Tips For Mum

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Decluttering the plastic bags

Yes, you’re good, and you take a bag to the shops. But sometimes you forget, or like me, you purchase more than you intended.

Next thing you know, you have a huge bag of plastic bags. Or a drawer full. Or a cupboard crammed with them – wasting valuable kitchen space. Perhaps you cram them into a dispenser or you might recycle them (yay!) but if you’d like a more compact way to store them, here’s a good idea my Dad showed me.

Here’s a second method you could try – it’s much faster.

Yes, it may seem like a complete waste of time, but to be honest, I find it strangely therapeutic. Easy to do while watching tv or enjoying a chat with a friend. Give it a try!

Bulky bags take up a lot of space. Bulky bags take up a lot of space.

neat and organised bags! neat and organised bags!

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Trick or Treating – LIke it or Hate It

The bloggershphere has been awash this week with people saying they either love or hate the Halloween tradition of Trick or Treat.  There is even a debate on what age children should stop trick or treating ( I say if you can drive you can’t trick or treat!!).

What happens when kids who don’t live in your street or anywhere near your street knock on your door??  Is that fair if one street is more popular than another?

Having lived in an apartment for some time and not having a street, as such, to knock on doors, I totally understand that you really do need to find somewhere to trick or treat.  My suggestion is that if you do drop into another street have some lollys on hand. You can give these to the residents to thank them for their generosity.

Some people are very aware that not all people like Halloween and they are hesitate to knock on doors. So TFM has produced a  free printable poster that you can put on your letterbox.  If you welcome kids Trick or Treating print it out.  To download the poster click here – Knock On Our Door  .  If you download the poster it will print out in A4.

So what do you think?  Should kids only trick or treat in their own neighbourhood?  What age should a child stop trick or treating??


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Five Super Easy Kid’s Party Decorations

What is a party without a cake and some cool decorations – well just a play date really.  But you don’t want to spend too much time (and money) on decorations.  Here are five ideas that don’t take much time to whip up and they are really effective.

Balloons Hang Them Down Not Up

Did you know that there is a world wide shortage of Helium?  Floating party balloons could soon be a thing of the past, with a world helium shortage sending prices soaring.  So instead of floating balloons attach them to the ceiling and hang them down.  If you really want to make sure they stay hanging down (for example:  you are outside and they are hanging from a tent or marquee – pop a marble into the balloon).





Plastic Table Cloths Make Great and Colourful Door Covers

Here are some great ways to decorate with the plastic tablecloth from a discount variety store.

Check out these lego themed doors.  They are made of plastic tablecloth covers and the same coloured plastic plates.


Source:   Pinterest





So many ways to use plastic tablecloths.  For example if you are having a frozen party, grab an aqua tablecloth and paste on some white snowflakes.

Go Crazy with Washi Tape

One roll of Washi Tape can go a long way to making plain items look pretty and decorative

At parties, we all want the kids to drink out of the one cup and not another kid’s cup.  Grab some plain cups and put their initial on the cup with washi tape.

washi cups

Make a cake stand look cute and match it with the party’s colour theme with some washi tape.

washi cake stands


Reusable Chalkboard Bunting

Next time you need to create a statement or make a blank wall look good, use chalkboard bunting. It is strung on jute (which gives it a classic vintage feel).  The best thing about this product is you can use it for every child’s party and every other occassion.





The use of this chalkboard/blackboard bunting is only limited your imagination.

Tissue Paper

We could write a whole blog on uses of tissue paper.  Next time you received something wrapped in tissue paper keep it.  For this easy decoration, you want the tissue scrunched up.



Do you know any other easy decorations?

If you are looking for easy to make party food check out our blog on Non Bake Slices.

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What Happens at Book Club Stays at Book Club

A few years ago I started a book club and tried to bring together as many different types of people I could so that the book club would have intelligent, witty and meaningful discussions.  After a few years our book club disbanded and I started talking to other people about their book clubs and discovered they were very much like mine ( i.e that a book club rarely discusses the book and there is more talk about life in general).  Our agenda really was like this tea towel.



After discussing book clubs with my friends we have come up with a few characters that tend to pop up at a book clubs.

  1.  The Intellectual

    The Intellectual only wants to discuss books that have been listed for a literary award or are the classics.  They are offended if you want to discuss a book on the top selling list or a comedy.  They only want to read about angst and war torn counties.  They see War and Peace as a light read.  They are in fact a book snob.

  1. The Chick Lit Specialist

    They only want to read light novels.  They take great pride in saying they have read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (and they have a definite opinion on who should play Christian Grey in the movie adaptation).

