Our Mini Home Reno

I’ve painted, sanded, grouted and SHOPPED! HOLY CUSHIONS HAVE I SHOPPED! I sit here, SO relieved that I’m now able to share this blog because I have FINISHED our mini Reno… a mini Reno that took months and ended up being far more time consuming than expected because I already, was time poor but if there is anything I am good at, apart from sanding because I’m now a pro, its adding more to my plate when its already full.

Lets start this off with a bit of how and why etc. We built this home about 4-5 years ago… It was the first home we had designed and built ourselves, prior to that we had bought and sold two investment properties so with any first build I can guarantee there will always be things you will wish you did differently and as you grow older, naturally your taste will change. (Get a heck of a lot better)

Lucikly the style of our home is quite neutral, so basically its a blank canvas and most decor styles could be pulled off, it has lots of natural light, nice open spaces and I love our plan.

When building we wanted a quality build and quality finishes, so the cost went into making the bones and fittings of the house to stand the test of time, things like the size of the home, the tiles, stone benches throughout, organised wardrobes, a large functional kitchen, large windows and large open alfresco etc which meant when we moved in I used hand me down furniture and mis matched things id just collected throughout the years, I didn’t have the money to furnish it the way I had imagined, which was probably a good thing because at 25, the choices I would have made with decorating would no way compare to the taste I have developed as a much wiser 30 year old . The house didn’t really have a theme or obvious decor style, it was just whatever we had went in!

I couldn’t figure out why I still wasn’t happy with our home, as the home itself is beautiful, i was adamant we should rebuild. However after much discussion and even having our home on the market and then taking it down, I realised the reason why I wasn’t feeling right in our house was because id never got around to finishing it the way I had envisioned, really I could achieve what I wanted with a few changes and restyling, I didn’t want to leave our area I have 3 best friends that live in my street, my brother, my mum and dads house (yes all in the same street and adjoining street) and a beautiful view of our local river, our gardens have just started to look full and lush after 5 years of growing and there were no other blocks that we really loved. A mini reno was going to be the change I needed, its certainly no luxurious mansion and its still not perfect there are definitely things I wouldn’t do again and many things I would love to do if we were to build again but for now, its home and I enjoy it so much now after making it more ” Me”. We decided in many years to come we we rebuild to suit the next stage of our lives when the kids are older, for now this home is for the kids to make their memories in.

After having 2 children I decided it was time to finally “finish” the house and for the first time in my life be an adult and buy new things for my home. You know you are grown up when you buy your own crockery. I had two whole pregnancies to think about it but was so damn tired and busy so I said… one day. That one day was a light bulb moment at 3am when Arlo was 6 months old he is 11 months today) the very next day I started making it happen, I told my darling husband to just come home each day with an open mind and ignore me for a few months. Bless his heart he was like “Ok Darl”. Goodbye fantastic furniture package that gave me many years of memories and withstood many drinking games and good bye to the terrible choices I made when moving in on a tight budget! However, I’ll admit I still chose very affordable pieces to restyle with as you will see.

So here we go lets get started with the before and afters, I also should add that the theme I absolutely love, is “Hamptons” so I have gone for a fresh bright feel with soft blue hues throughout, we however do not live on the coast so I had to keep the “coastal” look to a minimum with only a touch, that still pairs well with the overall look of our entire home.

The terrible choices and transformations consisted of the following…

  1. Our black on black bedroom… Vampire much??? I don’t know why I did this… I guess I thought our bedroom should be dark and moody, I liked it at the time but now I just crave anything fresh and bright. Whites and neutrals make me feel calm and happy. The wall paper in there was also flocked velvet and gave me serious allergies, the black carpet made a huge bedroom look small, it really didn’t do the room justice. I realised soon after I did it, that it wasn’t for me, however I was stuck with it until I could afford to change it. The adjoining FULLY black tiled bathroom however, well, that bitch is here to stay because, my husband would divorce me if I renovated a 5 year old bathroom due to wrong colour choice, most people actually love the black bathroom though and now that the rest of the room is nice and bright the bathroom actually looks quite beautiful, let me warn you though, a black  bathroom may be on trend and look schmick but its a shit of a thing to keep clean! just a tip. Don’t do it.

