Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Care to Share?

This weeks smile inducers...

* For the month of February Winter Love sponsored 'Tassie Treasures', a local blog helping to promote Tasmanian businesses, organisations and events. If you are Tasmanian, the blog and Facebook page are well worth looking at the keep in the know about events and businesses we are graced with on this small island. 

* Called 'How to dump your friends', this post on Babble  (found via Little Miss Mama) is a scarily accurate and often all-too-familiar for new parents during times of change; It's called 'inevitable life change'. Are you a believer of a clear, firm farewell? Or a slow, silent drift?  

* No time to be a fun Mum? These are 10 simple steps you can take everyday to be that Mum who is giggling and rolling on the floor with her kids (yet still getting some kind of housework done) I love this post, consider it bookmarked! 

*  Also bookmarked this week is an insightful article on Play Therapy. It explains the power of such play and includes four easy everyday-mum ways we can encourage it. Play isn't just play, it goes beyond and above! 

* How heartwarming is this? Hospital Healing Hampers is a family owned business that provide beautiful hampers that are "full of quality products, packed with empathy, care, pride, acceptance and knowledge" to help you or your loved ones heal physically and emotionally through poor health.

Monday, February 20, 2012

We have another winner!

Thankyou to everyone who entered the second giveaway recently, I have been looking forward to announcing a winner very much! Using I generated a number to get a winner.

and the winner is...
Commenter Number 9! 

Congratulations, I hope you enjoy your gift voucher and snap up a pretty little bag from Everyday Mae. I will be in contact with you very shortly with the details to claim your prize!

For those of you who weren't lucky enough to win, Bianca has offered readers a lovely discount instead! Use the code 'WinterLove' at checkout to receive 15% off the Everyday Mae Etsy store. How sweet of her!

Happy shopping and Plenty of love,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Let's talk about boobs.

Knockers, hooters, boobies or breasts. We all know our boobs serve a higher purpose in life than getting wolf whistles from hormone driven boys or holding up that strapless summer dress. What we often don't get told is how much our breasts can and will change through life and what trouble they can give us.

Yesterday I went to be measured and fitted for a maternity bra, my first fitting since I was 12 years old. Long gone are they days of being a 12B and extensive padding, also long gone are they days of putting socks down my top as 9 year old and dreaming of how complete my life would be once I got boobs.

I walked away from the store in a slight trance, muttering the size I had just been given under my breath. One cup of the modestly large grandma-esque bra fit on my head like a beanie. Not only was I wondering how I had gotten to this point in life, but I was also left wondering why buying such an incredibly ugly, incredibly comfortable bra excited me so much. Getting home, whipping off the old and putting on the new was like Christmas.

My first pregnancy my boobs got to what I thought was 'pretty big'. They were a little tender and a little swollen, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then, post birth. Well, let's not even go there. My breasts weren't called boobs anymore, they were rocks. Big, hard, painful, throbbing, tear-inducing rocks. I hated them. I remember expressing whilst showering because of engorgement and just wishing they didn't even exist. When I weaned, the super rough massage with a facewasher in the shower three times a day became my routine. I was not kind to them and payed the price once my milk had gone. 

Transition from here to 6 months ago. I had a one year old daughter, I was 21 and I had the boobs of an 80 year old. The thought of ever wearing a bikini without padding or god forbid ever getting into a relationship and having to expose the dreaded things... it was nerve wracking. This is when I realised the extent of the damage I had caused with such harsh scrubbing in a bid to get rid of my milk quickly. I had damaged the elasticity in my breast tissue.

Fast forward to now. I am 5 months pregnant and my boobs enter the room before my bump. Maybe it isn't that extreme, but gosh it certainly feels that way. Not only are they heavy and humongous, but they hurt. Hurt. Like. Hell. I splurged on ugly and comfortable bras and wear nothing but maternity underwear. I sleep with a support singlet on and take note of my slacking posture.

This pregnancy I am also booked in to see a lactation consultant. I am planning to meet with and talk through the problems I had with breastfeeding the first time around before the baby is even here. I want to arm myself with as much knowledge and support now, so I can utilise it best once the 'rock stage' arrives.

