Monday, 28 April 2014

Showcasing Local, Monster love

I've pinched this post from my old blog... So it's still mine, and I've brought more bits from this shop for recent new bambinos, (cause you hit 30 and everyone starts settling down and making minis!), so I know what I said over a year ago is still accurate. 
Oh and BTW I write for my own enjoyment and am not paid by anyone in any form. If I think it's crap I won't feature it... (If you haven't got anything nice to say...)

I have been shopping.
First up, two new babies have arrived (yay!) and secondly A seems to be suddenly growing out of all her clothes.

Luckily I found a shop that solved both these issues (sorta - A will need more clothes but we have a a start).  Amor Amor is the brain child of three talented Colombians who now call Australia home.   Here they create quirky, unique monster themed clothes, cushions and paper goods.  The limited edition range of clothing uses soft cottons, water based inks and features amazing hand drawn artwork. 
The skirt I ordered for A is beautifully finished, and so sweet.
I was so pleased with it, and the speed that it arrived, that I brought more stuff. I got her a onesie and another boys onesie for one of the new bubba's.

Its awesome to find a range of funky boys clothes that's not dominated with insipid baby blues, but is cute while retaining a bit of attitude.

I'm totally eying up these colour yourself cushions for my next purchase.  Brilliant idea! Its such a shame A is no where near to being able to colour.

Perhaps you too will find something fabulous at Amor Amor for your little monster!


All images from Amor Amor, please ask permission before using.  Thanks.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Show casing local (sorta) - Nature Baby

I should be more like this lady, or this one, when it comes to clothes for myself and my minis - reuse, recycle, re purpose, create... But I'm not a great sewer (I can, but we're talking pretty basic stuff), I can't knit, and I've always been a terrible op shopper (although truly jealous of those who just seem to walk into secondhand jobs and find fabulous stuff, Grr). 
However that's no excuse not to shop mindfully*.

Nature Baby is a New Zealand store that makes beautiful organic clothing and sleep wear for minis, and have an Australian online store (so sorta local).

It's well constructed (designed in NZ, made in India) and therefore should outlast both my girls and possibly (blueberry stains and rough and tumble dependent) be passed on again. And it's pretty darn cute to boot! 
Facts and Figures:
They specialise in organic wool and organic cotton clothing. The range features sleep and day wear - girls, boys and unisex designs from newborn to 4 years.
The fit is long and lean so the size 2 fits my 19 month, 11kg, 87cm tall mini almost perfectly. 
The clothing range has bibs for $14.95, tops start at about $19.95, pants at $24.95, and the range runs through to $59.95 for hand knitted merino cardigans. 
The website also has cloth nappies, organic toys and gifts for Mum, natural remedies, furniture and room decor. 

*I'm saying mindfully rather than ethically, because for me ethically brings up a whole realm of questions and not many clear cut answers. If we try and always buy local are we taking away from Chinese workers who desperately need the jobs these factories provide? Is the Bangladesh accord  enough? (Target and  Cotton On are members. Cotton On also donates sales percentages to charity's and is Australian owned, is that enough)? How do you check Eco/ ethical cred? Only some brands put up statements on their web sites... should we be supporting Australian designers who still get their garments produced in 3rd world country's because they are getting pushed out of the market by 'fast fashion', and sadly buying from local craft markets can still leave wardrobe gaps. (Gumboots, for example )). When you make/ sew/ craft your own where does the fabric come from? Are those manufacturers just as bad as those who make jeans? anyway this is all beyond the scope of my knowledge and journalistic ability. And it's certainly beyond the scope of what I want this blog to be...

Friday, 18 April 2014

A slice of country - Myuna Farm

I'd had a few days in hospital with Bebe, there was the settling back into home life, then we had three days of rain.  By the end of the week we were all ready to escape the house.  Thank goodness Sunday was sunny and BWB was off work, so together we packed up our week old baby, our 19 month old hurricane, squished my Mum in between the car seats, (thank goodness for the station waggon) and headed out to Myuna farm.

This little slice of country in Melbourne suburbia is home to donkeys, pigs, ducks, geese, cows, turkeys, horses, ponies, goats, rabbits, guinnie-pigs and a range of reptiles and birds. Bug loves feeding animals of almost any description so when the cashier handed over a bag of mouldy bread she was in her element (however a lot of the animals they ask you not to feed which was a tough sell to an over enthusiastic mini). However she loved getting to pat rabbits and goats, to ride the sweet, stout Shetland pony and was a big fan of the 'train', which loops around the grounds, down to the wetlands and back. 

