Raising Will

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Bringing the fabulous back – Unlocking my style with Styling You

Recently I took on the Styling You ‘Style Holiday Camp’ to work at making my own rules when it came to fashion.

Today I’m guest posting over at Styling You and you can check out my journey over there…

A peek into Style Holiday Camp

A peek into Style Holiday Camp


Click here to visit Styling You

Grab Nikki’s e-book and get started on
your own Style Journey!

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A wishlist for Mother’s Day 2012


I was feeling all excited last night, dreaming about the goodies in my post below. It can be a laugh to dream of what you could have if you could have anything. ‘What a fun idea; to draw up a wishlist for Mother’s Day’ I said to myself. When I jumped onto the computer this afternoon to publish this post, I ducked around the interwebs checking out a few of my favourite blogs before I published my own. That was when the ever-wise, ever-real Eden Riley tore at my heart with her latest post over at Edenland.

Eden is recently back from a trip with World Vision to Niger, Africa and her experience whilst there and since she has returned has been…. well…. harrowing to say the least. The haunting guilt she is going through is heart-breaking and I don’t think I could tell her enough how much her readers are sharing that guilt and frustration with her – myself included. After reading the post We Must All Be Haunted, I returned to my WordPress tab and looked forlornly at the completely self-indulgent post below. How could I possibly want all these things when there are still places like Niger in the world.

Eden you are an inspiring human being. Your strength in the face of what you went through may be dashed, but speaking as a woman who quite possibly may not’ve even made it back with my mind intact, you are stronger than you give yourself credit. No one has ever got through to me about the importance of GIVING for this cause. I’ve watched the ads on TV and thought ‘That’d be a nice thing to do’ but never acted. But I’ve read your posts and I GAVE. You make people ACT. You make people THINK. You make people GIVE. And that’s all you need to do. Don’t hate on yourself because you can’t save Africa tomorrow, love yourself because you are helping save people tomorrow.

I nearly didn’t publish my post below. But then I started thinking – what about us, what about our lives? Surely we shouldn’t play the martyr and give up our hopes and dreams and food and shelter and healthy children to solve the African Food Crisis. But I guess that’s it – that word – GIVE. No you don’t need to give up your first-world life. You don’t even have to give up your flat screen or your Kitchenaid. But maybe you could think about giving something and help make a difference. Visit World Vision to show your support.

West Africa Food Crisis - Donate now

Now… On with the Mother’s Day Show! And Eden, just for the record – you are definitely invited to my AWESOME LADY DAY party (see below).


I can’t believe Mother’s Day is nearly here again. That means it’s May. That means only 33 weeks until Christmas. That means I’m only two and a half months away from holding a  newborn in my arms! AAAHHH!

Mother’s Day is really just like most other days in our house. Hubby’s work still goes on. Dishes still have to be done. Meals still have to be made. I might get a card and some chocolate. I might EVEN get a little sleep-in. But mostly, I’ll take the opportunity to remind myself all day about how lucky, happy and thankful I am to even be able to celebrate what is essentially a “Hallmark Holiday”.

Maybe they should rename Mother’s Day ‘AWESOME LADY DAY’. That would be one heck of an all-day-party!

But back to my simple Sunday at home revelling in the happiness that motherhood can bring… what if wasn’t just like any other day? What if it kinda was like ‘AWESOME LADY DAY’? Where I get to dress up in my pretties and go out for delicious cocktails with all the other AWESOME ladies in my life and be AWESOME and talk about AWESOME things? Where I get showered with AWESOME gifts of AWESOMENESS?

How AWESOME would it be? Here’s what I would be packing into my AWESOME gift bag on AWESOME LADY DAY:

Lean Green Kitchenaid MachineI have wanted one of these for like EVER! A beautiful green Kitchenaid Bench Mixer. Nothing quite says AWESOME kitchen goddess like one of these babies, and I’m absolutely positive everything mixed inside it would taste like rainbows.

