Saturday, 29 December 2012

Drawing and Painting Activities Online for Kids

With four computer savvy kidlets around, I have to make sure that the sites they are visiting, with my supervision and help of course, are age appropriate, wholesome and entertaining. Also as an added bonus maybe they can learn something new or use their creative talents in a productive way.


I do have a bit of trouble with Master 4 wanting to play what the older ones are playing. This always ends up with tears, he gets upset and annoyed because he doesn’t understand or can’t work it out.

So I thought I would search out a few different websites that are good for the younger ones as well as the older kids in the house.


I would love to share the websites that I have come across in my searches. These pages have some great drawing and painting activities.

  • ABC for Kids has a few good pages for the younger ones.  Master 4 loves the Chuggington Colour in pages at It is very easy to use and those with very early mouse skills can learn it quite quickly.
  • Playschool has a good one too. It is just a bit harder and ok if they just want to have a bit of a play around and a bit of fun. It is hard to stay in the lines with this one. It does have things like buttons and stamps that you can stick on your picture.

I definitely recommend the kids BBC page, CBeebies. If they don't know about it, they are in for a real treat.  Lots of things here for them to do.

  • The Colour Factory is very, very cool. You get to mix your colours first, and then you can paint your picture. You can use a blank sheet of paper or one of their templates.  This is lots of fun and very user friendly. It teaches you things about colours and mixing. I like this one a lot.
  • Springwatch and Colour is very cute.  First you choose an animal to colour, then you colour it in. When you are finished you get to watch your animal come to life in the picture.

Nic Jnr has some excellent web pages for kids who love to colour.

  • Lots of things to colour and you can choose your favourite show and characters. Children can have lots of colouring in fun here, even if, like us, you aren’t a pay tv subscriber. This website has about every colouring page you could think of. Something for everyone.


I hope you find some sites here that you and your children like. My kids can certainly give them the tick of approval! 

All the gorgeous artwork displayed in this post, is courtesy of and belongs to my daughter Bethany.


Friday, 21 December 2012

Budding Artists and a Cartridges Direct Discount

I love it when my kids get all creative. They sometimes spend a few hours using different art programs on the computer. They can create a beautiful masterpiece, that looks so colourful and clever. They have a bit of fun and it really looks great. It gets their creative juices flowing and I love it when they feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when they finish.

My kids love using the basic Windows Paint program. This is just a standard, simple little art program, that comes with Windows. My two girls are quite good at it. Bethany has been using it since she was about 2 so she is an 'expert’ at it now.

Bethany - Happy Kitty Dreaming of Fish

Hannah - I'm On Top of the World

Angus - Dreaming of Fish

Of course when they are finished colouring, my kids want to print their creations out. There have been those times when my children spend ages making their pictures look so beautiful and then they ask me “Can I print it out now Mum?” Then I realise that the colour toner in the printer is running out and I don’t have a spare. Don’t you hate that feeling. You need to print something and you can’t because you don’t have any ink left.

Buying toner and ink can be a bit confusing at times. It is hard to know which one to buy when you are out. They can be expensive so you want to get it right.

Buying online can take a lot of the stress out of buying toner and ink cartridges.

Cartridges Direct can make it a lot easier for you. Have you ever looked at their website when you need to buy some more ink or toner? They really do make it quite easy.

Cartridges Direct are generously offering my readers a 5% discount on their online orders.

When you have added an item to your shopping basket, there is a little box above your item labelled 'Coupon'. Here you just need to type in the code X567XC1 and click the box which says 'Apply Coupon' and your discount will be applied to your order.

Something that I need to remember is that it is always good to have a spare toner in the drawer, especially when you have kids around.

Enjoy your holidays! Have fun and please take care.


Friday, 14 December 2012

Fancy a Smooze?

Smooze is a 100% natural fruit ice that you simply freeze, cut, squeeze and slurp, or you can use it as a time-saving all natural base for some wonderfully healthy smoothies or should that be Smoozies?

Smooze Fruit Ice is available in four flavours.

Pineapple + Coconut
Pink Guava + Coconut
Mango + Coconut
and Simply Coconut

Some very delicious and healthy Smoothie recipes to try out are.

Smooze Breakfast Buzz Smoothie (Serves 1)

1 frozen Smooze Fruit Ice of your choice
1 cup of either banana, peaches, berries or mango
¾ cup of milk of your choice (dairy or other)
1 egg (optional see below)
1 tspn LSA
1 tspn honey

If you were wanting to get an instant boost and an energy hit first thing in the morning you could include 1 Tablespoon of a protein powder in place of the egg.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until nice and smooth.

