Sunday, 30 December 2012

Not another 2012 end of year post...Ok, I lied, it is.

Once upon a time it was the year 2012 and there was a young mummy throwing her hands up in the air with absolutely no idea what to do with her screaming, non-sleeping baby. She was out of work completely for the first time in 10 years and circled the house everyday looking for something to pounce on that would give her some kind of mental stimulation and that did not revolve around (lack of) sleep, and the painful wind her bubs had which was causing it.

She cried a lot, didn't have anyone to turn to in her small, dingy little country town and was an all-round pain the ass. Her poor husband was ridiculously supportive and often resembled a deer stuck in headlights who might be walking on eggshells no matter which way they turned. He tried incredibly hard to always do the 'right' thing but most of the time there was no 'right thing' as this mummy was friggin' exhausted and would take it out on whatever, whether it was the wrong or right thing to do.

Time passed though and things got better, then worse, then better again. This naive mummy was learning that expectations in society are a big load of B.S when it comes to babies and that her baby just wasn't going to be a sleeper. But he WAS going to be an awesome eater, laugher and hugger. And that started to suit her just fine. She stopped the ridiclous amount of googling and trawling through forums that had her obsessed with all the things he couldn't do like sleep for hours, fall asleep on his own, or play without her in the room and finally began to just ENJOY her baby.

She started to stumble on blogging and started up her own Blog. She planned it to be just full of educational tidbits for parents but it turned into something more and her blogging soon saw her writing for a major parenting website, attending blogger events and reviewing and keeping items she loves.

Towards the end of 2012 she found herself in the position of no part-time teaching jobs available and has decided to keep persuing the Blog as well as developing a small business. Her husband has been incredibly supportive and she is really looking forward to giving it a red hot go.

She's ending 2012 the way she wants 2013 to be...
"But for now, I'm just going to end 2012 the way I want 2013 to be - Good food, good wine, good company."

Thanks so much for reading over the last few months and I hope you join me in 2013 as I move from full-time mum to full-time mumpreneur!

Are you making a major change in 2013?

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Year I became a Blogger

Image Source
Everyone seems to be reflecting on the year that was in terms of their Blog at the moment. I don't really feel like I can do that considering I just checked, and I only started blogging in August. August? It feels like I've been doing it for ages. It still blows me away sometimes that people actually read this stuff, and whether a post has had 50 views or 500 views, the fact is, someone is reading this stuff that flows from my brain to my fingers as I type. Strange feeling.

So before I became I blogger I..

- Was going insane in a very small town with little to do and a baby that just would not sleep.

- Was trying little business ventures here and there and doing a lot of Google searches.

After I started blogging I never thought...

- That within only a few months of blogging I could be getting all sorts of great perks and even getting some cash here and there.

- I would meet any bloggers in person

- I would constantly hear "So how's your Blog going?"

- I would talk about the blog endlessly and what awesome products or opportunities were coming my way to my husband

- I would make some new friends. People I could see myself having a laugh or a coffee with.

- It would lead me to some inspiration and (hopefully) future business ventures!

It seems like everyone around me is fascinated by this whole blogging thing. I find it awkward to explain, and I get a bit funny about it because I forget so many people I know, and don't know, are reading this thing. Christmas brought forth comments like "Careful! Ange will put it on her blog" or "Are you going to blog about this?" and "Have you been blogging?" all in good humour or curiosity though. Still, it kind of dawned on me that I am a blogger. It still feels odd. But oh well! I'm sure I will get there.

So I guess 4 months in it's official. 2012 is the year I became a blogger.

What's one big thing you did in 2012?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Recipe: Ditch the turkey - Go the Salmon!

Brought to you by School of Mum, Keep Left PR and Tassal Salmon

I am a huge lover of salmon. There is so much GOODNESS in salmon. My husband is not a big fan though so I don't cook it much. That's why when I got the offer to cook up a Christmas recipe using Tassal Salmon's beautiful range I snapped it up!

Back to the goodness though. *CSIRO research shows that seafood, in particular Atlantic salmon has between 10 and 100 times higher levels of Omega 3 than beef, chicken or lamb, and lower levels of cholesterol. Omega 3 is essential for our brains, hearts and immune system. Check out more of the amazing benefits here.

Nutrition data sourced from,,,

I think if you want something that's 'meaty' then salmon is the ultimate 'meaty' fish. That's why I decided to serve it the way I have. It's full of protein and just as filling as red or white meat. Also I tried to add some green and red elements to give it a Christmas 'vibe'.

