A SUMMER BREAK

08.01.18

We holidayed at home this year over the Christmas and New Year break. With some of the hottest days in Sydney I can remember, the beach and the pool were on high rotation. I thought I’d share my collection of photos and let you know what we got up to.

We relaxed at home a lot of the time, pictured above is Sunny on our vintage Butterfly chairs – new covers made by my clever Mum!


We have a very keen water baby in the making in Raff, and here we are enjoying our new pool float I picked up from Big W before Christmas.


Like most of us at Christmas, I ate my bodyweight in good food over the holidays. We hosted Christmas Eve dinner at our place and above is the spread before dinner was served. As you can see, we didn’t go hungry.


Christmas Day was spent in the lovely backyard at my cousin’s place, which is close by. A little too much champagne was consumed, which brought about much laughter with my big (mad)  family.

A few days after Christmas we enjoyed a day at The Newport and Raff sported his new sailors hat, a gift from my sister.


We were lucky enough to get a visit from my sweet new baby niece Marigold. My sister Bonnie and her husband Olle gave the family a Christmas present we will never forget…we love you little Goldie!


My sister and her family rented a great house through Stayz at Avalon Beach after NYE, and we crashed their pool quite a few times during their visit (how cute is the kitchen too)! Sunny wears a dress from Coco + Ginger.

In between all this fun, we had quite a few visits to various beaches. Shelly Beach in Manly has always been a favourite, where Sunny got the hang of snorkelling this year. I also get the bonus of  buying a good coffee from The Boathouse.


A highlight over the holidays for Raff was spotting a helicopter at Manly Beach. The boy is OBSESSED with planes, trains and automobiles.


We also pottered around in the garden, which thanks to a lot of watering, is looking better and better by the week. If you can imagine the sound of cicadas when you look at the image above, multiply that sound times 10 and you’ll get the idea of the volume we have been experiencing this year. Those little critters are out in full force!

The crickets and I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Briar x

Water Safety

15.12.17

You just have to look through my photo reel from the past few months to realise how much a water baby Raff is becoming. Big sister Sunday was the same – whether it be the bath, a pool, a sprinkler in the backyard, the beach…my kids are happiest when surrounded by some water. This makes me happy and a little bit anxious at the same time. We have been living with a backyard pool for nearly a year now, and as much as we love the luxury of being able to cool off whenever we want, we are making sure to be super vigilant with water safety. The first thing we did when we purchased the house was have the council visit and inspect the fence and gate. We soon discovered everything needed to be replaced, including the timber boundary fences around our property. It was an expensive exercise but totally worth it for a little more peace of mind.

This Summer, Royal Lifesaving is urging parents not to be complacent about their child’s safety around water. In conjunction with the Keep Watch program, Royal Lifesaving Australia has launched new research to help ensure parents and carers remain more vigilant around water.

Over the last ten years, over 330 Australian children under the age of five drowned. That’s an alarming number…while all of these drowning deaths are preventable, it is the 50% that occur in home swimming pools where our actions can make a difference. Home pool fencing and effective supervision can reduce these tragic drowning deaths to zero. I came across some handy information on the Royal Lifesaving Society website:

A safe swimming pool fence:

– is at least 1.2 m high

– is strong and secure and in good working order

– has vertical bars no more than 100 mm apart

– has horizontal bars at least 900 mm apart

A safe swimming pool gate:

– must open outwards from the pool

– must be self-closing and self-latching, and must latch shut on the first swing

– the latch must be more than 1.5 m high from the ground

As parents, Mark and I also make sure we never prop the gate open (ever), and keep the area clear by removing any items like pot plants and chairs, which the kids could use to climb the pool fence. We also watch the kids constantly, and never leave the pool area without taking them both with us. Sunday is old enough to understand the safety rules, and I’m pleased to say she’s really good with following them, that’s not to say we don’t remind her of them constantly.

I think this is a really thought provoking clip worth watching:

I think the tagline WATER. IT’S ONLY SAFE WHILE YOU’RE WATCHING sums it up perfectly. In summary, let’s all stay vigilant around water for the kids these holidays, and get those drowning numbers down to ZERO.

To find out more please visit www.keepwatch.com.au

Briar x

 

A new beach bag

15.12.17

Long gone are the days where I can head to the beach with just a towel.  A trip to the beach with kids can be seen as a mission for some but I’ve been doing it long and often enough now to get it down to a pretty fine art. I know exactly what to pack, and quickly  – snacks, water, changes of clothes, beach toys, flotation devices, towels, sunscreen, hats etc. Something I hadn’t mastered was a good bag to carry all that heavy stuff in. I’ve tried it all, even resorting to an IKEA bag once for the sheer size.

