Gift Guide, 7 Gifts for the Stay at Home Mom

I’ve been the corporate mom and am now a stay at home mom and this is a list of things I have or would like. It’s not just items but things you can do to make your stay at home mom feel special. 

  1. A great pair of comfortable shoes. Comfortable but stylish let’s say 65% comfort and 35% style. My choice would be my Supergas, they’re stylish (well for walking / everyday shoes) and they’re comfortable. Mine are pictured below.   
  2. All her Favourite treats to nibble on during the day – nuts, choccies, biscuits, candies (all those unhealthy things) or maybe health bars, goji berries, veggie chips (I’ve heard these healthy things can be nice).
  3. A cleaner for a few hours during the day. This will help take off some of the strain of cleaning, washing and ironing. It’s best to get a referral from someone you know so that you know that they are good and a will add peace of mind not detract from it. 
  4. A babysitter for the evening for her to go out with her husband or her girlfriends. I came across one of these services the other day at a baby expo – for website link click here. I haven’t tried them so can’t attest to them. 
  5. Make her dinner. You can get a printable voucher and fill it in for her.   
  6. Take her out for a drink – either a cocktail or a cup of tea. A cocktail is always good if it has a stunning view and a cup of tea / coffee is always good if it comes with a piece of cake 😉
  7. Something stunning from her favourite clothes shop. Shopping is a novelty when you’ve got kids. I would go with a nice shirt, jersey, scarf or good jeans because as a mom you spend most of your life in casual clothes and only buy stuff if it’s on sale and you happen to walk past it while shopping for the kids or your husband. I love Zara, Mango, Forever New and Banana Republic.  
    all of these are from Mango.com
       
    All of these are from Zara.com
     
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Gift Guide: 7 Gifts for the Fit Mom

I am no fitness expert but my two sisters are and my husband has been known to run / cycle and swim so I do know what to buy … 

  1. If the gym bag is older than 3 years, it’s time for a new bag (according to my expert relations). Great gym bags can be snapped up at any sports store. Easy peasy. Of course you would want to add a cute sports bottle and towel too. 
  2. Lulu Lemon Align pants. These are incredible yoga pants, exercise pants and just-wanna-stay-on-the-couch pants!  You can buy online or in store. There are a few outlets around. The one we have exhausted is at Homebush DFO. 
  3. Earphones for running. There are a lot of factors to consider when buying earphones – price, sound quality, fit, style and device with which they work – so it may be best to get a gift card for them to be self-purchased if no you can check out the following brands Bose (Link to in-ear earphones here), JayBird Bluebuds X (can buy online here) or Yurbuds (powered by JBL: link here ) there are a number reviews online about each.
  4. A crazy cool yoga mat. There are some seriously funky designs out there – why use the studios or the typical purple or turquoise from Target when you can get something super snazzy. Yogadesignlab.com has some nice stuff.    You can even get a double-sided one from Gaiam.com    or a personalized one from etsy. 
  5. If you’re going big, there is always the watch. The sports watch. My family are big supporters of the Garmin but there is also the Suunto. For runners the new TomTom Runner 2 Cardio which has got some good reviews. But I would do some more research on watches as this is a big gift and you want to make sure you know that it is perfect for the gift-reviewer. 
  6. Classes – cross-fit / yoga / Pilates or training sessions. 
  7. A wind cheater or warm exercise top specially for exercising Nike always has pretty cool ones. These keep you warm but allow a lot of movement. The ones in the picture are Nike Element Half Zip.   

In Photos: Birkenhead Point Outlet Mall, Drummoyne 

 

Entrance to upmost level from the car park
  
Play structure on upmost level next to Muffin Break on the way to Katmandu
   
 
View from the top level looking East
  

 

Second level looking West with Brookes Brothers on the left. Entrance to the wing with all the suit shops on the left

  
Indoor seating for the food court on the grocery shop level
 
 
Outside seating for the food court on the grocery shop level
 

View of the water, outside the food court. Views can also be caught through the windows of Country Road
View of Iton Cove bridge that takes you into Rozelle

Outside of the building. Must have been an old industrial space
 
First floor, not to be confused with the bottom floor. Nike on the far left hand side and Peter alexander on my right.
 
    
   

Why go to Hornsby Westfield 

It has everything you need in one Centre, a play area for little kids on level 2, a great bookshop / coffee store and QBD. 

The official address is 236 Pacific Highway, Hornsby but I’ve got no clue where this will land you because there are about a thousand parking areas. As with all Westfields there is free parking for 3 hours and there is “pram parking” at certain spots. 

