Friday, 24 October 2014

Halloween Party At Home

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This post is brought to you by Coles

Halloween, love it or hate it, is just around the corner and its coming for you and me for all of us.

Yep, come October 31st, the streets will come alive with witches and zombies and goblins and insert a gazillion other costume ideas here, because generally, on Halloween, anything goes.

We live in an estate that totally embraces Halloween and trick or treating (with a major emphasis on the treating part) and despite my *ahem* strict pre-child stance on never getting caught up in the Halloween hype, come Hallows Eve you will find me wandering the street with some other mum friends as we tag along behind our dressed up kids as they knock on neighbours doors in search of loot.

The hubby stays at home armed with treats to hand out to the creatures that come on knocking on our door and he is under strict instructions. Box A treats go to kids we know and Box B treats go to the random ghouls we have never laid eyes on before.

This year I have Box A consists of Chupa Chup Ghosts, Bat Poo and Jelly cup Jack-O-Lanterns.

Box B contains a whole load of Gruesome Body Parts.

Apart from the usual dressing up and roaming of the streets (and because I am inclined to go completely over the top with pretty much any excuse of a celebration), I like to throw a party at home for the boys too.

I put together a whole load of gruesome goodies, let the kids loose on the grub and then together as a family, we massacre carve up a pumpkin or two.

All of our Halloween party treats and goodies were put together from items I sourced from Coles, except for the googly eyes with I grabbed from my local craft store. And the beauty of this offering is that there are actually some healthy foods disguised as treats thrown into the mix. Mum 1 Kids 0. For the win!

Mummy Milkshakes & Spooky Eyes
Glass of malted milk in a bottle dressed up with a crepe bandage and some googly eyes, accompanied by Oreos split in half with some black icing for pupils.

Vampire Blood
You can use Blackcurrant juice for this or a little creaming soda if you are game.

Zombie Eating Watermelon
Cut the bottom off a whole watermelon and scoop out the insides. Carefully carve a face into the melon carcass and then arrange the chopped up melon, some grapes and blueberries (or whatever fruits your kids are into) around the base so it looks like the watermelon is puking zombies. Yeah I know, but the grosser the better on Halloween.

Bat Poo & Ghost Poo
Again with the grossness, but if it has the word poo in it, I can pretty much guarantee your kids are going to love it.

The Bat Poo is just a mixture of Malteasers and sultanas in a seal lock bag with a Bat poo topper you can download this topper below). The Ghost poo is mere popcorn in a bucket.

Spider web Tarts
You simply buy the ready made Raspberry Tarts from the Coles Bakery section and using a black icing writing pen from the bakery aisle, draw on some webs.

Chupa Chup Ghosts
Tear up squares of paper towel and fold it over the head of the Chupa Chup. Tie (or hot glue) a little ribbon around the neck and draw on some eyes with black pen.

Jelly Cup Jack-O-Lanterns
Flip some jelly fruit cups upside down, draw on a face with a black marker and hot glue a little twisted pipe cleaner on top.

Pumpkin Carving
Grab one of the Halloween Carving Pumpkins, or one of the Mini Halloween Little Jack Pumpkins which Coles has especially grown for carving (not eating) and download one of the free pumpkin carving stencils at Then you and the kids can create a master piece or something that looks like Freddy Kruger did a number on... Whatever.

Ghost Centerpiece
Scrunch clear cellophane into a ball, leaving a little out the bottom to poke into a bottle full of water. Drape over with white tissue paper, tie a ribbon around the neck and glue on a couple of googly eyes.

Dont forget to stock up on treats for any little monsters that come-a-knockin, tricks arent all that frequent in a friendly neighbourhood, but hey, why take the chance!

Coles has loads of Halloween themed goodies, as well as decorating and costumes for the kids too so there is no excuse to not be prepared and my advice - be very very prepared as you dont want to start a zombie apocalypse.

So how about you - are you guys doing Halloween this year?

