Funtastic Bunchems – you literally bunch em little bunchems!

Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post review brought to you by Nuffnang and Funtastic.

My kids went crazy as they created some pretty crazy bunchem characters!
As a stay at home parent, I am always looking out for fun things to do with my kids and hopefully keep them entertained long enough to stay away from the screens! My kids love crafting, but whenever there is paint or crayons or playdoh involved, things just always get so messy! Also, chances are the little one will go running off, away from the craft table, and start scribbling or tracking mess everywhere else around the house. It gets pretty frustrating dealing with the mess!
Then came along these Bunchems. They are literally what they are called – furry “burr” like plastic spheres that you can bunch together and they would just amazingly stick to each other. No glue, no mess. That already gets my tick of approval.. so let’s test them on the kids and see what they think.
Silver quietly observes the instructions and sample creations like she is so grown up, lol.
The Bunchems Mega Pack comes with over 400+ pieces of furry spheres with accessories – and a little booklet with examples of what you can create. The beauty of it though is the freedom to create anything you like. I love that this encourages my kids to be creative and use their imaginations to make anything they can think of, even if it appears to be a normal bunch of bunchems with random colours (to them it looks like a dinosaur and they play with it) – after all my kids are only 4 and 2 hehe. Either way, the pack has everything we need to get started and keep busy for hours.
Micah’s T-rex fighting my little monster… I think his T-rex obviously won.

Bunchems is recommended for kids ages 4+ but I find with supervision, even my little one can have fun with it. The texture of the product itself is great for sensory play – and surprisingly quite solid and not easily “destroyed”. They do tend to stick to hair, so keep them away from their heads!
Simple creations made crazy using the accessories included in the pack.
Some cool creations with the help of mummy.

Β The accessories are securely fastened onto the furballs so they won’t fall off easily.

Accessories have a 4-point nail which attaches securely to the holes in the plastic furballs.
Once securely connected to a bunchem, use them on your creations to sparkle and dazzle em!

Overall, I love it. These things are great! They tick all the boxes when it comes to having fun, engaging with my kids and encouraging creativity. Like most things that are little, it is best to supervise their play when little kids are involved to avoid any swallowing incidents. Thankfully, my Silver Grace has grown out of that phase of putting things in her mouth, but still.. you can never be too careful! Besides, the kids love it when I sit down and partipate in activities such as this with them. I love watching them create things and then having pretend play. I must say I enjoy creating cute little Bunchem monsters myself! (If I can get my kids to spare me a few of em bunchem balls… lol)

My Day Without Kids

Melbourne Airport at 6am
Yesterday, I flew up to Brisbane for the day to attend Visual Impact 2016 – a printing industry expo – to do research for our business as well as to establish some connections and talk to experienced people and just do some networking in general. Enoch took the day off so he could look after the kids.
My day started ridiculously early. My alarm was set to go off at 4.15am and I found myself awake at 2am (checked the time) and again at 3.15am and finally up at 4.10am and decided to just lie in bed awake until my alarm went off, lol.
By the time I was showered and dressed, I was out the door by 4.50am.
I arrived at the airport at 5.45am and was waiting around at the terminal by 6am because I have already check-in online and had no baggage to drop off.
My flight was at 7am, so I had a coffee and some breakfast before going to the boarding gate.
The flight was on time and I arrived in Brisbane at 9.10am, hopped into a taxi and arrived at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre by 9.45am.
The expo featured the latest technology in printing equipment, material and media, and other printing solutions – exhibitors include manufacturers (Australian as well as from overseas), distributors and some specialized family businesses.Β 
The expo was scheduled to open at 10am but there were already a lot of visitors waiting outside the exhibition hall. I had a very productive day at the expo. I spoke to a lot of people – mostly salesmen who were trying to convince me their printer is the best… but also some suppliers and distributors of materials and media, and a handful of business advisors who were so kind to spare their time and pass on some wisdom for little ol’ me who is very new to the industry and just starting this journey into owning her own business.
I had lunch at a local cafe across the road. I figured I was only by myself for the day and wanted to have a decent meal someplace nice and not just grab a quickie sandwich at the exhibition hall cafeteria. The cafe had great coffee and my burger was absolutely delicious!
After a wonderfully peaceful lunch on my own, I went back to the expo and talked to more people and gathered more info and attended an advertising workshop.
After a few more hours I decided I have had enough and collected all the information I needed and physically cannot talk to another human being anymore lol. So I ventured further down the road and took some photos around Southbank and enjoyed the beautiful views of Brisbane for half an hour before hailing another taxi back to Brisbane airport.Β 
Beautiful Brisbane city πŸ™‚

