Friday, February 27, 2015

Closer to Nature Advanced Comfort Range & Explora Pack For Toddlers

I was very lucky to be sent some items to review from Closer to Nature, who make a fantastic range of baby and toddler feeding and change time products.  Despite not having a newborn or infant any more, I do have a very active toddler, who is not only busy feeding herself, but also still enjoying having bottles of formula twice a day.  It was lovely to be able to try out all these great products.
Advanced Comfort Bottle
I have never tried Closer to Nature's range of bottles before but I must honestly say I'm really impressed and would definitely recommend them to anyone making the switch from breast feeding to bottles, or those who either can't or don't want to breast feed.  I have always had bottles for all four of my children, because even though I did breast feed, I had a very limited milk supply and just wasn't good at it at all.  So I had to both breast and bottle feed my kids.  If I had to go back and do it again I would choose these bottles for sure.  The shape makes them really light and easy to hold, plus they are designed to feel like a breast, with the soft natural feeling silicone teat, which would have been perfect for me when I was doing both breast and bottle feeding during the one feed.  I think the proof was in the pudding for me because my daughter was perfectly happy!
The other thing I liked about them is the tube and value system they have, designed to help prevent colic, which can be caused by air bubbles in the milk.  My daughter used to get the hiccups after every feed (even BEFORE she was born....seriously!) and I think this value system would have stopped that. maybe not the hiccups she used to get in the womb.....
Magic Mat
Ok, so this is the coolest thing!  For any of you who have a toddler who likes to fling their food (or their bowl) across the room or at their siblings....then this is for you!  The Magic Mat is a great rubber suction mat that sticks easily to all flat surfaces and will hold either bowls or plates firmly in place.  Yay! 
I found it easy to clean, just wipe it down, but it can go in the dishwasher.  Bonus!
Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls & Explora First Cutlery Set
I have used these bowls everyday since I was sent them, and they have quickly replaced the other toddler feeding bowls in my cupboard.  I have had quite a few bowls made out of melamine, which is supposedly unbreakable, but my tiled floors seem to make a mockery out of this.  These bowls are perfect.  They come in a pack of four, which is all you should ever need with one toddler, they are dishwasher, microwave and steriliser safe, BPA free (just like their bottles), and the triangular shape makes scooping food out really easy.  In combination with the Magic Mat they are awesome.  My daughter didn't lose her spaghetti for a change!
She had no problems with the Explora First Cutlery Set either.  It's lightweight and easy to hold and has been designed so that toddlers can make an easy transition from using soft handled feeding spoons to metal cutlery. 
Explora Active Sporty Cups
I was quite excited to receive these cups, if the truth be told.  I've been on the look out for a good cup to give to my daughter, instead of always giving her a bottle to drink out of.  She's over 18 months now and I am still in the habit of handing a bottle to her every time she wants a drink.  These are great.  As well as the cute designs they are so easy to use with a screw on lid and a simple value inside.  There's no flippy lid, but despite that they don't leak.  They can hold hot or cold drinks, and if you lose your values you can buy replacements.  They are dishwasher safe too, and I'm finding that my two younger boys are enjoying them age four and five!
Soothers & Dummies
There is always such controversy surrounding the use of dummies.  Me...I'm a fan.  If they help you get a little peace, or stop your baby using YOU as a dummy (which my children liked to do), then by all means...use a dummy!  Closer to Nature has a range of four different types, the 'Anytime', 'Night time', 'Air style' and 'Fun style'.  They all have the Orthodontic Teat Shape, a reversible silicone teat design, are BPA free and are available in 2 age stages, 0 to 6 months and 6 to 18 months.  I really like the 'Night time' style (which is the pink and mauve one in the photo above), as the handle glows, therefore they are easy to find at night...which trust a total genius move as I have spent many a night groping blindly under the cot trying to find a dummy...., and I also like the 'Air style' as they have air holes in the shield to encourage air flow to help minimise the risk of skin irritation, which is something my daughter ends up with.  It will be great to use these to stop all those little red spots around her mouth.
Explora Electric Baby Food Blender
Now this I loved and wished I had one when I was actually having to make baby food.  It made it so much easier!  I think that I would have relied more on home cooked baby food and less on the bought stuff if I had a little blender like this.  The size is perfect for making up single or smaller portions and it is so easy to clean.  It can all be popped in the dishwasher (top shelf only), and can be used for fruit or vegetables.  It has a two speed setting, so you can make smooth purees or have a slightly chunkier texture as your infant advances with their eating, and it also has a pulse action, a lid with a safety lock and non slip rubber feet.  I have included a little video below to show you the blender in action!