 My 6 foot 4 husbands would not have fitted in the train, and was left holding the baby (who decided the Baby Bjorn was not for her).  Not really a hardship apparently he was mobbed by woman the moment he was left on his own. (Note to single uncles, holding a baby is an easy way to meet girls!). 


The farm is only a minutes drive from Dandenong Markets (open Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) so its worth doing both in one trip if your in need of fresh vegetables, meat and fish.  

the food court there has a good range of options from kebabs and jam doughnuts to dim-sums and freshly squeezed juices so maybe a better place to have lunch than the farm itself which really only offers junk food.

The facts and figures:
Open every day 10am - 4pm, located approx 40mins from the city. See here for public transport directions
Entry is $6 per person, $20 for a family of four.  $2.50 tickets purchased from the front counter can be used for both the train and the pony rides, very convenient when BWB decided he wouldn't fit on the train as we then used his train ticket for the pony ride.
There is no cafe, but there is a kiosk with pies, chips, drinks, ice creams etc available. There are also several rooms, and picnic areas with BBQ's and fridge access that can be reserved/hired for parties, picnics and gatherings.
The grounds are pram and wheelchair friendly. I didn't use the bathrooms but they looked pretty basic, so I'm not sure if change tables are available (oops)
For other reviews see here.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The great hot x bun bake

It's the perfect autumn day in Melbourne today. The sun is shining and there's that slight winter nip in the air, so you feel inclined to open the blinds and the windows and let that fresh, healing sunlight stream on in. 
The only thing missing is the blaze of autumn colour lacking in my street. (Rose hips is the best I can do in the way of Autumn hues). At home (NZ) the farm is dotted with vibrant Liquid Amber's, and chestnuts crunch and prickle on the ground... Perhaps I should invest in a potted maple so Bug and Bebe can fully appreciate the blaze of true autumn.
Anyway I'm babbling again. The point of this is that it's also a perfect day to embark on some hot cross bun baking. It's also the Thursday before Good Friday meaning it's a bit late for anyone fancying creating their own batch in time for Easter. Sorry.

I used this recipe for sticky spelt hot cross buns  from City Hippy Farm Girl. I would love to try the sour dough version and must get a starter started. But we made the yeasted version.  These are great for those with minis, as they have a lot of rises but very little kneading they so your not covered in dough and flour while trying to stop your mini hugging your mini-mini to death.

Bug had her own bowl, measuring cups and spoons and a scant handful of fruit and desiccated coconut to mix measure and eat (a great way to keep toddlers sticky little fingers out of your baking). 

I used 250gm of Angas Park fruit medley which is a mix of sultanas, apricots, apples, peaches and pear. Then I added an extra handful of sultanas (cause you can never have too much fruit). I only had calvados so that went in instead of regular brandy, and because I didn't buy my dried fruit till this morning I only soaked it for 20mins or so, instead of overnight. I also forgot the raw sugar so I just used caster sugar. 

After the first rest I mixed the butter and salt in by hand to make sure everything was incorporated properly, and put it into a clean bowl for the first rise. 

My sister and I have made it a tradition to make hot cross buns ever since she moved to Melbourne so I was a bit sad that she was working a split shift and  wouldn't be here to help. However she turned up just in time to do the crosses. Yay! 

As you can see we just spooned the cross mix on, rather than pipe then. The cross mix may have been a little thin as they spread a bit. Never mind, they taste amazing and that's all that matters! Next time though, I think a bit of egg wash or a milk glaze, would give them a prettier finish.

Wishing you all a yummy Easter


Monday, 14 April 2014

This week

While I spent a considerable amount of time with my face against oh so soft and milky smelling baby head and enjoyed feeling that fluttery sparrow heart against my chest, we still found time to get out and about.  This week:

My lovely Mum Made: banana loaf. It was different but really delicious and so healthy I had to smear it with a little butter just to naughty it up a little! It's now sliced and frozen for quick and easy snacks.

I also got my niece, Ballerina, (nearly 11) over to entertain Bug and to make some Easter treats. We made Coconut Loaf (easy and tasty), Chocolate Fudge and bunny bickies. the cutter was a very sweet pressie from my Aunty Sue-sue. We used the recipe that came with cutter and it wasn't amazing... But they look cute so hey!

Visited: feeling like we all needed fresh air and sunshine after a few days of rain (I think Bug was getting cabin fever) we had our first Sunday outing to Myuna Farm, Doveton. It was a really lovely morning out (I will do a write up on it soon), and Bug had a ball, raced off some of her excess energy and got to ride a train and a pony. Too cute!

