of the year - yellow is the colour of 2009 apparently. I love learning random bits of information! This week we sent a mug to Cornwall, UK. There is obviously a Pantone following across the world!

One of the tricky things is that there are cousins in Oxford, Cambridge, Adelaide, Melbourne and Nelson other than in Sydney so co-ordinating getting the gifts to each other can be quite a feat. It is a tradition that I hope that we continue.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Decorating Henry's room

Henry is currently in our bedroom, tucked in the corner in his little timber Boori rocker. I love hearing him breathe and recently hearing him chatter (well, I guess more like coo) before the cry for food!

Thomas informs me (and as told to his class in news time) that once his little brother is one he will be moving into his room (I hope he is as enthusiastic once the move becomes a reality!). Thomas has a double size bedroom and his little brother will be joining him at some stage. We ended up keeping the nursery as a study and decided that the boys can share. I am not sure how to deal with the lego all over the floor and a toddler but I guess we will jump that hurdle down the track.
I came across this bedspread today (I am having a love affair with Sheridan) and have put it away for when he is old enough for a bed, which hopefully doesn't come around too fast. It is a perfect match for the Little Chipipi Ships Ahoy wall stickers. We grew up spending holidays and weekends in the water and on the water so I am a lost cause for anything nautical. I still love the breeze between the ears getting rid of the cobwebs. Bring on some summer weather and a holiday on the coast!
*Love some ideas of how to control lego especially when it is a work in progress and all sorted into piles across the carpet ready for the next design but impossible to manuevre a vacuum cleaner around!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend Musings

It is Friday night Sydney time and it is pouring outside!

We have a busy weekend ahead but I like it that way. It is a privilege to be busy with activities and with people that we love. At some stage though I will sit down with the weekend papers and read them in my 'order'. My dad has always been a SMH newspaper with breakfast and lunch person and the newspaper was and is always read in a certain order. Now, this is something I always thought was a little bit obsessive, but like so many other things, I am no different. The order has changed a little over the last couple of years, but there is still an order! I start with employment, not for any other reason anymore than to look at the education section as it keeps me up to date with the movements in the private schools in Sydney. Then it is the front and back pages of the news section, followed by spectrum. Then I read the Good Weekend. Now this has an order of its own as well! (writing this makes me realise how funny this may sound!) I read Megan Morton's article, followed by Maggie Alderson's, then the real estate 'you wish' page, then the two of us (some of these people are inspiring) The whole magazine is then read from the start to the end.

I love chatting with my mum & sister about Megan and Maggie's articles. It has been scary how many times I feel as though they are writing about my life. For example Maggie's recent article about jeans and how she started a week with no jeans wearing. Just that week I swore myself off jeans to see how long would last (my 'uniform' is jeans and a white shirt'). I almost repainted my whole house for the 4th time in 6 years after Megan made a derogatory comment about Magnolia paint colour the same week Kirk put the Magnolia paint brush down. There have been the articles about how to hang the washing on the line (where do you put the pegs on tshirts etc etc) that have me reflecting on quite random things. I love the articles. Random. Random is good. Like the cornwall blue picture used for this post.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pruning the Roses

Gardening used to be my obsession. I once was an early bird, almost feeling ill if I slept in. I would head outside at 6am with my walkman turned on the weekend gardening show with Graham and Sandra Ross on 2GB and potter away. It seems like a very long time ago!! Water restrictions and 3 babies later, my garden isn't as manicured as it once was, but it has grown! It is exciting seeing fences disappear and being replaced with lush green plants.

This time of the year I attempt to time the roses to bloom at just the right time. It used to be for Christmas, but now it is for Milly's birthday in January and Thomas' in April. I was stoked to come home from the hospital with Henry to a garden full of flower - so now each child will have their flush! So 6 weeks before the event, the roses get chopped and fertilised. My aim is to prune at least two bushes a day and that way the job should be complete by the end of the week.

Nature is amazing. I love the Jacarandas against the blue sky on days like today. I think we underestimate leaves in a garden - greenery is so soothing. Today I found some gorgeous hydrangeas outside Coles - I don't know where I will plant them - but they look great sitting on the porch!

Although nature isn't always forgiving. I moved a rose away from a path this winter and I lost it. It survived kitchen trademen reversing into it chopping it in half a couple of years ago, so I overestimated its toughness. I am now on the hunt for a Mrs Cant rose. Unfortunately not a common one & I may have to wait until next Winter to replace it.