  

Parking is accessible via the following streets:

  • Burdett Street 
  • Muriel Street 
  • Albert Street 
  • Edgeworth David Avenue 
  • Pacific Highway / George Street

If you want to aim for the play area (outside Aldi and below target) you want to enter via Albert Street. You will find pram parking here. 

Buffett street parking is best for Myer, QBD, food court and the entertainment area. 

You can also get there by train on the T1 Northshore Line, even if you’re travelling with a pram. 

Hornsby Westfield has a David Jones and a Myer, a Coles and a Woolies, Bing Lee and JB Hifi, Kmart and a Target. That’s just the big stores, there is also a food court, an entertainment area and a variety of other great stores, including:

  • ALDI
  • Cotton On Kids and Pumpkin Patch;
  • Seaweed and Sand 
  • The Reject Shop 
  • Country Road, Peter Jackson
  • Sheridan
  • Bonds
  •  Inside there are pharmacies and outside, close by is Chemist Warehouse. 

Walking through the mall (from Kmart on the one end to Target on the other) you can walk the whole way through underground by walking along level 1. This will take you past the pharmacies and food stores. Walking Level 2 will take you outside past the fountain. Level 3 will take  past the food court and over the fountain area through a glass corridor. 

My favourite place to stop for a coffee and look for gifts for people who love books is Berkelouw Books. I just love this place and can always find an excuse to browse. 

The place my husband always tries to make me bypass is QBD. It has the BEST prices on books, audio books, activity books and puzzles for the kids. I always always stop here and have never left without buying something. 

One of the redeeming features of Hornsby  according to my husband is the Apple Store 🙂 oh and the Nike Store. 

In addition to the children’s play spot there is also a chill out area outside Myer. I’ve often seen school kids ‘chilling’ there after school. 

Gift Guide: 7 Great Books 

I love reading and below are a few that I have enjoyed over the years – these are just a few which cover a different tastes. I have hundreds of suggestions on offer (should anyone be interested ☺️).  

  1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is beautiful. It is long and may take some time to get into but it is well worth it.  
  2. For the rock ‘n roll fundie or child of the 80s or 90s – Scar Tissue, the autobiography of Anyhony Kiedis is insane. It is amazing that the man is still alive.  
  3. For incredible writing it’s almost visual An Artist of the Floating World is a good buy.  Any book by Kazuo Ishiguro is amazing.  
  4. For a South African original Disgrace by JM  Coetzee is not only enlightening but gut wrenching.  
  5. Another beautiful story is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden although I doubt any serious reader would not have read this. Sidebar – the movie is as beautiful as the book which is never the case so it’s worth a look.    
  6. Interesting and wonderfully told is The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak.  
  7. For those who enjoy a spy book a good read is The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. John le Carre knows his stuff and getting hooked on his books is easy to do.     

Hope this are helpful and enjoyable. 

Gift guide: 7 gifts for the Haute Couture Woman

  1. A Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar subscription. You can get magazines delivered or the e-subscription. In Australia you can get either subscriptions at https://www.magshop.com.au/vogue-australia. (I’m not sure if this is a good price or not though). In the States purchase Harpers directly from the website https://subscribe.hearstmags.com/subscribe/splits/harpersbazaar/har_sem_print?kenshoo_id=54e453d1-798f-40c8-916a-19dff1128c7a&gclid=COGtsr_K0MwCFQsnvQody9MNAw and for Vogue https://subscribe.vogue.com/subscribe/vogue/82819?source=google_sem_sitelink_us   
  2. Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington. She is the creative director at American Vogue, a former model and fashion genius! The book retails off Amazon.com for about $22.   
  3. The Manolo Blaniks from Sex and the City, can easily be purchased from Saks.com    
  4. A handbag from the all new Gucci range  summer / spring 2015 range. These are so unique and will be reminder of this year for time to come.  
  5. An Hermes scarf. Retailing from about US$400 these pure silk scarves are absolutely magnificent. There are so many different types to choose from and the patterns are so intoxicating it’s like being a kid in a candy store and a picture just wouldn’t do it justice! 
  6. Something to add sparkle to everyday items – from Louis Vuitton you can get a bag charm or key holder from A$215.  
  7. Rainboots from burberry. I swear by the shorter boots, they are amazing and look good with a multitude of things. Just gotta wear thick warm socks. 

Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo 2016, Sydney

Today the kids and I ventured to the Sydney Olympic Park (yay, we had never been there before and wow, it is cool – like a whole mini town within a town but I digress, back to the Expo). I cannot imagine there being anything a parent would need that was not at this Expo today. It was pretty thorough.