So here is a photo of our bedroom prior to the renovation, When you see the before and after photos in this blog some of you may think there was no need to change, technically there wasn’t anything “wrong” with any of these rooms, the change was simply because my taste and styling has changed and I felt they didn’t do our home justice.

BEFORE ( I want to suck your blood mouhahaha)

AFTER.

AAHHHHHHH LET THERE BE LIGHT!

lets starts with the suppliers and costs because you will be surprised at how affordable some of these items are, I love a good bargain shop, I believe quality pieces do make the difference in a home BUT quality doesn’t always have to mean the most expensive item, after looking around ALOT I could compare quality and cost and some things were a fraction of the cost but the exact same quality. I think to get a beautiful looking room you need to have a mix of both, don’t decorate your whole room in Kmart however if you find 1-2 pieces that pass as “the real thing” or just as good… Go for it! I also reused our mirrored furniture.

Bedroom products and supplier list.

LOUNGE AREA.

BEFORE.

Dark, minimal cabinetry, hand me down furniture (still lovely though and has been reused) dark rug, wall paper, its all a bit mis matched, the whole area looks far smaller than what it is for example that wall is 6 metres with the TV.

and here we have AFTER!!!! Bright, fresh and decluttered.

My built in was a dream come true, its exactly what I envisioned and has totally transformed our lounge room and it pairs SO much better with our white kitchen, I have no idea why I ever decided to put that dark cabinetry in… no idea… maybe I was hung over?

suppliers.

  • First of all Ben from Pinnicle kitchens was amazing, he made this happen and also did the built in for the children’s play area which ill also be showing you.
  • White lounges… ok, I know you are going to ask.. how do I keep them clean with kids… EASY! They are slip covered lounges from IKEA! Ambria knows she isn’t allowed to eat on the lounge but if grubby fingers do make there was on to them ill just wipe off with a damp white cloth, the fabric is so durable it usually comes straight off, I’ve only had to wash them once and it was easy, they came up brand new! if in future they get to dirty, I can buy another set of covers from IKEA for $80 so I get the look I want without stressing over expensive lounges because these lounges were just under $900 each. https://m.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/spr/49192639/
  • The parquetry coffee table, this is from argyle imports in moss vale, It was $1500, its such a beautiful piece and I simply had to have it. http://argyleimports.com.au/mossvale.html
  • The beige rug, its a 300×400 wool woven style from Instyle Rugs
  • Custom made cushions on shelves and on lounges again from Thread candy https://www.threadcandy.com.au/ don’t forget to use the CODE- STYLE20
  • Hydreangea arrangement by Rogue artificial flowers From local store “Your home Matters” https://www.instagram.com/yourhomematters_goulburn/
  • Natural crystals on bookshelves https://www.tinytonics.com.au/collections/crystals

DINING KITCHEN AREA

This was a simple fix, I simply needed to paint the existing brown shelves to white and buy a new dining setting. In the kitchen all that was changed/added was the kick splash mirror was covered with white panelling and we added new bar stools and the hanging indoor plant. I am still yet to get new pendant lights, thats the only thing left on my list.

Before…

AFTER… Cohesive, open, and READY TO ENTERTAIN!

Suppliers and costs

KIDS PLAY ROOM.

BEFORE.

So basically not much going on here, no storage just a big room with zero organisation. It did however usually look better than this photo, this was taken just before Reno when I’d started to pull everything out and use this as a “whatever” area.

AFTER.

HELLO STORAGE! I have to admit this room isn’t finished yet as I’m going to be styling it into a gender neutral play room soon, just a little stuck on ideas as to how to make this an epic play room. (If you have any throw them at me, I’m thinking indoor cubby, all white and soft greys with greenery) with labelled storage wracks.

ENTRY.

For privacy reasons I have decided not to upload photos of our full front exterior but here’s a little change I did on the front door it was dark brown, I added the hallway shelf and hat hooks and painted the door white and blue.

