Wednesday, September 18, 2013

recent happenings + a giveaway

Man life is busy. I feel like I'm always busy and yet never have much to show for it at the end of the day. Bummer. But here is a super-quick round up of recent happenings, a few things you should know about, and the chance for one family to join us next Wednesday at a MILO cricket event with the Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke in Sydney.

Zak was adamant he wanted to go as a Star Wars character. I know it was only because he wanted to take his light sabre to school. So obviously keen on weapons, I suggested Robin Hood - "he has a bow and..." I started "YES" he interrupted. It was all about the weapon. So I whittled some wood into a bow, attached some neon builder's string (Robin Hood so would have used neon had it been around back then) and whipped up some arrows out of dowel, washi tape and feathers. He was stoked. A felt hat, post-pack tube turned into a quiver and a piece of torn linen thrown around him as a bit of a vest and he was set. He looked so great and clearly enjoyed playing the part. Layla was of course a princess. Rapunzel to be exact. I painstakingly created pull-on puffy sleeves to pair with this yellow top that was already in her dress-up box but she hated them falling down so it was swapped with a white long-sleeved shirt at the last minute. A super-long royal purple skirt was made super-quickly and she scored some new silver shoes out of it because I couldn't bear to see sneakers being worn with satin - no sandals allowed. I had a long wig I attempted to attach to her hair but she hated that too, so we just plaited her own Rapunzel-like hair. She had a ball.

After a little break from them a year or so ago, I'm pleased to say I'm back to being a fan of Cotton On Kids. I noticed they went through a stage of poorly made items (jeans tearing in a few months, holes in shirts after just a few washes) so I stopped spending up there, but then i gave them another go a few months ago and happy to have noticed they're back, better than ever. The clothes are sweeter than ever and longer-lasting again. And it was confirmed at a recent store opening I attended - the buyer told me they had changed suppliers and were back to tops. I often covet the kids clothes - wish they had adult versions of some of their stuff. The patterns and motifs are so sweet.

 These (above) are my fave of the new season buys (available from October) - boy or girl, I'm getting those moustache pants for the bubby. So cute. And PS: they're having a big sale right now - the best buy is the coloured kids jeans for $10. Stock up for the next few winters because really, are brightly coloured jeans ever going to be off-trend for kids under 10? Of course not! Here is Immy's very own selfie-in-the-car of her rocking her green pair. And sparkly sneakers (also Cotton On Kids). Ignore filthy dirty console - kids and clean cars don't seem to go together in my world.

My kids (and all their friends and classmates) crowned me Mother of the Year when I scored an invite to the new Skylander's Swat Force Launch Party at the MCA a few weeks ago. We all headed down on the train a bundle of excitement one Friday afternoon (and they got off school early too - extra lucky) and met Spyro at the elevators (who all my kids were scared of - they don't do people dressed up very well. Until of course they're not there anymore and then they desperately want to meet them and have their picture taken with them). Inside, it was all decked out with pirate treasure chests, face painting, barrells, games (hello moneybooth!) and a kids heaven - a heap of different consoles (X-Box, PlayStation and Wii) set up with the brand new game all ready for them to play with.

My kids LOVE Skylanders - as I'm sure all kids do. But Steve and I kinda like it too. We can't help but enjoy playing occasionally too. I'm not a big computer game fan normally, but I like that this one has little puzzles for them to do and really makes them think - the characters won't go anywhere if you don't line up those blocks properly! You have to work it out. I like that. Swap Force looks so great - this time the characters are in two halves with magnetised parts so you can literally swap them and create new characters. So blend Wash Buckler's head and sword-laden arms with Blast Zone's firey legs and you get Wash Zone - a whole new character that has extra awesome powers. The 16 Swap Force characters allows kids to get creative - you can create 256 characters from them. Gotta love a bit of mix and match! So after playing and giving it a HUGE thumbs up, they're eagerly awaiting their copy to arrive in the mail on October 16 (the day it comes out). I highly recommend this being placed under the Christmas tree (if they can wait that long). A huge thanks for the invite and making the kids year.

Finally. Immy has enough hair to put into piggy tails. It only took her 2 and a half years. They don't ever stay in for long though, but they sure are adorable.

Literally just landed in my inbox and so I had to include because the new Dan300 catalogue is so pretty and colourful and cheery and summery. Australian owned, designed and made, Dan300 is a welcome burst of pattern and colour to the homewares scene and I can see the Harlequin, Colourscope, Flush or Kaleidoscope cushions adorning a little girls bed.