I've fleshed out the ingredients and the steps for the stuffed tomato as it needed the most explanation but the other elements for the dish are really simple! The asparagus went beautifully with the saltiness of the fetta and the salmon and the hollandaise were just divine.


Tassal Salmon - canned, smoked or fresh can be found at all Coles and Woolworths supermarkets. There's also a couple of nifty Salmon shops I would love to visit. They sound amazing!

Stuffed Tomato and Asparagus - Makes 4 servings
1. four vine-ripened tomatoes
2. 1kg Danish Fetta cheese (I love it for its creaminess, but if you find it too rich, lessen the amount and mix in some cottage cheese)
3. 1 bunch of parsley
4. 2 bunches of asparagus
5. Olive oil and spray olive oil.

1. Slice the top of the tomato, ensuring the stem stays on. Set to one side.
2. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the tomato until you are left with a tomato shell.
3. Finely chop parsley into a bowl and add fetta. Add some olive oil and mash with a fork until it's smooth.
4. Spoon the fetta mixture into the tomato shells, ensuring there is some extra above the shell.
5. Carefully place the tomato 'lid' onto the top of the fetta.
6. Spray with olive oil and put in oven at 220 degrees for 15 minutes or until tomato looks cooked.
7. While tomatoes are baking, blanch asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Roast Potatoes
Ensure you have about 4-5 chat potatoes per person. Put them in a bowl and coat with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary. Place on baking tray and bake in oven with the tomatoes. Too easy! It should take about 30 minutes. Poke one with a fork to ensure they are soft and cooked on the inside.

I would suggest about 200g of salmon per person. I chose salmon fillets, but if you prefer to have no skin you can buy salmon portions. I didn't mess with the salmon. It was as simple as some sea salt and popping in a hot pan with some olive oil. Keep turning salmon until golden on the outside and pale pink on the inside. It should take about 5-10 minutes on medium to high heat.

A basic hollandaise sauce was added using this recipe. Or you could just add some squeezed lemon! Delish!

PS. It got the little man's approval too!

Are you breaking out of the turkey tradition this Christmas? What are you making?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Tragedy in the News - Suggestions for little ones

I, like many, turned on the TV this morning to find tragedy and sadness flooding my heart and mind. I cuddled my little guy all morning. I watched him play, and I thought about what I would of been thinking before I had children. I would of been thinking, "How am I going to deal with this in the classroom on Monday?"

There's many ways you can deal with tragedy and grief with children, and it all depends on the particular child, events that have taken place in their life and their age. Like adults, children will draw on what they know and their personal experiences to make sense of what is going on around them.

If you decide to discuss the events that have taken place in the U.S, my suggestion would be turn off the TV. I've read many forums, tweets and Facebook pages today and I know some people have their child's best interest at heart when they say they believe their child should be exposed to the 'real world' but the news is not in child-speak. It is not interactive or allows for children to have a conversation or ask questions, and the images and footage shown are aimed at adults. One is better off having a conversation with your child/children so that you have the power to expose as much or as little as you see fit for their age/development/personality.

I've always been able to discuss events like this in the classroom from a religious perspective - Having taught in Catholic schools. And if this is something that can suit your family to draw upon then it can be a good time to explain, light a candle and say some special prayers.

Otherwise, perhaps light a candle, have a minute's silence, or discuss why we are thankful, lucky to have our families around us, as well as our teachers. Remembering not only children, but a mother and a teacher were lost also.

If you shed/they shed a tear, that's OK. It's a tragic, sad event and it's alright to exhibit emotions.

If your child likes to express themselves through Art, then it's perfectly appropriate to have them draw one thing they appreciate about their family, or cut out and decorate a heart to place by a candle today.

My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all the families affected by this loss, and any loss of a child's life. May they rest in peace.

Children and life are so precious. I'll be holding my little man extra close today.

I must stress these are suggestions based on my experience as a teacher. If you do not agree or think it should be handled differently, then that's OK. There are so many factors to take into consideration and only you will know what is best for your individual child.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Gift of Giving and Appreciation

This post is brought to you by School of Mum, Keep Left PR and Bakers Delight
Some of you may know that my family celebrates Christmas twice. We celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December, and again on the 7th of January. I never used to celebrate Christmas on the 25th before marrying my husband. But now, being a part of a Catholic and Coptic Orthodox faith allows us to delve into two cultures, two languages, two Christmases, but one meaning - The Birth of Christ and the Spirit of Giving.

Unfortunately, sometimes the 7th of January lands on a weekday and can often be the day people are due to go back to work so sometimes that can cause a dilemma, as it has for us this year. My brother goes back to work on the 7th, and my sister-in law is pregnant and will be too close to her due date to travel.

