Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2017 {Family Vlog}

Hi friends,

I thought for today’s post I would share our first family vlog. I know my videos normally go up on Friday’s but this is just a bonus type of video.
We attended the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers parade on Saturday and we filmed a little… So if you would like to check it out click HERE. img_4001

We love TCOF time, there are so many wonderful things to do in our town and Toowoomba is just full of beautiful blooms!

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Did you attend the parade? Or what was your favourite float from our video?
Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on social media!
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Thanks so much for stopping by, have a great week!
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Tips on how to declutter & make money. 

Hi friends,
Happy Monday – how was your weekend?
Mine was busy and productive.
I was motivated to start spring cleaning and decluttering our home… thanks to that sudden urge to “move the clutter” I made around $400 in 2 days!

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I just sold a few items we no longer use and voila a few extra hundred dollars in my pocket!
So I thought in this post I would encourage you to do the same. Go through your wardrobe, your cabinets, your home – sort out what you don’t use anymore or what you don’t really love and pass it on. You can make some extra cash and at this time of the year extra money is a good thing to have – we always find the end of the year is the most expensive!
I highly recommend when you are sorting through items you use the method of looking at the item and deciding do you actually use it, do you love it or is it very precious/sentimental? If not sell it.
If I haven’t used, worn or even picked up in an item in around 6 months, I really have a good think about it – unless it’s a seasonal item, I usually sell it. I am trying to become less emotionally attached to items as well and let go of the guilt and expectation that I “should be keeping” items just because they were given to me. If they aren’t being used or enjoyed I think it’s absolutely sensible to either donate or sell them. There are certain sentimental items I will probably never part with, but I am trying to let go of many things. My sister is a great motivator for this, she seems to lack the sentimental emotion so she gets rid of most things very easily, where as I tend to hold onto them – so if I am struggling with parting with items I just call her! So I suggest having a support person you can call if you are on the fence about an item.
(When I’m decluttering I donate some and sell others.)

My tips for selling on buy, swap and sell sites (Gumtree, Facebook etc.) are…

  •  Take clear photos.
  • Be as descriptive as you can. Include sizing, measurements & state any flaws.
  • Price your item fairly. If I’m hoping for a certain amount (say, $20) for an item I will add on an extra $3-$5 so then I have negotiating room.
  • With pricing I normally do a quick google search of similar products to see what the average price is. That way I know I am pricing my item fairly.
  • Advertise the item in multiple local groups – even try surrounding towns groups.
  • Check your accounts regularly so you can reply to comments/messages in a timely manner.
  • When arranging inspections/pick ups, be wise and safe. I don’t normally give out my address until I know for sure the person is a serious buyer & I usually only have people come when Trent is home or I let someone (my sister, Trent etc) know that a person is coming to purchase an item. I also don’t let people in my home, I meet them on the drive way with the item or even better is to meet in a public place.
  • Don’t expect an instant sale. I just had a pair of boots for sale for 2 months & then just this weekend they sold. Sometimes it takes a little bit of patience.
  • Expect & accept that some people want everything for nothing, especially on buy, swap, sell sites. Honestly some offers are insulting – take it for what it is and just politely decline.
  • I would suggest not holding items for more than a day, because people are notorious for messing you around. I usually do first in best dressed. There is nothing worse than holding an item and then the person ends up being a no show.
  • Keep your post visible. Leave comments like “make an offer – must sell” regularly under your post, maybe once a day around a time many people might be online.
  • Don’t try selling something you are emotionally attached to, be prepared to let it go. If you still love the item you may not negotiate sensibly with it & this result in it not selling.

What are your best tips for selling your unwanted goods? I would love to know, comment below or on my social media.
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I’ve just created another Instagram account @MWL31preloved where I will be listing some of our preloved items, mainly LuLu’s clothes this week (hopefully, once I get a chance to dig through my baby boxes and photograph all the items. LuLu has so many beautiful baby clothes and the chance of me ever having another baby is incredibly slim thanks to the fact I just don’t do pregnancy well, so I thought I should start thinning out my baby clothes collection!) If you are interested please head on over and follow or share with a friend that maybe interested!

I’m off to deposit my money in the bank, have a great day!
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PS: Bonus tip – keep hand sanitiser on hand to clean your hands after handling money. Money is gross and flu/gastro season is in full force!! Keep your hands clean!

New Hair Reveal {VLOG}

Hi friends,
I have an exciting video to share with you all today… Yesterday I spent the majority of my day at the hairdressers cutting & recolouring my hair – click HERE to watch the video to see how it turned out!