Yum! This is seriously delicious and you have the added benefit of knowing that it is a healthy choice for breakie that will give you loads of energy. It will kickstart your morning and you can enjoy it when you or the kids don’t feel like eating a big breakfast.

Smooze Health Kick Smoothie (Serves 1)

1 frozen Smooze Fruit Ice of your choice
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ cup fresh mango flesh (can used tinned peaches)
¼ avocado
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp LSA
¾ cup filtered water (if you would like a thicker, richer smoothie you can substitute rice/soy milk)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.

This smoothie is allergen friendly, refreshingly healthy and very easy to whip up quickly.

Smooze Green Machine Smoothie (Serves 1)

1 frozen Pineapple and Coconut Smooze Fruit Ice
1 orange – roughly chopped up with seeds removed
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 sprigs of mint – leaves only
¾ cup filtered water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

This healthy smoothie was designed by Sydney nutritionist Flora Lee. It uses Smooze Fruit Ice as a quick and easy but 100% natural base.  As you can imagine it helps with detox support. If you are into healthy living then this is the delicious smoothie that you can enjoy.

Smooze Fruit Ice is available in the dessert aisle of supermarkets and independent grocers. For a box of 10 the recommended retail price is $6.49.

It is made by Health Attack. This is a family company, created by naturopaths and parents Hugh Cowan and Petula Martin. They source snack foods that have been prepared in an honest and genuine way and are healthy, delicious and affordable. They make sure their products look good, taste great and are genuinely healthy.

Please read the Smooze story here.  Find out some facts about Smooze and School canteens and how you can get it stocked into the canteen at your kid’s school.  It is a wonderful product and my kids and I just love it.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show is Coming to Town!

The wonderful thing about tiggers.
Is tiggers are wonderful things.
Their tops are made out of rubber.
Their bottoms are made out of springs.
They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.
But the most wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!

One of my favourite characters in the 100 acre wood is Tigger. He is bouncy, positive and fun. Nothing gets him down. He is one cool, stripy cat.

My family had the chance to meet him a few days ago. I have to say he is incredibly soft and incredibly cuddly. My kids loved him. I can highly recommend a Tigger cuddle, if you get the chance.

There is a real treat in store for our little ones and those who are still young at heart these summer holidays. The all singing, all dancing real live fun of Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show is coming to Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Darwin, Perth, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Tasmania.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are here as well as lots of your favourite characters like Tigger, Cinderella, Donald and Goofy.

These lovable characters are on a road trip talent search adventure, filled with twists and turns and plenty of exciting encounters along the way. Ticket holders will experience a high energy, giggle making adventure, jam packed with music, eye catching choreography and one of a kind scenery.

There may even be a special appearance for the first time in Disney Live! history, by Buzz Lightyear, and Woody and Jessie from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story as well as a few other surprises.

Tickets are on sale NOW!!   At

The ticket prices are:

A Reserve: $37.50 (Family ticket $140)
B Reserve: $29.50 (Family ticket $110)

Family tickets are any configuration of four people. Children under 12 months are free on the knee!


As the story unfolds you will be singing, dancing and laughing along. It will have you on the edge of your seat and ready to embark on your own road trip adventure.

The kids will move, groove, sing, laugh, clap, tap, dance, prance, and learn that real live fun is always better than a smart-screen! This is the ultimate present and a not to be missed magical experience.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

My Week According to Instagram

1. My first Bloggers' Brunch. Very exciting!
2. Chewy caramel popcorn (Thank you Tina!).
3. My very happy tomato plant.
4. Bethany's photo of Snuggles.
5. Lion Balloon animal.
6. My little court jester.
7. Let's do the Moshi Dance? ... Hmmm maybe not. I believe this is Katsuma.
8. I received this in the mail, from someone that I have never even met or spoken to and it made my day.
9. I am not saying that my black and white cat Jamaica, is heavy or anything - but this is what she left on my leg after standing on me for a while.

Please come over and see my photos on Instagram or follow me on Instagram at awelcominghearth.

I hope you are having a great weekend.


Monday, 26 November 2012

Enjoy Your Summer With Havaianas!

Summer holidays!

