How’s your house smelling lately? It’s the end of winter, the kids have been cooped up for the last few months and you’ve got a dog, a cat and you use cloth nappies. Oh, wait, is that just us?! Thankfully, it’s spring now in Melbourne, and the sun is starting to hang around a bit more and the kids are able to get on outside. And the nappies and the washing can actually go outside on the line – woo!!! Because let me tell you, sometimes I come back to the house after being out somewhere and I think – does the house really smell like that?! Now, I’ve got a pretty sensitive nose to scent, good and bad. But man, sometimes I really hope noone drops in unannounced. That pervasive smell of damp clothes drying over the heat vent (constantly!), a nappy bucket, that is emptied regularly but still, and litter tray sometimes just becomes a little too noticeable.
So when I was offered the chance to review and giveaway some new home fragrance products from Airwick, my first thought was, how did she know and secondly, yes, dear lord yes! And there is a giveaway for you my lovely readers! Sweet.
The little package of goodies that I got to review and you will have a chance to win includes products from Airwick’s new Life Scents Collection – scented candle, plugins and room spray. Now, we don’t often use plug in air fresheners, and at first I thought it was going to be too strong, and maybe irritate the Mister’s hay fever. However, I’ve had it going in the laundry, on the low setting and it’s lovely. And now, when I’ve been out of the house, when I return the smell is much nicer! We’ve liked the Winter Moments scent, and I really like the Mystical Garden room spray. It’s quite lovely. Click through the link to read a little more about this new collection, and the different scents they have. There’ll be one you like for sure!
So, to enter the giveaway, I want to hear from you! Fill in the options below, and comment on this blog post: What is your favourite scent and why? It could be anything – food, perfume, flowers etc. Good luck with the giveaway, and please remember – sharing is caring! Let your friends know too.
This giveaway is bought to you by HomeHello.
*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED – THE WINNER IS AMY A! CONGRATULATIONS, AN EMAIL IS HEADING YOUR WAY!*
Right then people, it’s giveaway time! In fact, it’s a HomeHello House Cleaning giveaway! Now, I don’t know about you, but I often dream of the time when I might be able to pay for someone to clean the house. Oh, to not have to clean the bathroom. That would be so awesome!
So when the good people at HomeHello contacted me to offer one of my readers a three hour house cleaning voucher, how could I say no?! Have you heard of them? They are Melbourne and Sydney metro based and have an awesome website where you can easily book and pay for their services. The website lets you specify how many rooms you need done, extra cleaning required, and dates and times. It also estimates how many hours you would require, depending on what you need done. Too easy!
I know several friends who have started employing a house cleaner, and man, has it made things run smoother for them. It helps them in terms of the house being clean, obvisously, but also takes away some of that stress the housework can cause. You know, between you and your partner, the kids, the pets…… And gives them more time to do other stuff that needs doing.
So if you have been considering a cleaner, this could be your chance to try it out – three hours free!! Like I said, they’re Melbourne and Sydney metro based, so unfortunately if you are outside that area, the prize can’t be used. But refer some friends! They might win and buy you a bottle of wine if they do!!*
It’s easy – simply fill in the rafflecopter form below AND don’t forget to leave a blog post comment HERE. On this page. That is the only mandatory thing. Comment telling us the messiest thing you’ve had to clean up in your house and The Mister will choose the one that he likes best (I will remove identifying info and then let him see the answers).
*Please note, I have no control over your friends. They may not buy you a bottle of wine for referring them to this giveaway.
This post was bought to you by Dettol.
Before you have kids, you ‘know’ things will change. Work, money, some household roles. Your body. And you also ‘know’ that you won’t let some things change (bahahaha!). We’ll still do the things we love to do, baby will fit in with us….. And to some extent that’s true. Like, for perhaps the first few months. Then baby is not a newborn anymore. Baby becomes a small human intent on making you focus solely on them at all times – for food, for nappy changes, for entertainment, for laughing, for cuddling. So you know, mostly, it’s all good and pretty much why lots of people have kids. It’s when they’re slightly older – preschool/toddler – that you realise how the small things have changed. There are loads of things that have changed for me because of kids and below are just three:
Music. Now I’m not talking about seeing live music. Clearly that’s changed. The last live show I saw was Hi 5. Lord. But even listening to it has changed. I do it less, for one, mainly because I listen more to the ABC during the day now. Because I don’t get to watch the news etc on the tv anymore. For one, it’s the kids bed and bath time when it’s on and two, I don’t want them seeing it. I can have the radio on and turn it off quickly if I need. And also, when we put music on now, it’s with a lot of thought. Music from the 90’s features a lot and earlier, and we pick stuff that we think the kids will enjoy – that they can jump around and rock out to. Because they actually love doing that which is awesome, especially for The Mister. He’s been in bands for most of his adolescent and adult life, so it’s good to see them enjoy music.