  2. I Just Want To Get Out of the House Book Club Member

    This person does not care what they read, they just want a night out where they can relax eat good cheese and sip a nice wine.  They prefer books that have been adapted into movies.

  3. The Don’t Like It Book Club Member

    This person will never like a book unless they chose it.  They will have strong opinions on everything and want their opinions known.


  1. The Procrastinator

    They leave reading the book to the last minute.  They have to skip through parts of the book and really can’t join in the conversation (except maybe to say that either liked or did not like the book).

  2. The  Enforcer

    They dominate the conversation and every time the conversation strays from the book they try and bring the discussion back to the book.  They have prepared answers to the questions they found on the internet and they may not be as intellectual as “the intellectual” but they are going to give it a good try.  (this could have been me)

  3. The Off Topic Gal

    She is always talking about something else.  She has side conversations and  then asks people to repeat themselves as she did not hear the conversation as she was talking.

Now these characters may put you off joining a book club, but a book club does have some great advantages.  It makes you read a new book every six weeks, you meet new people, you eat good food, you get a chance to talk about your husband and kids without fear or favour – because the number one rule of book club is …. what happens in book club stays in book club.

Have I missed any types you know off?

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Nit Police


Head Lice do not discriminate.  Head Lice can be found in every school in Australia.  They are stubborn little buggers!!  In NSW Head lice infestations are a common occurrence, particularly in primary schools where about 23% of primary students have head lice at any one time.  Don’t fool yourself, any child can catch head lice – it does not matter what age or sex they are or in fact how clean your hair is.  I recently stumbled across a letter on the internet where one school said they had found lice on a child’s hair the size of shrimp (yuk yuk and maybe a bit of an exaggeration)!!!

At my daughter’s primary school a group of dedicated mums started a head lice screening programme.  They were affectionately known as the nit police.  They did a fabulous job in reducing the amount of head lice infestations in the school.  They provided good information on how to get rid of head lice (hair smothered in white hair conditioner then combed with a nit comb on a daily basis).

Once a term (and with the parent’s consent) a child’s hair was checked.  A note was sent home to all parents advising if lice or eggs were found on their child’s hair on in their child’s class.  I used to dread opening the letter – I would be horrified if my child had lice.  Luckily we were okay as I had followed the recommendations of the nit police.   They also encouraged a squeaky clean weekend.  The idea was that any child who brought back a note on Monday, signed by their parents confirming they had their hair combed with a nit comb, received a reward.  Wow did this create waves.  What if a parent did not want to check their children’s hair, what if the child forgot the note, why should a child miss out on a reward?

Not everyone consented to their child’s hair being checked for lice – however about 70% of the school population did agree.  This is a terrific programme that more schools should adopt.  If you have ever had to deal with head lice (that spreads rapidly among families) I think you will agree.  Gosh even as I write my scalp is starting to itch.



Do you agree with the Nit Police programme?


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Women Who Inspire – Kellie Rigney – The Accessories Queen


Tips for Mum’s new feature will be a weekly spotlight on women who inspire. Let me introduce you to Kellie Rigney from Zjoosh.

Kellie Rigney is a mum, a businesswoman and the accessories queen. Kellie, is a former lawyer and a mum of four kids. Her success is an inspiring story. Kellie started her business selling accessories at markets, now in the space of four years, she has a thriving online business, wholesaling business and four bricks and mortar stores (and a sister store). Zjoosh has launched its own brand of jewellery and the most divine handbags.

Image           Image          Image

 Zjoosh was born out of a life long obsession with fashion, jewellery and accessories and beautiful things generally.  The philosophy behind Zjoosh is that fashion and affordability can go hand in hand. Zjoosh is a unique Australian retail concept for women of all ages, providing a large range of affordable fashion jewellery and accessories that will “Zjoosh” your wardrobe. The idea behind Zjoosh is that a quality simple base wardrobe can be made brave and unique with statement jewellery at an affordable price. Effectively you “decorate yourself”!

Kellie’s advise is that you should purchase the best wardrobe basics you can find and then ZJOOSH them up with jewels and scarves. The same outfit can look completely different with different accessory combinations.  One of the hottest trends  is layering. Whether on your wrists with multiple bangles or wrap bracelets or around your neck with layered necklaces, the stacking/layering trend is a great way to wear more jewellery and show off your favorite things #zjooshyourlook

Zjoosh also has a homewares brand so not only can you Zjoosh your look but you can Zjoosh your home.