If you are still reading after all this graphic speak of my lady bits, (which if you are a mother, I think you might be) there are a few things I would like to remind you of. Things I wish had been drilled into me before becoming pregnant the first time. 

The simplest and most important...

Look after your assets ladies. Treat your boobs with care and respect. Be gentle.

*  See a lactation consultant before problems arise, prepare for the worst and anticipate improvement

* Splurge on numerous maternity bras and actually wear them. Don't be tempted to squish into a deadly underwired thing for a special event- it wont be worth the pain.

* Still regularly check for lumps and consult with your doctor any worries.

* Look after your boobs. Did I already mention that one? No? well then, Look after your boobs!

The V word day.

Valentines Day this year was re-named in our household. With a bouncy, vibrant and sticky toddler, attempting anything slightly romantic or relaxed would only end in disappointment. So instead, we decided to celebrate the love we share as a family; The V word was banned and replaced with 'family love day'. Corny? Very. Relevant? Much more than the V word.

We had a family breakfast at a sweet little cafe in the city, Stella loved the first ten minutes and even sat down doodling with a pen on paper for forty seconds. After that...she decided she didn't like cafes, or chairs, or anything for that matter. We inhaled our breakfast and kept sticky fingers occupied with some hollandaise sauce; that, it appears, she is a big fan of.

From there we sipped hot chai tea and made our way to the park, also known as sanity island for parents. Stella toddled her way from the cafe to the car sipping on a baby chino in a takeaway cup; a sight that made my little emotional mama heart melt.

Romance wasnt completely forgotten, afterall, it is the day of love. Nick and I exchanged little gifts and I even did some love-themed baking for him! We fed ducks, browsed the shops, napped in the afternoon and then shared dinner over some bad television. Romantic? No. Lovely? Very.

Family Love Day this year was a roaring, tiring, action-packed success! Family Love Day next year will be interesting...with two little mini cupids running around this house... we may well have to just 'go with the flow'!

What did you do for Valentines Day this year? Do you find it hard to celebrate such a holiday with family in tow? Did you customise your Valentines Day a little as we did, to better suit your lifestyle? Whatever it is that you did to celebrate, I hope it was love filled and sweet!

Plenty of love, 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The big reveal.

Twenty weeks of pregnancy not only marks the halfway milestone but also marks the time of a Fetal Morphology Scan. The scan is more commonly known as an Anomaly Scan, but 'anamoly' sounds so daunting. The scans main purpose is to check for abnormalities in the babies morphology; physical development and growth.

This Thursday we are having our Morphology Scan, I cant wait to see our little un-born bobbing about excitedly on the screen again. Not only are we excited to see our growing life on the screen but we are also anticipating the big reveal! I have had many people ask me throughout this pregnancy (and my last) whether we are finding out the sex or not, and have been quite surprised at the strong opinions of others about what should be done. I have had many people tell me that finding out the sex ruins the surprise and makes pregnancy 'less special', which got me thinking of my reasoning behind wanting to know the sex. Some couples will chose not to find out, other couples will chose to find out. Neither one is the right or wrong way.

These are some of the reasons that led us to decide on finding out the sex of our baby...

1. Organisation. I am a chronic planner, I write lists about my lists and have tomorrows schedule planned yesterday. The same principal applies to my pregnancy, in a time of unknown and uncontrollables, I like to feel somewhat organised. Preparing for the arrival of a girl or boy gives me a chance to prepare clothes, nursery design and names...plenty of time in advance. It helps settle my nerves.

2. Bonding.  Bonding with baby, for me, seems to increase when I know the sex. It helps me visualise my little one and imagine life with them beyond birth. I feel closer to my bump knowing what little being it contains.

3. Personalisation. Similar to bonding, my partner and I are able to personalise our pregnancy experience, we can begin to collect the clothing and pick the final name. We can talk together about our little son or daughter and start personalising their soon-to-be surroundings.