I am really happy with the result and cutting my hair I feel is so liberating. For a very long time I have had super long hair and it wasn’t until about 2 years ago I was brave enough to do a big chop… Since the initial “big cut”, I have cut it short one other time but then I let it grow a bit for my best friends wedding that I was recently in. Now that the wedding has been & gone I decided it was time to do a big change!
Cutting my hair to me is powerful, it took a lot of courage for me to first do it at the end of 2015, as I was going against the wishes of my someone whose opinion I listened to far more than I should’ve… I valued that opinion more than my own and that was ridiculous.  I was told for a very long time how ugly and awful I would look with short hair as long hair was my “only beauty”. (For long time readers, you may remember seeing that public conversation on a photo a few years back on my Facebook page…) Since then I have regained control in my life, I call my own shots and the only time I listen to opinions is when they either come from my husband or I actually ask someone I trust greatly to weigh in on a topic.
So as I felt my hair get snipped off I felt relief & like an emotional weight was going as well – this was the first time I was cutting my hair and I wouldn’t have to hear from someone how awful I looked or what a fool I was.
I love my new hair. I think it is fun, fresh & different and my surprise little chunk of colour for LuLu makes me smile. And LuLu and Trent think it is great!

Friends, I encourage you to remember to do things for you. Don’t always follow what others say and make sure the people you are listening to are respectful of you. I now only ask advice from trusted people who I know will respect me if I do or if I don’t follow their advice. We are our own person, we have to do things that make us happy – my hair is mine and it effects no one else, so me cutting it is for me. This should be applied to most things in life, do what makes you happy & what you feel is right for you – if it isn’t hurting anyone then the opinions of others shouldn’t matter greatly to you.

I would love to know what brave step you’ve done with your hair? Or have you never done something drastic?
Comment below or connect with me on my social media!
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Thank you to Michelle & the team at Innovative Hair Design Highfields for the great day, make sure you check them out on FACEBOOK HERE. 
Have a great weekend!
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How to change a life; Graduate To Greatness. {LIVING HOPE}

According to the United Nations, as the number of women who are educated and employed increases, economies grow higher and faster.*

Hi friends,
Many of you know Watoto is an organisation close to my heart – the work they do in Africa is life & nation changing. You may recall a recent post I did on the Watoto Choir, you can read it HERE if you missed it.

Today I am honoured to be able to share with you another branch of this incredible organisation….
Living Hope is an initiative set up to help empower vulnerable women in Africa. It was launched in 2008 and is run by Watoto that has centres in Kampala, Uganda and Gulu.

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What does empowerment mean to you? Is it a time someone told you they believed in you and that you had purpose? Was it when someone helped you out or gave you a chance? Perhaps when you were able to achieve something you never thought you would? In this post I want to speak to you about helping to empower extremely vulnerable women in Africa.
In Uganda, 83% of women earn less than $1 USD a day. Watoto is working to turn this around with Living Hope.*
Living Hope is working to restore dignity to the wounded women of Africa. These women have experienced things worthy of nightmares. Some have been victims of war, human trafficking and social injustice and many are HIV+.

Did you know that in a vulnerability survey conducted by Watoto in 2015*:
• 17% of the women survey reported receiving no formal education
• 46% of those who had gone to school never reached P7 (equivalent to Year 7 in Australia)
• 43% of those women were unemployed
• 61% of those women had no income generating skills
• 83% of those women earned less than a dollar a day.

This narrative is all too common in Africa; however, there is hope.
Together, we can change the cycle of poverty.
Living Hope helps women to gain access to much needed medical care, necessary life skills, education, training in business and a craft or marketable skill and empowers women by assisting them in being apart of/or obtaining income generating projects. This allows them to become productive members of their community.

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Living Hope has changed the lives of nearly 3000 women and their children (more than 15,000 boys and girls)
During September Watoto is running a campaign “Graduate To Greatness” where they hope to raise enough money to empower 450 vulnerable mothers in Uganda to start their own businesses. We can help give a fellow mother the physical tools she needs to begin generating an income after graduating from Living Hope. Let’s break the cycle of poverty and help them Graduate To Greatness by giving them the gift of a future.

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When you change one woman’s story, when you empower her, you are changing the story for her family, her community and eventually her nation.

 

Vivian’s Story from Watoto Australia on Vimeo.

Friends, I deeply encourage you to join me in helping empower vulnerable women and assisting them to Graduate To Greatness with Living Hope.
Please consider donating what you can to the Graduate to Greatness campaign. HERE.