Why is Kellie inspiring?  Kellie is a busy woman yet she always has time for her kids. Kellie still has time to help out at her children’s schools (if you need artwork to auction or something crafty done, Kellie is your woman). Kellie was not happy with being a lawyer, she wanted to do something she loved, a job where she would have time for her kids (her office is located down the road from her kids’ schools). So next time you are stuck in a rut, ask yourself what is my passion and follow it just like Kellie did!!

Shop 24/7



Shop 20 The Plaza,
Burns Bay Rd Lane Cove,
NSW 2066
Ph: 02 8065 0744
View Zjoosh Lane Cove in a larger map
Shop 27
Stockland Balgowlah
215 Condamine Street
Balgowlah NSW 2093
Ph: 02 9907 7489
View Zjoosh Balgowlah in a larger map
270 Darling St
Balmain NSW 2041
Ph: 02 9810 2003
View Zjoosh Balmain in a larger map
682 New South Head Rd
Rose Bay NSW 2029
Ph: 02 9371
View Zjoosh Rose Bay in a larger map

Zjoosh also has a sister store called Quintessence where you will find the full range of Zjoosh products.

Shop 21D Northbridge Plaza,
113 Sailors Bay Rd,
NSW 2063
Ph: (02) 9967 8099
View Quintessence Northbridge in a larger map


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It Really Does Take A Village to Raise a Child

Last week Lane Cove Mum Emily Patterson was sitting at her favourite café with her young son James taking time out for a cup of tea. James is tired and clingy. The mother discreetly breastfeeds him, gives him a cuddle, and lays him quietly in his pram to settle himself to sleep. He cries a little. Two women at the next table tutt-tutt loudly and make some hurtful comments about her lack of mothering capabilities so the mother can hear. The noisy babe has interrupted their business meeting.   The young mother ponders is the sisterhood dying? Why can you not feel comfortable in your local coffee shop? What happened next … read on in the mother’s own words


“You will enter the world with your new baby in tow. You feel elated that you have such an adorable baby. You’re sure every passer-by notices how gorgeous your baby is and how capable you are as a mother. You’re now part of the mothers group department of the sisterhood. It’s smiles all round. Until one day that is all taken away from you by a fellow sister who passes judgment and comment on you. You now feel anxious the whole time you are parenting in public. You now may not feel well enough equipped to leave the house with your babe. If you do, you risk being judged negatively.
You see reason and, taking a deep breath, you realise that that it’s not all bad, the sun still shines, and there are decent people in this world. Most of all, you’re not the only new mum.

You will find some kindred spirits in other mothers of young babies, form friendships and in essence raise your children together. The fathers may become friends also. A new cycle of brotherhood and sisterhood is formed. All in all you now feel as though you have left the days of little confidence and high anxiety behind you. Booya, you’ve got this!

Then it happens again. There you are, trying your darnedest, exuding your new mothering confidence, enjoying a hot cuppa (something you vaguely remember from a past life). In one fell swoop it is taken away from you with a few comments about your mothering made by a complete stranger. A stranger that says she’s a mother too, and knows how to do it. A mother who tells you that you do not care for your distressed child. A fellow member of the sisterhood.

Hello old friend anxiety, it’s been a while.
You find yourself questioning your capabilities as a mother, you question the care you give to your baby – is he distressed? Is this distress scaring him for life? Am I unable to read his signs? Did I really put a cup of tea before my baby’s needs? Who’s looking? Who’s listening? Who else in this small cafe, that now feels like a world stage, heard her comments and agrees? They probably all agree. I don’t deserve to be a mother. My son deserves a better, more capable, more caring mother. One that doesn’t even drink tea for goodness sake!
Rush home. Hide.

There goes the sisterhood.

Unless something astounding happens, which it did. The café owners (members of the brotherhood) stepped in and righted the wrong. The brotherhood openly defended me. When the sisterhood let me down so horrifically, the brotherhood was there to pick up the pieces.
Word, brothers!

So now we’ve got a very interesting situation that has come out of a terrible wrongdoing and lack of support. My sisters let me down. They made hurtful comments, formed incorrect opinions and judged me in my role as a mother. How could one sister do that to a fellow sister? Isn’t that against the rules? Yes, it most certainly is. It is also against the notion of community. So, gals, it’s a double whammy. You broke the rule of community and the rule of the sisterhood. Shame on you for that.