Of course, finding out the sex of the baby is not for everyone. Some couples prefer the excitement and anticipation of finding out at birth, some family members would prefer not knowing. There are valid reasons for each and every persons decision.

Did you find out the sex of your children during pregnancy? Did you enjoy finding out after birth instead? Share with me your stories and opinions, as always I would love to hear them!

Plenty of love, 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An open letter to my Valentine...

Dearest Nick, 

On this day, in this year, you are my valentine. On this day, in last year, you were my dream. On this day, in next year, you will be the Father of our two children. 

I find it very hard to piece together romantic and soppy words, and I would most certainly embarrass myself if I tried. So staying true to my style, I'll try my hand at a little humour and wit and keep things honest and to the point...

I love you and I am in love with you, I am blessed, honoured and lucky to be yours. I look forward to experiencing all that this life holds with you. Be it midnight baby poop disasters, weekend dance lesson drop-offs or confronting childbirth classes. I look forward to growing with you whilst we watch our children grow, then watching our children's children grow. I look forward to the RSL club lunches we will go to with our fellow seniors during retirement year, I look forward to celebrating wedding anniversaries in the double figures.

Most of all, I look forward to just being. Just you and I living our lives by each others side.

Happy Valentines Day my sweet, may you be showered with kisses from a toddler, cuddles from your round-bellied partner and kicks from your un-born baby. I love you very much.

Yours forever, 

Red; the colour of love

Red; the colour of Valentines Day and the colour of love. Red is also my very favourite colour. Instead of a cutesy lovey-dovey collection of pretty things for Valentines Day I thought I'd create and share with you a collection of all things the colour deep, passionate, love-filled red. As Valentines isn't just reserved for couples, but families and children too these goodies cover all bases. 

Plenty of love, 

Red wine lollipops via pinterest 

'Elephants on Parade' paper garland by Arts Delight

Satin newborn ballet shoes by litl luxuries

Love sign necklace by Vanessa Handmade 

Valentines day cupcakes via The Party Animal

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Our Journey; post 2.

The last two weeks have called for growth! My stomach is feeling huge already and I have certainly put on weight in all the wrong places. I feel as though my energy is a little renewed some days, however on other days I struggle to even get out of bed. Blood test results showed that my iron levels are low, although I have been taking iron supplements for months and months. I am looking into iron infusions as an option and hoping that better iron absorption in my body will lead to less fatigue. I feel as though I can barely hold my own head up on a 'bad day'.

Pregnancy hormones must be in full swing because my mood is terrible! I find myself lacking patience and becoming irritated super easily. Once in a bad mood, it is very hard to get out of it. Sometimes just taking myself to a quiet room and fuming is the only way to get through a 'pregnancy tantrum'. 

The most exciting pregnancy related event over the past two weeks has been feeling the tiny flutterings of movement. They are very faint and I can only feel them when laying down flat and concentrating, but still exciting all the same! I am really looking forward to feeling proper movement as the baby grows, it was one of my favourite things about my first pregnancy, I would lay on the couch most nights just giggling at the silly jolts, kicks and turns the baby would make.

I have been doing a little bit of reading here and there about labour, birth and breastfeeding. I know that experience is far more valuable than words on paper, but I still feel as though I need a refresher. This pregnancy, I definitely feel more relaxed and casual. I have planned less, stressed less and thought less. Not because I care less but simply because I am enjoying the moment. There will come a time for planning and last minute preparations, but for now I am just being.

Perhaps it is because I am so distracted with a toddler, relationship, work and household...but this time around I feel less pregnant. Maybe I am overlooking the tiny niggles that bothered me in the first pregnancy and my body is well adapted to the changes. So much so, that I don't feel changed as such? I am certainly looking forward to becoming more pregnant, feeling more pregnant and getting closer to the countdown to baby! 

Looking forward to sharing weeks 17 onwards with you soon!

Plenty of love,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Work, life, balance?

Working more often certainly has its upsides, not only is the extra money beneficial but I sometimes find the 'alone time' to be my sanity time, the time I regroup my thoughts and feelings, prepare myself for the days ahead and reflect on the future.

