Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Giveaway!

So I have decided to have a little giveaway!  I've been working pretty hard on this blog lately so I thought it was time for a little treat...for you guys! 
 
Firstly a sincere thank you to those who follow along with me either through Google, Bloglovin, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram...(or a combination of some of these!)  I really appreciate it.  As a writer it is lovely to know that somebody reads what you write!
 
Moo Goo is one of my favourite brands...and it's all Australian!  I have a 'Skim Milk Udder Cream' to give away (don't be fooled by the name...it's not for your cow!...although I'm sure she'd appreciate it), which is a great moisturiser that you can use anywhere, and also a 'Lip Balm'. 
 
I'm going to be running this little giveaway for a week, so next Wednesday I have will my 11 year old draw a name out of a hat (literally) and come up with a winner.  This giveaway is available worldwide so please share!
 
To enter just comment below and let me know that you are following along with me on either Bloglovin or Google (the links are here on the side of this page) and if you could also follow along with my Facebook page here.
 
Good luck!



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Is In My Bag

Actually that's a good question because half the time I don't even know what is in my bag.  Having read quite a few posts from fellow bloggers who dissect their handbags for us, I thought I would show you into the depths of my nappy bag...basically whether you are interested or not (!) 
 
Pre-babies I never carried a handbag.  I'm a 'wallet-in-the-back-pocket' kinda gal, and I squish my mobile phone in the front pocket of  my jeans.  I always have pockets (I always wear jeans), so never have to worry about a bag. 
 
Post-babies and I'm stuck with a nappy bag, because you just can't wrangle a sea of children without one.  Trust me...once they have got past the 'I-need-nappies-wipes-changes-of-clothes-hats-toys-etc' I'm going right back to that 'wallet/mobile phone-in-the-jeans-pocket' combination.  Too many hypens??  Perhaps.
 
So...this is my bag..
It's quite big!  Understandably.  It's also real leather and it was a treat to myself for my birthday last year.  It's from Isle of Charlie, which is a great website and I ordered it online.  I figured that with four kids (and three of them being under school age) I was going to get a lot of mileage out of this bag.   I tossed up between a gorgeous soft blue version, but then figured I'd get sick of it so went for the camel coloured.  I wonder if camels appreciate having bag colours named after them? Hmmmm....
 
Inside you will find terribly boring things like...
Ok, so there are nowhere near as many nappies in my bag as there used to be.  At one stage I had three in nappies.  It was fabulous.  Not really.
Wipes.  Possibly THE most handy invention.  EVER.  Seriously.  As well as wiping little bottoms they do noses, faces, hands, shoes, benches, bathrooms, toilets.....the list goes on.  I'm always covered in sticky finger stains from my kids and I'm often found scrubbing at my jeans during the last minute dash to head out the door with a bunch of wipes.  Buy some.  You will thank me.
We're getting out of hat weather really but as it is Spring it is weird and crazy and everywhere so the hat still makes an appearance.  Love the bobbly bits that hang down.  Gives my daughter something to chew on.
These rescue pastilles are awesome.  I keep some by my bed too.  I have the odd panic attack here and there, not ashamed to admit, and these are great.  I don't usually need to resort to these during the day, only at night sometimes, but it's handy having them in my bag just in case.
This is a little plastic container.  How cute is it?!  Currently there is nothing in it but I usually carry emergency snacks in here....biscuits, fruit...chocolate....tranquillisers.
I have done a Moo Goo review here.  This is an all purpose moisturiser that is really handy, has a sort of marshmallow-ey kind of fragrance and occasionally I will use it as a nappy balm.  Love it.
Yep..cute squirrel purse which is empty.  No idea why it is there.
Gorgeous pair of designer sunglasses by Ralph Lauren that I have hardly worn.  Got them a couple of years ago.  Mum picked them up for me when she was on holidays with my sister and her family.  They were in Italy!  Exciting!  And it took me ages to pay her back....I'm terrible.  I need to wear them more this year because the sun is really harsh here in Australia and I have wrinkles under my eyes from too much squinting.  Most likely from when I worked as a farm hand on various farms.  Hence my love for anti-wrinkle eye cream.
 