Books. I used to read and read and read!!! And I do read blogs and new sites a lot but I used to read books. Stories. Things that took me to other places and times and gave me different views on things. Now, books are read and re-read but aren’t quite the same. Jessie, Iron Man and the Wonkey Donkey have taken over from Elizabeth, Frodo and Jo. Which is quite lovely in one way, but something I’ve recently tried to change. I’m so pleased the kids have always been interested in books and stories, but I need to make sure I keep reading too. Even if it’s re-reading the one’s I love and throwing in a new one every now and then. I’ve been trying to go to bed a half hour earlier to get some book time in.
Hand Wash. I never used to buy hand wash. I would have soap in the bathroom and that would be it. Why would I a spend more on liquid soap, I thought. Ha!! Since having kids, the amount of time I have spent washing my hands must of quadrupled. And that’s being conservative! Multiple nappy changes a day, washing out said nappies (we use cloth), cleaning up after the kids, and all the normal reasons to wash hands. It’s now an essential and since using the Dettol No Touch system I’m thoroughly converted. I think I need one for the laundry as well as the one I have in the kitchen. The laundry is where we store and wash nappies, feed animals and change kitty litter. One in the laundry would be pretty handy actually. I sometimes make my own – I recently worked out how to make the foaming hand wash which is great, but I think the No Touch system is really god for the kitchen – think washing hands after cutting raw chicken and think about what the pump on the hand wash must be covered in. Yeah. Nice.
So tell me, what are the small things that have changed since you had kids? Is it something that surprised you or were you fully prepared for the change?
Last weekend, I got my Thermochef cooking up a storm. It was lovely weather mostly, so The Mister was able to keep the littles outside whilst I tested out some recipes. I’ve been wanting to get into cooking up some basics, so I delved into the thermochef and thermomix books I have to test some recipes.
First up, Quirky Cooking’s Macadamia Pesto. I’ve made this one before, but it’s quick, easy and awesome. It’s fantastic on a whole variety of things – pasta, zoodles, grilled fish, roast chicken even on vegetable crudites.
I then cooked up some Vegetable Stock Paste, from the Thermochef Recipe Cards. This is a staple, it’s always in the fridge. Lasts for a while because of the salt and is fresh, nasty free and adds good depth to lots of dishes.
The biggest success I had, was the Thermochef Yoghurt. I was REALLY pleased with the way it turned out. Thick and creamy, and it was actually a nice mild flavour so the kids don’t mind it either. I’ve been making my own yoghurt for a while, first with the easiyo, and then using UHT milk and yoghurt starter in a thermos. But while it was always ok, and was saving some money, it was never great. And I had avoided making it in the thermochef because I thought it was too complicated. I was wrong!
Yum. There isn’t much left, so I’m going to have to get to it again this afternoon – I also have an order from my mum for a batch!
I cooked up a few other basics, including an EASY gnocchi, a tomato sugo and a tomato jam. Things that Ms 3 actually ate. Wonders will never cease. I’ll write another post soon about those yummies.
I’m thinking of doing a bit of a thermochef series, what do you think? Just me testing out the recipes and talking about what is useful to me. Perhaps even some budget breakdowns of the basics, and how it can save money? If that sounds good, let me know, either in a comment below, or over on the Facebook page.Thick & Creamy Yoghurt2014-08-29 11:56:55Yields 1Write a reviewPrep Time10 minCook Time45 minTotal Time9 hrPrep Time10 minCook Time45 minTotal Time9 hrIngredients
- 800g full cream milk
- 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 50g milk powder
- Place milk and powdered milk into TC bowl and blend for 10 seconds, speed 7
- Cook for 30 minutes, temperature 90c, speed 1.