BEFORE (except I forgot to take photo before doing the wall shelf)

AFTER. (If it’s brown flush it down)

So thats it for the before and afters however, here are some other rooms in our home that you may be able to draw inspo from. I haven’t photographed every single room in our home (laundry, cinema room, spare bedroom etc) otherwise this blog will make you fall asleep, so here are some of my other favourite rooms and the suppliers

AMBRIA’S ROOM

floral, bright, pretty and magical.

Suppliers

ARLINGTONS ROOM

  • Cot and cot bedding pottery barn kids
  • Mirror eBay
  • Pendant light, Bunnings
  • Wall colour, Breton Blue Dulux
  • Cot Mobile, Arlo and co
  • Occasional chair, early settler
  • Tree IKEA
  • White dressing table EBAY
  • Wall prints ETSY (Mary’s flower garden)

HALLWAY & MAIN BATHROOM

PANTRY (labels from pretty little designs) https://linktr.ee/pretty.little.designs

AANNNDDD that’s it from me!

I hope you have Enjoyed reading and seeing the transformations for our mini Reno, I am so happy I decided to make it happen and I am loving all these fresh, bright open, spaces.

I still have a few things left up my sleeve to do, a few pendant lights to add amongst other bits and pieces.

My advice to anyone wanting to change up their home ( big or small changes) is to not do it on a whim! Take a few months to plan it out, source your items first which helps the budget, be very clear about what style you are going for, once you decide on a style stick to your guns and not waiver because of trends, thats how you end up with a little bit of “to much going on”. If you don’t know where to start when restyling/refurbishing a room, pick ONE piece you love, for e.g an occasional chair or rug, the rest will flow from the one piece you love. Don’t be afraid to copy, your home still needs to be a reflection of you but if styling isn’t your strengt, take pictures of rooms you love with you when hitting the shops and do your best to find similar or the same items.

Thank you for joining me here on Housewife style, below are some more photos for you to (hopefully) enjoy. If anyone has any questions about any of these rooms please feel free to contact me via instagram or email.

lots of love,

Your worn out, sweaty, paint covered, terpy smelling, sanding legend of a friend…

Tahlia xxx

P.S all the above was achieved with two children asking me for a snack, to scratch their, bum, to go to the toilet, for cuddles all whilst clinging to my ankle or hip asking “What are you doing” “What are you doing?” “What are you doing?” a billion times… it took me a week just to paint my front door blue… a week.

Sadly, no one invited me to an auction night where I get hundreds of thousands of dollars… my husband bought be chocolates though.

To see more of what goes on in the Aubusson household follow us here https://www.instagram.com/housewifestyle/?hl=en

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Another Failed Bump In the road

A week ago today I experienced my 5th miscarriage, actually to be honest it’s probably my 6th, terrible that I’ve lost count over the years. I thought long and hard about sharing such a personal event in my life despite being very open about it in the past with many republished articles. This time I wasn’t going to share for so many reasons. Clearly I decided against it for reasons I’ve stated at the end but initially I was so hesitant and decided against sharing in person as I knew there would be people in my life that would make comments that I wasn’t prepared to deal with at the time.

Things have changed since I endured this years ago, I’ve since had two beautiful children so I can almost guarantee I would have received replies such as “it wasn’t meant to be” “Arlo is only 6 months old, its too soon anyway” “probably a good thing, it would be very difficult being pregnant with a baby and a toddler” “are you sure you really want three?” Everything other than “I’m so sorry to hear that” because when you already have 2 children and one is only 6 months old everyone seems to have an opinion on whether you SHOULD have a third child and when is best.

The loss is also waved away as a “not a big deal, these things happen” type scenario as you are already lucky enough to have children. Yep, I sure am lucky that I have two beautiful, healthy children particularly with my history, however this time, because of them and the pure amount of joy they bring me, I now also know what I have just lost, I also had to go through an incredibly painful process whilst getting on with life as a mother of two.

In the past all my miscarriages were before I became a mother, I grieved the idea of those babies, what I thought they would be like and along with that had the fear of possibly never being a Mum but now I look at my beautiful Ambria, my beaming Arlo and I know exactly what our future would have been together. The truth is, we would love a third child but we hadn’t even decided on when and thought it would be when Arlo was at least 1 so I was shocked when I saw a positive test. Despite being much earlier than we planned, within a day of finding out I had planned that little baby’s life to have the perfect place in ours.