There is also usually my wallet but it is a bit of a disgrace and while taking these photos it had gone missing, thanks to my kids.  However, it is brown leather and is from R.M. Williams, which is an iconic Australian brand.  When I met my husband he had exactly the same wallet.  It was kooky.  I generally live in my R.M. Williams boots, but at the moment they have holes in the soles and let in water.  Otherwise they are the best.  (The boots aren't in my bag by the way...as we are talking about what is in my bag...but once I get on to the topic of my boots.....!  Enough Amber, shut up about the boots!!).
 
So that's about it really, other than the bits of fluff and the odd Matchbox car that I find, and random coins floating around the bottom. 
 
What exciting things have you got in your bag?












Monday, September 15, 2014

The Perfect Weekend

Yesterday was a fantastic Sunday.  Not cold, nice and sunny, the perfect Spring day.  There was also this lovely sunset just as I was out in the ute with my husband checking the ewes and their lambs.
 
My parents had organised a big family catch up, you know, all the extended relatives, and it was really great.  My brother came across from the Western District of Victoria, my sister came down from Melbourne and even a cousin (who I haven't seen since she was a baby...she's now in her early 20s), had come down from Brisbane!  Basically I saw family members that I haven't seen for years.
 
So I got a big group photo...
That's me with the big arrow pointing at me head!  My husband is on the end behind me holding our three year old.  My sister is the brunette in front of me.  Mum is the red head to my left, my brother is next to her and Dad is sitting next to him.  The rest are uncles and aunts, nieces, a second cousin and I suppose you would call her daughters third cousins, a couple of partners to relos, a bunch of nieces and my kids seem to make up a bulk of the photo...(I guess that is what happens when you have four.)  There is also an alarming number of red heads in the photo.
 
I wanted everyone to build a pyramid for the photo..you know, get down on their hands and knees and stack up in a pile, but strangely no one liked that idea.
 
It was a great day filled with multiple casseroles cooked by Mum, a birthday cake for Dad's birthday (plus a few others whose birthday's fall in September) and a great tribe of children having a wonderful time.
I just couldn't resist sharing this cute photo I took of one of my nieces and my baby girl.
 
After all the fun, and everyone started to go home, I went out to my in-law's farm where my husband had disappeared to early, as he needs to keep checking our ewes that are still lambing.  We piled the kids into his old ute (which is aptly named "The War Bus"), and off we went to the back paddock.
There are lambs literally everywhere.

Unfortunately I wasn't close enough to get a shot of the group of about 20 lambs that were playing some kind of chasing game.  They were running about in a mob, up and over the hills, sweeping over like a wave in the ocean, with the occasional froth and bubble when a lamb would leap up and kick their heels up.  They are very springy!  If I was closer I would have filmed it and attempted my first YouTube video to add to this blog.  Maybe one day!

All in all a very good weekend!
How was your weekend?!







 





Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chocolate Heaven

Two things I love....gorgeous packaging and beauty products...and chocolate! 
 
Never would I have ever dreamed that I would find these two things combined.  But...scrolling through Mecca (awesome online beauty store) I found this....
And when it arrived in the mail only a couple of days later....and I took it out of this incredible box that makes it look like a candy bar out of the original 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' movie..., I discovered this...
I know!  I know exactly what you are you thinking!  What the....!!!!  It's NOT edible..but it sure as sheep looks it.  It's actually tin so it feels really nice in your hand and it's quite large too...as big as an actually chocolate bar really, so if my husband goes to brush his teeth one day and comes out of the bathroom with this in his hand, wondering why the hell I have mistaken the pantry for the bathroom cupboard...I would not blame him at all.  (However if he tries to take a bite out of it I will be a little worried.)
 