I may have a little crush on technology, and one of these bad-boys would be given a fantastic home in my hot little hands. I just love the versatility of the Apple iPad and being able to fit it in my bag and whip it out with ease whenever it’s required is the biggest bonus of them all. Recipes, notes, calendar, email, twitterverse, facey, interwebs, photos, BOOKS, tunes… This contraption is an organisation freak’s catnip… mmmmm… appley-catnip.

The Apple iPad

There are two simple, never-fail ways to this AWESOME LADY’s heart. Flowers and chocolate. Give them to me and I’ll love you forever. Flowers could really be any kind, but deep down my favourites are these gorgeously vibrant specimens – Tulips. They are the flower that just keeps giving and I love every part of their ‘cut-flower-cycle’ except the bit where you have to throw them out *sad face*. 

TulipsLindt Chocolate

And chocolate… Well I’ve always been partial to Cadbury for as long as I can remember, but for a special place in my heart, feed me Lindt! Not to be confused with the stuff floating around in the washing machine… I’m talking about the deliciously velvety, creamy goodness that is Lindt Milk Chocolate. I would possibly lose the will to live if this chocolate became extinct. Thank God for the Swiss.

I’m also a lover of elegance…. and cake. What could be more elegant and cake-related than this gorgeous get-up from another AWESOME lady – Donna Hay. I’m all about the beauty in ‘simple’ and this just screams to be on my kitchen bench. I will deal with how I’m going to keep a toddler out of my cakes at a later date…

                                       Donna Hay Cake DomeDonna Hay Cake Stand

Anyone who loves little sewing projects really needs to check out the lovely Pip Lincolne at Meet Me At Mikes. I would LOOOVE to get my hands on this gem of a book for AWESOME LADY DAY. I saw it online and just know it would be a very well used part of my sewing arsenal.
Sew La Tea Do - Pip Lincolne
I’ve always been a sucker for bags…. and notebooks. And where does Michelle go to dream about bags and notebooks? Why Kikki.K of course! I just adore this FABULOUS tote which I can only ever dream about; and a girl addicted to lists like me can never have enough notebooks. What do I make lists of I hear you ask…? Why, anything AWESOME of course!
A5 Leather Notebook
Black Wide Tote Bag
Anyone who knows me will know that Scrapping has been a recent introduction into my life. And boy do I love it. I’m currently working on Project Life by Becky Higgins and do quite a lot of hybrid scrapping which led me to the AWESOME LADY that is Jessica Sprague. Her site is full of gorgeous digital scrap stuff (including Project Life) and fantastic classes (which I have done plenty). A gift voucher to Jessicasprague.com would be a very well appreciated addition to my AWESOME LADY DAY gift haul.
I love coffee, I love George Clooney and I’m a sucker for marketing. Therefore I must include one of these Nespresso babies in my AWESOME LADY DAY gift pack. If George happens to be in there too… Well… I guess I could share a coffee with him…
.DeLonghi Nespresso Citiz Capsule Coffee Machine
And last but not least, I have a very important piece of sewing equipment to add to my list. An overlocker! My childhood sewing adventures involved my mum’s trusty Janome overlocker and now that I’m actually sewing REAL stuff (not just headbands to sell to my friends for 50c) I have come to appreciate their AWESOMENESS so much more. I have no idea where it might live in my tiny house, but it would be welcome all the very same… 
Janome Overlocker
And that’s my AWESOME gift bag for AWESOME LADY DAY! I am seriously almost as excited about listing these dreams down as I would be about actually receiving even one of them next Sunday. *sigh* A girl can dream can’t she…

What would you put in your AWESOME LADY DAY gift bag?



Make Your Own Shopping List Today!