The market was just finishing up and Southbank beach was gorgeous!
I am glad I managed to do a mini tourist walk, Queensland is absolutely beautiful. I loved Cairns while I was there last year, and now I love Brisbane too.
I was back at the airport by 5pm and my flight wasn’t until 6.30pm so I sat down at Roll’d and enjoyed a quiet, peaceful dinner. Actually, maybe it wasn’t so quiet and peaceful, because I ended up talking to the person sitting right next to me! Too much adult conversation in one day, not sure what to do with myself!
Crispy Chicken Ribs from Roll’d.. after I have already devoured two rice paper rolls, I was SO hungry!
I was still pumped, my brain was too busy thinking and planning and strategising, I gained so much in one day, and my mind was full of ideas I had to write them all down before I forgot them! I did not even sleep on the flight back home (I scribbled on my notepad.. so many notes) even though I was clearly physically tired from being awake since 4am. The physical tiredness is different compared to caring for children, it wasn’t as physically demanding.. I did not have to do anything for anyone else for the day and only had to look after myself. It was a really good day, the kind of day I need every once in a while to inspire me to do something for myself.
I missed my kids though.
They were in good hands though!
Enoch apparently took parenting to the next level for the day. He did the kinder drop off and pick up, he went grocery shopping, he took Silver to a music class, AND he entertained some guests for dinner! What. the. heck?! Is my husband better than me at this staying home with the kids thing??
Well, I am glad he was good at it – because I am hoping this business we are building together will take off and be successful and then we will not only share the business load but also the parenting duties a lot more!
So much to do this week, all the follow ups and purchasing decisions we need to make. We need to buy the equipment, stock up some material and media, create a working space at home, build our website, create / outsource designs, keep working on our business planning and strategy, etc. All this while trying our best not to neglect our kids, lol. It is difficult to neglect them though, they are very convincing when it comes to wanting attention… they will not stop hassling until you stop what you’re doing and give them the attention.
I think I have figured out a schedule that works, I hope. I have set aside times during the day which works best to be able to work peacefully for a solid block of an hour or two, as well as set aside times that are specifically for blogging, chores and kid related duties like preparing meals, laundry, cleaning, entertaining them with an activity, playdates, etc. Trust me, my daily schedule is FULL. I have even scheduled set times to rest and do nothing, that necessary 30-minute break just to recharge and have a cuppa and refocus.

In other news, my Facebook Photo Book arrived yesterday while I was away – so excited and so happy with it! Thank you, Pastbook!

Took some photos of the kids today – just thought they were cute and wanted to post them on here, hehe.
Thank you for reading!

Casey Central – that new shopping centre ;)

Photo Credit: Daniel Boyle

Ladies and perhaps some gents, there are many reasons why I love living in Australia. I love the weather, the people, the schools and medical facilities, the beautiful walking tracks and family friendly parks… just to name a few reasons. Quite possibly most of all, I love being a suburban mum and having access to some pretty amazing everyday shops. I am not even talking about a grand shopping mall or anything… just the normal local supermarket and mini shopping centres. I love that I only need to drive a few minutes down the road from my house and have everything I will ever need in one location. I love my suburb, and I love my suburban shops hehe.

Living in Berwick, my main shopping centre for weekly groceries have always been Eden Rise shopping centre. I shop at Coles and kids sometimes play at the playground. Sometimes, we have lunch at Nando’s or check out what’s on Special at ALDI.

For more variety, I would go to Fountain Gate Shopping Centre. This is when I have to not only do my grocery shopping at Coles, but also seafood shopping at the fish shop, fruit and vegetable shopping at Fountain Gate Fruit & Veg shop, get some fresh meat from the butcher, maybe grab a few things e.g. presents, homeware etc from Kmart or Target, and general browsing. Kids would sometimes play at one of the few play areas within the mall or just the little play corner in the Parents Rooms after a nappy change or toilet break.

Now, there is nothing wrong with any of the two above mentioned shopping centres… except, Eden Rise lacks the variety and Fountain Gate is too big and hectic and rather exhausting to walk around because everything is so far away from each other.

Photo Credit:

Last month, the newly renovated all improved Casey Central shopping centre officially re-opened and many friends have told me how amazing it was. Casey Central is about the same distance from my house as Eden Rise (in the opposite direction), or possibly just a minute further away.

I haven’t been able to check it out earlier because life has been hectic – and the thought just hasn’t crossed my mind to go anywhere else but my usual shops. However, I decided to check it out today because school holidays are over (so it should be less busy) and now that it has been open for a few weeks I was hoping there would be smaller crowds.