Inside it gets even more glorious...
There's a nifty little protective piece of plastic over the eye shadow colours (YES!!  It's an EYE SHADOW PALETTE!!  Ha!), which lists all the delicious colours, which include things like White Chocolate, Black Forest Truffle, Triple Fudge, Cherry Cordial, Crème Brulee, Strawberry Bon Bon and Candid Violet...to name a few.  It's insane.
 
And what's more....holy Underwear Batman...it SMELLS of chocolate!!  I'm in heaven.
 
The product itself is really lovely and after about twenty minutes of mucking about with all the colours I am happy with my purchase.  It wasn't the cheapest eye shadow I have ever bought but it makes up for it because it's just so gorgeous, and all of the colours, (the browns, nudes, pinks and even the purple shade) are perfect for my sludgy brown/green goopy coloured eyes.  Basically, what I am saying, is that these colours highlight the green and my eyes look purrr-ty!
 
I also bought a little cutesy Rebecca Bonbon lip gloss, basically because if I hit the $75 mark I got free shipping...so it actually worked out better to get an extra product and pay a certain amount than pay the same amount for one product plus shipping (if that makes sense).
 
Here tis..
I had a little test...popping a bit on my finger before applying it to my lips, and it is your usual run of the mill nice shiny lip gloss.  It has a nice sweet smell but is very sticky.  I am thinking it would be good as a gift for a niece who is in her tween's, because it is the sort of thing that young girls like when they first start dabbling in make up.  It's more fun than glamour, certainly, but fun is good!
 
Has anyone else discovered any really delicious make up products lately??!








Thursday, September 11, 2014

Five Best Jobs For a Stay at Home Mum

Ok, so these might not be the best five jobs for everyone, nor the best five jobs in the universe, but they are handy jobs if you want to earn a little bit of extra cash and you are a stay at home mum.  Some stay at home mums even do these jobs, do them well, AND make quite a decent living from them.  Anything is possible, with a little bit of hard work.
 
They are also great jobs if you just want to have a go at them part time, work around your family commitments and earn yourself a bit of spending money or some extra cash to cover groceries, bills or your makeup habit, (or whatever your obsession might be!)
 
Five that stand out for me are....
Blogging
 
So blogging might not be the most lucrative job, but nowadays the possibilities are endless if you are prepared to work hard at it, keeping in mind that this is not a 'get rich quick' fix.  Some make it and some don't, but there is certainly no harm in trying.  You read everywhere that if you go into blogging for the sole purpose of making money then it will show and you will most likely end up not succeeding.  For a blog to be successful there needs to be passion behind it and this can not shine through to your readers if it exists because of superficial reasons like money.  In my case I blog because I want to practice my writing and photography skills (kind of like riding a bike...must keep peddling), in between doing my magazine articles.  As the magazine is only published quarterly I can go weeks without writing anything, so I like to keep my hand in.  This way I write everyday (or at least try to), and practice a variety of photography styles. 
 
I am also discovering a huge number of other benefits that I know will far outweigh financial gain (if I someday become successful in that way), and these include becoming a part of an incredibly supportive online community and learning new skills.  For example at the moment I am learning how to be my own stylist so I can set up better photo shoots, (as you can probably tell it's still a bit hit and miss!)
 
Party Plan
 
Now I have put my toe in the waters of the party plan world a few times, and although I wasn't particularly good at it (my personality is not really suited...I'm a bit of an introvert), it is a fantastic way for a stay at home mum to earn an income.  Some women achieve massive annual turnovers and recruit lots of other women, become leaders, go on overseas trips for free, earn jewellery and other prizes and are even given company cars. 
 