Now, while I have adopted the Anglo-Saxon Christmas, my sister-in-law has adopted Orthodox Christmas and has gone so far as to invite us all to celebrate it at her house on the 5th of January to fit in with such a busy schedule. I'm amazed that this heavily pregnant mama of two is going to such a huge effort to invite my side of the family over to her house for lunch. For me, it's a great show of respect and love towards our family by ensuring that our Christmas is just as treasured and valued. More often than not, it can be tossed aside due to work commitments, post-new year busy times, or anything else really...

Not long after I received the invitation, another thing happened. A couple of weeks ago my brother's farm caught fire. The result was absolutely devastating...

What can you do in a situation like this? It's heart-breaking for everyone, but mostly for my father, brother and sister-in-law who have been tending to those trees and picking cherries for the last few years. 

Spirit of Giving

Dressed up Bakers Delight Cake. So easy and pretty!
Now Bakers Delight gave me some scrumptious bread, fruit mince tarts and Christmas cakes. In the spirit of giving they also offered me some to gift to a friend or neighbour. I have been racking my brain trying to come up with someone who I can attach a good story to, so that I could give them the gifts and write this post.
But by Sunday, following the above events taking place, it was a no-brainer. I'm hoping it will be one less thing my sister-in-law will have to provide at Christmas and hopefully if we all chip in and help she will get to put her feet up as host. Having two Christmases is busy enough, without the addition of being pregnant and natural disasters! 


My Sister-in-law checking out her new treats!
Bakers Delight Christmas Cakes and Mince tarts are delicious! I honestly never liked either mince tarts or fruit cake until I tried theirs! Head to their website to find the store near you.

Do you know someone in your life that would enjoy a bit of extra sharing at Christmas time? What are you planning on giving them?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tag - You're it! All I Want For Christmas...

So I'm catching up, catching on. Bit of both really. The lovely Jess from Essentially Jess started a tag game last Tuesday amongst us bloggers and I was then tagged by the equally lovely Lara from This Charming Mum. What do you have to do? Write a Christmas wishlist! Hmmm, so many ways to go about this. Keep it witty, sentimental, sarcastic, materialistic or a little from Column A, B, C and D. Well, here is the road I chose to take...

All I want for Christmas is...

You see, some bloggers may be shocked to know that I have been living a blogger lie! I don't have a laptop, or a smartphone. Yes, you heard read me. I've been all, up there with the tweets and the Instagram and the instant 'stuff'...but only because I've been borrowing my husband's phone and using his laptop when he brings it home from work! I went so far as to swap phones with him so I could look all trendy this year at Keep Left Blogger's Breakfast Challenge - my first bloggy event ever. So ahem. Bring on a new phone and a laptop...please? I have hooked up with Virgin Mobile as their new product tester, so hopefully that package will arrive before Christmas! And as for the laptop, well, I'm crossing my fingers.

Yes, this is seriously my phone right now...

Every year around Christmas time disaster strikes in my family. I kid you not. From car accidents, to illnesses and this year was a first - fire! We have decided our family is cursed with disaster around the busiest time of the year, so curse, be gone!

What were once beautiful cherries! Photo by Tanya Mikhail

Last Christmas I couldn't drink due to having a newborn. I missed out on the festivities that occur when my father-in-law brings out his best reds and port. I know he missed drinking with me too. I mean who wouldn't? The amusement that people seem to get from me after I've had a few seems to provide entertainment for weeks, sometimes years, as the jokes of what I said or did go on and on. I miss being a red wine buddy! Now that I'm only breastfeeding the little guy once, twice tops a day, I think I could squeeze in just the one drinkie in that time where there's hours and hours before the next feed.

Down the hatch! Da vino! Photo by Clare Metcalf

Last Christmas my little guy was such a baby. Who am I kidding? He is still a baby! Well, he always will be to me. But I can't wait to get cuddles from him at Christmas time and he is going to be surrounded by SO many cousins this year. Hugs and kisses all round!

Sniff sniff! He was so LITTLE! :D

There is just too much of it in the world. And it's growing EVERYDAY! I'm not sure how much more autotune I can take and I'm not sure I want my son growing up amongst it? It's OK though. We're training him up. Check out the vid. Kid's 12 months old and rocking out to Pearl Jam already. Bless his soul!

And with that I say "Tag! You're it!" Sorry if you've already had a turn and I didn't notice...

