creative kids – folded paper wall art

What a statement this wall art makes and it’s easy enough for your kids to create it in one afternoon!


You’ll find the simple tutorial here.

You’re welcome. x

PS If your kids like doing this activity, they might also love some of these goodies.



craft express – salt painting

I just discovered salt painting!

craft express salt painting

All you (the kids!) need to do is make a glue design on paper (dark paper works best), coat with salt, then gently paint the salt with water/food colour on a paintbrush and watch it spread.

Kids will love the process AND the end result.

meet a mama – julia from the business bakery

I am often asked how I find the motivation and time to do what I do.  Working alone from home is not always peachy so one of my little “tips” is to surround yourself, even remotely or virtually, with people who inspire and drive you.  Julia Bickerstaff is one of these people for me.  She is terribly smart and terribly funny – two of my favourite traits in a person! She has an amazing business designed to assist and inspire mamas in small business just like me (and maybe you?). I reckon you’re going to love her. 

Meet Julia (the other one);

julia b profile

Tell us a bit about you, fabulous you!
Work-wise I run The Business Bakery. It’s an online business helping women (with small businesses) make a healthy income doing work they love. Right now I’m writing our “Healthy Income Program” and “Healthy Income Cookbook”. I’m also the Finance Expert on Channel 7s Kochies Business Builders, am a regular on ABCNews24 and I write weekly columns for digital publications such as Smartcompany and Flying Solo. I’m a published author (“How to Bake a Business”) and I work privately with a number of well known businesses. Oh yes, and I do a fair amount of public speaking too.

julia b family

Away from work I’m Mum to four children: 3 boys aged 11, 9 and 7 and a little girl who’s just turned 2. Yes we took the gamble.  I also have a gorgeous and indispensable husband and a cute but quite unnecessary dog.

julia b girl

We live in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs but hail from England. I came here at the end of 1995 for a 2 year trip, met my English hubby and we just sort of stayed. Every so often we toy with the idea of going back ‘ome. But then we look at the weather and think again.

My kids are all soccer mad (including the little girl, sigh) so I spend every afternoon ferrying them to training. And I do mean every afternoon. Plus we have six matches on a Saturday and two on a Sunday. Even in the off season. Home life is so very unrelaxing. But I love it.

julia b kids

Marrying all this up, my philosophy was to design my work to fit around (and fund!) my family and make it flexible in case we wanted to upsticks and venture back to pom land. And then I realised it’s actually what a lot of other Mums wanted to do too. So I took my business background (ex Partner at Global Consulting firm Deloitte) and created stuff to help us all do it. The Business Bakery was born.

Who inspires you?
Gosh, lots of people.  Can’t possibly name them all so here are three favourites:

Martha Stewart. You might not know this but early in her business life she gave ‘housewives’ a channel through which to sell their home made food and craft. She did this by doing deals with shops to supply hampers etc of home made produce and she sourced it from women baking at home. This doesn’t sound like a big deal now but back in the ’60s and ’70s it was revolutionary. Since then of course she became the first person to build a billion dollar business out of ‘lifestyle’. I got to meet her a year ago and quite frankly she’s an amazing-looking-super-brain. Oh yes and she’s 70+ with oodles of energy. Can I have some?

Anna Wintour. She’s the editor of US Vogue and I really admire her no-shit attitude. Wish I had a little more of it. She also (like Martha) applied her business head to a ‘fluffy’ industry which I reckon is super-tough. My sister dated Anna’s step-son for years but I didn’t ‘discover’ her until after they had broken up. Doh!

Nigella Lawson. She inspired me to get into the kitchen. Enough said.

Other famous ones inspirations include Stephen Fry, Jamie Oliver, Mary Berry, Sara Blakely, and Helen Mirren. On the not-so, or maybe even not-yet, famous I’m totally inspired by the very many women who run small businesses. I include you there Julia Whitney (aaaaawe, thanks!), and the gorgeous Alexx Stuart, Cindy Luken, Sara Lucas, Suellen Hughes, and …..oh my,  there are just so many I’d like to mention. I’m also completely inspired by my kids. But I’ll stop there before this becomes an Oscar’s speech.

What can’t you live without?
Books. Paper books, Kindle books, e-books. I don’t care. I just LOVE books. Oh yes. And my kids, mascara (I look very odd without it) ice cream, and  – as i’ve lately realised – sleep.