Like everything all these benefits don't come easily, you have to work at it, but if you are willing and are keen to put yourself out there, these companies are there to back you all the way.  Remember, they want you to succeed.  Your success means more sales for them so it's a win win situation all round.  There is also a great community, with team meetings, conferences and all sorts of support, so you are not alone in your journey, and this is fantastic if you spend the majority of your time home with the kids.
 
Two party plan companies that I have tried, and enjoyed, include The Body Shop at Home, which is exactly like The Body Shop, except it comes to you (!)..and also Intimo, which is a company that sells beautiful lingerie. 
Craft
 
Are you any good at a craft or hobby?  Why not turn that into a business?  So many women do it successfully, and with the internet and online sales you no longer have to rely on attending endless weekend markets...although of course you can still this if you want to...and it is excellent exposure/marketing if you do!
 
You can set up your own website, which need not cost a fortune, in fact you could use a free blogging site to do so if you wished like Wordpress or BlogSpot, although if you wanted to add a Shopping Cart you will need to look at other options.
 
You can also set up your own page on sites like Etsy, or there is also Made It, which is for those who hand make items in Australia.
 
An example of a really successful business is a children's clothing store called Whale Spout.  Created by Kate, a mother of three daughters, she was concerned about clothes that were too 'adult' for children, so decided to create her own.  She has been running her business for a few years now, which is a giant success in itself.
 
Bookkeeping
 
I am not a 'maths head' at all..so this would be a terrible job for me (!), but for many it is a fantastic way to earn a little extra, and for others it can even make them a decent income.  There are bookkeeping courses available, or you could incorporate skills you already have that you used in your former life when you worked full time.  I have a sister-in-law who runs a brilliant accounting practice from home, and the great thing about it is she can take on as much or as little as she wants to suit her.
 
The key to this one would be organisation, and having your own home office would be enormously beneficial.  The ability to be able to shut yourself away from noisy children and other distractions, like the television, would be important, so if you have the space, create a corner that is officially 'Mum's Work Space So Keep Out!!'
Makeup Artist
 
Do you love makeup?  Are you forever buying new products?  Can't go past the makeup counters in department stores without coming away with various streaks of lipstick up your arms??!  Maybe you could try your hand at being a makeup artist.
 
A natural flair for colour, style and, obviously, applying makeup would be a handy talent, but like everything all these skills can be taught.  My older sister is a brilliant makeup artist, doing weddings and fashion makeup, and I remember very well being her 'model' while she attended her makeup course.  (I used to come home with half a face of makeup...it was hilarious...but great fun!)
 
This is a great 'portable' type of job, so once you have the skills, the makeup and a big big carry case (preferably with wheels and a handle), you are set.  Having a website can help, but there are also lots of places you can list your services.  Be prepared to be super busy around 'wedding season', so in the warmer months...so don't expect to have many weekends free.  But the joy of this is going new places, meeting new people, doing something you love, and if it is on the weekend then hopefully your partner can watch the kids.  Check out my brilliant sister's site here and also here at Flawless Hair and Makeup.
 


Anyway, I hope this has given you food for thought, or even sparked a few different ideas of your own.  For those stay at home mums who want to get back into having some form of career there are plenty of options. 
 
Good luck!




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cowgirl Dirt Review

With the major clean up of my 'well beyond it's expiry date' makeup I discovered this really great natural brand called Cowgirl Dirt.  Of course the name attracted me in the first place, and the cool names for products, like 'Yeehaw Lip Stick' and eye shadow colours such as 'Cowgirl Up', 'Let's Ride', 'Line Dance' and 'Rodeo Rose'. 
 
A family owned and operated company, they are based in Montana in the United States and "the brand stands for the best of Western tradition."  I like it.
 