My favourite roses? Mrs Cant, Julia's Rose, Just Joey, Souvenir de la Maison, Iceberg, Grace, Tara.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I am loving wallpaper!

My grandparents had wallpaper on the walls in their home in Eastwood. I loved it - that along with the grandfather clock that chimed every hour, it forms part of my childhood memories.

In my parents current home they have wallpaper in their bedroom that dates back who knows how long and it is gorgeous - green background with pink flowers. Kirk reminded me a few days ago that we once talked about stripping it back and painting the room for them as a surprise when they were o/s. So glad we didn't!!!
Catherine Martin's range of wallpapers with Porters Paints for little ones and grown ups is fabulous. If only there were more hours in the day to decorate ... at the moment thankfully there are great wall stickers to transform a room quickly!!

P.S Looking for the Alimrose Monkey often photographed in the photo shoots? We have him :)

Ten Little Finger Ten Little Toes

I LOVE kids books. Before Mummy's Favourite became a boutique gift store, I contemplated opening an online book store. I think I see myself as the Meg Ryan character in You've Got Mail. Reading stories to a class of children is one one of the aspects of primary school teaching that I miss. Yay for my 3 kids because I get to read to them! I read to my kids from newborn. Thomas' first book was a soft cover book called Snail. He is now teaching himself to read & I am loving it. The first book he read was Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox.

I went shopping for some bedlinen the Thursday night before Henry was born and browsed David Jones' book department. I came across the new Mem Fox Book, Ten Little Finger and Ten Little Toes. Whilst reading it I started to get very teary (embarrasingly emotional when pregnant!). It is the sweetest book about babies who are all born at the same time around the world. I didn't purchase it as the cover was already torn and regretted it worrying that the hardcover might have been hard to track down - but yay - The Children's Bookshop rang me today to say that they have got it in for me.

It would be hard re-creating a bookstore like the one in You've Got Mail online!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Gorgeous Little Boy

I am a bit behind with blogging, but I have a good excuse! Little Henry William Barker was born on the 14th of October. I can't believe that is now over a month ago! In some ways it feels as though he has always been with us, in other ways it all seems so new :)

Henry is my third child. He has a VERY helpful big brother Thomas (5) and sister Milly (2).

I went into labour naturally on the day before his due date (I think being on the pre school roster that morning as the aid probably helped push things along!). I have been blessed with smooth labours and healthy babies. Contractions started intermittedly at about 3pm and by 7:30 we left the kids with my parents to go to hospital. 4 hrs later Henry was born. It was a drug free labour mainly because I would rather go with the pain than have an injection or go through a caesarean section. I can highly recommend exercise balls to bounce on to help distract during contractions! My husband Kirk was a gem -

Henry was 53cm long and 4.06kg :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Perfume Samples

I love the cover of this months Vogue magazine - the blue background is striking against the red jumpsuit ... but what I loved finding inside is one of those little cardboard samples of Chanel no5.

It isn't the perfume that I got excited about - it was the way that it was packaged in a little envelope. Cute! It has been ages since I have looked at perfume counters - I have a shelf full of them - all representing a different stage in my life - and none of them finished. The only one I don't have is the Red Door Kirk gave me for a birthday that smashed on the bathroom floor in the little unit we were living in at the time. The place smelt beautiful forever after that - made up for the very ugly tiles!
When I used to go shopping in my teens with friends I loved feeling grown up trying all the samples. Now, life seems even too busy to take a sample from someone handing them out. I am going to pop todays one into my hot pink Pratten purse and my notes will smell lovely - just like I used to - 20 years ago!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Summer Dresses

I love colour and I love Summer dresses. Came across this one by Lisa Ho today ...

Emerald Green is one of my favourite colours.

(courtesy Shop Til Drop Sept 08)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Soft Stone Sculpting

I struggle with being patient with artwork / craft and I really struggle in not doing something 'constructive' so spending a whole Saturday away from my family and the computer was a big ask but my husband thought it was just what I needed & he was right!

We started off with basically sand and water and some other bits and pieces and ended up with a sculpture. It took ages for me to come up with something I wanted to sculpt. Some people were very creative - frogs, faces etc etc. I had no idea where to start and somehow ended up with a C looking shape that I think looks like a mother and child - but I will forgive anyone who can't see it! I didn't actually realise I was pregnant at the time so it has even more meaning :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Beatrix Potter

I was surrounded by great books as a child and thankfully that love for reading that I developed has never left me. Lost is an understatement when I finished The Forgotten Garden last week. I even re-read the first couple of chapters to remind myself of where the story started. It was a fabulous read! Although you could be mistaken for thinking it was boring given how few pages I managed to read each night before falling asleep!