 Also new? A range of rugs - I love the Kaleidoscope rug (available for pre-order). Dan300 also has a sweet collection of brooches, kids softies and stationery. Check it all out at Dan300 Group. All images via Dan300.

Man it's slow, but it's getting there. The electrician has came and gone and there are now big holes in the one wall that isn't painted yet. But they'll be covered up (hopefully this weekend!) with some panelling and THEN I can finish it off and show you. Here's a quick before (top) and after (below) of the view from the door mainly to show you the walls (the walls, ceiling and trim is all Dulux Lexicon quarter strength) and the floors (I will post all those details another time). The floors are really hard to capture in photos - I have no idea why. They're actually lighter and look much even better in real life. Feel nice too!

Also winning me Mother of the Year is an invite to a MILO in2CRICKET event with Australia's captain Michael Clarke. Steve is SO wishing he didn't have to work that day... He might be slightly obsessed with cricket (and was very, very good at it too). And it has rubbed off on Zak who bowls and bats with him every afternoon in the frontyard. Last year he played MILO in2CRICKET and was stoked his club was one of a few to play at the Sydney Test in January. So Zak has already played cricket on the SCG and by next week, will have played cricket with the Aussie captain. Clearly he is destined for cricket greatness....The Ashes will no doubt be ours in another 14 years or so.

But in the meantime, I have an extra pass to give away to a family who is Sydney-based (or can/is willing to get to Sydney on their own coin) and who'd like to enjoy the day sampling MILO goodies, playing some sport with one of the world's bestest cricket players, enjoying a BBQ and skipping off home laden with MILO, cricket and Nestle goodies, then leave me comment on this post (be sure to include some mention of the MILO in2CRICKET day giveaway in your comment so I know you're entering) and I'll draw the winner Friday morning. I do need you to include your email address in the comment (I don't think blogger gives you the option when you comment) - if you're not happy to do so, please email me directly (after commenting, to belinda[at]thehappyhomeblog[dot]com) with it so I can reply to you ASAP if you win - I need to get your name to the organisers by Friday and I'm a bit late in posting this (as usual!) If cricket is not your game, tell your other half and see their eyes light up. Men. And. Sport. That said, I really enjoy our MILO in2CRICKET afternoons - I chill in the sun with a friend and we watch the big boys have some fun batting and bowling and the smaller kids chase ladybugs. It's a nice end to a week. It's also a very affordable activity - $70 gets you 12 weeks of playtime, a bag, hat, shirt, drink bottle, bat and ball. It's really great. If you're keen to learn more or sign up, check out MILO in2CRICKET. Entries close Friday, September 20 at 9am AEST. The event will be held at The Pavilion, 1 Art Gallery Road, Sydney next Wednesday, September 25 from 12.30pm.

So that's it! I am TRYING to get my butt into gear and get back to a regular blogging schedule - I miss doing crafts and tutorials and blogging in general. I have one last work-y thing to do and then I should be able to just focus on the house and therefore the blog. Yay!


  1. Amir would love to go and play milo in2 cricket! What a great experience!!!

  2. The Armstrong Posse would love to accompany you guys.

  3. I think Steve would like to play milo in2cricket more than Ronan. Should have seen his eyes light up when we read your message.

  4. Luke would love to use the Force to play cricket with Michael Clarke!

  5. Would love to win the pass for my little cricketer (
    Ps gotta love book week! We pulled Percy Jackson out of nowhere

  6. You are such a fun mom! I won't be showing this post to my kids; they would be so jealous. Your bedroom is looking lovely. The floors turned out great - even if they do look better in real life. You get such amazing light in Australia. It's enough to make me want to move!

  7. Do you know whether Cotton On have changed their practice regarding the use of sweat shops and unethical labour/wages/conditions? I love their clothes and would really like to shop there with a clear conscience!

    1. I'm not sure about Cotton On's sweatshop policy, but I do know they do a lot of charity work and a lot of their products are for charity. Behind the scenes though I don't know. Maybe have a look at their website - they might have some information on that?! Happy shopping!

  8. Father and son especially would immensely enjoy this experience in the Newboult/Kosztyo household. In fact Stuart's coming down with the sniffles already just in time for next Wednesday ;)
    My email addy's