If you are reading this, chances are you are like me – we are fortunate & empowered women simply because of chance, we are born into a country that values education for all & we have the freedom of choice and being who and what we want to be, let us empower our fellow sisters who need a hand up.
We would never want this life for the women we love, our daughters, mothers, sisters or friends – so join with me in helping some of the most marginalised and wounded women of Africa. Whatever amount you can give has the power to help change these women’s lives.
Please donate HERE.  
The goal for this campaign is to raise $30,470 which will be doubled by generous Watoto partners who have pledged to match each dollar up to this amount – meaning $60,940 could be raised! Please friends, I encourage you to donate what you can. And share, share this post, this campaign!

Empowered women empower women.

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Thank you friends, thank you so much.
(Please if you donate, let me know on my social media or comment below – I would love to say thank you and even send out a thank you note! Your support means so much to me, the Watoto organisation and the women we will be helping.)
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Please also check out Watoto on social media! 
Watoto Facebook Australia
Watoto Facebook International
Watoto Instagram Australia
Watoto Instagram International
Watoto Twitter Australia
Watoto YouTube
Watoto Vimeo 

 

* Living Hope Vulnerability Survey of 490 Women. Conducted by Watoto in Uganda in 2015 across 20 locations in Uganda

Come shopping with us! {Mummy – Daughter Vlog & Haul.}

Hey friends,
What a week! But it’s Friday, I made it to Friday (praise Jesus) and I have a new video for you all!
Click HERE to watch a shopping vlog & haul with LuLu & I! Aug shopping.jpgThis was a really fun day out for just us girls. LuLu was super excited to feature in a video, she’s been asking for awhile to be in them (trying to jump in, lol) So she was so happy to film a few little pieces…

I’m pretty sure though unfortunately from this day, LuLu caught the flu at the shopping centre… Over the weekend she was a little out of sorts, by Sunday night she was complaining of headaches, Monday she was miserable, Tuesday was spent on the couch watching TV & then the early hours of Wednesday morning we were up the hospital in emergency because she had super high temperatures… Thankfully by Thursday she was feeling better & temperatures were down and today she is almost back to normal! And because it’s the way things go, she is going back to being full of energy & I’m starting to feel very unwell… So I am dreading going through the cycle she just went through, it seemed horrific! Gosh, I hope mine is something minor and not the flu!

Anyway, I am off to rest… I hope you enjoy this video! Please leave a comment below, or on the video saying “HI” to LuLu, I’ll read her the comments! Or connect with me on social media!
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Have a great weekend!
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10 tiny & easy ways to turn a bad mood around. {For Mummas & kids!}

Breathe, it’s just a bad day – not a bad life.

Hey Mumma’s,
The other week I wrote a post that many of you really liked, on how to reset & remain happy as a Mumma – you can read it HERE…
Well today I thought I would do a similar post on how to turn around a bad day/mood, for kids & Mummas…

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We all have bad days… Maybe you just had a really bad nights sleep, maybe your child isn’t in the best mood or perhaps something is happening in your life that is pulling your mind to a negative place and that in turn makes you feel & act not so great… Know what I’m saying? Been there? When we are in bad moods, this impacts our entire home… The tone we have, is the tone set for our entire home – if Mumma ain’t happy, no one is happy…
So the trick in these situations is to catch ourselves… Maybe you’ve just overreacted to your child or you just can’t shake the bad mood, realise what is happening and make a conscious effort to turn it around…

Here are 10 tiny & easy ways to turn your mood &/or your kid’s around…

  • Step out of the room and breath… Just remove yourself for just a few moments and collect your thoughts and calm down. Teach your children to do this too, often if we are in the midst of a melt down I try to remind our daughter to take a deep breath and stop and calm down… Easier said than done to a nearly 4 year old, but it works sometimes… A breathing technique I get her to do is “smell the flower (big breath in) and blow out the candle (big breath out)”
  • Start the day again… We do this if our little love wakes up and is a bit grumpy. We take her back to bed, lay her down and make it fun and tell her to lay there and wake up happy… She almost always opens her eyes giggling.
  • Tickles… If that doesn’t work, tickles help break out the smiles!
  • Hugs… If you aren’t feeling great emotionally, tell your child. Say you are feeling a little down and need one of their big magic hugs to help you & your heart feel better… This also shows them that it is perfectly ok to say you aren’t ok and to ask for some help.
  • Teach your kids a joke… This always makes me laugh, teaching a preschooler a joke is hilarious, the most basic jokes crack them up and it’s even funnier if you teach it to them and then get them to repeat it Chinese whisper style to someone else in the house… It rarely comes out the way you taught it & that just adds to the humour!
  • Give massages… My little girl loves a massage & she also loves to give a massage! (*This is also a great Mum hack – lay down squirt some lotion into your kids hands and voila – free massage!)
  • Have a random treat… It maybe a special food treat or going somewhere special. But ice cream before lunch or dinner normally makes anyones bad mood disappear!
  • Get outside or get wet… The thing I’ve noticed with kids, if they are outside or in water they are normally always happier… The same applies for most people I think. So if a grumpy cloud is above everyone in your house, drag yourselves outside and enjoy some fresh air. Or if it’s warm enough, swim, play under the sprinkler or have a bubble bath…
  • Turn up the music and just dance… We did this the other day, it was just one of those really long days where time felt like it was moving at a snails pace… So I dug out my old CDs from high school, put them on and turned the music up super loud and we jumped, danced and laughed for over 2 hours! It was great.
  • Put your day on hold… Let your day go, spend the day reading books, watch a movie, colour in – do what you need to, to lift your spirits and your kids. Everyone occasionally needs a day off, the laundry will be ok if it is left for a day and getting take away for dinner will probably make everyone happy – so just take it easy and go with the flow…