Stella now spends one whole day a week in childcare, starting at 9am and finishing at 5pm. Every time we pick her up she chatters a new song from the backseat of the car, complete with hand actions and giggles, she is exhausted and a little grotty but happy and learning. I am still finding the morning drop off to be an emotional experience, even four months down the track. Sometimes she will have a grizzle but then quickly round up a toy to play with or most recently, a little boy to kiss. Sometimes she will protest at being put down and sometimes she will cry and reach out for me. That is what I find the hardest, I am not one of those mothers with inner strength, I know she is fine when I eventually leave but I just want to pick her back up and head straight back home. A few weeks I have gone to work with hormonal tears in my eyes after a difficult drop off.

Regardless of the emotional mama meltdowns and separation anxiety, our childcare experience so far has been very positive. I am considering keeping her in a half day per week once we are graced with baby #2, to keep her socialising and maybe to help mama with resting? That will be a whole new story of balance then, one that I need to start mentally preparing myself for sooner rather than later, admittedly I am worried about how to successfully balance our new lifestyle in five months time. But for now, we got balance down pat.

Do you feel as though you have good balance between work, childcare and home? How did you deal with balance changes when expanding your family?

Plenty of love,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Care to Share?

This weeks smile inducers...

The Loudmouth Lifestyle. I stumbled upon this blog a few weeks back (I can't even remember how really) and haven't looked back since. My ultimate favourite post is called '5 Blogging rules to break' which gives a realistic answer to the rigid blogging rules that we have been subjected to at times.

* Congratulations to Sophie and Richard. Sophie is a mama friend of mine who with her partner has just launched an online baby store specialising in modern cloth nappies and organic and natural products for babies, mums and mum-to-be's. Like Baby2Green on Facebook and have a little squiz at all the wonderful products they are stocking online here.

* This pregnancy I am determined to have a maternity photoshoot, no matter how 'blah' I feel! I have decided to go with TK's Photography, the belly and newborn photos I have admired of their work are just beautiful.

The Huggies website. It should be re-named; Your parenting manual. This website has absolutely every resource you could ever need in your parenting journey. Tips and tricks for toddlers, recipes for fussy eaters, baby name ideas, money saving section, pregnancy and health updates and activities for kids. My aim is to have the time to navigate this site thoroughly with one big cup of tea!

* Don't forget to enter the second Birthday giveaway! Be in the running by clicking here. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another gift? For you!

A birthday isn't a birthday without celebration. And a celebration isn't a celebration with only one giveaway! So here is the second giveaway to say thank you to you all and Happy Birthday to Winter Love.

This giveaway is from the super pretty, very talented Bianca from Everyday Mae. I have started following Biancas creative blog 'Behind the scenes of Everyday Mae' and am in love. The  second Birthday prize is a $30.00 voucher for her Etsy store which has a beautiful bag for every girl that has been dreaming of bags.

To enter you need to like Everyday Mae on Facebook and also like Winter Love on Facebook, then just comment below saying you have done so! As simple as that. Entry is open until Sunday February 19th at 8:00pm ADST. 

A little birdy has also told me that there may be a special offer for those who don't win after entry is closed. Goodluck and remember, you must be in it to win it! 

Plenty of love,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'Sticks of Obsession' ...A guest post

How often do you hear of peoples conception stories? The tales of their struggles and triumphs? It's one piece in the large puzzle of parenthood that often gets overlooked. When a lovely lady I know confided in me that 'get pregnant' was on her to-do list, I knew her story would be one to share. Karen is a humorous, honest and well spoken woman...her words always make me smile, laugh and sometimes cry all at once.


Dr Google and the Test Sticks of Obsession
or, Trying to Conceive

" The universe really does love irony.

There are so many people out there who have spent years trying not to fall pregnant. Taking all precautions, taking no risks. Then as soon as you decide to stop trying not to and instead try to fall pregnant, the universe often says “What, you thought this would be easy? Yeah, nice one,” because in my head the universe can sound a little sarcastic from time to time.