Then the community decides to put its two cents worth forward. My golly gosh, the support is from a local community facebook page  This page was contacted by a bystander who reported the incident and thanked the cafe owners for their support. Words of support are offered, it’s a social media storm. Someone even called a radio station. The place is swarming with high-fives and fist pumps – the brotherhood saved the day! The community also teaches me that the sisterhood is having a comeback. There, hiding in the wings, are literally hundreds of sisters prepared to show their support to poor anxious and stressed little me. Amen, we’re back.

But what made it ok for one sister at a different life stage to pass comment and judgement on another sister? Girl, it’s not ok. Did she do it better than everyone? Did she make no mistakes and get it completely right Was her baby happy and content (read: silent) Not likely. Not even probable. Because they’re not. They are little beings learning their way in a new environment. Their only way of communicating is via vocalising – crying, grizzling, babbling, laughing, cooing, goo-goo/gaa-gaa. And that’s a very beautiful thing.

I’m off to the park tomorrow. A brother, a sister, two kids and two scooters. No inequality, no judgement, no lack of support. Unity. Let’s ride this parenting wave together one step at a time.”


Image:  Starshaped Press 

So next time you see a mum with a baby crying, smile at her, acknowledge it is tough and that you feel for her. A little support goes a long long way. It really does take everyone in the village to raise a child and to provide some support.

Have you ever had an experience like that?

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The New Statement Dessert


Forget about croquembouche or a macaron tower, a new statement dessert has arrived in town and it’s the bomb!!
The newest craze to hit town is the Cannoli Tower. The Cannoli Tower has been taken to a new level by Sam Campisi at The Cake Man – Lane Cove.  Sam takes his delicious cannoli and lovingly builds a tower with dark chocolate and succulent strawberries.

How good are they? Well at a recent function the most dangerous place was standing in front of the Cannoli Tower as people scrambled to get in on the action. At the end of the day they were just crumbs!!

Not only does the Cannoli Tower look visually stunning but it tastes damn good. So what is a Cannoli? A cannoli is a fried pasty filled with a delicious filling of either ricotta or custard with some choc or glace fruit sprinkled into the mixture. One of Sam’s secrets is that the Cannoli is made with the freshest ricotta Sam can source.


For 36 years, Sam the Cake Man has been a baker.  He started his training at the prestigious Charleroi in Belgium.  He is a man of many talents – he can speak three languages and of course the language of cakes. 

Sam relocated from Europe to Australia and has worked in a few different bakeries.  At one bakery his apprentice was Adriano Zumbo!! 



So next time you need a dessert for that big occasion, why not try a Cannoli Tower!!!

P. S Did you know that the plural form of Cannoli does not have an ‘s’; cannolo is the singular). For the purpose of this blog we have used the more familiar Cannoli.


The Cake Man


Mon – Sat: 5:30 am – 5:30 pm (but people pop in before)

Sun: 6:00 am – 2:00 am

Address:  Shop 5/23 Burns Bay Road

Phone:  80216195




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My Husband Is a Better Housekeeper

Psst…. I have a secret that I’ve kept hidden from my friends for years. Why? because it is a tiny bit embarrassing. The secret – my husband is a better housekeeper than me. When I say better, I should say SO much better.



Not Actual Husband – Stunt Husband (No husbands were harmed during the writing of this blog)


My husband and I first met when he advertised for a professional non-smoker to be his flatmate.   I may have many vices, but I can tell you – I am very good at not smoking. When my “husband to be” (lets call him HTB) was interviewing me for the flatmate position, I made full disclosure about my housekeeping (or lack thereof) skills. I told him that I was messy. I explained the following to HTB:

  • When I get home from work I kick my shoes off by the door, at the end of the week there is a collection;
  • Before washing the clothes, I continually forget to take the tissues out of my pockets, thus leaving the washing machine full of tiny white fluff;
  • I use a different cup each time I have a drink of coffee or tea;
  • I use every piece of kitchen paraphernalia when cooking;
  • The dining room table can disappear under a load of washed items that are never folded;
  • I read at least ten books at a time and they are spread all over the place;
  • I leave yellow sticky notes all around the place reminding me to do certain things; and
  • I never put anything back in the same place.

HTB told me he could live with all those things. I told him it was a deal. Seven years later HTB became “The Husband” (that in itself is a long and complicated story).