Yesterday, I took our new Basil Bangs Daily Tote for a spin and LOVED it. Designed with their waterproof stain resistant outdoor fabric,  it’s big, but the wide reinforced carry handles are so well proportioned it’s a really comfortable bag to carry. It features a generous sealed wet pocket ideal for stashing wet cossies & toiletries, two internal mesh pockets and a really cool mesh bottom for releasing all that sand easily at the end of your beach visit (my favourite feature for sure). I chose the Navy Botanica design as it was my favourite, and Mark met us for an evening swim last night and also commented on what a comfortable bag it was to carry – it’s really one the whole family can use. I’ll be taking it out again today for the kids swimming lessons!

Don’t you just love Summer?! Happy beach days! Briar x

SALE TIME

14.12.17

Who doesn’t love a bargain? I sure do love a sale, especially one before Christmas! I wanted to share with you that from 14th-18th December you can get 25% off ALL in-stock, full-priced items at West Elm, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids & Williams Sonoma Australia – in-stores & online using code JUSTFORYOU at checkout. Be quick peeps!

I thought I would have a little peruse and share ‘my picks’ (a totally random collection of things that I want/need), made even more desirable because of the generous discount available right now! Top Left: Our outdoor area is desperate for some new seating, especially after one of our old pool lounges collapsed recently. The Portside Lounger from West Elm has a lovely weathered grey finish on the timber frame for that laid back beachside vibe.
Top Right: I’ve got my sister’s renovation in Mudgee on my mind lately, and the Kensington mirror from Pottery Barn comes in two sizes and would be perfect for the bathrooms.
Bottom Left: I’m in desperate need of a new bathrobe and I love everything Monique Lhuillier does, and this collaboration with Pottery Barn is gorgeous.
Bottom Right: I didn’t know I wanted a marble wine cooler until I saw this marble wine cooler. The marble range from Pottery Barn is great quality and would be really beautiful for a festive table. Top Left: I’m always spotting things for the kids (as you do), and Raff would simply go nuts for this play food truck playhouse – it would be a really cute addition as play/decoration to a kid’s backyard birthday party too.
Top Right: If you haven’t ever bought food from Williams Sonoma, I highly recommend you do. Everything I have ever tried from their range has been delicious. I’m guessing the pecan and maple pancake mix would be pretty amazing too.
Bottom Left: Sunday has way too many sheet sets, but I couldn’t go past the sweet bow graphics on The Emily & Meritt Bow Sheet Set, which would be really cute teamed with a clashing printed doona cover. Quirky, a bit like Sunday.
Bottom Right: Completely random, but I think I would really like to have cork lining in my kitchen utensils drawer. So fancy yet so practical, don’t you think?

Happy shopping in the sale!

Briar x

Christmas at Bunnings

12.12.17

Since starting our renovation and living with a garden for the first time, one of us in the family will pay a visit to Bunnings at least once a week these days. Mark is even on a first name basis at our local one! It’s genuinely a fun place to visit for all of us. Sunday loves the free balloons, Raff loves a trolley ride around the power tools, and I love perusing the aisles for all the DIY inspiration.

Often the way after a visit to Bunnings, you’ll find something you didn’t know you needed. For example, I visited last week to check out the big range of Christmas lights stocked in store every year, and I came home with a gorgeous Staghorn (Mounted Moose Fern to be specific) too.

After chatting to the team member about caring for it, I learnt some handy tips:

To water, place the Staghorn plant-side down in a basin or sink full of room-temperature water large enough to hold the entire back plaque. Soak the plant for 10-20 minutes, or until the root-ball is saturated, and allow the plant to drip dry.

Feed the Staghorn monthly during periods of active grown (Spring and Summer). Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer (ratio of 1:1:1). During periods of dormancy (Autumn and Winter), reduce fertilizing to every other month. Some people suggest feeding a Staghornby slipping a piece of banana peel under the shield frond – I’ll definitely be giving this tip a go soon!

I mounted the Staghorn on the painted bricks off our back deck, I then strung some sweet battery operated LED Bud lights for a subtle nod to the festive season. I love the twinkly glow at night when the sun is setting.

Santa arriving on Christmas Eve is bigger news than ever for little Sunday this year, so she’s really keen to make sure the reindeer have a well lit point for a smooth arrival. I picked up a solar powered lantern at Bunnings that we will set up with carrots and milk to make sure Santa’s Reindeer are rewarded on their arrival. See the big range of lanterns available here.

Lastly, I also purchased a set of LED party lights with a warm white glow that will be a cool and budget friendly adornment for a festive table when I’m entertaining at night during the festive season.

As you can see, Christmas lighting plans don’t have to be garish and over the top if it’s not your style. I like a more subdued approach, but I have to admit I was pretty tempted by the adorable inflatable range – I have visions of the Santa Van on our front lawn. Maybe next year.

Briar x

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