I’m one of those people now. I am twenty-seven years old and have wanted a baby since I was sixteen. At least, that’s the age at which I started dreamily compiling a list of baby names in my diary. (I have moved on from that list, thank goodness, for topping the boy/girl lists back then were Ishmael Sebastian or Guinevere Elizabeth. Ahem.) If someone had told my sixteen year old self that eleven years later, I would still not have a baby, sixteen year old me would have replied “Yeah, nice one,” because sometimes I can be a little sarcastic too.

I am actually glad now that I waited to find the ‘right guy’ and I have been married to him for a year now. We have been actively trying to start a family for coming up on eight months and I’m here to tell you that it’s getting somewhat frustrating. I can break the months down into single words for a brief overview:

First Month:
Second Month: Anticipation
Third Month: Annoyance
Fourth Month: Frustration
Fifth Month: Obsession
Sixth Month: Anger
Seventh Month: Resignation
Eighth Month: Acceptance

Excitement and anticipation were a good way to start. Nothing really changed, but I paid a little more attention to dates. It wasn’t until the third and fourth month that things started to change. A vast multitude of tests began to be purchased. Dates were marked in a diary and on a calendar. And the dynamic of our relationship began to change.

It is inevitable that things will change once sex has a bigger picture, a goal to it besides the obvious. There are many husbands, boyfriends, partners out there who experience a moment in which they realise the woman they love is looking at them and seeing nothing more than a big, pulsating, fertile sperm. For my long-suffering husband, that moment came during month five, which if you’ll refer to your handy month-by-month breakdown, you will identify as the month of Obsession.

To set the scene, it was a Saturday evening and we were getting ready to go to the birthday dinner of a good friend. My husband was dressed, showered, ready to go and innocently playing some epic swords and skirts game on his PlayStation 3 when he heard the bathroom door fly open and I burst into the room. Freshly showered, hair and makeup done, and clutching an ovulation test in my hand. “I’m ovulating.” I announced. “Come on. We have to be out the door in twenty minutes though. Oh, and you can’t mess up my hair and makeup". My husband stared with undisguised horror at the creature his wife had become. He cleared his throat. “Wow, there’s that dirty talk again,” he said mildly. I suddenly heard what I had said, and in that moment I realised that my obsession had reached fever pitch and that I really needed to tone it down. We laughed together and I promised to stop acting like a crazy person or Monica from Friends.

Look, I’m not the only one to blame for my slide into Obsessively Trying to Conceive, though. I also lay a lot of blame at the feet of Doctor Google. It is too easy to imagine every tiny tweak, cramp or change is an early sign of pregnancy, type it into Google and receive confirmation. Thus sparking more thought cycles of oh-my-god-I-am followed by yet another expensive, negative pregnancy test that leaves you with nothing to do but screw up the instruction sheet and fling it defiantly onto the floor. Oh yes, I fell down the Google hole quite a few times.

Anger wasn’t a comfortable fit either. It’s a known quirk of the universe that as soon as you start trying to fall pregnant, you see pregnant women everywhere and they seemed to double in my Anger Month. As the writer Kate Jennings once said, “Envy is a grubby little emotion,” and it’s very true. That month was not a comfortable fit and I was glad to leave it behind.

Resignation and acceptance
are easier to deal with, but in their own way, harder to bear. My thoughts have turned more and more over the past two months to the baby we lost in 2010. It was quite soon before our wedding and entirely unplanned and in the brief period before the end I envisioned announcing it on our wedding day to our delighted family and friends. Some things are meant to be, and some things aren’t. I told my husband a few weeks ago that I was scared it would never happen. That I had been given my chance. That one of the most important things in the world to me has always been being a mother and that I had resigned myself to it never happening. His answer was blunt, but to the point and compassionate. “Don’t be silly. Of course we’re going to have a baby.”

