Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas Gift Guide, for the kids who have everything.

Our house looks like a toy store, seriously it’s been hard coming up with gift suggestions for Grandparents when we own everything. Even after culling all the unused toys or those that we’ve outgrown we still have so many. I’m sure most people are in the same boat.

Plus with both kids having birthdays in Feb, the inescapable influx of plastic is really starting to stress me out. But, at the same time I do love Christmas and shopping so I’m really in a bit of a rock and a hard place.

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My biggest renovating mistakes

Renovating mistakes

Oh wow, where do I start with this…We’ve had a few shockers over the years renovating or building new houses.
I remember asking Rob after we’d bought our first house if he even knew anything about tools let alone renovating!! 😂 We’d been together for a few years and watched a few episodes of Better Homes & Gardens and The Block (the original series, filmed in Sydney with Jamie Durie as a host, that’s how old I am!) so totally thought we had this reno thing in the bag. Lucky Rob turned out to be pretty handy, but looking back we made some shocking decisions and took on way too much of the work ourselves (we didn’t get any trades for our first reno!).
Needless to say we learnt a few things over the years, but regardless we still make mistakes with each property. Here are a we of our biggest mistakes (in hindsight some are pretty obvious!):

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Activity stations

I’m really starting to panic about how I’ll handle 2 little ones with bub due at the end of the week. I’m so consumed by thoughts of my daughter (2yrs) just sitting in front of the TV for hours a day while I feed a newborn. I know, people have it WAY harder than me and people have more than 1 child, without helpful husbands or in worse situations…I get it but that doesn’t stop me constantly thinking about how to entertain a 2year old (or how feral my pantry cupboard looks at the moment!).

Anyway, I’ve started creating ‘activity stations’ and craft tubs so I can quickly pull them out when I need to focus on bub. I’ve split them into a few categories, mainly so I could make sure there were some educational activities as well as general fun.

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Finding Inspiration

Maybe it’s because I shop a lot (hopefully my husband doesn’t read this confession, although I’m sure he already knows) or because I work in marketing for a shopping centre developer but I’m always finding inspiration in retail fitouts and tenancy design.

There seems to be no limitations on what can work within a space, stores are always pushing the boundaries with design, trialing new products and fixtures and open to a wider colour/texture palette. Perhaps it’s because they are constantly upgrading/reinventing the stores (well the good ones anyway) or maybe because they need to overcome challenges and problems we don’t have in residential designs.

My phone is full of photos from our local shopping centre, my favourite stores or cafes I frequent. Whether it’s lighting (love the strip lighting down the side of the mirrors in Country Road) or the tiles at the cafe around the corner I’m forever taking photos of what must seem like random things – I’m sure I get bizarre looks and people must think I’m so strange. Rob always comments on it when he looks through my phone for photos of our daughter and finds a ton of photos of floors.

At the moment I’m researching air-curtains used in shopping centre entrances as a way to keep the insects and mozzies out of our new house. The huge trees in the yard are what attracted us to the property, but they also mean half the yard (and therefore the new deck) will be shaded and there are loads of mozzies. I really don’t want to give up a huge entertaining deck with doors opening from the lounge/dining so I hope this might be a solution.

My latest inspiration is for the baby’s room from a gorgeous little Scandinavian store in Newcastle, Pappa Svens, with their grey scalloped detail painted on the walls.

3 tips to planning a baby’s room

Nursery styling

I love planning baby’s rooms! It’s the best part of being pregnant (other than the unlimited burger intake, obviously). Granted I’ve only planned 1 other before this baby, but I have helped friends plan theirs and I’m constantly redecorating.

I’m like to think I’m pretty good at looking at something and visualising how it will  in fit in or work with other things but I also change my mind a lot. I do it even more when I’m off on maternity leave, I spend more time at home staring at the walls and trawling Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration, finding something new everyday. It’s exhausting and expensive!

There are a few things (probably the same as everyone else) I do to make it a bit easier and help planning;

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Storage, storage, storage!

Audrey's room_Part 1It might be a little bit early to be planning our daughters ‘big girl’ room, given she’s not yet 2, but we need the furniture for the new babe.

We also have a ridiculous amount of toys that all need a home or they will be thrown out. I’m sure I’m not in the minority when I say I hate mess. Over the years I’ve found the easy way to combat this is to give everything a home as soon as you bring it home. This way whenever you get it out to use it it goes straight back away, otherwise it lives on your kitchen bench forever.

The brief for the room update was easy then…storage, storage, storage!

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