Only minutes from Myuna Farmaway is the Dandenong Market so we stocked up on fresh veggie (so cheap and really really fresh) and fish. I still don't know what fish to buy in Aussie. In NZ I'm familiar with what I'm buying flavour wise, it's a guessing game here with anything other than snapper, whitehead and barramundi. (Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated). We went with sea bream, which was very mild so good for kiddos who don't like fishy fish, and salmon cause it looked so beautiful!

Have a great week


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

This week

This week (well actually last week) we:

Waited, and while we waited we-

Made: Corn flour paint. Lots of great reviews on the website but personally it didn't win me over. Perhaps I made it too thin, so  maybe we will attempt it again, but I prefer the texture, and colour intensity of this one. 

Visited: the Mornington Civic Reserve. Feed the ducks, let the dogs off in the leash free areas, swing, slide, climb and clamber in the park, have a picnic lunch in the Rose garden and visit the art gallery, all in one beautiful place. 

And the Redhill market, crafts and food, lamas... there's something for everyone! We went home with delicious musli, fresh figs, fruit sour dough, hot chocolate powder and a cat toy.  If you see the Italian doughnuts they are amazing!! 

Googled: Studies into the disinfecting power of white vinegar, because why use a host of chemicals if you don't have too. 

And then on Saturday evening she arrived. And she's amazing... 


Monday, 7 April 2014

Showcasing Local - Alimrose

With the arrival of her little sister imminent, I wanted to find something special for Bug to be a gift for her from the new baby.  Ideally it would be something beautiful, something timeless, a keepsake, a treasure, but also something age appropriate (she'll be 19mnths if Bebe is on time), something she can play with and enjoy.  I didn't have to look far.

I've brought gifts from Alimrose before. The dolls are beautiful, unique and well made. I have a select few go-to sources for new baby gifts and Alimrose squeakers are one of the chosen few.  I love that the range includes Princesses, Poppets, Pirates and Super heroes. 

The brainchild of  of two mums who couldn't find dolls to suit the needs of their minis, Alimrose aims have changed over time but they are still giving back to NSW children's hospitals, Bear Cottage children's hospice and save the children (read more here).  You'd be hard pressed to find a product with more love bundled up into it that that!

Facts and Figures

Starting at $13.95 for bibs, to $59.95 for a large rag doll, with something to suit every budget in between. 

Not available to purchase on the Alimrose website, but there is a large list of stockists here. I have used both Button Baby and Birdsnest to buy products.

Appropriate for all minis, newborn and up.  All the dolls I've brought have stitched eyes and are very well finished with no loose threads or ribbons, but of course one should never leave mini-minis playing alone, or sleeping, with any toys.

Some of the above Images are from Alimrose, please give credit where credits due and link back where possible. Thanks

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Painting Play

The warm days are slowly fading, as is Bugs time as our one and only. To take advantage of both I decided to play about with some home made paint. I used this recipe from Learn Play Imagine, which uses flour, dish washing liquid and food colouring.

I liked that it's 'toodler made'. And Bug had fun squishing the bag, although I think I should of given it a good squish after because it was a bit lumpy.  Bug didn't seem to mind though, the texture was thick and gloppy which is pretty appealing for eighteen month old. 

We used blue and red food colours, but I decided to use turmeric for the yellow, just to experiment with natural dye options. It worked quite well and makes a lovely yellow speckled subtly with rusty orange.  I'll have to do some more natural colour experiments soon. 

Arg! Little toes, always so cute! 

With the dish washing liquid as a main ingredient cleanup was easy and fun (bubbles). I think Bug may have preferred the cleaning up part more than the painting part but whatever keeps them happy right? 

This is a close-up of our finished work a few weeks later, I love that retains it's texture when dry.

Facts and figures:

While its homemade, the dish-washing liquid makes it uneatable (although non toxic if they do sample a bit) so this is definitely a toddler recipe and not for babies.

Can be whipped up in less than 5mins and costs next to nothing. 

Clean up is quick and easy and just as fun as the painting. We got a 2 lukewarm buckets of water, and under her painting smock Bug was just in a nappy and singlet so she could get as wet as she wanted. Once she'd given everything a good rinse in the first bucket we washed them again in the second bucket, then I checked all our brushes and plastic plates to make sure all the paint was off, I let everything dry before packing away for future painting use. There is a warning on 'Learn Play Imagine' not to put the paint dishes straight into the dishwasher as you may get bubble overload.

I didn't keep the paint but Allison says that if kept in an airtight container it should keep for a couple of weeks. 

We found a great set of painting sponges and rollers from spotlight.  Don't restrict yourself to just paintbrushes - sponges, corks, even leaves can make fun and interesting alternatives for spreading paint about. 
Have fun!