Monday, April 23, 2012

For the creative mind...

bespoke zine
bespoke zine

I know I may be a little late to the party here, but I recently purchased my first *bespoke* zine. After Stella had gone to sleep, I banished myself to bed and snuggled up with a hot milo and a million propped up pillows to read this little book of beautiful creativity. With heatpack on shoulders, I lost myself for a few moments in tutorials, interviews and inspiration from some of Australia's most talented craftswomen and men.

One of the articles that really struck me most has been bookmarked (with a tea-stained paper doily of course!) and re-read many a time. Written by Meegan Cornforth, 'Caged Creativity' discusses the 'Peril of not reaching our potential'.  

"When we ignore our creative urges and stumble across another who is creatively expressing themselves in a way we admire...we feel a surge of jealousy." 

Her words really felt at home with me, as I too, often feel restless and slightly envious when I am in a creative rut and I see others seeking fulfilment and self expression via creativity. For some of us, self-actualisation comes most importantly from fulfilling our creative desires.

Writing, making, dreaming and creating are very important aspects of who I am and the way in which I seek happiness. Do you feel the same? You don't necessarily need to be making a living from your ventures to be gaining satisfaction from them.

bespoke zine
bespoke zine

I thoroughly enjoyed my little creative escape into the world of *bespoke*, and I cannot wait for the next issue, I feel a subscription may be on the cards for my Mothers Day wishlist! I am sure all my fellow crafty minded mamas will enjoy it also, head on over and see what the fuss is all about!

Now, I'll leave you with some more wise words from Ms Cornforth to ponder...

"Personal growth comes from embracing the uncertainty of a blank page, stage, plate, project or canvas. Sitting with that sense of uncertainty and taking a giant leap of faith into the unknown requires maturity, and a certain degree of confidence which deepens with every brush stroke, dance step, stitch, recipe or new idea"

Thankyou *bespoke* for a lovely evening in!
Plenty of love,
winterlove blog natalie

Friday, April 20, 2012


My poor iPhone seems to take a battering; sticky toddler fingerprints, tea spills and most lately... Nailpolish splatters. With such regular use, it seems totally justifiable to pamper my most reliable necessity. I have been trawling Etsy for some new cases to beautify my little apple friend and have stumbled across some real treasures. Here are some of my favourites!

From top left:

1. By The Curious Case LLC
2.  By Galingale 
3. By SSC photography cases
4. By Decorative Designs WKS
5. By Fundak iPhone cases
6.  By Graphic Pals
7. And for a bit of fun! By Shop Zero Gravity

Does your iPhone need sprucing up a little? What's on your iWant list?
Plenty of love, 
winterlove blog natalie

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Links of Late

care to share?

This weeks smile inducers...

* Whining. Every parent dreads the sound, yet every child seems to master the skill perfectly. This post gives six positive strategies to reduce whining. I am trying to remember these when whine-o-clock comes around at our house

* How sweet are these little dolls? Not only are they machine washable (hallelujah!) but they are made from 100% eco-friendly products. I can't wait for Skye to begin creating these beauties once more. She is currently a little busy playing mama!

* I found this post on DIY headboard ideas and have completely fallen in love with some of the incredible creations. I want a huge house with a different DIY headboard featured in each room now! Ahhhh, we can dream right?

* When mothers day rolls around, these knitted mama ugg boots are high on my wishlist. Pradus has such stunning creations for babes and mamas.

* Are you a DIY Queen? Or like me, a DIY try-hard queen? Then you'll love my friend Zoe's crafty blog, full of tutorials and inspiration for creation.

* Saying 'No' seems to be second nature for a toddler, and saying 'No' back can be a little too easy for a parent. This post explores 18 ways in which we can say no positively, something that I have bookmarked for furture (regular) referrence.

* If you could spare a minute to vote for me in the Sydney Writers Centre 'Best Blogs Competition', I would be thrilled. Winter Love can be found on the very last page under 'W'

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wish-list

winter love baby gear wishlist
*Drum-roll please*
Topping The Wish-List this week is...