I know he’s right, and it’s that knowledge that keeps me going. I have now relaxed a lot and have abandoned the obsessive testing and charting and ‘ovulation talk’ that he found so darn sexy and irresistible. I am keeping an eye on my dates, of course, but am letting things take their course. It is easier on both of us and all I can do is dream of that positive test, the joy, and all that will come after. I know it’s in our future.

Oh, and the evening before the birthday dinner? My hair and makeup did get messed up, and I didn’t even care. Sometimes you need to relinquish control and let the universe do its job, and let things that will happen, happen. "


Monday, February 6, 2012

I do...cakes.

The inspiration behind our wedding cake is simple, elegant, romantic and modern. I love tiered cakes with neutral coloured detailing and contrasting textures, perhaps with the tiers off centre. Although I sometimes get carried away and dream rather big, a modest three tiers would be divine.

Here are some of my recent favourite finds from around the Internet...

Giveaway Winner!

The first giveaway to celebrate Winter Loves First Birthday has come to a close! Thankyou to all who entered. I used to generate a random number and correlated that with a commenter to give me a winner.

So, without further ado, the winner is ...


Congratulations Lucy! I will be contacting you shortly to organise your pretty bunting and sweet giraffes arrival on your doorstep!

Plenty of love, 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

...I do.


With the expansion of our family and growing of baby #2, wedding plans have been tucked away for a little while. That's not to say that the dreaming and scrapbooking has halted, I am forever saving images, reading blogs and creating the perfect wedding in my head. With between 18 months to two years up my sleeve, I have all the daydreaming time in the world and hope to take the planning and booking process slowly, calmly and stress-free.

Winter Love has yet to share any wedding inspiration with you, which seriously needs review! I will begin documenting my ideas and inspiration here with you regularly in a new segment called
'...I do.' Fitting isn't it?

A lot of my wedding inspiration can also be found on my Pinterest account. I hope you enjoy staring away into the distance with me and welcome you along the countdown to our wedding. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Dishes on the sink, toys strewn from one end of the house to the other and piles of washing waiting to be folded. We could have spent today cleaning up and doing other enjoyable household chores and it was oh-so-tempting but, we didn't. I feel as though we needed a mini family holiday, some spontaneous fun and quality time with just the three of us. Finding that time when baby #2 comes along and sleepless nights are in full swing may be a little hard, and I swear if my pregnant body gets much heavier and any more fatigued I will probably start paying rent to the couch.

The day began rushed and hot, but once on the road we all breathed a sigh of relief. We drove only a short way out of town to visit our local 'Zoo'. Our local zoo is in fact our only zoo, and our only zoo is in fact a wildlife park. But what a wonderful wildlife park it is!

With over 80 species of birds, Tasmanian devils, penguins, crocodiles, wombats, echidna's, kangaroos and monkeys our humble little zoo is actually quite impressive! The first to tick off the list was watching feeding time at the devil enclosure. Stella chanted the word 'de-vil, de-vil, de-vil' over and over and was actually very enthralled with the whole experience. Nick and I call her our little Bindi Irwin, she really is an outdoors, adventure seeking and animal loving child. She picked up a stick from the ground and toddled her way around the park with sheer joy in her steps. She fed her cracker to the Alpaca and stuck her finger up the goats nose, then she came across a friendly yet cheeky cockatoo.

The fact that this cockatoo could say 'hello' was enough to send her into a million fits of giggles, but then he could dance? And laugh? Well, Stella was amazed. She reached out a little finger to pat him on the head and before I could catch it, chomp. We then learnt that the cockatoo could mimic a very loud cry.

I'm not sure whether it was just my intense pregnancy hormones or not, but I found myself feeling teary today. Stella was incredibly well behaved and Nick and I could feel the stress running from our bodies. Sometimes having two part-time stay-at-home parents can be more stressful than helpful, we may be in love... but oh gosh can we step on each others toes and breathe down each others necks that little bit too much.

Today was about appreciating the pretty little state we live in and enjoying the company of our family, seeing Nick get a childish grin from the sight of a crocodile and Stella gasping at the size of a kangaroo bought such happiness and emotion to this pregnant mama.

Plenty of love,