I’d sorted where we would have a bedroom, made daycare arrangements for Arlo for one day a week next year, within hours I’d gone from shock to panic to guilt for Arlo and Ambie then excited that our family of 5 we always wanted was officially about to begin, Id have my family of five all by the age of 30.

I told james the news in the simplest of ways, I felt sick so had to lie down, he came in to bring me something to eat (chocolate, he knows me well) and I casually said “ Thanks babe I’m pregnant too” he was as cool as a cucumber, “really??? That’s awesome! We will be fine Darl, have a rest”, I guess it’s testament to our marriage and our love for each other that we just know whatever life throws at us, we do it together and all will be ok because we have each other. The next day I received a beautiful bunch of flowers and a beautiful letter reassuring me this is a great thing despite the awesome, beautiful, immensely tiring chaos we knew we would be getting into whilst they are all little and of course he reminded me how much he loves me.

Before the flowers even had a chance to die it was all over. Id actually said to James as we sat on the bed after I told him the news that something didn’t feel right, I was cramping just as I’d done in the past with all of my miscarriages but I’d also experienced heavy cramping and bleeding with both Ambria and Arlo, despite that, I think in my heart I’d already prepared for what was to follow and sure enough once the bleeding started days after, it didn’t stop, our third baby, the third child that was going to complete our family was gone before we even had a chance to properly celebrate.

In the past, I had the time to be sad, the time to rest and manage the pain, to process my thoughts and have down time from the crazy tiredness and hormonal changes, this time? I couldn’t just lay in bed with a heat pack, I had to get on with routine as normal, caring for others on the go non stop, whilst feeling the life literally being sucked out of me. The fatigue, pain and non stop thoughts in my head all had to be suppressed because of those little eyes peering up at me, they need me and don’t deserve anything other than my best, well maybe not my very best, at the very least give them what they needed which is what I did. I’d wait until I had my 10 minutes at night to shower alone to cry and let out the exhaustion.

Despite all this and the obvious black eyes, (vampire look isn’t cool, twilight was so yesterday) I’m ok… I’m genuinely ok… I even just cracked a very lame joke. Physically on the other hand I feel weak and so drained but I’m at peace with it and have accepted what’s happened knowing whilst my husband would love a third now or in the future, I personally would like more time.

Despite the fact that I would hate to hear it from others because really no one has the right to tell you what is right for you and what you should and shouldn’t want and do with your life, the cliche “it wasn’t meant to be” is probably right in this case, I do still question that though and wonder what the point was and wonder why we were only given just a brief moment in time together but I guess I’ll never know.

Despite no longer being pregnant the effects of the pregnancy are still present, I’m teary from the hormones crashing back down, nauseous and tired but I know this should dissipate within the next week or so.

So, why did I decide to share? I realised it’s simply just what’s become a part of my life story, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, it’s nothing I should feel I need to hide because of the opinions of others and I’m also confident and comfortable enough with myself to share a personal journey that may resonate with someone who may be hurting in silence.

On that note if there are any women that are repeatedly experiencing miscarriages, you may be interested In a blog I wrote in the past that includes all the knowledge, information and remedies I was given by my fertility specialist and by my naturopath before my pregnancy with Ambria. Just look for “misconception of miscarriages” in my blog posts.

Sharing this brings me closure, there’s no elephant in the room. My page and blog are predominantly about motherhood afterall, the joy, the indescribable love, the magic, the fun, the wonder and the fulfilment, it’s all of those things, it truly is I LOVE being a mother but for many mothers, in fact probably most mothers, including myself we all endure a hardship before or during our motherhood journey at some point.

Depending on the circumstances it can leave a woman feeling frustration, anger, grief, tiredness and with an emotional strain that is almost indescribable and really, you know that the only people that truly know how you feel when you don’t have the words to describe it are your fellow mothers who have walked your path. Many have been where I am, they will understand, they GET IT.

So for now, we get on with life as normal.