I had to search high and low for this book on Beatrix Potter and lo behold, it was at The Childrens Bookstore in Beecroft, where I frequently visit with my kids. Miss Potter the movie really surprised me. On my TV cabinet there is a pile of 30 year old Beatrix Potter hardbacks that once were in our family lounge room when I was young. The pictures more than the story always captivated me, but I hadn't really given the author a second thought.

Now, reading the story of her life that goes into a lot more detail than the movie, I am moving the Lake District in the UK closer to the top of my seachange list!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nesting in Pregnancy

Some people say it is the tiredness, mood swings or cravings that signal to them that they are pregnant. For me it is the obsessiveness about the house that kicks in which makes me wonder ...

It is strange that something that one can be blissfully unaware of can suddenly become number one priority regardless of what else needs to be done. My pantry is one of the areas that with this pregnancy has become number one on the hitlist. That and the fridge. Neither were bad - but they are now spotless and VERY organised with labels everywhere. It was the timber floorboards that were frequently attacked at 2am with my first pregnancy and with number two it was the garden (not 2am but gardening with torch in hand was attempted!). I am a house proud person, not a Stepford wife by any means, but I like things to be in their place. Nesting attacks me like an obsessive compulsion.

I love being pregnant and with the weeks disappearing with the blink of an eye I am enjoying the oneness I feel with the baby and the determination to get some jobs done that have been hanging over my head for years. It is my patient husband that I feel sorry for!

Essential Oils in Pregnancy

No cravings for pickles today, oranges, nutella or potato pies - but I did feel like guzzling the essential oil combination I am trialling!

Getting out of the bath at the moment is hilarious. Soon I will need a crane to get me out! To go from the Be Genki Serenity Bath oil (Bergamot, Rosewood, Palmarosa, Neroli and Rose) to the lavender in my Willow and Finch heat pack at night - I feel totally blissed out by the time I fall asleep. Pity about the crazy hormone induced nightmares!

Monday, August 18, 2008

School Bags

I am so glad that these arrived in store this week. Embarrased is an understatement when I saw black dots on the front zipper section of my sons pre school back pack last week and no, they weren't texta marks. These kinder bags by Cocoon Couture are cute & machine washable. Available in 8 designs. Yay!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Places to eat with Kids

It is Friday & with a hectic weekend ahead, I am allowing myself to spend 5 minutes dreaming of a recent destination.

My little brother was married in Melbourne in June and whilst staying in St Kilda we found a cafe which was part of the St Kilda Baths - Beachcomber. Kirk, the kids & I went on two weekdays for breakfast / brunch. Not only was the food and view fabulous - the staff were awesome. It was a very relaxing experience! We sat inside as it was a little cool and enjoyed watching the swimmers in the ocean - or their faces as they entered & excited the water! Apparently one morning we shared the place with an AFL team - but being ARU followers, we had no idea who they were!

We judge our cafe experiences by how many teas /coffees are consumed. A third each would have been easy :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My dream bedroom!

Ever since we first stayed at a gorgeous B&B in Mudgee in 1999 which was beautifully decorated in country English style, I have been searching everywhere for my dream quilt cover. Finally I have found the closest design I have seen since.

I am a blue and white spode girl. Well, anything floral and girly really. I have the curtains, tray, outlook onto my garden but have been missing the bed cover. Hooray for Sheridan who have just realised their gorgeous botanical range. There is something lovely about having a bedroom as a sanctuary!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cool Sneakers - do they come in my size?

I can't quite get my head around the concept of Dunlop Volleys being trendy. They were what we were recommended to buy when I was in Year Seven for netball. Even Adidas with their three stripes didn't quite make the grade. My dad wore Adidas. Nike were the shoe to be seen in.

I came across these shoes for boys yesterday. I would have loved to have bought a pair for my 5 year old, but with a wide foot they didn't fit as well as they should & no, I wasn't so obsessed I was going to make him wear them regardless.

So we walked out with a pair of white sneakers, but no, not the Volleys. Even though they now have an eco friendly pair available!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Look at the Aeroplane!