1. The Truth About Mummy
2. It's A Circus In Here!
3. New Life on The Road
4.  Three Lil Princesses
5. Mad Mummas Sweet Randoms

Oh and seeing as it's Tuesday again, I am of course linking up with Jess on IBOT! :-)

Friday, 7 December 2012

GIVEAWAY - Putting Real Food Where My Mouth is - Get Additive Free

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. Thanks to all those who entered and thank you to Melanie Avery! Keep an eye out for another giveaway in 2013.

Congratulations Angie Boylan!

Let's Celebrate Christmas by Melanie Avery provides a guide to creating festive foods for both children and adults. What makes this book unique is:

All the recipes are additive free

Melanie has self-published this book. No easy feat! But she was inspired when her family starting reaping the benefits of going additive free: no more restless nights, mood swings, rashes, belly aches, asthma and the list goes on. Pretty amazing when you think about it and a huge wake-up-call for me, who can see a few of those things in my little man when he eats particular foods.

Now when I read the 'Let's Get Serious' section at the start of the book, I can tell you now, I was horrified with what I read. I started reeling off all these sentences to my husband that started with "Did you know...?" And no, he didn't know! Here's a couple for you. And if your mouth does not form an 'O' for 'OMG' then I will be surprised.

* Grated cheese is not just cheese. It often contains an anti-caking agent and/or preservatives.

* Some additives are listed as 'natural colour' but are really derived from crushed insects. The name of that additive is Cochineal.

* There is a 5% loophole in Australia and New Zealand where manufacturers can get away with not listing additives that make up 5% or less of the product.

As I came to the recipes I thought, there's going to be nothing in this but fresh fruit and vegetables. But it's not like that. It's realistic and do-able. So much so, that I created this dish: A perfect appetiser for Christmas.

Honey and Mustard BBQ prawns

It was delicious, and I was so proud of the fact that I actually knew it was additive free!

This book is more than just recipes though. It also contains decoration tips, craft ideas and some really cute Christmas traditions you can try at home.

I'm really starting to think that food additives are having a bigger effect on us than a lot of us really know! And it's starting to come out in our children - through their allergies, illnesses, behaviours and all sorts of things that seem to be becoming the 'norm'. So I'm challenging myself to work hard at being additive free this Christmas how about you?

Let's Celebrate Christmas Additive Free as well as Melanie's other book Let's Party Additive Free is currently on special as a combo pack for $35.00! Such a bargain for two cookbooks! Head to her website to find out more. There's lots of interesting resources and ideas there too!

If you think you would love to try, I'm giving away Melanie's book to one lucky reader! Just fill in the form below, it's so easy! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

This is none of your business (but I'm sharing anyway)

This post is probably none of your business because you're not my husband or child.

This post is probably none of your business because you don't need to know why, at this present time, I'm not going back to work next year.

And this is probably none of your business because you don't need to know or understand our financial situation.

For some reason though, some people do think those things are their business. That's fine, they can ask, and I can choose not to tell. But what I do mind, is when I decide to go to a local cafe for lunch, after Mr.T has done an excellent job putting up with me shopping, and the cafe owner asks about the above issues. She asks, I give vague answers, and I'm shocked at the responses in return like:

"Your baby should fit around your life, you shouldn't fit around theirs" Do people actually SAY that!?

"If your baby is clingy, and you don't let them be without you, then you are spoiling them" As above!?

"You should just go back to work for half days" Yes, because I can walk into my tiny workplace and demand they create a job for me that fits into my life.

I don't know this lady. She doesn't know that I've only just started to sleep more than one 3 hour stretch a night and that as of a week ago, I was leaving Tom's room every evening in tears due to the pain in my back. She doesn't know that there are no part-time jobs available in my work place and I choose not to leave my child 5 days a week in the hands of strangers (I had a child so I could raise him - not somebody else). She also doesn't know that I have no family in the area who can help.

Oh, and she doesn't know I blog, and it's going really well and I'm looking into running a business alongside it in 2013.

What she probably assumes is that I do not want to let my baby go, that I am smothering him, and that I just walk around shopping and going to cafes all day. (I do NOT).

I walked in for some lunch, followed by a piece of banana bread. I did not ask for a side order of judgement.

Do you get hassled about not going back to work? How do you handle it?

You don't have to answer that if you don't want to. It's not really any of my business.

Monday, 3 December 2012

A,B,C...Easy as 1,2,3!

I was recently asked a question about learning the alphabet. The little lad is starting school next year and the parent was wondering if I could provide some suggestions as to how to encourage her little guy to learn to read and write letters. As I provided her with some hints, I realised it was a pretty common question with parents. It's pretty easy for me to whip out ideas because I've taught it, day in, day out for 5 years. My brain is now trained to think this way. It wasn't always like that though. So I thought I'd provide some realistic activities you can try at home. And when I say realistic, I mean they probably don't belong on something like Pinterest where most things look amazing, and way too unrealistic for a busy parent to actually do (in my opinion!).