- Cool to 37c. This took at least an hour for me, as I left it in the TC bowl. Use a thermometer to test this. The recipe card says minimum 30 minutes, and that the temp can be tested by placing bowl back into housing and the temp will register. My TC does not do this.
- Add the yoghurt and blend gently for 4 seconds, speed 4.
- Cook for 10 minutes, temperature 37c, speed 1.
- While yoghurt is cooking, pour boiling water into the glass jar from a yoghurt maker, or into a thermos flask to sterilise and warm.
- Once yoghurt is cooked, pour immediately into the container and leave over night.
Tully & Mishka http://tullyandmishka.com.au/
- Some handy tips - The yoghurt should get thicker and creamier the more you make it using your own starter.
- Add extra acidophilus powder if you like - available from health stores, I added a the powder from a capsule, as I had some in the fridge.
- I used organic products, but just use the best products you can afford.
I’ve written before about why we chose to use modern cloth nappies with our babies. I thought I would write a little about washing, drying and maintaining the nappies, for anyone out there interested in trying them with their bubs.
We mainly use baby behinds hemp one size fits all, and itti bitti snap in styles. There are a couple of other types floating in the mix, but these are the main types. They are all washed in the same way. We also use face washers/cloths instead of disposable wipes.
So after a nappy change, I rinse any solids (or not so solid when they were pre-solid food) straight into the toilet. I have a very handy partner who loves to DIY and he attached a hose to the toilet that helps no end with this process! Once the nappy is rinsed I place it straight into a bucket in the laundry, put the lid on and leave it. I dry pail – which simply means I don’t soak the nappies, but I wash at least every second day. If you leave it longer, the urine can wreck the elastic in the nappies, and the stink increases also. Also, this past year I’ve had two in nappies, so it has often meant I’ve washed every day.
Once the bucket is full, I place them all in the washing machine and do a rinse cycle. I put the nappies and the covers all in together, along with the cloths and nappy liners (if I’ve remembered to use them!). Nappy liners are great – you can purchase eco disposable ones, but I prefer to use reusable ones. Super easy to make – strips of fleece material, you know, that jumpers are made from. The solids come off the liner a lot easier than the nappy.
After the rinse, I usually choose the 30-40 degree setting and an intensive rinse. Most of the manufacturers seem to recommend no higher than 60 degrees (Celsius) for the nappies, to look after the elastic. There seem to be differing opinions about using cold or warm wash, and on using washing powder/liquid. I use whatever washing liquid we have in the laundry, although sometimes I manage to score some Rockin’ Green, which is designed for use with modern cloth nappies, but is often really hard to get. We always have eco/green washing liquid in the cupboard. Less is definitely more when it comes to MCNs – too much detergent will build up in the nappies, and they become stinky and less absorbent, and you’ll have to do a strip wash.
The nappies do well when you can dry them in the sunlight – the UV helps whiten them and is good for getting rid of bacteria also. However, if you need to use a dryer no problem. I find our hemp nappies soften up really well after a tumble in the dryer. Just don’t put the PUL covers in. They dry so quickly anyway, just whack them on the clothes horse. We didn’t have a dryer until our second one came along, and they were both in nappies. Couldn’t keep up!
I mentioned a strip wash above. This is for when the nappies become a bit stinky and aren’t absorbing very well. Wash them as normal and then put them through a couple of washes with no detergent. Some people recommend using a small amount of dish washing liquid in the first wash. I sometimes use the Canesten Laundry Rinse also, particularly if the kids haven’t been well.
We don’t use cloth 100% of the time – if the kids are sick, if I’m sick – we do use disposables. But we do our best to use cloth most of the time. How about you? Any tips on washing and drying your cloth nappies that aren’t mentioned here?
So you’ve all seen them by now, haven’t you? The Thermomix? They seem to be all over the interwebs at the moment. Man, I wanted one! A super duper machine for the kitchen that cooks, blends, chops, mills, grinds etc etc etc. Super fast cooking, transformative cooking! All that jazz. One problem – the just under $2,000 price tag. Yup, you read that right. So I read loads of information. Blogs, forums, all kinds of sites. I discovered lots of love for the TM and several cheaper alternatives. Many that did not get good reviews. So I arranged a demonstration – to purchase a TM in Australia, you have to host/attend a demonstration. No probs, they cook about six dishes over the couple of hours to show the cool things it can do. Now I was a bit hesitant to arrange one, because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to purchase any time soon, but they were lovely people who seem to completely understand that its a big purchase and not many people attend a demo and buy straight away.