Do you have a favourite blog/s?
Yes! I love reading and learning and would be so much more productive if I didn’t have my head in a bloomin’ blog or book all the time.  My fave blogs are:

Seth Godin (makes me think)
Copyblogger (makes me write)
Mrs Woog (makes me laugh)
Martha Stewart (makes me wonder how she gets so much stuff done)
Nigella Lawson (makes me bake)
Sarah Wilson (makes me stop baking)

How do you like to spend your spare time?
Ideally: curled up with a book and a cup of tea.
Real life: laughing with my kids

Best time saving or sanity saving idea/tip for mamas?
Right now my life saver is The Dinner Ladies and a couple of their home-cooked-delivered meals each week. My other little time-saver is that my boys (aged 7,9 and 11) now put their own washing away. They hate doing it. But  then again, so do I.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I asked my eldest son this question and he said we’d be living in England ‘cos he’d be playing football for Liverpool FC. Me? I’d settle for running a great little business, helping other little businesses, being a Mum.

What is your favourite quote?
Oh just one? That’s tough. I like ” The grass is greenest where you water it” because it reminds me to focus on watering my business and my family, rather than, um, Facebook.

Where can we find you?
Please pop over to, and chat with us on Facebook and twitter @juliabickerstaf

 julia b logo


playroom inspiration

I’ve been scouting around pinterest for a while now seeking inspiration for our new playroom.  Yup, call us crazy but we have moved all three boys into one “sleeping room” with the goal of giving them a dedicated play space in the other bedroom.

Here are my favourite inspiring images … you can find them all, including links, on my pinterest board “stuff for kids (home)” …

1. Loving a bit of blackboard action, although will need to stock up on dustless chalk to save my own sanity!

playroom blackboards

2. Gorgeous seating options – we currently have a day bed which will also serve as a spare bed for visitors and sleepovers. More on day beds later.

playroom seating

3. Another staple piece of furniture we have is the IKEA expedit bookshelf.  They are hard to beat when it comes to affordable, stylish storage for kids stuff.

playroom 123

playroom storage

4. Our littlest guy (2) is right into trains at the moment and we love the idea of having a permanent track set up for him (or at least a dedicated table for him to create, and keep, a masterpiece design).  This one is brilliant.

playroom train storage

5. And just for fun …

playroom fun

Do you have a dedicated play space or play room?  What are your ‘must have’ tips?

share the love

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so we have gathered some LOVE-ly crafty ideas to share with your little ones.

Simply click on the image for the tutorial (and credits).

Start with this simple yet terribly fabulous robot card …

heart robot

You could send it to your beloved in this hand made cute-as-ever felt envelope


Let the whole street (or world) know of your love with this gorgeous paper heart wreath hung on your front door …

heart bhg

This heart and hand tree is an old favourite of ours and is great for pre-schoolers.

heart tree

And I just adore this decoration for above the bed. I think this could look amazing above a “grown ups” bed too!

heart bedhead

We have loads more old favourite ideas to show your love here.

However you choose to show and celebrate your love, you enjoy it.

meet a mama – alexx – real food. low tox living.

You may have noticed me talking more and more about ‘clean eating’ and trying to help give my kids the best, healthiest (and yummiest) start in life.  One of the great influences behind this shift in my thinking is this lovely lady … I seem to have her voice in my head whenever shop or cook these days!

Alexx has a great way of educating us about food and the choices we make, without judging us about past choices.  The last thing we all need is more mother guilt but I, for one, can always use more information and enlightenment!

I hope you enjoy meeting, and learning from, Alexx as much as I have.

alexx portrait

Tell us a bit about you, fabulous you!
I’m Alexx. I have a neat lil family of 3. We adore our little Mr 3 year old and live in Sydney’s east. My mum and dad moved us over from Europe / USA stints as Dad was an expat when I was little.

I was born in London to a French / Mauritian Mum and a British Dad.  7 generations ago, my ancestor Alexander Macleay was a British born Aussie too, a well known explorer and owner of most of Elizabeth Bay / Potts Point – Hard to imagine! Wish they’d kept a bit – even just Elizabeth Bay House. hehe.

I do lots of stuff – trying to narrow that down to finding that beautiful balance where passion and earning money might collide. I have an events business, a hospitality coaching business, social media comms consulting and my beloved personal blog where I write recipes, articles and share inspiration for living a low tox life filled with delicious real food.