The first thing is, you learn pretty quickly as a teacher to not get too hung up on the writing of letters, especially in the early stages of schooling. Exposure, immersion and experience with letters is the key. The writing will come over time. as they are able to visualise the letters in their head.

So where do you start? I would only start with focussing on two, maybe three letters at a time. If you focus on all the letters at once, children get really overwhelmed and will lose interest fast.

A sand tray: A sand tray is so easy to make. Pull out baking tray. Add a layer of salt or sand. Done. Put the letters you want them to focus on in front of them, make sure it's nice and large. You can help them with which way the letters go, but if they aren't getting it quite right, it doesn't matter just yet. They are looking at the letter, making the letter and saying the letter! That's a lot of learning initially! Yes, they aren't using a pencil, but remembering this is early stages.

Playdough: Grab that playdough out and have them form the letters you're focussing on. Make a BIG deal about how clever they are and they will probably want to make some different ones. If they are ready for it, maybe they could make an 'apple' for 'A' and so on. Great fun and a great way to ingrain those letters in their little minds.

Treasure hunt: Take some alphabet letters (magnetic ones are fun!) and hide them around the house. Don't do them all! Just a small handful. When they find them, have them bring the letters back and put them on an alphabet chart. You can make the chart in seconds by just printing the alphabet on some paper. Easy! When they are finished have them skip around the chart and sing their ABC!

Get Crafty: Paint, create, throw glitter, get crazy, whatever! Just let them go with it. And give them plenty of praise when they have had a go at it. Put it up in their room and as they walk past, just say "Remember when you made that? What letters were they again?" Build it up, and before you know it, they will be getting to know their ABCs!

Are you after some tips on how to ready your child for school or just their learning in general? Feel free to comment below, message me over Facebook or drop me a line at

Will you be trying any of these at home?

This is linked to an article I wrote for Bub Hub, regarding helping a child learn their name.

Linked to IBOT with Essentially Jess.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

And the next rant on marketing I give you is...

This one.

The burger is not for children. It's an adult-sized lamb burger. I really don't understand why they have taken an innocent, sweet nursery rhyme and used it to create this cannibalistic phrase. It certainly doesn't make me want to eat their lamb burger.

Mary had a little lamb goes like this...

Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.

These simple few lines conjure images of a little girl, prancing in lush green fields, her lamb, as white as snow itself, trailing along behind her happily. They have a beautiful bond and the lamb will never leave her side.

Now why would you blast that with this?

Mary had a little lamb fries and a coke.

That is destroying to me. Furthermore, it's missing a comma which just annoys me even more.

McDonald's. Aren't they the ones that support children in all sorts of ways? Like through the Ronald McDonald House and McHappy day? Seems a little contradicting to me. That such a 'child-friendly' corporation, could destroy such an innocent, child-friendly nursery rhyme.

I've seen this on billboard everywhere, and I thinks it's ridiculous. Yes, I'm guilty of eating there, when I'm desperate. I'm sure most of us are. But that doesn't mean I agree with this campaign. So much rubbish out there is destroying children's innocence already. Why add to the mix?

Has anyone else seen this billboard? What is your take on it? Does it make you want a lamb burger?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My rant on Bebi Juice for Infants

There have been two things being marketed recently and the technique to snag consumers has been driving me crazy. When I look at these items and their advertisements  I get this little red ball in my belly which usually travels up and explodes out of my mouth in one big rant about how ridiculous and appalling these marketing techniques are. My husband nods his head, and continues reading the paper when this happens...

Today I give you...
Bebi Juice for Infants: One morning I was sipping my cuppa and half tuning into Sunrise as per usual, and that doctor, Gina-somebody was talking about the amount of sugar in juices and soft drinks and how harmful they can be for children. Then she said, and I QUOTE: "In fact, water and milk is the only thing children need". Fantastic. Good information. Very true. Then along came The Morning Show and lo and behold, what are they advertising? This monstrosity of a product....

I watched in shock as they sold it as 'convenient' 'sterile' and 'healthy'. And don't forget that word that suddenly makes everything good for you, 'organic'. What is going on here!? It's juice with a TEAT on the end! I couldn't believe it. It's aimed at children 6 months and over. I popped onto their Facebook page where many people were attacking the company and the product, but there were others defending it. They were saying it's so diluted that there's hardly any juice in it, and that their baby just loves the flavour.