Weekend Rewind - A Pimple On An Elephant's Butt

Join Us For Dinner At My Place and WinWin A Kip & Co Queen Size Quilt Set From AdairsTugging At The LeashUsing PicMonkey To Improve Your ImagesThe Great Paint DebateI Sorta Kinda Lied

Thursday, 23 October 2014

I Sorta Kinda Lied About Nothing Much

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"Mum, what did you do today while I was at school?" asked the youngest one.

"Mmmmm, a bit of this and a bit of that. Nothing much really" I sorta kinda lied.

Actually, it wasn't a total lie.

I didn't do much compared to a typical day, and if you can somehow qualify wandering around Manly with my camera in hand and then spending a couple of hours sitting at Hugos at Manly Wharf having lunch with some gorgeous friends, doing nothing much but eating and laughing, then theoretically I didn't lie at all.

After two hectic weeks of working crazy hours, I gave myself the day off.

Yep, the whole day.

Aaaaaand it just so happens that I spent that day doing... well nothing much really.

Glorious nothing.

And damned if I am going to feel an ounce of guilt about it.

When did you last take a guilt free day of nothing for yourself?
What would you do with a 'nothing much' day?


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Great Paint Debate

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This post is brought to you by Taubmans

I'm about to dive head first into the daunting task of painting the entire interior of our 10 year old home. Im estimating that by fitting the painting into my evenings, Its probably going to take me at least 5 years to complete so laters lovelies, I'll see you then!



Unfortunately, as there are no spare wads of cash stashed under our mattresses, I am going to have to do all the painting myself, and so rather than attempt to tackle the whole lot in one go, I'm planning on working my way around the house with the paintbrush, room by room. 

The dining room and the laundry & utility rooms are already done for now, (thank Heavens).

The Chalk Quarter white did wonders for brightening up the laundry, and I do still love the element of surprise the Jericho Jade colour brings to our dining room. But as for the colour I'm going to choose for the rest of the house? I'm sort of stumped.

Currently, most of the rooms in the house are painted a safe bland taupy sort of colour, courtesy of the builders. Nothing against taupe, but it's just not us and as there are parts of our house that don't get a whole lotta sun, I do need to be careful with my colour choices.

The first two rooms I am going to start with are the entry and the master bedroom.

The entry is easy, I want it to be white and bright so that I can accessorise it with prints, signs and artwork I have been collecting, and so I am going to stick with the Chalk Quarter for those walls.

As for the bedroom? Yeah well thats kinda where I come unstuck as this bedroom is very bright.

Currently we have three taupe walls with a chocolate brown feature wall behind the bed, covered in white decals. Whilst I love the decals, Im no longer so fond of the brown. And so now I am debating, do I still have a feature wall behind the bed, or do I stick with one colour?

I cant seem to decide for myself, so its no wonder that research shows that over 70% of Australians stick with white when it comes to interior walls. We are totally scared of making the wrong choice and so we become commitment phobes of the paint colour kind.

Fortunately for me, and any other poor bugger who is stuck on colour choices, Taubmans have a fabulous Paint Your Own Room Tool that allows you to upload an image of the room that you plan on painting, and digitally re-colour the walls with any hue that tickles your fancy.

And heres where you guys come into play. I need your help please! I thought I would give the Paint Your Own Room tool another whirl to see if we can narrow down a choice of colour for the bedroom and I would totally love your opinion.

The program is as simple as this;

1.    Upload your photo of the room you want to paint.

2. Mark your walls you want to paint.

3. Play around with colours until Jackpot - we find a winner

Taubmans Brand Ambassador and Colour Creative Director, Shaynna Blaze has created Taubmans 10 Commandments of Colour - which are basically 10 tips to help punters like me, debunk the common colour myths that are scary enough to put me off using colour on my walls.

The most useful for me were the tips on Manipulating space with the right colour combos - cool colours to recede and make a space look bigger, and warmer colours to brings the walls toward you and make a large room seem cosier.