Remember it is just a brief moment that isn’t positive – don’t dwell on a bad day or week.

I wrote this post last night, with the intention of making it live this morning… Well, wouldn’t you know it, today I was the person who needed this post. And you know what, I bloody suck at taking my own advice! For some reason today I just feel like I’m in a rut… Last night I was so full of motivation to have a wonderful & productive day today, I wrote a big to do list, I made plans & I was motivated… But people are mean, my camera broke & I just didn’t have a good sleep last night and I lost all motivation, to be honest today I’ve felt more down than I have felt in a very long time – sometimes it all adds up and weighs my heart & mind down. So friends, I’ll be honest, on most days something on this list usually can turn my day around – but today, nothing really did. And that is ok… Some days are meant to be bad & feeling down is ok… But I am determined for tomorrow to be a more pleasant & positive day… I am just reminding myself now as I finish up this post and sip my cider – it was only a bad day, that is all. Tonight I’ll go to bed and pray that tomorrow I will wake up with a refreshed mind, heart & outlook. But for now, the kids are asleep & I know it is ok to be a little down & just to feel it, it is so important to let the emotions come, pause & then leave. So if you are feeling down or for some reason today just sucked, I get it & I’m sending you a big hug. Tomorrow is a new day, wake up in the morning and don’t even think about today! x

I would love to know what your best tip for getting yourself or your kids out of a bad mood is?
Comment below or on my social media!
Thank you so much for reading!
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Don’t ruin a good day today, by thinking about a bad day yesterday. Let it go.

Homemade Laundry Powder recipe. {Video}

Hi friends,
One of my most highly requested blog posts & videos is to do a “how I make my washing powder”…
So here it is…washing powder1.jpgThe video can be found HERE. 

The recipe I use is by Sister Mixin and you can find it HERE. (I change the recipe slightly by adding in 1 bar of sard soap…)

The reason I make my own laundry powder is simply because –
A) I can. I have the time & desire to do so, you may not & that is fine.
B) I feel it saves us money. 
C) I also believe it is more gentle & more effective product than standard washing powders.
Laundry powder is so expensive & often full of extra fillers & chemicals, so by making my own I know what is in it and it is very cheap. All these ingredients are easily available at Coles or Woolworths & are very affordable, I always have them in my cupboard, as I use them for other uses as well.
I make mine in my Thermomix – you don’t need one to make this recipe, but I feel it would be easiest… If you don’t have a Thermomix, I would suggest you either grate the soap bars or blitz them in a food processor and then combine all the ingredients in a large clear container (a clear container so you can check that all the products are thoroughly mixed together)

I have been making this recipe for over 2 years now and I find it removes stains very well & all of our clothing is clean & soft. I do use white vinegar as a fabric softener occasionally (always with towels) & if I am washing our bedding I often add in some lavender essential oil (or even eucalyptus if we aren’t feeling well)

As mentioned in the video, I do occasionally buy washing powder. I bought one box of OMO sensitive to wash Tommy’s clothes before he was born, but I  have been washing his clothing with this powder for months and he has never had a reaction to it – none of us have. The other product I occasionally buy is Bosisto’s Laundry Powder – I only buy it maybe once a year, if it is on sale… And it is the product I like to have as my “back up” in case I run out of this mixture or I use it if we are all very sick.

I like making my own cleaning products, I currently make my own basic disinfectant spray, occasionally dish washer powder & stone bench cleaner. I have trialled making a few glass cleaners, but I’m struggling to find one I love – so for now I use the Method glass cleaner & also their timber cleaner/polish, I find both of those products to be really good. But if you have a great recipe for either of those I would love to try it out!
Please let me know in the comments below or on my social media any cleaner recipe recommendations you may have, or if you make your own laundry powder – do you use a similar recipe to this? I would love to have a read of yours!
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Have a great weekend!
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