Here's an idea: A baby doesn't know sugar until you give them sugar. They have no idea that this thing exists until you give it to them, and if you're going to start that young, you will be in for a treat in a few years time.

I have taken away children's water bottles from their desk because they are filled with Coke. Yes, I'm talking about 5 and 6 year olds, working at their tables, building up their knowledge and expanding that beautiful mind of theirs, all while sucking on something that's packed with sugar and a ridiculous amount of invisible chemicals. It's a disturbing fact. There are people out there that think this is OK. That a product like this was even allowed to be on the market, is a real concern.

Juice for children, sure. Juice for infants? Are you kidding me.

I'm a believer in giving children an education on food. I don't believe in completely banning 'junk food'. They have to live in the world. But it's all about teaching them what's good for you, and what's a treat. So as an adult they have an understanding of what they are eating and can live within a balanced diet. A child at a mere 6 months can't understand this. And their beautiful, fresh, erupting teeth aren't going to understand either I'm afraid, as they are blasted with a wash of sugar. Oh, but wait, it's organic.

PS. They've now removed their Facebook Page. I wonder why.

Rant over - stay tuned for product 2. Have you seen this on the shelves? What's your take on it?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Three Countries, Two Recipes and a dash of Christmas and Baker's Delight!

Brought to you by Baker's Delight...

On Sunday, I popped into Baker's Delight to pick up some goodies for a few Christmas posts I have coming up. The lady went into the back to get them for me and walked out with two shopping bags laden with Christmas goodies...then she reached behind her and said "Oh and these" and out come a beautiful loaf of bread and two giant French Bread Sticks.

Immediately my brain started ticking with ideas and when I got in the car I came up with a few recipes so I could use those sticks up. I resisted the urge to munch on them (I hadn't had lunch and the car smelt bready amazing! Yes, bready) and when I came home I was able to use them without even going to the supermarket.

In case you didn't know, I'm Egyptian but I was born in Australia and I have an Australian husband. I cook with love, passion and spices! But I can also make a mean parma. So I put together these three countries- France, Egypt and Australia to bring you some simple recipes which will hopefully give you a little inspiration this Christmas.

Garlic Bread
This is so simple! It's perfect as a little appetiser before the main course or to serve with the main meal. I can see it being used to mop up all that beautiful gravy off a plate at Christmas!

1. French Stick from Baker's Delight
2. Margarine or softened butter
3. Italian Herbs
4. Minced Garlic (fresh or jar)

1. Slice French Stick into thick, even pieces
2. Spread butter/margarine on each slice
3. Sprinkle Italian Herbs onto bread
4. Place on baking paper and grill until brown


My mum used to make this and whole house would smell of it. She would store it in a large jar and my brother would eat it in a sandwich. Which was very weird to me. I didn't understand how good it was until I had it when I was older, served like below, with a glass of wine. You can add all sorts of things, including hazelnuts, but I kept mine simple.

3 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
A pinch of salt
A pinch of peppercorns
French stick, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to serve


1. Brown sesame seeds with a small amount of olive oil
2. Add all the ingredients to a mortar and pestle or blender
3. Grind until coriander and peppercorn seeds are finely crushed 
4. Taste and season to your liking with more salt or pepper

Serve with chopped bread, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Yum!

Link-up for IBOT with Jess at Essentially Jess

Friday, 23 November 2012

There's only one thing that's as a good as a holiday...

A holiday!

I hate the phrase "A change is as good as a holiday". It's not!
I get changed in the morning - Good as a holiday? No.
I might change what I have for breakfast -
No holiday
Change the sheets? No pleasure there

Perhaps I make a big change and move some furniture around or get a haircut? Still, doesn't cut it (pardon the pun).

                                Image Source

I could go on, but I won't. It's obvious what I'm getting at here. Living in a small country town makes me a little stir-crazy. I have always felt the need to have a little escape a couple of times a year. My husband and I love staying in Victoria. It's cheaper and there's always somewhere we haven't been yet. We've had weekends away at The Dandenongs, Halls Gap, Apollo Bay, St Kilda and the Mornington Peninsula. And there's still plenty of spots we are yet to visit.

We haven't been on a weekend away since the little man was a few months old. And when you live an hour and a half away from anything, and I mean anything, your brain starts to long for a change, whether that be a nature change, sea change, shopping change, culinary change - whatever. You just end up needing to step away from the place where anonymity cannot exist and you've pretty much seen every corner of every street.

So our next visit is Big4 Bellarine in a few weeks time. Especially excited for more reasons than what's above. Here's why.