Baby snuggler wrap by Window Friend Crafts. This wrap is not only beautifully patterned and in the most irresistible shade of mustard, but it is also micro-fleece lined; making it perfect for swaddling a winter baby. The velcro flaps make wrapping a wriggling newborn ready for bed just that little bit easier, not to mention that little bit more pretty!

Owl Leotard by Soft Gallery. Little girls in leotards doesn't have to be sickly sweet, it can be utterly fashionable and adorable. These owl leotards have serious style, I want one for all three of us girls in the house! (Good luck squeezing into that mama!)

The Phil and Teds Vibe. This is the stroller we have decided upon for carting around two busy beings. I love that it is super light and not large and bulky like some double strollers can be. The Vibe is easily transformed to accommodate a newborn and a toddler, two toddlers, or back to a single seat. It folds quickly and smoothly, and pushes like a dream. I've spent many minutes 'practicing' with this beauty in the store!

The Leander Cot. This cot is seriously dreamy, it is coming a close second with the Stokke on our ultimate cot wish-list. Again, it is multi-functional, meaning the need to purchase new furniture as the baby grows is diminished. The one bed is suitable from birth to older child and grows with them, creating a sense of security through childhood. I love the curved form and natural yet modern feel of the bed. Oh Leander, be mine!

The Breastmate. This breastfeeding timer is every mama's best mate. It displays and records the length and side of each feed and reminds you which side to start feeding on next. Perfect for a new mother in a sleepy, zombie state; it is a great way to keep track of your babies feeding patterns and demands, making the establishment of a routine (which we all are dying to achieve) just that little bit easier. You can hook your breastmate up to your computer and even track your babies feeding habits with a spreadsheet with graphs to highlight feeding patterns, this sounds like something this OCD mama would be totally in to. Added features include a room thermometer, alarm and clock. The only thing this little device doesn't do, is feed your baby for you!

Looking forward to sharing more drool-worthy gear for babes with you next week! If you are on Pinterest, you can also follow my 'Gear for Babes' board, pinning all things baby!

Plenty of love, 

winter love blog natalie

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bumps are beautiful?

Bumps of the baby kind are beautiful, right? I know I think so. The curve of a woman's stomach during pregnancy exudes a beauty that can't be faked. A glow from within that can't be applied with a brush. The way in which her hand falls instinctivly over her front to protect the life within. Her hair gleams thicker, her face; fuller.

So, why is it that pregnancy doesn't always feel beautiful? Lately, I have been spending many a minute admiring maternity photography in preparation for our pregnancy photo shoot. I've been collecting ideas and inspiration whilst being mesmerised by the beauty of a pregnant body. I've always found pregnancy to be incredibly and naturally beautiful, yet this time around during my second pregnancy I have felt very very far from beautiful. I look at the women in these photos and wish that I could so openly celebrate the physical changes my body is experiencing with similar pride. During my first pregnancy, I couldn't get enough of figure hugging, bump enhancing clothing and snapped a sneaky self portrait whenever the chance arose. I loved the way my body altered and though I am still reminded of the journey with faint stretchmarks, I look back and see beauty. This time around? This time is different.

It may have something to do with the heavier weight I began my pregnancy with. By no means overweight, but a heavier weight than I am used to. I have now totalled up a weight gain of 15 kilos, and with 12 weeks still ahead of me, I am dreading the rest that is to come. It really saddens me that at a time when I am supposed to be celebrating my bodys changes, I am dreading them. Instead of looking down at my bump like those picture perfect pregnancy models, I am looking at my thighs in the mirror and unable to hold back the tears.