Long, lazy days spent relaxing and swimming in the cool, blue ocean, soaking up the sun. Evenings spent around the BBQ or taking a short stroll down to the fish and chip shop. Spending time with good friends and family. Living in your swimmers, shorts and comfy top, with a pair of Havaianas on your feet. Leaving all the worries and stresses of the real world far behind.

Havaianas are the perfect footwear for lots of summer loving people. They are so fun and colourful.

Havaianas were born in 1962 and inspired by the Zori, typical Japanese sandals with fabric straps and a rice straw soles. Something that I didn't know was that if you look at the footbed of all Havaianas it has a distinctive textured rice pattern.

Just in time for the holidays, Havaianas have put together a special gift pack, featuring their best selling licensed kids prints. Havaianas popular Transformers and My Little Pony styles now come in their own little gift pack with a matching toy! Just in time for summer.

Free Divider Myspace Graphics

Available for the little man in your life is Optimus Prime and Bumblebee Transformer prints and My Little Pony prints for the girls! 

Each gift pack includes a pair of Havaianas and one of a selection of matching collectable toys!

Transformer bundles include Optimus Prime, Megatron, Ironhide, Blackout or Powerglide toys.

My Little Pony bundles include one of two ponies in Sweetie Belle's Ice Cream Train Car.

Havaianas x Optimus Prime Bundle
Available exclusively from:

Havaianas x My Little Pony Bundle
Available exclusively from:

I really hope that you get some great rest and relaxation these summer holidays. Enjoy yourselves!


Sunday, 25 November 2012

My Week According to Instagram

I am finally linking up to 'My Week According to Instagram' at

It only took me half the day to display my photos into these cute little collages. I'm quick like that! Hehe! I seem to have doubled up on two of them. Sorry about that.

Monorail cat (otherwise known as Snuggles)  |  Queen Snuggles  |  Extreme closeup by Angus  |  COFFEE!!! nuff said  |  Talking Mums magazine and some gorgeous pinboards  |  One extremely handsome little dude  |  Stars and Rainbows  |  Surprised pussy cat  |  Star boy

Magic Mike magic show  |  Turning a poor unsuspecting victim into a rabbit  |  Angus Hippy (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) Graduation  |  Magic Mike's rabbit  |  Coffee again...  |  Talking Mums magazine

You are very welcome to follow me on Instagram. I am awelcominghearth or you can see my pictures here.


Monday, 19 November 2012

Launch of the New Peristaltic Plus™ Teat

Tomorrow something rather special is happening in the world of baby bottle teats.

The lovely Jessica Rowe will be hosting the launch of a revolutionary new Peristaltic Plus™ baby teat by Pigeon, an award-winning world leader in baby care products.

It is made of super soft, super flexible silicon rubber that is able to stretch in the baby's mouth and so sits comfortably on the tongue. It is also uniquely textured to closely resemble a mother's soft skin and helps baby with the correct latch on.

Pigeon knows that there are three main factors in a breast feeding bub. Firstly, the baby initiates attachment or latching; moving the tongue forward, and the lips outwards to form a suction cup around the mother's areola. Secondly, peristaltic movement - the baby starts moving the tongue in a wave-like motion and starts sucking and drawing milk from the mother's breast, and then thirdly, swallowing - the back of the baby’s tongue rises to transfer milk down to the oesophagus. The Peristaltic Plus™ Teat has been designed with these three key factors close in mind.

It is quite a break through in the world of teats both for breast feeding and bottle feeding mums and aims to minimise any nipple confusion so that mums are able to breastfeed for longer and babies can enjoy the benefits of breast milk for as long as they can.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Dettol Power and Pure - {Product Review}

Product talk by Nuffnang

What is it with little boys and dirt? When my girls were small I used to put them in the bath together, and while the water used to get a little cloudy, it was never like the murky water that my two little begrimed boys leave behind! When I let the dirty water out of the bath, I am left with a bath ring every time.

It is hard to get rid of too. I usually have to scrub it quite vigorously to remove it. I have been sent some Dettol Power & Pure Bathroom and so I thought I would give it a try and see if it worked. I sprayed it on, left it for the recommended time, which is 10 minutes. I then ran the water into the bath and gave it a quick rinse and my bath was sparkling clean again. I was rather impressed.

It uses active oxygen to clean, has no chemical residue, even without rinsing. When it cleans it breaks down into water and oxygen. I hate using these super strong cleaners. So with littlies in the house, I felt quite safe using it. But it does kill 99.9% of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella.

