Lola Turns One

Everyone says time flies when you have a baby and that they grow up so fast, but I really feel like its faster with your second because life is just so much busier with more than one child!
I am actually in disbelief that little Lola is now one. My little baby is a toddler!!!! ( insert tears).

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6 ways to save on your next kids party!

You asked… I listened …
6 Ways to save on your next kids party (and for it to still be fabulous!)

Kids parties are so much fun! But sometimes we can get carried away with what we think it needs to be and then we blow out the budget.
That is where I can help to keep you on track!
Here are my top 6 tips to cut costs on some of the wallet draining items, but still have an awesome party!

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How to create the perfect Game Of Thrones dinner party

It’s no secret I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones.
I never thought I would get into such a show, because I just don’t really dig fantasy (unless it’s Disney or romance hahahaha) but just like the rest of the world, once I watched it I got hooked. So its safe to say that I am SO excited to see the final season!

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Mum Hacks To Help You Get Your Shit Together…

Ok so there are literally thousands of Mum hacks and Mum advice blogs out there.
So I am well aware I am not reinventing the wheel here…
But since returning to part time work as a marketing manager, two kids in tow, running a business, and be a multi passionate person and juggling different hats ( mostly my choice by the way).
I constantly get messages about how do I actually fit it all in? How do I cope?
Well the honest answer is… I don’t . I am not a unicorn…

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Just A Modern Day Mama In A World Full Of Old Fashioned Expectations…

Did you know that in 2019, women are expected to…
Return to work after having babies, as well as cook, clean, manage the home, have an immaculate house at all times, organise kids, feed the pets, do the washing, attend school events –  oh and stay healthy, be calm, loving, practice self care, and be groomed and well presented…

Or are they????

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How to create a beautiful Valentines Day picnic…

Ok lovers, Valentines Day is just around the corner, so instead of the usual chocolates and tacky bears, I thought I would share with you a way to create a beautiful picnic with a checklist of things so you don’t forget anything!

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How to host a kick- ass Christmas or NYE party without breaking into a sweat…

Well the countdown to Christmas is officially on!
I cannot believe how fast this year has flown! ( Pretty sure that’s what I say every year)

If you are anything like me and love to throw a party or host a gathering, this time of the year is really the best!

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How to survive the school holidays with special guest, Anastasia from Kidspace Gold Coast

Entertaining your kids every minute of the day is exhausting.
It can be time consuming for you ( there are still errands to run, bills to pay and the clothes won’t wash themselves!) and it robs kids of the opportunity to learn how to entertain themselves ( an important skill!) Children need to learn to amuse themselves and to find interesting and fun things to do in a safe environment.
School holidays can often become very costly too. The go-to obvious entertainment choices are often expensive – e.g – The movies, a theme park, bowling, laser tag, play centres…. the list goes on!
Whilst those places are definitely fun and I still love to take Jude to them on the occasion, its not really sustainable to be going every day, or every week for that matter.

So I have been lucky enough to chat to Anastasia from KidSpace Gold Coast, to talk about everything you need to entertain the kids these school holidays!
Anastasia is a mum of three – two boys, almost 2 and 4, and a 14 year old girl.
She is also a primary school teacher and teaches year two locally – I suppose you could say her whole life revolves around children!
‘You think children get easier as they get older but some days my teenager needs more attention than my boys!’ Anastasia.

Nat – Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us Anastasia! I am so excited to use your guide myself! Can you please share a bit about how KidSpace came about?

Anastasia – No worries! I am more than happy to share!
KidSpace Gold Coast mainly came about because my 3yo was a REALLY active toddler. We needed to be out of the house by 8.30am or we were both going to have a bad day, and so having something to do every day became my goal.  I used to get anxious about having no plan, so I would trawl local websites to find information, wishing it was all in one place. I bit the bullet and I started my website, adding new adventures when my son was asleep. When my youngest came along I had two under two and was faced with a whole new round of challenges. I started looking for fenced playgrounds so I could sit with bub and not worry my toddler was going to make a run for it.  That’s when I realised that it was the small details such as fences and toilets that mattered. And coffee!

Nat – Yes fencing in parks can be very important and a deal breaker for some mums! I love that you share all this on your website! What else can we find on there?

Anastasia – Now that my family has grown, my focus has turned to free activities – playgrounds, playgroups, shopping centre activities. I just don’t have $50 to drop on a paid activity for both of my boys (and sometimes their older sister). Most kids are pretty happy with a set of swings, a good stick or a splashy puddle anyway!

Nat – I just absolutely love that you focus on the free activities! Not because I am a tight ass or anything, but because I have to try to stick to a budget! And I am super impressed at the cool things you can actually do on the coast for free!!
What would your number one tip be, for parents to stay sane these school holidays?

Anastasia – My number one tip is have a plan! I find one active morning activity out of the house and one afternoon activity at home always works for us. Our morning activity is normally a playground or play date with a friend. Our afternoon activity is normally a walk to a local park, craft or backyard activity.  Know where you’re going and find out as much information before you go – where to park, nearest food and drinks, toilets, do you need a change of clothes? Take the stress out of your morning by knowing these details before you go.

Plan to be home for naps and lunches – that way you can throw on a load of washing or chill out while they sleep. It’s really important to have a good routine that gives you an hour of time to do whatever you want.

You can find the KidSpace latest guide to free holiday activities here: https://kidspacegoldcoast.com.au/free-school-holiday-fun/

Other handy hints to remember –

  • Be sure to search for coupon codes on shop a dockets, Facebook, Instagram etc because lots of the paid activities have special offers over the holidays too so you can save on those activities too!
  • Try to look ahead at your calendar so you can sprinkle paid and free activities
  • Organise play dates with family and friends so you can relax a bit more while the kids play together.