So after I dropped Micah off at kinder this morning, myself and Silver went for a bit of a shopping expedition. Here’s a quick rundown of what I thought:

  • Parking – at 9.30am, it was super easy to find parking. I was parked at a Parents with Pram spot within seconds of arriving. No hassle at all.
  • Walking distance – very much tolerable. Unlike Fountain Gate, everything I need and like are close to each other and we didn’t have to walk very far to get to where we want to be.
Photo Credit: Daniel Boyle
  • Fruit and Veg shop – amazing! Unlike Fountain Gate fruit and veg shop which is super cramped and small and I barely manage to walk around with kids in my trolley as space is so limited, the fruit and veg shop at Casey Central has wide open space and makes it so easy for me to move around even with a trolley. Selection-wise, pretty much the same as any other good Fruit and Veg shop. I had some special things on my list – eg. okra and silken tofu and they had them! No complaints here.
Silver happily sits on the trolley as I do my grocery shopping at Coles Casey Central
  • Coles – beautifully laid out, super high ceilings, wide open space, great shopping experience. The only thing missing is the Mix clothing range and homeware stuff and toys etc that Coles Eden Rise have. So, it is a smaller Coles selling less variety but who needs the clothes and toys and homeware etc when Target is just a few shops away!
  • Fish & Meat – The Fish Pier has decent selection of seafood, however they do NOT have my usual pack of Salmon Belly & Bones that FG sells for $5 a pack… so that’s a small disappointment. Butcher is decent, but Fountain Gate still has a bigger selection and possibly better prices.
Photo Credit: Casey Central Facebook Page
  • Playground – great playground! Highly secure as you can only access the playground through a door from inside the shopping centre and kids cannot escape. However, this may be a small inconvenience as there isn’t a gate allowing access to the playground from outside the shopping centre. Either way, I am happy with the playground. It is new, it is clean and it has great activities for kids to play happily for a decent amount of time. Plenty of seats for parents to sit down and rest in between shopping errands.
I have not yet checked out Target or Aldi or any of the other shops at Casey Central, but my first impression has been quite a positive one. I think I can easily be persuaded to switch my weekly shopping centre to Casey Central – provided I come on a weekday and early enough during the day to avoid big crowds. I can see how easily it could get busy on weekends. Parking might even be an issue on weekends.
Overall, very impressive. So many shops and restaurants and takeaway options – some of my favorites ChinaBar. Wok’d, Grill’d, everything from fish n chips to charcoal chicken to pizza to Indian.. you name it, Casey Central probably has got it! Lots of cafes for your caffeine fix because obviously Australia is so huge on the coffee drinking culture, boutique shops, and so many more.. check out the full list of stores here.

For The Love of Trampoline

Purchased March 2013 – read full post and see more pictures from our first few weeks of using it here:
Photos taken earlier this morning
Three years ago, we bought a second-hand trampoline that was only 3 months old and in excellent condition from a lady on a Facebook Buy/Swap/Sell Group. Today, we still firmly believe it was the best thing we ever bought for our kids. It still gets a lot of use and the kids still love it, and we spend a lot of beautiful days just hanging out in the trampoline as a family.
It serves great purpose whenever we have friends with kids over – just send the kids outside to play in the trampoline while we adults sit and socialise in peace!
It is the best way to tire kids out – just chuck them in and let them run around in circles and jump around to their hearts’ content.
Finally, for me if we ever let this trampoline go someday – maybe when kids are older and no longer use it, maybe we will need the extra space in the backyard for something else – if the trampoline is ever gone, at least I have hundreds and possible thousands of wonderful photos taken while the kids are on the trampoline. These photos will always bring back all those joyful memories of hearing their laughters and giggles and squeals of delight.
I love our trampoline πŸ™‚Β 

What is the Definition of a Millennial Mom?

Or… more importantly, why did I self-proclaim yours truly as essentially a Millennial Mom?
Here are a few articles and resources that provide a really comprehensive explanation of what defines millennial moms:
These make such interesting reads, simply because I am not only one of them, but I am surrounded by them! Women in this day and age are driven, and technologically savvy, and highly connected. Gone are the days when all women do is stay at home and look after their kids and take care of the chores. Women have become amazingly efficient in staying productive and maintaining a work / life balance – they are so good at it – and have further emphasized the fact that we can, in fact, multi task.Β 
We can maintain a healthy social life (both physical presence and online), stay organised, raise our children and use creative modern ways to engage with them, maintain traditional values, keep the household running smoothly (with some duties possibly outsourced – according to what’s the best way to use their time and the value of that time), self development (eg pursuing a small business, health goals eg gym classes or physical activity, a hobby or passion, etc) and top it all off with some much needed R & R time to reset, recharge, renew and then start all over again.
The keyword here is healthy. Millennial moms are highly digital, therefore they spend a lot of their time on screen (I mean, look at me… typing this blog post right now and have already spent an hour in front of my laptop and it is only 9.45am)… so in 15 minutes I need to remind myself that my kids still need me and whilst I am always happy to drop what I am doing here if they really need me, they still need that undivided attention time so I need to make sure I strike that balance and not neglect my kids completely). It is also a good idea to NOT look at any digital devices while out and about eg socialising or at the park. They can wait until you get home and stick to your allocated and scheduled time for work / digital time.
Millennial moms also tend to have it much harder than most other demographics. They are more vulnerable to mental health problems and stress and anxiety issues. Without a solid support network, and when things go wrong, it is easy to lose control over being in control.
So, reach out to your fellow millennial mom friends – tell them they are doing a wonderful job. Do not be discouraged if you have some bad days, you are a strong confident woman and you will come back from this. Find inspiration to be motivated again. Surround yourself with positive people who make you smile and make you feel good. Do not let yourself be burdened by the list of things you need to do, always remember to stay organised and plan, plan, PLAN!
To all my fellow millennial moms…