This year will be spent enjoying the precious time with our beautiful girl who is growing up way to fast and with our beautiful boy who has brought us nothing other than pure delight since he arrived. What happened last week was a reminder to cherish this time with them because life can change in an instant for the good and for the bad, either way it changes.

I want to reassure you all I am not needing sympathy, I don’t need it, It’s not why I decided to share despite the fact I know my beautiful community will of course show me empathy.

Miscarriages have been my dark side to motherhood, 10 years ago I never would have thought this would be a part of my story. Now, after experiencing this so many times it has essentially added to who I am, it’s my truth and whilst I wish I only had a history of a perfect journey before and during motherhood until now, it just isn’t the case and sometimes sharing the lows of motherhood are just as important in sharing the highs because it makes us appreciate those beautiful daily moments, even the smallest of things.

My silver lining is that the children I have been blessed with are more than I could ever have wished for, they are truly the most beautiful little kids and have given us the most beautiful, enjoyable start to this chapter of our lives known as parenthood. I’ve always thought that Ambria and Arlington have been such a joy to have because they are all the beautiful parts of the babies that didn’t end up with us. If it’s only ever the 4 of us then we already have so much to be thankful for.

To the women who have endured what I have, in the past, present and future, I know you feel like no one understands what you’re feeling, If you’re anything like me, you’re so exhausted that at times you don’t even know how your feeling! So I am here to tell you, I do, I understand, in my experience I went through every emotion possible, I truly, truly know how you are feeling.

My advice to move forward is to be honest about your feelings, acknowledge them, don’t be embarrassed, don’t think it’s not worthy of grief if it was an early loss, don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts, because how you feel is ALWAYS important. Do whatever you feel is the best way for you to recover and find closure. There is no timeframe, there is no right or wrong way to feel or deal with a miscarriage, the only person that can tell you how to feel is you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this very personal piece, it’s been MANY months since I have written a blog in fact, it’s nearly been a year and it’s unfortunate it’s under these circumstances.

This is life, it’s not all perfect Instagram squares, we all have our burdens to carry but our hardships remind us we are human and keep us grounded, without them we wouldn’t appreciate the real beauty and gift of life we have been given.

Sending you all good health, love and happiness…

Tahlia x

Our Sleep Routine (Tips & Tricks to a settled Bub and more lengthy sleeps)

Firstly, I am no sleep therapist I have no professional background in sleep routines BUT what I do have is 2 children that have been incredibly settled babies and VERY long sleepers, luck? Maybe.. Routine? Possibly… either way Im going to share what I’ve done from birth with both my children and maybe, just maybe it might help another mama out who is desperate for more rest.

My first born Ambria was a baby that was to good to be true, I kept being told.. “oh she won’t do that forever” meaning, the long hours of sleep and almost non existent crying wouldn’t last, but THEY DID, only those closest to me believed me as they saw it with their own eyes, Ambria never cried, never needed settling and the kid LOVED her sleep and still does, if she ever did need to be rocked to sleep or cried heavily it was only minimal times and generally from sickness, which again was a rarity for her, Arlo now 10 weeks to my huge surprise is EXACTLY the same, However, nothing prepares you for the tiredness and fatigue you feel in those first few months of motherhood, good sleeper or not! Even with 4 hourly feeds you still have unbroken sleep which takes a lot of adjusting. Now as a toddler, Ambria (2.1/2) can throw a massive tantrum so tears are inevitable lol, motherhood certainly hasn’t come without its challenges for me but that’s another story, this is about my saving grace, having babies that sleep so i can recharge for whatever is thrown at me, sometimes literally, the next day, but for our first glorious year with her she was literally a dream, she still is but just a little more of a sassy, opinionated, bossy but beautiful dream.

There were certain things I decided to do from day one with Ambria that I now believe laid the foundation for her being a solid sleeper, she even transitioned into a queen bed from her cot without any fuss, she literally just started sleeping in her new bed, with her normal hours and that was that.

Up until I had Arlo I was uncertain whether its just “how she was” and it was not part of my doing or only partially what I had done, but now that Arlo is 10 weeks old and again a settled baby, little to no crying and doing long hours I feel it must be a combination of what I am doing, luck, genes and routines! It could just be pure DUMB LUCK so please don’t by any means feel any guilt or blame yourselves for not having a good sleep routine with your little ones, I have no doubt you are all doing everything you can in the best way you now how and feel comfortable with!