So I then tried it out in the shower and the basin and it worked really well. The smell is pleasant, nice and fresh.

Then I moved on to the kitchen. I used the Dettol Power & Pure Multi Purpose with active Oxygen. It cleaned my benches amazingly well. Again is states no harsh chemical residue, even without rinsing. But I always make sure I rinse cleaning stuff off the benches. I can't help myself. It says you can clean the draining board, food prep areas, floor, sealed wooden surfaces, glass, cooker tops and lots more.

I have always liked and trusted Dettol. The smell of a splash of Dettol antiseptic in the bath water takes me right back to when I was little. Anything that isn't going to harm my family with strong, poisonous chemicals is a good idea to me.


Disclaimer: As always the views and opinions expressed are 100% my own. No payment was accepted for this post. I received an item in exchange for a review.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Things That Inspire Me

These are the things that can help me, that can give me ideas, that can give me strength and let me move on. In no particular order.

Watching a sunrise.
People who are determined to see a plan through to the end.
People who finish what they start.
People who risk their own lives to save others.
People who give their own time, money, effort and belongings to help others.
People who take pride in their work.
Seeing someone fall or fail but they get up and try again.
Reading books.
Watching the Para-Olympics.
My children.
Seeing beautiful scenery.
Watching animals play.
Watching a horse gallop across a meadow.
Looking at a Tiger.
Listening to music.
Having absolute silence for a little while.
Walking along the beach.
Seeing a rainbow in the sky.
Hearing the rain on a tin roof.
People who stand up for what they believe in, even though the crowd is against them.

What are the things that can inspire you?


Thursday, 8 November 2012

I Remember a Superbug called Herbie

This post about a bug and kombi graveyard from the inspiring has made me remember a little Mustard yellow 1600 Superbug Volkswagon that I grew up with. Dad bought it in 1973 and it was sold to a 'yuppie' businessman in Sydney. I think it was about 1989. A few tears were shed that day. We called it Herbie.

I remember how you used to run on the smell of an oily rag. When we arrived home mum would stop you abruptly and then wait for the slosh sound of the petrol in the tank and say you’re good for a little while yet.

I remember how we used to ride on the ‘running board’ as we went down the driveway. Gripping on tightly as we bumped over the uneven rocky ground. It probably wouldn't be allowed today.

I remember how we all used to pile into you to go to the pool on a 40+ day in Perth and how your metal seatbelts used to get unbelievably hot like a scorching hot coal taken straight out of a furnace.

I remember how mum always used to squeeze as many people as possible into you. I swear you could stretch somehow. 

I remember in the days before seatbelts were compulsory, my best friend and I would sit in the little compartment at the back and how the scratchy, hot, fuzzy material would give me an itchy rash.

I remember that distinctive putt.. putt.. putt.. of the volksie engine. I always knew when mum was coming to pick me up from the pool or a friend's house.

I remember the holiday to Kalbarri when we took you. Strapped surfboards to the roof and had the Beach Boys Greatest Hits blaring out.

I remember when mum would rev your engine at the lights and all the young hoons would look across and giggle and scoff. Then you would take off like a rocket and leave them for dead (or was that mum doing that...)

I remember you were more than a car to us kids. You were a friend.


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Trying Hard to Get Some Quality (Unselfish) Me Time in My Life

I know that it goes with the territory. Being a mum you tend to put yourself last in pretty much everything.

Few burnt chips, oh that's ok I'll put them on my plate; running late, oh that's ok I will have my shower later; getting ready for school, that's ok I will have my breakfast when I get home again (even if that is at 11.30am). As long as my kids are fed and clothed and satisfied then that is great, and I can squeeze in some time for me, when I get a few spare seconds.

But then the problem is with me, those few spare seconds never come. I desperately need to shave or shower or brush my hair. Or I dream of taking a nice leisurely bubble bath, or putting on nail polish or even makeup, even if it is just a bit of lippy.

Those organised ones, say to be a happy mum you have to look after yourself. Make sure that you spoil and pamper yourself occasionally. I do agree with that, but I can't seem to put it into practise.

I have a copy of Pockets of Happiness: Creating Meaningful Moments in Your Life written by the beautiful Naomi from Seven Cherubs. It is all about how to find some time for You in a busy life. It is only 28 pages long. I need to read this ebook. But it is sitting there, unread. Why do I put myself so far down the list? I deserve some me time don't I?  