Overall I was really impressed with all the products and was very lucky to give them a try.  Thank you to Closer to Nature for sending them to me to try!


closer to nature® is the number one baby feeding accessories brand in the UK and one of the top brands of infant products and accessories in the global market.   Loved by parents and little ones, closer to nature® receives numerous awards and accolades year after year globally. The closer to nature® range is available at stockists nationwide, for more information please visit I



Shopping Haul Vlog

Tuesday this week was a rather momentous day because all three of my boys were either at a) school b) kinder or c) day care, which as a result left me alone with my little we decided to be girly and go shopping.
Now my normal Friday post is a 'Sweet Words & Pretty Pictures' run down of all the lovely things that I encountered during the week, usually showcasing some of the new items that have entered my life.  Well, considering quite a FEW new things have entered my life this week I thought I would do a quick-ish shopping haul video for you.  What a day that was!  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

OOTD Out On The Prairie

I know my location doesn't look so 'out on the prairie'.  In fact, when I say 'prairie' all I can think about is that TV show..."Little House on the Prairie".  Then I start thinking about fairies.  Why you might ask?  Because my sister used to say something about "Little House and the Fairies" or something similar when she was little.  Cute hey!  However the reason I'm going on about 'prairies' is because this is called the 'Prairie top', which is by Boho Bird and is from Birdsnest.
I really like this top.  It's perfect for 'blowing in the wind'....(it was a bit windy while I shot these...not saying I had wind at the time).
It's also great if you are having one of those...'slightly chubbier' days.
Or if you run out of storage space and you want to hide things in your sleeves.
I'm really liking the khaki colour as it suits the red in my hair and my green eyes.  Plus I'm completely camouflaged.  You can't see me now...can you....
These are my favourite Ariat jeans and boots...which are in the grass getting really wet right now.
What the??.....How did that get there??
Hmmm...I wonder if I just keep going if the kids will notice that I'm gone.....

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weekly Vlog 6

Welcome to yet another Weekly Vlog.  Last week saw me spend my entire earnings that I made taking photos at a gift shop and café the gift shop and café.....whoops(!)...., my kids watch more TV in a foreign language, I get my first haircut in almost a year, I have a girls day out with my shoe obsessed little girl, my husband gets a case of man-flu, I introduce you to our feathered family member, I drop my dacks by the side of the road, stuff myself in a change room with my kids, do a bit of winter clothes shopping and have lots of puppy cuddles with my husband's working dog Pip.  All round a great week!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to Take Commercial Photographs