When I first 'met' Sophie Bone via Twitter from Big 4 on the Bellarine Peninsula, I was but a very small fish. I still am. But she seemed friendly so I asked her some questions about blogging as she seemed to support the blogger world. "How about you give me a call?" she wrote in a message. I was beside myself. Before the call, I made sure Tom had lunch, we were sitting outside and I had a pen and paper all teed up. I was nervous as all hell, but once we started talking that just went away and I got tonnes of advice from her which has now been absolutely invaluable, including getting rid of my egg on Twitter! When she invited us to come and check out her place, I couldn't believe my ears. Me? I have not even 100 followers on my Blog's Facebook page, and I'm an EGG! Seriously!?


This used to be me.

Time passed as life got busy and now finally we have locked in a date. When I received the confirmation email from Sophie, I thought for sure this place is going to be unreal. When I think of Big4, I think Caravan Park, and this is so not that. Sophie offers in her confirmation email a lasagne in your fridge when you arrive and she suggests doing your grocery shopping online and having it delivered straight to your accommodation. She also reminds you not to forget to pack your shorts for the indoor, heated pool. And oh yeah, there's massages on-site too.

Um, Caravan Park? I think not! Can't wait to meet this amazing business mum in the flesh and check out her digs! :D

Thursday, 22 November 2012

On the 12th Day of Christmas, School of Mum gave to me...EVERYTHING!

This enormous giveaway has ended! It was a hard decision, but with careful judging with some of the businesses below we found the winner. We couldn't go past this one! Thank you for all those who entered the Extravaganza. Also, a huge thank you to the businesses, brands and bloggers who took part or helped promote!

Congratulations Jenny Swift!

Yes that's right. Remember all those things I've given away over the last 10 days? Let me refresh your memory...

1. Engraved Puzzle Link by Oh My Giddy Aunt 
2. A Modern Woman's Guide to A Natural and Empowering Birth by Katrina Zaslavsky
3. Touch Magic Rockin Guitar by Leap Frog
4. Christmas Bandana Bibs by While She Was Sleeping
5. 50 Shades of Blokes Trilogy by LOL James
6. Sleepy Stories on CD by Dinosnores
7. Little Chefs Cupcake Maker by Kambrook
8. Nappy Wallet by Lullaby Creations
9. $25 voucher from the Perfect Kid's Party Shop
10. Personalised Alphabet Block from Pawmark

         These are the beautiful items that have been delivered to me for the giveaway. So lucky!

All of these can be yours! School of Mum will also be contributing with the addition of Free ad space for your blog/business on the Blog until the end of Christmas! Imagine getting 10 deliveries to your door of all these prizes. How awesome would that be?


I want to take the opportunity to thank ALL of these amazing businesses for their contributions. They have been fantastic to work with and we have enjoyed each and every one of these products in our household.

I also want to thank all the bloggers, businesses and people who have hit the like, share, tweet or comment button. These are the people that help School of Mum to grow as a community and help bring publicity to businesses - both big and small.

So here it is! THE BIG GIVEAWAY!

LIKE School of Mum. You can head over to the other businesses too and like them using the links above (and we would appreciate it very much!), but I'm not going to make you :-)

SHARE this post. Spread the word around! You just need to click the share button below.

SEND in a photo. Yes that's right, send in a photo that symbolises a Christmas tradition in your household. It can be funny, sweet, traditional, silly, sentimental or anything else (within reason). Captions, using any of the products/brands above or speech bubbles are a great idea too. So get your creative Santa hat on and get cracking! :-)

You can send it using the app below

 or email to

Please remember it is NOT based on votes, it will be judged by myself an
d a few of the businesses involved. Feel free to attract voters. We will take it into consideration, but in the end the choice will be that of the judges. Thank you!

Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided WITH THE PHOTO so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 2nd December, 2012
Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.

School of Mum will not consider unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive, contain objectionable content or are otherwise inappropriate and they will be deemed invalid and rejected.* Each entry  must be an original artistic work of the entrant that does not infringe the rights of any third party, including but not limited to, copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, personal or proprietary rights.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

GIVEAWAY - Personalised Alphabet block from Pawmark


Thanks for entering everyone!

The best thing about networking is that one awesome business lady will lead you to another awesome business lady.

Brooke, from Pawmark, creates handmade products, including cards, fabric blocks and other children's items.

She decided to start creating handmade greeting cards when she went to the Newsagent and spent hours and hours reading all the cards to find the perfect cards for several family and friends. Only to walk out with not much change from $50 and deflated because my cards just weren't right.