I used to be an avid reader. I would read 3 books a week, in my younger days. I love reading. But it is one of the many things that have been squeezed out and stopped. I tell myself when my youngest goes to school (he is two now), then I should have some time to read. But I really want a bit of time now. I don't want to sound selfish. My kids will always come first, and that is how I want it to be. But I need to find a little bit of time to read or relax in a bubble bath or paint my nails without the guilt that seems to go with it for me.

Is it a case of being completely disorganised? Having poor time management skills? I tend to go with an urgency list. Things tend to get done based on how urgent they are. So things are done at the last minute, and they have to make it to the top of the urgency list before I get to them. I really don't like to function like that, but that is how it goes at the moment.

Thankfully for myself, 'Pockets of Happiness' is getting to the top of the list. I will make sure that I read it in the coming few days. I need to. I am going to devour it and take it to heart and put it into practise.

Are you nice and organised about things? Do you spend some quality time looking after yourself? If you do, then please give me some tips. When do you find time to apply makeup, give yourself a manicure or read that book? Any advice will be humbly and happily accepted.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Queensland Literacy Awards and Kumiko and the Shadow Catchers

The newly formed Queensland Literacy Awards (QLA) were set up on the 4th April this year. This was established when the government unfortunately withdrew their support from the Queensland Premier Literacy Awards. This caused a small but strong group of people to fight back and the QLA were set up. Last month over 40 volunteer judges announced the 15 worthy winners to the Literacy' Awards. There were 68 finalists and more than 600 entries.

These awards are now run entirely by volunteers, with support from individual and corporate donors. 

Fiction Book Award: Cold Light, by Frank Moorhouse (Sydney)
Non-Fiction Book Award: The People Smuggler, by Robin De Crespigny (Melbourne)
Young Adult Book Award: The Ink Bridge, by Neil Grant (Melbourne)
Children's Book Award: Kumiko and the Shadow Catchers, by Briony Stewart (Perth)
Australian Short Story Collection - Steele Rudd Award: Forecast Turbulence, by Janette Turner Hospital (Queensland resident based in South Carolina, USA)
Poetry Collection - Judith Wright Calanthe Award: Crimson Crop, by Peter Rose (Melbourne)
Emerging Queensland Author - Manuscript Award: Island of the Unexpected writer Catherine Titasey (Thursday Island, Queensland)
Unpublished Indigenous Writer - David Unaipon Award: Story Siv Parker (Queensland born now living in Lismore)
History Book Award: The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia, by Bill Gammage (Canberra)
Science Writer Award: Sex, Genes & Rock 'n' Roll: How Evolution has Shaped the Modern World, by Rob Brooks. (Sydney)
Literary or Media Work Advancing Public Debate - Harry Williams Award: The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times, by George Megalogenis (Melbourne)
Drama Script Award: War Crimes, by Angela Betzien (Melbourne based previously from Queensland)
Film Script Award: Dead Europe, by Louise Fox (Sydney)
Television Script Award: Mabo, by Sue Smith (Sydney)
The Courier-Mail People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year: Closer to Stone, by Simon Cleary (Brisbane based, born in Toowoomba)

Children's book award winner was Briony Stewart, a practising teacher librarian from Perth. She wrote Kumiko and the Shadow Catchers. 

This is the third and final book in the Kumiko series. It is a contemporary fantasy series aimed at young readers. To save her family and the dragons, Kumiko must bravely venture on a journey to confront the shadow catchers. Her courage and perseverance are put to the test. Can she help those that she loves the most?

Queensland Literary Awards Inc. Chair, Dr Stuart Glover said, 

“The prizes acknowledge the writers’ achievements and the importance of books and writing to the whole community.” 

"The Queensland Literary Awards are, if I say so myself, now very cool awards to win." 

"These awards recognise how important literature is to the Queensland people."

"We don’t know what will happen in 2013, but we hope we will continue to get support from everyone. The awards aren't worth staging unless the community values them. We would welcome the return of government support, as government is one of many stakeholders in the state's literary life, but regardless, the community has spoken about the importance of writing and literature."

Congratulations to all the winners!


Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Case of the Stolen Cookies

This experience isn't a new one. I have heard it a number of times through my life and I always enjoy hearing it. It is thought provoking and allows us to examine ourselves and see what sort of people we are.

Chocolate Chip Cookies - image credit Melanie Graham, A Welcoming Hearth

A lady has to wait for a few hours for a connecting flight at the airport. So to while away the time a little, she goes and buys herself a packet of biscuits and sits down on the seats to wait. Almost immediately a man comes and sits down next to her. 