Perhaps this 'picture perfect' ideal that the media portrays is the culprit? Google pregnancy and you will find bumps without stretchmarks and thighs without an extra kilo, women look radiant although unchanged. The real pregnant woman however needs that support around her hips from healthy kilograms and is most likely sporting a fuller, more rounded looking face. These real pregnant women are so rarely shown, that us Mother-to-be's are finding ourselves wasting precious time pinning pictures of maternity goddesses to our 'I wish' boards and feeling more and more depressed about our real body image.

Even the blogosphere is somewhat guilty. While each and every parenting blog I follow I love to bits, I am sometimes disheartened and well, yes I'll admit it... jealous, when every week a pregnancy fashion post features a slim looking, stress-free and well put together mama. We rarely talk about our feelings about the impending baby and our families, but instead focus on the cosmetics of pregnancy.

Whilst I have all these notions and theories, I have no answer for the problem. I once wrote this post titled 'The body of a mother'. Perhaps, I need to read my own words and look for that positivity and wisdom that I once felt so strongly.

What about you? Did you feel beautiful whilst pregnant? Or quite the opposite? How did you overcome body woes and self-esteem downs when carrying your baby? I would love to hear your stories, thoughts and feelings on the topic, so as always...feel free to share with me!
Plenty of love, 
winterlove blog natalie

People's Choice Award

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baked with Love; Fruitless Hot Cross Buns

hot cross buns

Nick LOVES hot cross buns, not slightly, not moderately and I don't think intensely even covers his love for them. Ever since they hit the stores (which seems like a week post Christmas) we have had a packet in our pantry, a constant supply. He has a strange but serious aversion to sultanas though, and will grimace at even the word, so we need to source fruitless hot cross buns.

This Easter I thought I would surprise him by baking some homemade fruitless hot cross buns, a gift I knew he would really appreciate considering my lack of super kitchen skills and patience. I followed the recipe I found here to the T (minus the fruit), and they turned out perfectly! I am so proud!

hot cross buns 
4 cups plain flour
2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
pinch of salt
40g butter
300ml milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Flour paste:
1/2 cup plain flour
4 to 5 tablespoons water
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons caster sugar

1. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice and salt in a large bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add milk. Heat for 1 minute, or until lukewarm. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to currant mixture. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix until dough almost comes together. Use clean hands to finish mixing to form a soft dough.

2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in size. 
3. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Punch dough down to its original size. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto lined tray, about 1cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size. Preheat oven to 190°C. 
4. Make flour paste: Mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner of bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through.
5. Make glaze: Place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Brush warm glaze over warm hot cross buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

hot cross buns and easter diy

The buns didn't last overly long in our household, and if they didn't take so long to make I would be whipping them from the oven every morning. The smell of freshly baked hot cross buns is incredible, I can't wait to make some more next Easter!
Plenty of love, 
winterlove blog natalie

We have a Winner!

How beautiful is this vintage xylophone going to look on display in a sweet nursery? I am very excited to announce that this little beauty now has a home.

Today, I drew a winner for the Easter Goodness giveaway. Using Random.Org, I generated a random number and matched it up with the corresponding entrant. The lucky winner?

 Congratulations Michelle, and what a beautiful Easter memory you shared! I can't wait to see what you do with your xylophone. I will be in contact with you very shortly to organise postage of your new pretty display goody!

Plenty of love, 
winterlove blog natalie

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mama Reads...

Gracing Mamas nightstand this week is...

1. Studio Bambini magazine- Getting my fix of children's designer fashion is all too easy with this magazine, I float away to a land of wishes and dream about spending a fortune on sweet little coats, shoes and nursery decor. This magazine is both dangerous and beautiful at the same time.

 2. The Training of the Child- I picked up this old and weathered beauty at an antiques shop out of town recently, and it was like striking gold! Dated at 1912 and published in London, this little book is an old fashioned manual for parents on raising respectable, well behaved and intelligent children. I am in complete love with the classic and old-fashioned views on parenting and intrigued by how vastly they differ from todays methods. It is rare to find a book written on how to morally train children in this century, based on old family values and it is so interesting reading how parenting has changed through the years. This book was an incredible find! I can't wait to share with you some excerpts as I read and discover more!