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Taking the sting out of Grocery Shopping: Make a magnetic take-along shopping list

Hello everyone! It’s looking like a fantastic day yet again and I’m filled with motivation to do things – Woo hoooo! Thanks to The Organised Housewife and her Daily Task lists I’m never short of things to do…

So, onto today’s post! Yesterday I detailed my family’s Aldi adventure in the hope of saving more money and to help keep within our weekly budget, but one of the big contributing factors I’ve found to help me save money, no matter where I’m shopping, is to write a shopping list! My standard shopping list is a piece of A4 paper grabbed from the printer and folded in half (to A5 size). I’d then write up a few columns and list out all the ingredients required from our weekly meal plan. I would then go tromping around the house with my list and pen checking all the rooms/cupboards for other things we needed.

Now to tromp around the house writing on a piece of paper is difficult and although it’s exciting trying to decipher my scribbles when we get to the supermarket, I imagine my deciphering time could be better spent elsewhere (like buying a coffee with the money I saved when grocery shopping at Aldi). I also loathe trying to cross out groceries whilst we’re shopping; trolley handles do not make good tables and my hubby doesn’t like it when I use him to lean on either. Enter my new, fabulous shopping list!

To make one for yourself, you’ll need an A5 clipboard (I got mine at Officeworks $1.99), some self adhesive magnets or magnet strip, guillotine and/or scissors, pen, and some print-offs of our fabulous printable – the Raising Will Shopping List

Click to view Printable

Click to view the 'Raising Will Shopping List' Printable


Things you'll need

Things you'll need: A5 Clipboard, magnet strip, pen, printable copies and a guillotine (not pictured)

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Taking the sting out of Grocery Shopping: My adventures at Aldi…

Now that my maternity leave pay has finished up and we are living off one income, being able to budget has become very important. With a large part of our weekly budget being spent on groceries, it’s important to make this process as cheap and as efficient as possible; and today’s post will talk about how our family has tried to achieve this.

I have spoken before about my love of online grocery shopping and how it can save time and money, but this week we thought we’d take another saving step and try shopping at Aldi. I’m sure we all know someone who swears by Aldi, their range and prices. I, however, have been sceptical about the quality of the stock and probably unwilling to try new versions of products i.e. why fix something that’s not broke! So, because my husband was the one driving the car last night to the supermarket (I probably would’ve driven straight to Woolworths, ignoring any Aldi suggestions), he drove to Aldi so we attempted our weekly shop there.

First up, I was frustrated. I had no idea where anything was (I’m like a staff member at Woolworths… I know where EVERYTHING is!) and we did end up running all over the place collecting items we’d walked past. Secondly, I was annoyed. Turns out Aldi had sold out of heaps of their fresh produce so we had to improvise a couple of times. Thirdly, I was more annoyed when I realised I would have to go to the normal supermarket again anyway to buy the things I couldn’t get at Aldi. But lastly, as we made our way to the checkout (and I have nothing against packing my own bags by the way… at least I know they’re packed correctly) and I found bunches of flowers for $4.99 (!!!!!!!) I was happy. Flowers make everything ok.

Tulips are great!

Love love love Tulips!

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Shopping for your little one…

So like a lot of Mums, I have a confession to make. My name’s Michelle, and I’m a shop-a-holic.

Yes, that’s right…. I hear you gasp with surprise! Before little Will joined our family, shopping was all about me. My wardrobe (yes, MY wardrobe – I generously offer my husband a small piece of its prime real estate) would burst at the seams with clothes that I seldom wore but loved all the same. When I became pregnant, that wardrobe began to fill with maternity clothes. And when a little person started to show himself through my shirt, my wardrobe and I went our separate ways. Now shopping was all about the boy.

How could I walk past the gorgeous organic beanie, or the beautifully hand-crafted wooden toy, or any of the pieces of clothing that currently make up Will’s wardrobe. And I’m still buying. I’m hopelessly in love with shopping for my little man.

For those of you who also love to shop for the little people in your lives, I thought I’d share some of my favourite places to look look look, spend spend spend…. and in some cases,  drool drool drool!

Haggus & Stookles – “In the car, at the park, on a holiday… Happy anywhere!” For all you need to head out and about.