He takes the packet of biscuits, opens it up, and helps himself to one. She is absolutely shocked, leans over and grabs a biscuit and sits back, fuming with anger. 

A short while passes and he takes another biscuit. She is livid! She snatches a biscuit, glares at the man, who gives her a smile. 

This happens again and again. Every time the lady gets angrier and angrier.

Soon there is one biscuit left in the packet. He takes it. She seethes with anger. He breaks it in half and offers her half the biscuit. She snatches it from him.

He then gets up and walks away.

Her flight is called and she makes her way onto the plane. She settles herself in her seat and reaches into her bag, only to find her unopened packet of biscuits, that she had bought earlier.

She is mortified and slumps in her chair, completely red faced and embarrassed. 

Which of these people are we?

Are we quick to judge others? Jumping to conclusions and getting angry over perceived ills that are done to us. Do we let our anger fester and get worse? Then after the situation has passed and we realise we were in the wrong, it is then too late to apologise and say we are sorry?

Are we like the man who had generously and with good nature shared his packet of biscuits with the lady? Not getting angry or bitter. But going with the flow and remaining calm and happy.

It is a good lesson for us, not to jump to conclusions and not to judge others.


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Steve Irwin's Wildlife Warriors

Did you get the chance to see Steve Irwin's Wildlife Warriors last Saturday night on Channel 10?

If you missed it, the series centres on the Wildlife Hospital and the Rescue Unit of Australia Zoo and how the Irwin family and all members of this amazing place, help save and care for the animals in the zoo and also all precious native animals that are in trouble and need some help.

The first episode showed a team of 25 people catching the 80 year old, 350 kg crocodile called 'Grandpa' to check an injured foot; relocating a Cassowary to Taronga Zoo; and rescuing a Koala and her joey who had been hit by a car.

The next episode which goes to air at 7.30pm Saturday on Channel 10 checks if the grumpiest tiger in the zoo, 17 year old Ramalon can be a father again; checks out the kids petting zoo and some very loud piglets; and xrays a Crested Tern who has swallowed a large hook.

It is very watchable and I loved seeing all the animals. It shows the Irwin family and the Wildlife Warriors, continuing the work of the Crocodile Hunter in saving Australia's unique wildlife.


Monday, 8 October 2012

Once Upon A Dream - New Children's Series on Channel 10

This programme is for every little girl who has every pulled on a ballet slipper and dreamt of being a prima ballerina or a principal dancer on a brightly lit stage in front of a large audience of adoring fans.

I took ballet lessons when I was about six or seven. Put on a performance of Peter and the Wolf. Dreamt of great things. But I didn't have the dedication that these young ones have.

Seeing the opening to this new children's series Once Upon A Dream brought it all back to me. The tiny tots in their cute pink leotards and ballet slippers. Maybe one of them may be the next Dame Margot Fontaine!


What I thought was wonderful and ensures that ballet will continue for hopefully a long time yet, is the amount of boys that are interested in dancing. They have the strength of character and outright determination to ignore the comments and jibes that inevitably come their way. 

David Wenham, Lord of the Rings, Australia, 300, Sea Change

The host of this compelling new series is actor and 'ballet dad' David Wenham (Lord of the Rings, Australia, 300, Sea Change). He has said:

So many children around Australia love dance, and aspire to be a ballet dancer, so it is a great privilege to be a part of this children’s series, Once Upon a Dream. Children (and adults) will enjoy getting to go behind-the-scenes of The Australian Ballet and see every facet of the company. There’s interviews with choreographers, costume makers, ballet teachers, technical and medical staff, so they’ll get the whole picture of what it takes to make a ballet.

The first episode tells the stories of a number of incredibly talented young dancers. The inspiring Jessica Brown, who I am sure is on her way to the very top. The dedicated Zac who travels 1 1/2 hours to get to his ballet class after school and the gorgeous brother and sister, Callum and Paloma who both want to make dancing their life.

Once Upon A Dream will excite, amaze and take your breath away. In other episodes we can take a sneak peak behind the scenes of The Australian Ballet's production of Swan Lake; find out all the crazy things that ballerinas do to their pointe shoes to make them feel just right; and take a look at the beautiful sets, the intricate costumes and the choreography that all goes into a dazzling production.