3. Benny and Butch. A $2 find, this sweet little book is full of beautiful colour illustrations. It's about two naughty little twin bunny rabbits, confusing their mother by switching places with each other. Perfect for my naughty little bunny to read over the Easter break!

What are you currently reading? And what about your bouncing babes, what is a favourite in their library at the moment?
Plenty of love, 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Celebrate the Goodness!

Winter Love has entered the Sydney Writers 'Best Australian Blogs Competition 2012', what an exciting way to discover new bloggers and celebrate the goodness blogging brings us!

The peoples choice round is now open, and if you are a regular reader here at Winter Love, I would love for you to vote for me. I am so humbled to be able to take part in these experiences and celebrating successes is more fun when I can involve you in the journey with me!

Voting closes on Thursday May 9th, which gives you 25 days to click, click, clickety click and vote for me, it would really mean the world to me.

People's Choice Award

Thanks for being such loyal and wonderful readers! Lets celebrate!
Plenty of love,
winterlove blog natalie

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why, you ask?

Quite often I get asked, "Why do you blog?"

Many people seem to think that an online diary or blog is merely a waste of time and shows an excessive lack of privacy, equally as much I have found that people view bloggers as fake, and in turn are often accused of creating a perfect online persona not corresponding with the 'real world'. Of course this isn't every ones view, and it certainly isn't the most common view. But it is a view all the same.

When someone is curious as to why I put so much time and energy into writing and maintaining my blog, I can find myself stumbling for the right words, unable to justify why it is that I do what I do. I often walk away feeling slightly deflated that I couldn't put into words the passion I hold for writing, and why this passion doesn't differ greatly from the passion an author, magazine editor or poet holds. I guess that is the answer in itself.

Why do I blog? Because I have a passion for writing. I may not be writing for money, or for a very wide audience, I may not have a degree or qualification, but I love writing all the same. I love expressing my feelings and emotions (especially as a mother) in words. Writing for me is cathartic, healing and joyful. And writing as a mother, is all of that and more. Which brings me to this phenomenon that is mama bloggers.

Why do mothers blog?

Parenting is a beautiful, charming, sometimes horrid challenge. It doesn't come easily and doesn't always come pleasantly, with parenting and motherhood often comes isolation, guilt and fear. It is sometimes believed that all women hold some kind of maternal instinct that not only enables them to care for their children effortlessly, but to navigate the world that is motherhood with ease and confidence. I think that perhaps it gets forgotten that a mother is born when her child is born, we are expected to fall into this new found job position without training or probation periods and to succeed without help.

That's where the world of blogging has helped me most. I stepped into this great unknown called Motherhood and found that there were others out there going through the exact same problems as me, facing the exact same challenges. Reading blogs enabled me to seek comfort and empathy during difficult times as well as motivation and inspiration. Writing a parenting blog, has opened me up to an incredibly large community of  online Mothers and bought this support network right to my fingertips. Over the course of a year, I have formed some great friendships with mamas from the other side of the world, shared laughs, tears and triumphs with those who are stumbling along the path I'm also trying to navigate.

I believe mama's blog for support and inspiration. Mama bloggers are one large and powerful community and one that I am so proud to be a part of.

So... why, you ask? Why do I blog? I can now tell you in one sentence, in fact I can tell you in just  three words; Passion, Support and Inspiration.

Tell me, Why do you blog?
Plenty of love,
winterlove blog natalie

Nurture Lust.

I've never had an urge to travel, or an underlying desire to explore beyond my own country. I mean, sure I'd love to visit quite a few places on my wish-list one day. But not in the way that some people yearn for. I'm quite happy waiting for retirement or when that rare chance 'just arises'. This always gave me plenty of controversy during the later years of highschool and college. I had older relatives telling me to travel and 'experience the world' and God forbid you have children before you've done so. I guess many of them were still trying to live their own regrets and desires through the younger generation, whatever the reason... I found it rude and offensive.