Baby’s Got Style – Fantastic goodies & clothes from the “Style Babies”. Sign up for their weekly newsletter and drool away!

Whimsy Child “It’s all about the magic”. For truly beautiful things.

KidStyleFile “Daily Bargains, news & inspiration”. Yet another fantastic newsletter – be in the know about ALL the sales.

Mum’s Grapevine  “Hear it first on Mum’s Grapevine! Save on maternity, bubs and kids wares”. Also offers great competitions!

Another option is to adopt something pre-loved or handmade. Check out eBay and your local Children’s Market. For all my Bendigonian fans – Bendigo Children’s Market is a fantastic place to find locally hand-made goodies and support mummies working from home!

I love shopping so much, not just for the satisfaction it brings me to find a great bargain, or the most gorgeous toy that my little boy can treasure – but the fact that I could probably walk 5km in a day shopping and not even notice. Who needs a gym when you have shops. Unless your shops are online – in which case… maybe you can walk on the spot during the time you are browsing. That’s an easy 3km at least.

So FLY MY MINIONS! And shop to your bank balance’s content! I’m certainly not going to stop you…. But your other half might…..


Grumpy Will

Will testing out his new Bumbo seat. Yet another item I bought for my son!



Mealy Monday!

Organising this weeks family meals…

Something I wanted to share with my readers is the art of meal planning. For those who don’t already take part in this weekly or even fortnightly (or monthly!) past-time, I cannot stress how much time & money it saves. Now coupled with the luxury of online shopping, Mums can ensure they provide their family with nutritious home-cooked meals, all within a budget (something I used to have a lot of trouble with)!

A while ago whilst I was drooling through a kikki.k store in Melbourne, my hubby saw a Meal Planner Pad and quickly exclaimed “If there was something you were gonna buy today – this would be it!” And buy I did. When we got home I stuck a heap of self adhesive magnet strip all over the back and it, to this day, is stuck on our fridge. I use it to plan my weekly menu and from that (plus a trip around the house) I would make a grocery list and head off to the shops. This all worked a treat and then along came baby.

In Will’s first few months, my meal planning fell in a heap along with my fitness regime, sleeping patterns and personal hygiene. In the last month a few factors have encouraged me to get back on the meal planning horse. Will is starting solids gradually, we are saving for a holiday to Tassie in April and my Maternity Leave payments have ceased. When at the supermarket, not only was I haunted by expensive ready-meals and mental blanks on what else we could have for tea, but we’d get to the checkout and I was spending WAAAYYY over our budget. What do you do? You can hardly stand there at the checkout and say “Oh hang-on. I’m just gonna have to run half of this back to the shelves…!”

Re-enter Operation Meal Plan (OMP).

So I started OMP again and shopping became a lot simpler, even if we did have to lug a baby around the supermarket. However we were still not on budget and often came home from the supermarket with items we didn’t need (stupid impulse purchasing). That’s when I found Online Shopping. I signed up to Coles Online (Woolworths has a site too) and the last three weeks I have had my groceries delivered to my door. All exactly what I needed, without the fuss and most importantly, in budget (clicking a ‘minus’ symbol is a lot easier than sending groceries back to the shelves). No longer am I tempted to throw that extra pack of Caramel Crowns in the trolley, and if I do (yes – I have the willpower of a butterfly) then I can only keep it if the end grocery total is under our budget figure. So to finish up (and I’ll share each week), I present to you our family’s menu for this week:

  • M: Peri Peri Chicken & Salad
  • T: Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • W: Beef Stroganoff
  • T: Stop…. Freezer Time! (delving into the left-overs)
  • F: Oven Baked Fish & Chips
  • S: Roasted Vegetable Tagine **new recipe**
  • S: Chicken Schnitzel Burgers & Chips

I aim to try a new recipe each week so I can whittle down the mountains of recipes I’ve collected over the years.

So OMP continues for yet another week. Why not try it yourself – being a little organised never hurt anyone.

Menu Planner

My Kikki.K Menu Planner for this week