This is going to be very brief as I want you to be able to get through it quickly, if you are going this weekend. I am only going to touch on the logistics, things I saw, picked up and where the kids played oh and most important – who is handing out balloons 😉

First up, logistics. If you have no clue how to get to Sydney Olympic Park their website is pretty good on directions (click here for a link directly to the Sydney Olympic Park directions page ). I just put Australia Drive, Sydney Olympic Park into my GPS and go there okay. The actual venue is Sydney Showground Exhibition Centre.

The website and your ticket, if you already have one says to park at P5 by the time I got there just before 10:30 (it only starts at 10) the parking was full as was the one just a bit further down the road. What is nice though is that there are walkways and ramps everywhere so it is very easy to navigate with a pram.

The capacity of the P5 parking is a good indicator of how busy it was today (Friday) and how busy it will be over the weekend but the space is huge and there was still space to wheel the pram around and space inside the play areas for the kids not to be overrun. There were a few places that had some serious queues and congestion – the Huggies nappy stand was the first stand we walked into after the entrance and there was a huge queue for some reason.

When you enter, make sure to pick up a wrist band for your child which you can put your phone number on should your child go wandering.

There is an excellent variety of exhibitors from Jalna yoghurt handing out samples to Tressilian handing out information brochures, NUK, Avent, Love to Dream swaddles, Priceline, various photographers and baby boutiques. There are vendors selling prams, car seats and cots and anything else you would need. If you are pregnant or a brand new mom this Expo would be great for you. The only problem is that there is SO much, it can be overwhelming and take all day. We could only be there for the morning as my children decided to stage a full-blown protest / meltdown.

Where did we stop to play – this is the ALL IMPORTANT question if you are taking the kids with you:

  1. Imagination Play Area – castle you can colour in, chalk and chalk boards, hop scotch, dress-up, play play shop and safe soft play areas. img_3370-1
  2. Nurofen has some iPads set up for the kids to colour in on. img_3373-1
  3. Gym-baroo has a circuit set up for little ones to play on. Sorry no pics, my son was too busy yelling about the yoghurt sample having ended.
  4. S-26 Has a stunning stand where the kids can play, listen to a story, colour in or pose for a photo. My littlest loved this.
  5. Golden Ridge Farm has brought some little animals including chickens, ducklings, goats and sheep. You dont have to pay for this (well we didn’t so I hope you dont have to 🙂 ). This is located outside the hall at the exit.

Next most important question – who is handing out balloons: I got balloons from two different sponsors: s-26 and 1300 Home GP.

The reason I dealt with the two sections above first is because you can’t do anything when the kids need to get some energy out so planning your day around having a kid friendly stop every couple of stands means you will be able to get more done.

Now, where did I get to stop and what did we pick up:

  1. Cetaphil gave us some great samples – hand wipes, body wash and daily lotion. We have just started using their body wash and I really like it so I am keen to try out their other products.
  2. Bubs has an impressive stand complete with two tiny tiny goats. All their organic food is on display but you dont need to buy it right away as you can get it at Coles.
  3. We bought the littlest some gorgeous hair clips and alice bands from Kaylee Rose Creations. I cannot wait to get her to wear them and neither can she! They were so pretty, I picked up some extras as birthday presents.
  4. Nanny2U is a company I had not come across so I had to stop and pick up some info and enter a competition to have a night of ‘care’.
  5. Angel Gowns are one of the companies that make gowns for little babies who pass away. Over 4000 gowns have been donated to hospitals, funeral homes and families allowing their precoius gifts to be beautifully dressed.
  6. Nurofen for the standard dosing information brochure.
  7. S-26 Here I signed up for their mum’s club because I feed my kids S-26 Gold and their play area was lovely.
  8. Swim Australia was a must to get information on swimming. living in sydney you cannot ignore how much water your child will be exposed to, either in your home, at school or when out with friends or at someone’s home.
  9. Jalna yogurt had samples upon samples of their delicious yoghurt.
  10. Aussie gave us a mini football which the kids loved.
  11. Tresillian had plenty of brochures on a number of topics and a fridge magnet with their contact details. I think they thought i was a mum in need 🙂
  12. GymbaROO and BabyROO let us sign up for a free class.
  13. NibblyBits for a teething necklace and some jewellery – I cannot speak better of these lovely ladies who helped me out with my very hungry and tired 3 year old. Not only do i love their necklaces and bangles but they are nice people which makes it all the better to support them.