Before I begin the break down of each aspect I believe helps settle your babes let me make it known that I have used dummies and formula for my babies VERY early on, I understand and respect the use of these are not for everyone so if they are not for you, thats ok, but maybe there are other tips in this blog that may suit your parenting style, each to their own, take and leave whatever you wish this blog is simply what I have done and whats worked for me, I was confident in my choices and just wanted to make the transition into motherhood as easy as possible, so I was willing to try anything and take any advice I got from women who had been there before, they will be your best friends and your best guides, so trust them! 🙂 I hope you can take something away from this and fingers crossed it works, lets start from the very beginning.

THE EARLY DAYS. This section covers hours, when I feed, dream feeding, breast and bottle feeding, whilst this section is long there are MANY other factors to follow that when all used together I believe help in settling bub, so continue to read on.

I breast fed my first born Ambria for 3 months, without going into detail, it wasn’t for me, it was frustrating, I had low supply, I hated not knowing how much she was getting and we couldn’t seem to get into sync with each other which caused an angry mum and Bub. My milk didn’t come in until day 5 with Ambria so by this time the nurses had already recommended doing formula top ups. Once I started he bottles Ambria was very settled so I felt comfortable to continue to do breast and formula from the very beginning with her as she was SO Content and I feared disrupting that so continued the formula, I gave her as much breast milk as I could but after 3 months I weaned completely as she was mainly on formula feeds and I didn’t see the point in continuing BF when it was a struggle with every feed. After a formula feed she would sleep for hours, after a breast feed I was lucky to get her to sleep for 1 hour. I truly believe that other than factors like colic or sickness the only reason a baby will cry and be unsettled during these early days is because they are hungry or have wind and usually it’s easy to tell the difference. Keep in mind all things take getting used to for babies tummy, so whilst formula might not agree straight away Bub will get used to it, a brand or formula type may be the only thing you need to change, if its still not agreeing with Bub after 2 weeks. For me this was easier than trying to figure out what was making her unsettled from my breast milk! I didn’t want to get into a habit of Ambria cluster or comfort feeding, as in my opinion this sets a routine for small feeds and small feeds = small sleeps, once this cycle starts I thought it would be hard to break, instead of Ambria doing a long full feed to get the hind milk she would feed for a short amount of time not getting the thicker milk she needed to last longer between feeds, she would then wake and be hungry again, I tried EVERYTHING to get her to do a proper breast feed but literally from day one she would just fall asleep during a feed and would not get the hind milk, i undressed her, ticked her and persisted for sometimes an hour trying to wake her to drain my breast properly, but she wouldn’t she just slept. Older generation midwives would tell me to ” feed as much as the baby wants and feed on demand” younger generation midwifes said “Don’t get in the habit of cluster feeding, happy mum happy Bub so if formula top ups help to push out those hours, then do that” so thats what I did, agree or don’t agree, it worked for me. I was still trying to breast feed, at that point I still wanted to, so in order to prevent comfort/cluster feeding I would express the milk to keep trying to build my supply but bottle feeding so that I knew how much Ambria was getting and could routinely do 3-4 hourly feeds. I would give her expressed milk and breast feed her during the day but I would always do a formula feed for her last two feeds of the day so she was nice and full for bed. Given the fact that the formula feeds were giving her much longer sleeps (over 3-4 hours), as mentioned before I eventually made the switch all together. So to summarise this section I break it down like this, in the early days aim for FULL feeds 3-4 hourly, I never did 2 hourly and NEVER woke baby to feed, at no point did my babies loose weight, they were always full, fed and content. Once I made the switch to 100% formula at 2-3 months old Ambria would sleep from approximately 10pm for 6-7 hours ( which 6 hours is considered sleeping through so don’t be discouraged if your baby isn’t a 10-12 hour sleeper in the first few months 5-6 hours is great for newborn to 3-4 months) she would have an early morning dream feed around 4-5am then I’d put her straight back down and with age she dropped that morning feed and from 6 months old she was a 10-12 hour sleeper from 9-10pm to around 8-9am. Because of my history with Ambria I formula fed Arlo from day one, and breast fed for the first few weeks. He is now 10 weeks old and has always been fed 3-4 hourly and from 10pm sleeps till around 5am has a dream feed then sleeps for another two hours, so if history repeats he will eventually push out that morning feed until its dropped all together for a regular nights sleep. I don’t monitor his day sleeps, I have no routine for the day other than keeping him awake and trying to tire him out before his last feed of a night time. For the dream feed, no matter when that feed is for you, I highly recommended keeping Bub wrapped and do not change their nappy unless there is a poo! Nappies are so well made these days they will last all night, a nurse told me that having bub get used to their nappy being a little wet is fine because it means they won’t get used to having a consistently dry nappy needing you to change it all the time. Cover their bottom in a good butt balm like sudo cream, put a fresh nappy on and this will last from 10.00 till morning. During night time you want to keep it dark and quiet with minimal fuss to stop Bub from fully waking. As soon as I hear him start grunting and waking for a feed ill pop the dummy in, usually this will push him out a little longer to try and “train” him to sleep for longer, however I never let him get to the point where he is crying for a feed because I want to keep him settled and calm during the night, if you have a bub that wakes and immediately cries to alert for you for a feed, set an alarm to do a dream feed before they wake so they never get to the point of waking and crying. when he wakes up again (if the dummy was enough to get him back to sleep again) ill keep him wrapped, lights still off, I use my phone torch lol and gently feed and burp him putting him straight back down to bed. So lets move on to EVERYTHING ELSE I do other than formula feeding!

