Monday, 26 January 2015

return to centre

This morning I took the kids outside, with my camera and ipad, in the hopes of gettings some day-before-school-starts photos. I walked inside in tears, just 15 minutes later.
The constant need to one-up each other, hitting Sophie, pulling stupid faces when I'm trying to take photos, kicking each other when they're laying down on the picnic blanket. I'd had enough.

The school holidays have been long, this summer. This sort of behaviour hasn't been exclusive to today, it has been constant, day after day, hour after hour.

But it's not even as if their behaviour is particularly bad. They're bored, and the summer of yes didn't particularly work out for us (I got fed up with saying yes when it didn't impact behaviour at all; and have often found myself saying no just because I can say no, not the best form of parenting in the world.) But my patience is short. And the noise is overwhelming.

Because that seems to be the biggest issue for me. The constant noise, in the form of questions, and comments, laughing and yelling. Noise. No quiet. Except those few moments each day that they play minecraft quietly together (and the last week, that hasn't even worked for very long)

Thank goodness school starts tomorrow! I'm not sure my brain can handle much more of the noise!

{Linking up with Alicia for Open Slather; and Eva for Mummy Mondays}

Sunday, 25 January 2015

seen around the web

I love the save feature on facebook. I hated it when it first came out, because I knew if I used it, I would probably save and never read. But I've got over that (although I was right, I do sometimes save stuff without reading it), but using it has expanded my reading - now I can save stuff from business groups I'm in, and blogging groups, and even just what shows up in my feed. And the best bit is I can share them with you!

It's not your job to make your kids happy  |  Picklebums  |  I've been reading Kate's blog for a long time, she's one of the first Aussie bloggers I ever read outside of scrapbooking, and yet her advise is timeless, and so crucial for all parents.

How to choose fabric  |  Sew Delicious  |  Ros puts together beautiful fabric combinations, so I was excited to see her tips

Coconut Lime cookies  |  Boiled Eggs & Soldiers  |  we need to shake up our cookie repertoire as we head back to school in a couple of days, these look like a great place to start

We need to talk about death and dying  |  Sarah's Heart Writes  |  Sarah's words are always powerful, and thoughtful.

Nine tips for organiing your desk  |  Hightail blog  |  I am always drowning in clutter on my desk, so these tips are helpful (and on this week's to-do list once the kids are at school)

OLW 2015 January Pages  |  Emilie Ahern  |  Totally inspired by these pages to try a different album size this year

Backyard Chickens. What you need to know  |  The Multitasking Mummy  |  We had chickens growing up (ten was far too many, mum!), and it's on our one-day list, so I keep reading up about keeping chickens in suburbia

Favourite books of 2014  |  Modern Mrs Darcy  |  I haven't seen many "I read" or "best of" lists this January, so I bookmarked every one I did see, how else will I find good reading material?

linking up with Calm to Conniption for the Ultimate Rabbit hole Link Up (what an awesome name!)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

BRAVE | embracing what scares you

I bought a camera last week. (you might have heard me complain on facebook when my computer ate the manual. Which is still stuck inside my computer.)

I've wanted one since I first heard of them about six months ago. I did my research, dreamed of owning one, and waited patiently.

A couple of times over the last month, Steve and I have talked about buying it.
"Just go", he says, "you know you'll get the use out of it."

And he's right, photos and scrapbooking go hand in hand, and I've been picking up my Fuji a lot more in recent months, after years of loyalty to my iPhone.

But I'm scared of it.

It feels different.

And without a manual in my hands, I can't even get a live screen.

It cost so much, I don't want to break it.

So after a week, it still sits, waiting, on top of my computer.

I feel sad for it. And cranky with myself.

What if it gets broken? By the kids? By me?

Excuses. Excuses.

Isn't that why I chose BRAVE this year?

To defeat the excuses?

I think I'm going to head to the park today to play.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

5 tips to help kids (and parents) with anxiety | guest post

Has someone in your house got the back to school blues?

Twelve months ago I became a school mum for the first time. My five year old was off to Primary School. It was a big step.

He has never been a child who coped well with new things and he did NOT like to be separated from me but he loved his preschool year and I figured that starting school might be a little nerve-wracking at first - for both of us – but we’d get into the swing of it after a week or so.

Well it took him about five weeks to settle in. Five weeks until he stopped asking me to stay in the classroom with him. Five weeks until he would sit at his table and start the morning’s activities, chatting to his classmates, rather than hanging firmly by my side. It was five weeks before, on pickup, he said he had a great day and regaled me with stories of what he did at play time rather than tell me it was, ‘okay’ and nothing more.

I expected this stuff. I know him well. What I did not expect was the tantrums, the acting out and the generally difficult behaviour that occurred in the two weeks before school even began and well into those first five weeks.