Additionally I would have liked to stop at:

  1. Auskin Sheepskin – want to find out about the pram liner given we are off to the snow this year
  2. Baby Mum-Mum Rice Cakes  – my baby loves these
  3. Britain Advisory Centre – need some advice on car seats but will have to revert to my faithful email antics
  4. Children’s Panadol – they have the best teethers
  5. Huggies – my kids wear these nappies and we go through millions so who doesn’t like a freebie but I was not going to stand in the queue
  6. Love to Dream – I have heard tons about their stuff
  7. Philips AVENT – needed some more dummies (sssh, dont tell my mother)
  8. Small print Silver Keepsakes Jewellery – combines my favourite things – my kids and shiny things 🙂

Last notes:

  • Parking is $5 an hour and you can only buy hours.
  • In case your kids are going nuts, there is an ice-cream stand outside 🙂
  • There are a few cafes you can eat at in the food stalls inside or outside aren’t to your liking.
  • I did see a package babysitting area where you can leave all your parcels to pick up later but I am not sure of the specifics.
  • There are ATMs although most places seemed to take card.
  • As with any good expo, there are changing stations and feeding areas.

GOOD LUCK AND ENJOY!!!

 

Gift Guide: 7 gifts for the Health and Beauty mom 

  1. Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream, it’s amazing.   
  2. A Body Shop or Crabtree and Evelyn or L’Occitane gift pack. Just make sure it’s a nice variety.   
  3. I always say it but a mani, pedi, massage or facial is an excellent gift. Not only do you feel spoilt but you feel so beautiful afterwards. It’s a gift that gives twice, first when you open it and second when you actually go. 
  4. A new hair dryer or GHD. I love my GHD hair dryer to pieces and have not had any issue with it. 
  5. Dermalogica barrier repair is amazing, so small and so amazing!!  
  6. Perfume is a special buy but there are some goodies that I like: Cerutti 1881, Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey Florale, Burberry Body, Valentino Valentina, Chanel Chance, Viktor and Rolf Flower Bomb or Calvin Klein Euphoria.   
  7. Make up brushes, a good set from MAC or Bobbi Brown is a real treat. You want to make sure you get a good set that allows her to put on her eye make-up, foundation and blush. 

Birkenhead Point Outlet Mall, Drummoyne 

I love a good outlet shopping and this is one of the two good places I know of in Sydney (the other is DFO Homebush).

Birkenhead is good for shopping and has the added benefit of being on the water, you can have a coffee or a spot of lunch with a view. Even the Country Road outlet has a view of a marina, too pretty I tell you. 

The address that comes up on my maps is Roseby Street, Drummoyne which is spot on because it takes up the better part of that road. 

   
There are two main parking areas, one on the left hand side of the road (left when facing the water) and this is best suited for your homeware shopping and sports wear shopping. Parking on the left you will cross over Roseby to get into the Mall. The other parking area is on the right hand side and is best suited for the food section (Coles, Aldi, a butcher and stunning grocer amongst others) and your fashion wear.   

The stores I frequent here (and by frequent I mean I walk around and try stop myself from buying too much) are:

The structure of the Mall is a little bizarre, the levels are all over the place. At the very top (entering from the Left parking lot) are GAP, Adairs, Bed Bath Table, Hugo Boss, Crocs and Superdry to name a few. This is level 3 according to the floor layout. 

The level below that (level 2 for those keeping count) which you can access from either the escalator or the lift has Tommy Bahama, French Connection, Esprite, Lindt, a number of suit shops, Tommy Hilfiger, Bendon, Oroton and others. 

The very bottom which you can also access from the lift has Nike, Forever New, Country Road, Lorna Jane, Mimco, Peter Alexander, Crabtree and Evelyn, Nine West, Calvin Klein and more.

Then below that are the food stores which you get to by going down a ramp or escalator or a different lift that is outside Lorna Jane. This is called Ground on the floor layout. 

The layout is very very confusing and everytime I go I’m convinced I’ve left something out and missed a deal of a lifetime. In the long run its probably best for my credit card and my husband’s health that I miss a few things. 

Should you want to check out the shop directory yourself here it is

There are parents rooms on level 3 – that’s the top floor 🙂 and two small play areas for younger kids one near muffin break on the top floor and the other outside Sandler on the bottom. 

As for the views: 

 

oh just the view from inside Country Road Outlet

If you need to buy gifts or you want to get something for the home this is you best bet. I can not tell you the amount I’ve saved from buying linen here as opposed to the actual stores. And GAP, don’t even bother with the sales at the GAP store, they don’t compare. It really is worth a trip!