My only desire and goal once finishing school was to become a self-sufficient, happy and content individual. I was happy to work or study and give of myself what I could to society. Gleaming in my eye was the dream and desire to one day have a family, to raise the next generation, to nurture, love and care for children. So they can nurture love and care for their children and so on. I never felt that creating a family and living comfortably was a lesser way to live, and although I had many young friends travelling around the globe whilst I was pregnant with my first child at 19, I have never felt anything but satisfied. Truly happy and satisfied. Parenting isn't always fun, oh man...sometimes not only is it incredibly challenging but it is also incredibly boring. But, this is the path I chose and the one I walk with my head held high. This is the path that brings me satisfaction and warmth. Call it Nurture Lust rather than Wander Lust.

In saying that, there is nothing I enjoy more than adventuring my own town with my family. I want my children to experience the beauties that I have growing up in this country. Living in a small town, one of the most commonly used phrases in teens and adults alike is "There is nothing to do here". I think all too often we take our own hometown for granted. It isn't always necessary to travel far to find an incredibly beautiful river or taste some divine food, just look outside the local shopping mall. There is plenty to do here.

Last weekend, Nick and I ventured to the North Coast of our state and stopped at everything that caught our eye on the way. The first stop? The Christmas Hills Raspberry farm for some fresh, homegrown raspberry goodness. The second stop? Ashgrove cheese farm. In Tasmania we are home to some seriously good produce. Tasmanian made cheese, wine, honey and tea are amongst my favourites, I could live off Ashgrove cheese and sip 'The art of Tea' for ever and a day. Our third stop was to visit a baby store renowned for it's good service, Stork Talk. We had our eye on a few items that weren't stocked in our own town, the lady who served us was beyond helpful and absolutely welcoming. I think she helped me considerably in my convincing of Nick to buy big ticket items from the store rather than eBay!

It was such an enjoyable day, and one that didn't cost us a plane ticket or boat ride. We tasted great local food, received incredible service and saw many a wonderful sight. If you seek, you shall find! Do you enjoy travelling within your own state? Are you from a small town like mine, where the 'nothing to do' phrase gets pulled a little too often?

You don't need Wander Lust to be fulfilling your adventuring desires or to feel satisfied. I have Nurture Lust, and nurturing my family in the town I call home and all it's beauty is one truly satisfying experience.
Plenty of love, 
winterlove blog natalie

Easter Crafts; Part 3.

The third and final Easter Crafts installment features two very easy ideas for stunning Easter lunch table centrepieces. No fluff or pastels required!

Easter table
easy cenrepieces

Nothing symbolises Easter more recognisably than an egg, and they are something we use many times a week. So why not recycle your egg shells and put them to pretty work! For this centrepiece I washed eggshells well, let to dry and then painted with a coat of white acrylic paint. Spray painting them would also work quite well and in hindsight, would be a great time saver! I then painted an old egg carton in colours complementing the theme and placed the egg shells inside. Fill with a little water, pop in a bloom from your garden, and there you have it! A simple, pretty, cheap and egg-ceptional centrepiece!
egg shell display
Degg shell display

The most commonly used centrepiece on a table is often a vase of flowers, so this Easter I decided to mix it up a little and have vases guessed it...eggs! I purchased these styrofoam eggs from spotlight, painted in different tones matching the colour theme and pierced with a skewer. A 5 minute way to create a different and effective decorative piece for your Easter lunch table or your kitchen bench.

*Handy Hint* - You don't need to have an extensive collection of vases to create a pretty display. Simply wrap a doily or piece of fabric around a suitable sized glass or plastic cup!
egg bouquet
egg bouquet

I can't wait to create another Easter display next year, I think I am even anticipating it more than the chocolate! How did you decorate this Easter? Did you craft a lot or a little?
Plenty of love,
winterlove blog natalie