At home activity ideas

  • Play dough.
  • Cooking – I make pikelets often because its super cheap and I always have the ingredients. I also don’t mind if kids drops egg shells into that mix because we can always make another batch ( and Jude really loves to crack the eggs)
  • Water play – various buckets and containers set up on the veranda or in the shade in the backyard. Add plastic toys and even sand!!
  • Treasure hunts
  • Craft activities – painting, glueing etc.
  • Colouring in
  • Frozen play – put small toys in ice and you have to chip them out or spray with water.
  • Nature play – collecting leaves and sticks and rocks in the back yard. Then we paint with them. So much fun!
  • Backyard picnics – makes lunch time fun!

 

And remember to breathe, relax and try to enjoy the holidays too!
You WILL survive the silly season!

xxxx

 

How I threw a birthday party under $200

To some people $200 is still a bit much to spend on a party.
To others $200 is just loose change…
Kids parties come in all different shapes and sizes, so I thought I would share with you what I put together for Judes 3rd birthday and how I kept to my budget.

Amazing parties don’t come cheap.
I am talking the Pinterest, aesthetically beautiful parties. The ones with the neon signs, the balloon arbours, the array of entertainment, photo booths, the 4 tiered cake etc ( the list could really go on).
They are absolutely drool worthy!! Heck I want to throw myself one every second weekend! But sometimes that kind of party is just not do – able.
Whether it be budgets, time frames, or the fact you have family rules restricting parties to milestone birthdays only, every family is different ( or like me, who just had a baby and just really wanted to take things easy this year).
According to experts in the biz Party With Lenzo, the average minimum cost for a party is $300.
In a recent study in the UK, it seems the average min spend for British parents is $450.
So I thought with a budget of $200 I was doing alright!

When I asked Jude what he wanted to do for his birthday this year he said –
‘Mum I want a Spiderman cake, and a picnic with Archie, Isaac and Jabez ( cousin and 2 friends).
The party entertainer in me was like – ‘WHAT!!!! That is NOT a party!!!!!’
but of course, he is 3, so I didn’t say that…
Selfishly though, I would love to have a theme that is not a super hero, because seriously, that stuff can be so tacky! ( last year I threw a non tacky Batman themed party for him. I should really share that one day!) But kids love the bright super hero themes so I relaxed this year and this is how it rolled. ( Sorry I forgot to get some photos of the decorations details but I am sure your imagination can paint the picture)

Little guests –  5
Adults – 7

Food
For the kids…
I made a fruit platter for when they arrived and then they had my favourite lunch packs ( see pics below)
Fruit I purchased – 2 apples, 2 oranges, 1 punnet blueberries, 1 punnet strawberries, grapes.
Lunch packs contained –
Cheese stick
Cookie
Vegemite sandwich star
Popcorn cup
3 chicken nuggets
I got all my fruit from the fruit shop and all the rest from Aldi.
Total cost for the kids food was – $15.25 ( $3.05 per head)

For the adults…
I served a small cheese platter which cost $17 to create.
Followed by burgers. I love to use the brioche buns from Aldi and the Angus beef patties. I just divide each patty into two as they are super thick.
Then I add, cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayo. Delish!!
They came in at $19.80 total.
So total cost of food per head for the adults was around $5.25

Drink
I used my drink dispensers and filled them with ice and added water to one, and apple juice to the other.
The juice was – $1.75

Decorations
These were all purchased from Choice discount store, except for the Spiderman balloons which were from eBay.
Plastic cups for popcorn and drinking – $2
Red and white lunch packs – $2 pack of 8
Red balloons with Spiderman – $4 with plastic sticks $2 ( I used these as decorations on a stick and then handed out to the kids as favours at the end)
Mixed balloons on the floor – $2.50 bag
Backdrop behind Cake – $1.20
Serviettes $1
Paper straws – $2
Paper plates $1
White table cloths – Already owned
Picnic rug – Already owned

Favours
Bags – $2
Plastic dinosaurs from kmart- $3 ( Judes favourite things and they come in a tube of about 20)
Bubbles – $2
Take home balloons ( mentioned previously and below on the stick)

Cake 
This was my biggest expense as it was something I wanted to outsource.
Cakes stress me out and Jude specifically wanted a Spiderman themed cake whenever I asked him. I knew I would fail at making that. He also said that he wanted cake as a present. So I guess it was kind of a present too ( shut up, I’m not a tight ass. He got some actual presents too).
The amazing cake was made by Deni Bakes on the Gold Coast and came in at $120.
It was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend her! ( You should check out her Facebook- Here

Fun
The kids played in the backyard and we had some running races.
I obviously have access to some fun party entertainment ( being a party entertainer and all) so we played a few games, danced and used the colourful parachute.
I also made my husband dress up as Spiderman and surprise the kids which was super fun! But I know not everyone can do that, and if you did, you would need to add the costs of the costume to your budget.

Total party cost $199.25

At the end of the day it was lots of fun and Jude still keeps talking about it.
We had minimal food left over and still have lots of balloons left over to use for other fun things.

The main thing to remember when you plan your party is – What is my budget? and how can I plan ahead to ensure I don’t blow that budget. (Planning ahead is always a good idea no matter what your budget!)
It really is easy to get out of control, so be mindful.
Kids really just want to play and have fun. They want to laugh and blow out candles. The 3 layered, fairy bread truffle, can often go un – noticed.

Anyway I hope this has been helpful to those wanting to throw a small easy party but didn’t really know where to start.
Good luck with your next party and I hope you and your loved ones get to enjoy it, no matter what the budget!

xoxox Nat