Too often I realise that I am singing along to The Wiggles, Colin Buchanan or Justine Clarke & there are no kids in the car! It is a bit like pointing out planes, 'herbies' and the like to people who are old enough not to care. A bit embarrassing really. An old colleague & friend told me once about the day that she pointed out an aeroplane to the Deputy Headmaster as they were driving to a conference. A mum with three kids, she was just a little embarrassed!

Two of my CDs that I am enjoying at the moment are Carly Simon "Into White" & Angus and Julia Stone's "A Book like This". Carly Simon is great for the car whilst trying to get a little girl to sleep after the park & The Stones are perfect for late night company whilst checking emails! I love singing songs with the kids that are sentimental favourites. You are my sunshine, Blackbird ... Angus & Julia Stone are from the Northern Beaches in Sydney. Yay!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mother Guilt Part 1

I am a fairly well organised person, well I thought I was until I went to give my daughter who is 2.5 a photo album of her photos. My 5.5 year old son has a collection of albums. I presumed Milly would have the same ... but no. She had an album from her few couple of weeks and that was it. I was horrified!

We have been printing photos for around the home and for the calendar, but not for an album as such. Thomas was born in the SLR stage when we printed every photo taken and I was very diligent obviously. Milly on the other hand is a very different story.

I was aware that I have a box of scrapbooking papers and instruments (note to self - list on ebay) that will never be touched. Mummy guilt for me is that all the other kids at school will have beautiful scrapbooks that have been lovingly assembled by their mums. I think that is why when I saw the Laikonik Once a Year Album I felt an immediate sense of relief! No, it won't have all the cute little stickers, but it will capture each year in words, in picture & is achievable!

This blog is called Mother Guilt Part 1 because it will appear again in another form :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Perfect Cup of Tea

There are some milestones in life that are a bit random - but for me say 'getting older'. One of them was the first time I looked outside in the morning and thought "perfect washing day!". I once would have thought - perfect day for a swim ...

Recently I woke up and thought not only about the washing, but that I desperately needed a cup of tea. Now it seems to be a daily need & not just in the morning, but in the evening too. I haven't quite made it to needing one in between these hours - but I know that it won't be long. Kirk is stoked because he now gets tea made for him more often. My mum was his drinking partner for a long time!

Just as well I have a range of T2 at the ready. I'm a bit spoilt really!! All in the name of research :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Glasshouse Candles

I first came across these gorgeous candles last October and within days was selling them online. Customers are now returning to buy replacements because like me, they are hooked!

Not only are the names enticing, such as Little Black Dress, Montego Bay, Pipers Brook and Oahu, but the scents are amazing! Nicole use to work for Chanel and has a great nose for beautiful scents and combinations. I wouldn't know where to start! The Kakadu write up reads like this: "Water lilies never smell better than when they are embraced by spring Orange blossoms and Peaches. Kissed with the dew of precious woods and the richness of Amber, and Kakadu is a perfect choice when reminiscing of a peaceful waterside picnic."

I have both kids with me at the end of the week. My eldest starts school next year. We visited the Glasshouse factory last week. On the way home, our 4WD smelt yummy and we brainstormed the types of candles that kids would like: apple, strawberry, watermelon, chocolate, roses (and so would Dorothy the Dinosaur!), peanut butter, grapes, avocado and pancakes. I don't know about the peanut butter, but the rest sound great to me!

What do we have in the house at the moment? The latest from Glasshouse - their fragrance diffuser: Cumquot and Mandarin. The kids love it as much as I do :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Baby Shower Gifts

I love going to baby showers. They can range from the loud & rowdy to a civilised afternoon tea! We often get asked about baby shower gifts, especially for ideas when the sex of the baby isn't known by the guest.

I tend to suggest wraps and any toy that is non-gender specific. The Alimrose Monkey is a sure winner. With his cheeky face and rattle - he is loved by baby and parents alike! My 5 year old still loves his - his is called Tom and when his sister received one - she named him Tom as well. They are gifts that I am sure their own children will one day play with.

My first encounter with Alimrose was when I worked in a pharmacy after school when I was 16. Even though I had no intention then of going into retail - I often though that if I ever did I would sell the Alimrose range. I loved unpacking the orders then just as much as I do now. I was so excited when Mummy's Favourite first order arrived. I love the faces and fabric. The girls at Alimrose sure know what they are doing!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Forgotten Hands!