Starting school, and starting a new school year after the long summer holidays, can be a cause for real anxiety for some kids. There are a number of symptoms you might pick up on, including:
  • Complaints of physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhoea. These might occur in the days, maybe even weeks leading up to the start of the school year but may be particularly prevalent in the hours before you set off on the school run.
  • Behavioural signs such as tantrums, inflexibility, clinginess, avoidance and defiance (that’s what I got from Mr 5 last year.)

What causes it?

Kids, like adults, can be fearful of new situations and starting a new school year, even if they have been at that school for years already, is new and different. A new classroom, new teacher, new classmates. This can be compounded if there is something additionally new for your child this year. Maybe a new campus, new playground or even something exciting like a new leadership role. It’s all different and that can unsettle the best of us.

Additionally, some children can harbour deeper fears that they may not be able to put into words; the fear that something might happen to a loved one while they are at school, or they may not do as well this year as they expect of themselves. Some kids may fear another student if they have experienced bullying or social difficulties in the past.

What can we do to help?

  • Try talking to your child about what might be worrying them and reassure them if you can. This will be easier with older rather than little kids who might not yet have the language and ability to understand or express their fears. Even older kids might find it tough, however, and you might need to do a bit of probing and careful questioning to uncover the issue.
  • Explore and establish a support system at school. Chat to you child about friends they have in their class, teachers or other staff they feel comfortable with and who they might go to if they are feeling sad or anxious at school.
  • Relaxation is great for kids and adults alike when dealing with anxiety. Simple, kid-friendly mindfulness techniques can help kids to get less caught up in their thoughts and worries. Lying in bed and listening to outside noises such as birds and street sounds for a minute or on waking can help set them up for the day.
  • Get them out and about to play. This is a great distraction if kids are getting anxious about the approach of the school year. Physical play like running, trampolining, climbing, swimming, ball play and bike riding does wonders for kids’ mental wellbeing as well as their physical health. It also helps their sleep, their concentration, their social skills (when playing with others) and it has been shown to help their ability to cope with emotional challenges.
  • Laughter! This is a wonderful way to shift a negative mood to a positive one and it has been shown to soothe physical tension and to help the body relax. Pull funny faces, tickle, make a joke or watch silly cartoons. A great distraction from anxiety too.
My boy hasn’t shown any signs of worry about the beginning of the new school yet but two weeks is a long time when you’re six. I have no doubt there are tantrums and difficult behaviour on the horizon. But I know what to expect this year and I know what to do about it. Hopefully you do now too.

Onwards and upwards,

P.S. If anxiety about school continues for more than six weeks into term, if you are concerned about the degree of anxiety your child is experiencing or if symptoms of school anxiety are becoming too difficult to manage please see your GP who can refer you to a psychologist. Many psychologists are now able to bulk bill their services through Medicare.

About Ellen
Ellen is a Psychologist, writer and mum. Melbourne-born she spent most of her 20s and 30s in Sydney and now lives in beautiful Ballarat, in the Victorian Goldfields. Ellen writes stuff to inspire, to inform and sometimes to challenge. She knows a lot about how people work at work, how people are different and unique and how people make the most out of life. Ellen blogs at If you’d like to ask a question or share a story she’d love to hear from you. You can email her at

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

review |

This is a sponsored post for All opinions are mine.
I consider myself a pretty savvy online shopper. I've had an eBay account for over ten years, and have spent many a dollar on scrapbooking products that my local shop didn't have in store. But I never quite understood Ozsale, until recently.

There are regular emails (I get 3 a day), telling you about current sales, sales starting soon, and sales almost finished. Something catches your eye, so you click through and check it out.
The website is easy to use from iPad or computer (although I never did check it out from my iPhone), and everything is laid with big graphics to click through.
But what is it? Well, it's like a lot of little sales inside a website. Each mini-sale is open for a few days (there's a very clear countdown), and once the sale closes then it ships from the supplier. It's a clever way to keep prices down through "group buying", and OzSale has a great selection of home goods as well as clothes and shoes.
Once the sale ends, the order is placed with the supplier, and your account is updated with delivery info.
Then you can click through and find tracking numbers and parcel information.

Each of my parcels arrived within a reasonable time, considering it was Christmas, and they were mostly coming from overseas. Signature is required on delivery (but my postie left mine when he knew I was home), and I even remembered to give the items I'd ordered for stocking stuffers as stocking stuffers!

I keep checking the emails to see what's coming up, I'm on the look out for some cushions and a tea pot next. {and I'm told that $5 for O.P.I. and essie nail polishes is a pretty good deal, I'm loving my new stash of colour!}

disclaimer - I was given an OzSale voucher in return for my review. All opinions are mine.
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