Just Start Somewhere… just do it.

See the face of that mom in the image above? She looks calm and under control. I just hope I maintain this calm, lol. It is so easy to pat myself on the back whenever I have good days… but knowing me, I am going to need a lot of contingency plans in place for self motivation purposes. I suppose the key is to be at a place in your life when you are settled and ready to take that leap of faith. Staying motivated is easier when you love what you do, and I am absolutely loving what I have been doing this past week.
The more I do my research and explore all areas of this business, and the possible challenges that lie ahead, the more invested I become. I am hungry for knowledge and excited by the challenge. We need to just start somewhere.. no matter how small, one step at a time and see how we go as we progress. We just need to start somewhere.

Raising Kids & Running A Business From Home (and Blogging)

Today is actually one of those days when I want to just sit down and write down all my thoughts before I forget them. Even when I managed to get a struggling and whinging 2yo down for her afternoon nap, and quickly jumped in the shower because it was already 1.30pm and I haven’t showered for the day… my brain somehow kept coming up with ideas and things to go on my To Do list for this start up business.
Basically as soon as I got out of the shower, I sat down and completed more of my Business Plan, specifically my marketing strategies. I also had so many questions – questions which need answers either by research online or for me to go and ask an expert. Things just kept piling up on my plate, and instead of being stressed out (not yet anyway) I have somehow managed to keep my cool. That’s what planning stages are for.. to explore all these questions and to go out and get answers. Research is so important, and I want to know exactly what I am doing and be fully prepared before we go out to market.
Meanwhile, while my brain keeps working and while I am sitting here writing this blog post trying to process these thoughts – Silver is busy rummaging through my drawers here in my makeshift office. Micah is pretty good, he is happy playing with his dinosaurs. Actually, Silver has now moved on to see what her brother is doing so they are both playing together. How wonderful and seemingly peaceful, right?
Wrong. Just an hour ago, Silver came up to me crying with her hands held out to me. What was on her hands. Poo. Lots and lots of poo. Oh how delightful. The only thing to do with that situation is to chuck her into the shower.. and that I did. So she is all showered and clean now, but that wasn’t a pleasant mess to clean up.
I have a newfound respect for working mums, and a bigger respect for mums who work from home while juggling raising their children. It is not an easy thing to do. I know I have really just started this week, but I can already see how I won’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I hope to do. In the process of juggling it all, I will need my quiet cup of teas to collect my thoughts and stay focused. Basically I have come up with a simple list to keep me on track:
  1. Avoid unnecessary distractions – uninstall the Candy Crush, no more TV shows (unless you allow yourself an episode or two on weekends, etc), turn off Facebook notifications, stay away from personal Social Media during child minding and working hours.
  2. Schedule Your Day – by this, I mean, schedule everything you need to do. From showering to nap times to pick ups and drop offs, grocery shopping, blogging, research, business planning, website planning, marketing planning, cooking, cleaning, socialising, play dates, parties, rest time, activities with kids time, everything goes in that calendar! Sure everything may not happen as perfectly as it was planned, but at least it is a guide to your day and you are not feeling overwhelmed by all the things on your To Do list knowing there is an allocated time later on specifically for that task. Helps you to focus, to be productive, and to keep calm.
  3. Set Goals – What do I want to achieve this week? This month? This year? Setting these goals will help in the planning process as you set tasks that would work towards achieving those goals.
…… and I just lost my train of thoughts. Great! My calendar reminder just popped up to remind me that I need to start getting dinner ready in 15 minutes, haha. Meanwhile, Silver is trying to tell me something but because she doesn’t talk much she can’t really say what she wants. So.. looks like I have to end this post abruptly right here.
I must say though, it feels really good to write down all my thoughts and blogging again. I need this. I need to be able to think out loud.. and this is helping. Thank you for listening, reading, etc.
I might come back and build on that list above. I am distracted now by my beautiful daughter saying “Mummy.. mummy.. mummy…” and that smile she just gave me… melts my heart.
Off to give my babies cuddles before I get dinner started πŸ™‚