A large portion of the photographs I take could be classed as commercial photography.  The shots I take for the magazine I work for could also quite easily be used by the business for marketing purposes, whether on their website or for brochures, flyers or catalogues.  A lot of the work I do for the magazine is actually photos for advertisements.  Commercial photography wasn't a direction that I purposely took with my work, I seem to have just fallen in to it, but it is one that I really enjoy.
I find myself taking shots of galleries, cafes and businesses, and having to focus on food, art, jewellery, furniture, home wares and even things that might seem a bit uninteresting, like paint!  I always try to make everything look the best it can.
I find that often looking at things from a different angle can really highlight them better.  Such as this chair.  As well as being a fabulous orange, it looks a lot better taken at an angle because you can see the legs, the fabric on the seat and get more of an idea of the overall shape, rather than just take a shot directly from the front.
Be conscious of what is in the background as well as the foreground, and adjust your camera so that you have a greater depth of field so that both foreground and background are in focus.  Although having said that it can look fantastic when you focus in up close on something and the background is blurred, or it has a shallow depth of field.
I like to get shots of staff going about their job.  Your client might not end up using these shots, but it is good to provide them.  I think having people in photos makes a business seem more personal and approachable, which I truly believe is important.
Make use of natural light.  I never ever use flash photography.  I hate how it looks.  Make use of what light you have, and if it is a little dark make sure you have a tripod.  You don't necessarily need to spend a fortune on one, although I do recommend not buying the cheapest you can find....because it will be flimsy and most likely not take the weight of your me!  Adjust your camera to a slower shutter speed if there is less light, and if you have to, editing will be your new best friend.
Sometimes you might get lucky with your lighting too.  This shot above was actually kind of a fluke (don't you love it when that happens!).  It was late afternoon and the sun was streaming in through the windows and it hit these maple syrup bottles beautifully.  Snap!  Perfect shot.  This one was used in this cafe's advertisement in pride of place, right in the middle of the ad.
As well as adjusting your camera settings you may find that you also have to adjust your own bodies settings!  For example with this photo above I was perched precariously on top of a ladder.  I did not feel particularly safe but it made for a great photo.  This way you can really see the boxes, the products themselves (the mushrooms) look good and are easy to see, and it was just an all round interesting way to look at things.  This photo below was another such example.  I was hanging out the back of the moving starters gate at the Warragul Harness Racing Cup when I took this shot.  Let's just say it was exhilarating.  And terrifying.  And incredible.  The horses were literally about a metre from the back of the vehicle, all baring down on me...nostrils flaring, manes tossing....amazing.  And I wasn't strapped in either!

Sometimes you might find yourself going 'out on location'.  These mushroom growers sold their product at markets, as well as direct to some smaller supermarkets.  It was nice to get this shot of the seller interacting with a customer.  Just make sure that you ask the customer if they mind being in a photo first.
This was another business I took photos of at this market.  It also is important to get close ups of their goods and their display.
Sometimes 'out on location' can really mean being 'out on location'....and you find yourself all over the place.  For example....
....this free-range egg farm.  Wear appropriate foot wear is my advice here.  Oh....and don't accidently touch the electric fence.  I found this out the hard way.
See what I mean about appropriate foot wear?  High heels are not your friend when you're taking photos.  You need to be able to move, to be able to get up and down ladders, or even lie on the ground.  And if you are have to be comfortable knowing that your shoes can handle the cow pats.  I take a lot of photos of cows....
...more cows...
...well steers actually.  I do take the odd photo of an alpaca here and there....
....Watch out.  They spit! biggest piece of advice with commercial photography?  Be prepared for anything!

Monday, February 23, 2015

OOTD Wild at Heart

I have begun putting together my Autumn/Winter wardrobe.  Needless to say I have been a frequent visitor of late to Birdsnest, which is my favourite online store.  The ladies that work there must think I do nothing but shop!  Which isn't true.  Really! (hmmm....)  Actually, with the volume of things I have purchased there over the last few years I'd say I would own a large portion of shares in the company!  Almost...
I'm a bit of a sucker for a nice cardi.  Call me a grandma, but I am.  However a cropped one is a little less of a 'Nana Knit'.  Actually, I can't wear long ones, as nice as they are, but I'm just too short.  Call it 'ducks disease' if you bum is just too close to the ground.  This beautiful little grey number is from Birdsnest (again) and is by my favourite label Boho Bird.  They call this the 'Fireside Button' cardigan!
It was quite slippery here.  I nearly fell down this hill.  There's actually a creek at the bottom...which leads to a waterfall.  Now THAT could have been interesting!
This scarf is another purchase from Birdsnest and is by Boho Bird, and called the 'Wild Lace Trim Scarf'.  I just love all their gypsy inspired bohemian feeling range!  It teams well with the cowgirl boots.  No matter which way you look at it.  This scarf is actually cotton and the lace pattern through it is gorgeous.  It looks so old fashioned.
It makes me go all pensive and moody looking.
This denim skirt you have seen many times before...another Boho Bird number.  And the Ariats.  They got really wet out here in this paddock!
Think I'll just have a little rest....
Don't eat the berries!!
I promise...I'm only looking.....ok...maybe one.........NO!!!!
Ok...fine.  I resisted the inedible poisonous berries.  But I'm not happy about it.