After that Brooke decided that a handmade gift really compliments a handmade card (of course!) and started making her own gifts.
The personalised fabric blocks are made from all new quality cotton fabric and machine stitched using the smallest possible stitch to ensure these toys meet safety standards and filled with polyester fill. If bought locally they will be wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a brown gift bag; ready to give to a special little one in your life.

I have always wanted one these for my little man. Anything that helps develop his knowledge of knowing his own name is a winner for me. And babies love turning things in their hands over and over. The texture on the stitching encourages bubs to run their fingers over the letters. The tags are of course handy! I have so many toys with tags on them and now that Tom is no longer suited to staying on a mat and watching them dangling, they can sit on his fabric block and come with us in the car, house or anywhere!

GIVEAWAY! - Want to win a personalised,  handmade fabric for you or a friend? It's Easy! Please remember there can only be a maximum of 6 letters on the block.

1. COMMENT below – Tell us who you think would benefit from this gorgeous fabric block

2. LIKE School of Mum and Pawmark

3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. It helps if you tag us in your entry too.

Too easy! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and has a creative answer will win! So get entering. Christmas is just around the corner!

Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 22nd November, 2012
Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.

Monday, 19 November 2012

GIVEAWAY - A Perfect Kid's Party - Jungle Style

This giveaway has ended! Congratulations Lisa Wood! Thanks for all the entered!

In all the whirlwind of giveaways (and yes, this is one too) I haven't had a chance to write about my beautiful little man's 1st birthday!

We had a Jungle Theme - That's what his room is set up as so it seemed fitting to continue on with that theme.

The Perfect Kid's Party Shop offered to give us a hand and how could I refuse! With Michelle's help, we were able to set up a party table for the kids that looked like this...

Table Runner, Plates, Cups, Napkins, Cupcake Stand, Foil decorations provided by Perfect Kid's Party Shop!

While the photos don't do them justice, the swirls hanging from the ceiling looked amazing!

This look was created so easily with the perfect package put together by the Perfect Kid's Party Shop. The kids were able to scoop popcorn into their buckets and munch while they played and the plates were perfect to have when the finger food and cake came around! One simple little cupcake stand and some green cupcakes later and the table was complete!

Paper bags and stickers provided by Perfect Kids Party Shop!

The fun didn't stop there though! These goodie bags were perfect for the kids! I downloaded a simple zebra border, sticky tape at the bottom and a jungle sticker to seal - So easy and looked so effective! 

For the older children I put together these little 'busy' bags. They were full of crayons, colouring in activities and other little printables. They then took them home and hopefully it kept them busy on the car trip.

Also, a GORGEOUS cake made by my very talented friend and Perfect Kid's Party Shop candles meant the cake looked like this:

Cake by Kellie Mudgeway - Candles from Perfect Kid's Party Shop!

And well, the rest of the party? It went something like this...

And now there's an awesome GIVEAWAY from Perfect Kids Party Shop! You can win a $25 voucher to spend on all the awesome supplies! So check out the website and enter today!

All you need to do is...

1. COMMENT below – Tell us a what your perfect kid's party would be!

3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. It helps if you tag us in your entry too.

Too easy! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and has a creative answer will win! So get entering. Christmas is just around the corner!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

GIVEAWAY: Nappy Wallet - Lullaby Creations


When I first got to know Renee to run her first giveaway, it seemed she was really just starting out. I was amazed by the quality and how durable Tom's Santa Sack was. I could see that this was a business that could go places!

I've been keeping an eye on Lullaby Creations' Facebook page and Renee's products continue to blossom! She has some absolutely gorgeous ideas and products available, and so of course, her business continues to rise and is sure to be a great success!

So I was pretty excited when Renee told me she would like to send me one of her latest products. I immediately opted for the 'jungle theme' as my little man is all things jungle!

When it arrived it was no different from the Santa Sack - Quality material and durable. The first thing I noticed was how nice and wide it was. This isn't one of those nappy wallets that won't be used because you can't fit anything in.

Secondly the detail in the stitching and the inside of the pocket are so cute. Such a great touch!


The change mat looks easy to wipe down (though I haven't tried that yet) but the best thing is - it can all just go in the wash anyway!

I'm loving some of Renee's most recent products for sale. Check them out:

Renee has a Facebook page and a new Website. She also frequents markets including the Gisborne market and Williamstown market in Victoria.

GIVEAWAY - Want to win a handmade nappy wallet with a choice of fabric for you or a friend? It's easy.

1. COMMENT below – Tell us a brief nappy story from your house!

3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. It helps if you tag us in your entry too.

Too easy! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and has a creative answer will win! So get entering. Christmas is just around the corner!