So the demonstration did not make me want one less! And The Mister was impressed, however he just could not see how the TM was so much more expensive than the nearest rival, the ThermoChef that is around $700-800 retail. Both have a two year warranty. I was convinced though, and kept calculating and re-calculating how long it would take to save the money. I even considered becoming a consultant! TM offers an opportunity for people to earn their machine through becoming a consultant and selling a certain amount of machines in a time period. I’m really not the party plan type! I get far to anxious/embarrassed. However in the end I decided against it mainly because I thought I would really need to have used the machine for a while before I would feel comfortable trying to sell it.
The machine appeals to me because it makes things easier. And quicker. And I am slowly attempting to introduce our little family to a healthier diet, richer in whole foods, less preservatives and less sugar.
So I did some more research – there are A LOT of blogs and websites out there dedicated to the TM – and some have really good comparisons between the different thermo machines out there. In the end, I decided to purchase the somewhat cheaper ThermoChef. I found a good deal and purchased just before Christmas last year. I was very excited. It arrived promptly, especially considering it was Christmas time. However, irritation was to follow! It didn’t work. Straight out of the box, it didn’t work. Newwave, the company that distributes the TC, provided excellent customer service. They responded promptly – on Boxing Day and arranged for a courier to collect it once the factory had returned to work after the break. Despite the excellent customer service, what followed was approximately five weeks of frustration, irritation and concern that I had made the wrong choice. A lot of this was, to be fair to Newwave, caused by the courier companies – they didn’t turn up, twice, then they came a week after being cancelled and then they lost my item when it was being returned! Also Newwave sent my repaired unit to someone else in the midst of all this. After I made it clear I was over the whole situation and ready to request a refund, Newwave arranged for my brand new unit, plus extra cook books to be hand delivered by one of their team. Phew!
Since it has been here, it has been great. No concerns, and I’ve used it on average three times a day nearly every day. I think in the short time we’ve had it, our meals have become less boring (I’m cooking outside the square!) and less stressful. Well, dinner preparation with two toddlers under three is always going to have some stress!!!!!
I would love to hear your ThermoLovin’ stories! Anyone purchased a ThermoChef? A Thermomix? What’s the biggest change your ‘thermo’ has made in your kitchen?
So we all love Pinterest, right? Well, here is a little DIY project we recently completed, inspired by Pinterest. And when I say we completed, I mean I had the idea, I pinned some inspiration and sourced the products and the Mister actually did the DIY part. With the help of Ms 2.
I’ve been wanting to set up a reading corner for her for some time. With her resisting the big bed though, her room has been rather crowded with the cot in there as well. However, we’ve had a win in that department and the cot is gone – hurrah! So now we had space to do a bit more. When she was born, we were gifted with a beautiful vintage, child size armchair. It was given to us by my mother’s cousin, and it was her chair when she was a small child. It is gorgeous and perfect for a reading nook. So I knew I wanted that in the corner and then saw some super simple book shelf ideas on Pinterest. Ikea spice racks. Awesome. Simple. And cheap! $2.99 each, and are solid untreated wood. So you can go ahead and paint/stain them any colour you want!
We used a good old spray paint – a lovely bright yellow. The Mister applied two coats and attached them to the wall. Apparently, we need to use some different wall mounts, in case too much weight is placed on them (ie our 8 month old pulling the) so we are going to change those asap, but otherwise, it turned out just as I had wanted!
The first night, Ms 2 spent quite some time rearranging the books on the shelves and also decided that it meant we were going to read ALL of the books on the shelves at bedtime. Ahhh, no.
I have also spied her sitting on the chair and reading a book to her dolly – melt! So there you go, a simple, quick and cheap little DIY project that actually worked. Love Pinterest! Are you on Pinterest? Have you completed any projects or recipes that you have pinned? Or do you just love to pin and dream?! Leave your pinterest profile in the comments, and I’ll follow you!