Lying in bed last night reading my book - The Forgotten Garden, I was rudely interrupted by my husband who interrupted me by saying "Jen - LOOK AT YOUR HANDS!" My immediate thoughts were that I hadn't washed off the blue paint I had been using with the kids, the playdough or that there was some kind of rash, but no, none of the above were obvious. But yes, they were dry & according to him looked old. They probably do. I have been with Kirk since I was 18 (engaged at 19 - pic taken day of engagement). I reminded him that I had teenage hands when we met, not a working mums hands! I perish to think about how many times my hands end up in water each day, add to this the gas heating, car air conditioning, peeling too many potatoes & cold hand syndrome hanging out the washing. And yes, I have been neglecting them of late.

So, I found a pair of cotton gloves that I had stashed in the cupboard ready for such a moment, lathered my hands inch thick in Be Genki hand cream, popped my gloves on (scary sight & felt very creepy!) and wo-la, woke up this morning with 32 year old hands. Not 18, but not 98 either!

The Forgotten Garden

I tend to read myself to sleep at night. I find that it is a good way to let go of the thoughts of the day. I have a few books next to my bed. I was juggling a few at a time until I came across The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Only managing a few pages a night is frustrating me no end!

On sunny winter days I am so tempted to escape to the recliner in the garden to get a few more pages in. Maybe this weekend ...
I finished The Shifting Fog by the same author only last month and this one is proving just as engrossing. Set between eras - 1900s London & Cornwall to Brisbane in the 1990s the author moves between characters and eras smoothly. It is the story of a woman who as a child ended up in Australia with no one. It tells her story as well as her grand daughters as she re traces her grandmothers life.

My favourite quote so far (only 1/2 of the way through the book) is "Her past was like a Russian doll, question inside question inside question."
The other books next to my bed are: Rosehips and Crabapples by Susan Irvine - a Tasmanian garden owners diary, my bible and the latest Harry Potter book (can't get the primary teacher out of me). The last book I put down after the first chapter. I was scared to bits with descriptions of giant snakes hanging from the ceiling eating humans who weren't Voldermorts followers.
The only problem with reading a book quickly is that the story comes to an end. I will need to look out for another to take its place as I am determined to sit in the sun this weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Birthday Gifts

I love wrapping or boxing beautiful gifts on someone else's behalf. I especially love writing the accompanying note on our gorgeous custom stationery. The Mummy's Favourite customer is a delight to work with! It is fun imagining the joy on someone's face when the postman knocks on the door with a cardboard box or satchel and the surprised recipient opens it up to find a thoughtful and lovely gift!

Today I sent a birthday gift to my new sister in law. Being Melbourne & winter I thought a hot water bottle, Be Genki Tranquility Bath Oil and a box of T2 tea was the perfect gift. My only problem was that I was not as organised as most & had to send it express to get there on time!

Some of the other gifts sent today include the cuddly Flatout Bear, Glasshouse candles, Gertie and Me Beanies ... The Mummy's Favourite customer is not just delightful - they also have great taste!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our graphics

I often get asked where the inspiration comes from for any graphic work that we undertake, logos, website etc. Like most people, it is from the world in which we live. I am a more keen than a green thumb gardener and simply love blossoms. The way that a tree can be stark naked during winter and then produce these amazingly beautiful flowers is truly quite incredible. I plant as many trees as my block will allow (or not!) and quite a few of these are blossoms. The latest one is a donut shaped peach tree. The fruit looks bizaare in the picture - I can't wait for its first crop!

The wren, which we have adapted to be red as blue didn't look quite as appealing, is my cheeky friend from our first home who followed me around the garden & always seemed to appear when I needed company. He would sometimes sit and watch me doing the dishes on the windowsill until his lady friends appeared & I would watch the way he would show off in front of them all!

So there you go. The story behind the Mummy's Favourite images & I am so pleased that our little red wren has appeared in this blog header and in some of our latest stationery lines! (and a big thanks to my AMAZING graphic designer!)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Decorating the Nursery

We are expecting our 3rd baby in 11.5 weeks (although Thomas was 10 days overdue & Milly was 9 days!) and it looks like I will have a blank nursery to work on next weekend. I can't wait! Perfect timing because I will be able to decorate with the new Little Chipipi wall stickers that should arrive in store over the next week or so.

I was stoked when I saw Sam's latest designs as, like the butterfly range they are cheery, use lovely colours and are friendly. I love birds and come from a sailing family - so either way we are set!
Only problem is that no one other than Kirk & I know the sex of this baby so the door will have to be locked somehow.... Any ideas on how to do this with a 5 year old, 2 year old & curious relatives!!!! ...