Lana Jones State Theatre Swan Lake rehearsal credit Lynette Wills

This wonderful 6 part series is a partnership between Channel 10 and The Australian Ballet. Once Upon A Dream will be aired at 4 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday from October 16.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

School Holidays are Drawing to a Close

Sunday night... the night before school starts again. The last 10 weeks of the school year.

It's such a change in thinking patterns. No more getting up at 7.30am, not caring about the time, lack of routines and letting things slip and slide along at their own pace.

I must admit while this life is fine for a little while. I do crave routines. Some sense of order to my day. I guess I like being busy. I like knowing where I am going and what I am doing. 

This term we have two weeks of swimming for Miss 8 to look forward to. Changing home readers every morning, changing the school sign on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Prep enrolment day for Master 4.

One thing I have done and I feel rather proud of myself, I have cleaned the girls bags. Three and five years worth of crumbs, bits of paper, and collectively $9.30 worth of spare change in the bottom! Bonus!

This term I begin the delicate dance of finding what all the 'good' teachers plans are for next year. Do you choose the best teachers based on your children's personalities? Or do you take a more relaxed approach and leave it to chance. I know that Miss 9 cannot have a shouty teacher, she will cower into a corner and stay there for the rest of the year. They will not get anything out of her at all and she has so much to give. Miss 8 is a bit more forgiving but still needs a teacher who notices her as she is quiet and will tend to disappear into the background. The Prep teachers all seem nice and kind. So Master 4 should do well.

I need teachers who understand what a huge privilege they have got, what a special job teaching is. I am entrusting my precious little gems into your care for a year and you need to nurture them and allow them to grow and blossom.

Anyway, time to get their clothes ready and make sure there are bowls and spoons for breakfast. It all starts again for the next 10 weeks.

I have feelings of sadness at losing my girls for 6 hours through the day and relief at getting back into routine again.

If your children start school again tomorrow, do you have mixed feelings too? 


Friday, 5 October 2012

Things I Know School Holidays Edition

I know that I love my kids being home on the school holidays, it makes it harder, but a lot of fun.

I know sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you start to rise up again.

I know that trying to watch out for four children on your own when you are at a 'family fun day' is hard work!

I know that I should organise my very untidy desk but you know what they say if a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind then what does an empty desk mean....

I know that you should cherish your friends and hold them close, there is a lot of badness in the world today and when you have a good friend then you have an absolute treasure.

I know that I am so thankful for for the lovely Bronnie at Maid in Australia. I won the competition on her blog and now have four VIP passes to Seaworld/Movieworld/ Wet'n'Wild and I can finally take my children to Seaworld. I have waited nine years for this. My kids just can't believe they finally get to go to a theme park.

I know that I have a wonderful family.

Remember that “Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.” ~ Harvey MacKay


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Remote Control Quad Bike Review from Only Online

My kids just love anything remote control. Are your children the same as mine?

They look at it with such wonder. Like it is absolute magic. I guess it seems so incredible when you are little.

Remote Control toys are special. Even more so when there is flashing coloured lights and different sounds and songs.

My kids have been having an absolute ball playing with this little guy.

He is the Remote Controlled Quad Bike - Yellow and Black with Rider from Only Online or It was only $29.95 with $10.95 postage. The price at other shops would have been double that.

They are Australia and New Zealand's biggest online department store, with over 30,000 items to choose from! They offer amazingly low prices on their huge range of things. You can save up to 80% off the usual retail prices. The website makes it so easy to find what you want because of a very easy to use search function. 

One of the things that Only Online has, is an abundance of toys. I wanted to choose something under $50 including postage. When I went to choose a toy I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of toys that there are, all the well known brands, and because everything is so cheap there are a lot to choose from under $50.

Another thing I was very happy with was the time that it took to deliver it to me. Just like this little Quad Bike they are super quick!

When it came in the post, my kids were so excited. They of course wanted to play with it immediately. Thankfully it comes with all the batteries required.

Remote Control Quad Bike
Radio Controlled Quad Bike
Remote Controlled Quad Bike
Remote Controlled Quad Bike

It is very cool. It goes forwards, backwards, tilts to either side, can even go up 90 degrees on its rear wheels and spins. I have attempted to catch it spinning in my middle photo! 

I had as much fun as the kids did. I would definitely recommend this great toy and the price is excellent. It is far better quality than I expected and far bigger than I expected too! I will be buying from again. I was very impressed.

A direct link to the toy section if you would like to see their great selection is


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