Who inspires you?
So many people. Inspiration is everywhere if you’re looking. My son inspires me, my facebook community inspires me, my parents inspire me for picking it all up and trying a new country way back when. In terms of well known people, I find Jamie Oliver super inspiring, as someone trying to reach a wide target of people to inspire to create positive, delicious change. The way to attract new people to healthy eating isn’t by counting calories and scaring people with niche extreme changes. I truly believe it’s by getting people cooking in the kitchen with real food and admire the people who make the journey empowering and fun. It’s certainly what I try to do, as best I can. Michael Pollan is awesome too, Ita Buttrose goes without saying, Seth Godin the master shaker upperer, and of course lots of friends with their own businesses building beautiful little empires out of their passion and dreams.

What can’t you live without?
Enjoying really good food with good people. Laughs from little people. Creativity. Dreams. Good conversation. Ere Perez mascara. Chanson Chlorine shower filter from Nourished Life. Those last two changed my life. Itchy eyes ever since I can remember – must have been the coal tar. Funny that. Re shower, always had blotchy red patches after showers. Popped the shower filter on et voila – no more! Amazing.

Do you have a favourite blog/s?
I don’t have a favourite. I love to just read around depending on the subject I’m looking up. Favourite sites are Huff Post Living / Green, Food Matters, Healthy Child Healthy World, Food Revolution.

How do you like to spend your spare time?
I am a research geek. I read up to the minute medical books, nutrition stuff, papers, studies. I also love swimming in the ocean. The ocean wipes stress from the minute your head plunges under the water. There’s nothing that makes me feel as serene as that. Shame I find the winter too cold for swimming!

Best time saving or sanity saving idea/tip for mamas?
Plan and batch – Never make only what you need for one meal. Always at least double one of the veg, the meat, the whole dish to use / rework the next day. If you make twice as much for dinner as you need, half the week, then you’ve cut your kitchen time overall by 25%. That’s mind blowing when you stop to think of that as an overall impact for a busy family.

Have a Sunday Chop fest so you can ‘pop it all in’ like the cooking shows when you actually need. I actually did a little post on it on my blog.

alexx chicken soup

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
As a writer and educator in the wellness space, continuing to use my sales skills to help ethical brands create better engagement and teams find a more captivating way to tell their story.

I want to let the woman buying Shapes and Yogo ‘treats’ for her kids, know that we were lied to. They’re not treats at all. I want to help her, and many others realise that by redefining deliciousness, broadening the vocab of what we know and cooking with our families, we can have more fun, better health and more empowerment than one could ever imagine from shopping the middle of a supermarket. It’s exciting. One at a time and whatever each person’s pace for change, I want to help. Can’t think about much else these days!

alexx sunshine salad

What is your favourite quote?
One favourite quote? My lordy that’s a toughy. I do love Henry Ford’s Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right’ – So very true. Why don’t you let it be you!? I also love Oprah’s theory on choosing people to surround yourself with that will lift you up. If you’re doing all the lifting all the time, you eventually get dragged down too.

Where can we find you?
twitter / instagram @Alexx_Stuart
community facebook page

bye bye babies, babies bye bye …

Our two year old starting climbing out of his cot around Christmas time.  We realised a couple of weeks ago we couldn’t fight it any longer.  He was growing up, whether we liked it or not, and it was time.

Time to say goodbye to The Cot.

The Cot that has cocooned and served each of our little darlings during their babyhood.

jonty 60s in cot

It boasts distinct bite marks right along three of the edges where our first born used it for teething.  I remember being horrified at the time that The Cot was ‘ruined’ for future babies, as if they would care about glossy white paint.

Now I look at the chewed wood and remember three happy, healthy little babies.  The Cot is rich with family history and memories and I am going to miss it.

So we had a little farewell ceremony for The Cot.  Each of the boys brought along his favourite cuddly who had kept him company in The Cot during his time there.

boys in cot 60s style

So I am ready to say goodbye now.  It feels a bit like saying goodbye to my babies too as they all grow into boys.  But you know what that means?  BUNKS.  Oh yes, bunks.  That’s a WHOLE new story.  Stay tuned …

getting sorted 1.01

I am on an organisation MISSION this week – sorting toys, paperwork, clothes, artwork … you name it! I’ll be blogging about it in detail when I get a second but in the meantime am just sharing some of my favourite ideas in a snapshot.

These hanging shoe storage pockets make a great home for all those ‘bitsy’ pieces – much better than the floor!

shoe storage

And a good ole dishwashing rack makes a great place to store favourite colouring books and pencils.

dish rack