As I needed a few bits it was more value for money for me to go for a gift set, so I went for the 'Cute Cowgirl Collection' at $59.99 US.  All contained in a little hessian bag (nice touch!), I received three eye shadows in 'Copper', 'Wheatfield' and 'Saddle Up', which are all neutral colours.  I have sort of sludgey coloured eyes, ranging between khaki and green, so these colours really bring out the green.  There was also a 'Mud Slinger Eye Liner' in a lovely brown, called 'Cow Pie'.  (Not sure what cow pie means in the US but here in Australia it's kind of alluding to a cow pat....or poop!)  But cultural differences aside (!) it is a really nice colour and blends in well.
There were also two lip products.  This one here is the 'Bodacious Botanical Lip Gloss' which I am quite impressed with.  It has a brush and the gloss goes on easily and is not too shiny or sticky, which I'm a fan of.  It also has a lot of gorgeous ingredients so that it is ultra-moisturising, such as Shea Butter, Organic Beeswax and Organic Coconut Oil.  The Organic Peppermint also gives it a lovely fragrance. 
The other lip product is the 'Yeehaw Lip Stick' in Sweet Tea.  It's a great brown sort of shade, which suits my auburn hair and eye colour.  There are 11 lip colours to choose from and I was tempted to try a few more.  You can buy samples of their products, which is a fantastic idea, and a lot of them sit around the 99 cent mark, so you are certainly not breaking the bank.  Plus it means you might give something a shot that you otherwise might not...and then you could discover a whole new look you may never have been brave enough to try!
 
Coming from the US they were pretty quick with their delivery, and they also ship to many places world wide, so all good!



 



Monday, September 8, 2014

August Favourites

It has been quite a big month here.  As well as all my usual daily bits and bobs to do I have decided that I am going to push this blog as far as it can go and see where it can take me.  I have had this blog for a while but only in the last month have I really focused on growing it and really setting myself some goals.  Already it has been quite a journey.
 
I have learnt so much, even in the last few weeks.  Little things, that might not seem like much to some, but to me (and my blog), have made a huge difference.  For example, changing the look of it with a complete redesign, (thanks to Designer Blogs) and also spending a lot of time becoming a part of the blogging community.  Discovering new blogs, finding so many creative people, has been really exciting...and it's kind of addictive!  Even this evening I learnt how to make this photo collage, thanks to Zoe over at Sweet Electric who wrote a post today on how she edits her beautiful photographs.  A big thank you to Zoe!  I had actually been wondering for a couple of weeks how and where I was going to be able to achieve this look which I think looks rather snappy.
 
Anyway, as well as deciding on a direction for my space, and spending a huge amount of time devoted to it, I have also found a few August Favourites!
 
Here they are!....
Is this not the cutest bag ever!  Ok, as well as the horse, it is actually a lunch bag!  Ah..sneaky!  So it's actually insulated, which means that this will keep my little girl's lunch nice and cool, because I really did buy this for her for when she grows up a bit more and has to take a packed lunch.  Probably in another two years time.  Designed in Canada it's from So Young
I'm still really impressed with this Mor Lip Macaron in French Vanilla.  It has quite a dent in it already.  I can't quite get over the fact that it smells exactly like vanilla ice cream, and since ice cream is it's own food group in my book, this will be one that I will get again. 
Ok, so I found this bubble bath in my local chemist and it was on special!  Yay!  This smells gorgeous too, and although slightly floral it definitely has notes of honey in there.  Being tear free it's been great for my kids, especially my baby girl.  The kids love bubbles, but then what kid doesn't!
I love the posters that were made for me especially by Nicola and Eloise from It's a Jolly Thing which I am yet to get framed.  Been a little busy.  I think they will look super cute on my children's walls.  As long as they don't knock them down while they play 'jump from bed to bed' it will be all ok. 
And finally, there is String and Salt which is now one of my new favourite shops, and has already siphoned a fair bit of money out of me.  I bought a gorgeous French recipe/travel type book for my Mum here, the horse lunch bag came from here and there were a few other things....I just can't remember them right now.  Perhaps it's selective memory that you suddenly get when your husband asks where all the money went....
 
Hope everyone's August was as fruitful as mine!





 






 
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