Are you up for a little virtual House painting for yourself? Then don't forget to try out the Paint Your Own Room Tool, and feel free to share your pics in the comments below or on my Facebook page, you know, so that we can all put our two cents worth in about what we would pick.

But for now, help a gal out will you please - which colour would you choose for my bedroom? A, B, C or D? You need to imagine artwork or decals on the wall, but hopefully you get the idea!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Using PicMonkey To Improve & Lighten Your Photos

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As far as I am concerned, PicMonkey is one of the easiest tools to use when it comes to manipulating your photos. One of the biggest problems I see with product shots and blank backgrounds in photos is that they can look a not so fifty shade of grey if not shot in the correct light.

Research actually shows that photo viewers prefer a white background (also known as white space). WHITE not various shades of grey.

So when it comes to capturing professional looking images, sorry to say folks, but grey is just not going to cut the mustard... especially if you are trying to sell something or show something off in it's best light (pardon the pun).

Luckily, there is a really easy way to lighten and brighten the background in your photos, using PicMonkey, and although I totally suck at giving instructions, I am going to forge ahead and try to show you anyway.


OK, so start by opening PicMonkey on your desktop and click on Edit to upload your photo. Then (hopefully) it is just a matter of following the instructions I have put together for you below.






Give it a go, I would love to hear how it works for you.

If you are interested, here's some other PicMonkey Tutorials I have put together earlier too.

Are you a PicMonkey Fan or your a Die Hard Photoshop User?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Tugging At The Leash

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So it seems I really and truly have a teenager on my hands. You know - one who no longer bounds out of bed at the prospect of a new day, but one who requires dragging out by his heels or being enticed out by cutting off the WiFi.

One whose mood can go downhill faster than my bank account in a home wares store, and one who now wants to get on buses and go to places with his friends and leave me at home hyperventilating until his safe return.

I think I am suffering from the 1st child separation symptoms.

No really!

It's kind of like the first time your toddler wants to go down the slippery dip my himself and so you stand there hovering and desperately resisting the urge to climb onto the slide and clutch him tight just so you can ensure he gets to the bottom safely.


I'm struggling here people.

I am struggling with the loss of the dependence he once had upon me and the two of us are tugging at the leash. Me holding tightly and him nervously wanting me to let go, and whilst I know it is a perfectly natural path of life, it is one that I just don't know I am all that ready for.

And yet it will happen, ready or not.

I am torn at the moment about this whole freedom thing that comes with brand new teenagers, and my anxiety stems from my own fears of what goes on out there in this big old ever changing world we live in.

My fears tell me that bad stuff can happen to good people, (God forbid kids too) and whilst I know in my head that I cannot allow my own overly anxious concerns to hold him back from living his life, my heart screams at me "Don' let go... Protect him."

I was lying in bed yesterday morning, thinking about how old I was when I first took a 25 minute bus to the movies with friends by myself.... I was thirteen. The same age as my son.

He is a mature kid, sensible and stuff and has been nicknamed Captain Cautious since he was two for the careful way he assess everything. It's not necessarily his choices that I worry about, it is the actions of others and of course the freak random events and accidents that you hear about on the news scares the bejeezus out of me.

I can't help but wonder... has the world changed so much that we need to rethink whether our kids should be allowed the same freedom that we perhaps had at their age, or am I just being completely paranoid?

The fact that he wobbles on the edge of no longer being my little boy, and a kid who is not yet a young man makes it all the harder for me to decide. Heck my heart still does a major thump when I drop him off at school and he blows me a kiss or gives me a big wave and I leave him to disappear into the masses of teens with their too big or too small uniforms.

And there I was thinking that when they got older, it would get easier to let go.

Sweet Baby Cheeses, I was wrong.

Once again my mothering training wheels are back on and I am finding it hard to get my balance.

And so my friends I ask of you;

How do you deal with letting go of the leash, at any age?
Do you think the world has changed so much that we should not grant them the same freedom at the same age that we perhaps did?