The Husband is a great housekeeper. Here are some of the things he does that will leave you in awe:

  • He never loses anything. Why? His rule is a place for everything and everything in its place (he puts his wallet and keys in the same place every day);
  • He never goes to work without the kitchen looking immaculate and the dishwasher emptied;
  • He irons all the clothes (although I have stopped him from ironing the jeans with a crease down the front and his underpants);
  • When I first met him he would leave both the Ice Cream and the Margarine completely flat (with no and I mean NO traces of vegemite or jam). He stills does that from time to time;



Smooth (my husband’s approach)


Dig In – My Approach

  • He makes the bed as soon as he gets out of it (sometimes this is a problem as I am not necessarily a jump out of bed woman!!);
  • He keeps all the plastic containers in the one place neatly stacked and with the lids underneath the stack (c’mon ladies that is impressive who has a plastics cupboard that they fear opening in case of an avalanche); and
  • He takes the clothes off the line, folds and then puts them away.


So he is a great housekeeper, does this affect my self-esteem? Not in the slightest. I know there are things that my husband could never do, that I do without even raising a sweat. Let me just list a few (I am sure there are many more but I do not want to bore you with my accomplishments):

  • I can make a husband winning Chocolate Caramel Slice with five minutes notice (i.e. Honey forgot to tell you we have to take a plate into work today);
  • I can create, a podium winning, book week costume in a day;
  • I can find anything lost in a child’s room within minutes;
  • I can speed shop (20 items in 5 minutes or less);
  • I can create a crazy hair day “do” in the car, when I am told that it is crazy hair day at school today; and
  • I can whip up a meal for unexpected guests without going shopping ……..

I guess the moral of the story is that we operate well as a team and play to each other’s strengths (and I make a husband winning chocolate caramel slice).


Husband Winning – Chocolate Caramel Slice


What household chores does your husband excel at?

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Is Being Involved in the P and C really scary?

mums talking.jpg


Is being involved in the P and C really scary? In one word – Yes. Is it worth getting involved in the P and C?  In one word – Yes

I remember the first time I walked into a P and C meeting.  I was too scared to say anything in case I said something wrong or politically incorrect.   Let me explain why it is easy to be intimidated. The P and C consist of several distinct personality types.  See if you can recongise any of these types:

 The Over Achiever

This mum has usually had a very stressful and important career prior to having kids.  She is used to running the show, delegating and preparing spreadsheets and minutes. She forgets that the people she is working with are not actually employees but other mums.  She loves to email you at 11.00 at night and then call you first thing in the morning asking if they have read her email.  Recognition, glory and recapturing that sense of being in charge is why she works so hard on the P and C. Some people say that she keeps having more children so she can be involved in the school for a long period of time. They have every piece of equipment to be organised (including an A4 and A3 laminator). Disclosure note – I may at one stage been one of these mums.

Leave It With Me Mum

The mum who puts her hand up for everything. She is at every event, her name appears in every newsletter and she is the first point of contact for everything. This mum basically lives at the school. She is best friends with everyone.   She loves the notoriety. However she complains consistently about how much work she puts into the school and how her husband has begged her to slow down.

Volunteer Mum

The mum who you can always rely on. She is not in it for the glory. She will always be the first to give you assistance.  When you send out a note requesting volunteers, she is always the first to reply and never complains.

I’ll Do It Mum

A person who says they will do something, but then never gets around to doing it.  However they think they should be applauded for being involved.

The Glamazon

Always beautifully dressed.  She does not sweat she glows.  Her house is stunning and nibbles are always beautifully prepared (no tim tams and instant coffee here).   This can go two ways. Either the Glamazon is one of the nicest people you will ever meet or she will eat you for breakfast.

The P and C Dad

The lone guy who turns up at the meeting, does not say much and would never be involved in planning a fundraiser.

These types of mums really show their true colours when it comes to organizing a school fundraiser or event. The committee meetings are excruciating. They take hours and achieve very little. They go off track and discuss irrelevant details like the best paper to print the thank you certificates on.

Now I admit that all the above sounds terrifying, however being involved in the P and C can be a really rewarding experience.  You just need to know the type of people involved and never ever take anything personally.

My daughter attended a school where we really did not know many people.  Some of the people I met through the P and C are now my best friends. I would not have met these people if I had not been involved (as you tend to really only meet the people in your child’s year).    The truth of the matter is that there are in fact more Volunteering Mums at school than the other categories.   All you need to do is bond with people who are like you and you will have a great experience.

Being active on the P and C means you really learn about the school and you are informed. You are kept up to date on what is happening and the events that are happening (nothing worse than sending your child to school in full school uniform when it is mufti day). There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your child run over and cuddle you and say thanks when you are at school helping with cupcake day or snag sizzle day.   So my advice is get involved.

Do any of these personality traits seem familiar?  Do you have another category?

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