DUMMIES. Yep I whipped out the dummy at the hospital, if you are pro dummy, don’t wait just start using it! The longer you wait the more likely they will reject it when trying to introduce it after a few weeks old and lets face it dummies are a lifesaver! Don’t be afraid to force (for lack of a better word) the dummy if they initially seem to spit it out. They just need to get used to the sensation and “latch” it. This can be encouraged by rubbing the dummy on the roof of bubs mouth and holding it in there until they recognise it and start to suck. Ill also stroke bubs cheek to encourage the sucking reflex when trying to get them to latch the dummy. If you know they are not hungry, or if you need to try and settle them to push out time between feeds, offer it to them whenever they are unsettled, sometimes they will take it, sometimes they won’t, Don’t give up because having it work enough to settle them at least sometimes is better than not having it all. It might just save you from half of the meltdowns. If Bub is really worked up they may not take it right away, allow a minute or two of crying then reintroduce the dummy by wriggling it around in the mouth, hopefully they recognise, latch and allow it to soothe them. Research has also shown that dummies can help prevent sids from the sucking reflex, so I always give my babies the dummy at night and it just drops out when they fall asleep. Again, agree or disagree with me, I respect your opinion, this is just mine and what works for me.

WRAPPING. I won’t believe anyone that tells me their baby doesn’t like to be wrapped, particularly during the first few months! If you think they don’t like it I can almost guarantee this is because you are simply not doing it right or tight enough. A baby is used to be curled up as tight as can be in the womb, so wrapping makes them feel secure and will also stop them from waking from startling them selves. Sometimes during the wrapping process a baby will fight against it. This isn’t because they don’t like being wrapped its no different from nappy changing, they don’t like being fussed with or exposed, so persist with the wrapping even if they appear to dislike it at first, wrap tight, if they are still pushing against the wrap, keep them wrapped but hold them tight and pat until they settle then pop them back down, it will help baby sleep longer as they will feel secure and won’t wake from the startle reflex. Bub won’t like being wrapped if it’s loose enough for them to get out of, this makes them feel exposed or irritated knowing they have half escaped so will continue to fight against it until they are out of the wrap. The way I wrap my babies is so tight that not even Houdini could get out of it, they never so much as get a finger out, if your babies are getting out of your wraps your need to do them tighter and learn a different style of wrapping, go on you tube or get a midwife to show you. Ive even considered throwing up a you tube video of the way I wrap as anyone I’ve taught my wrap to hasn’t seen it before and now swears by it! I highly recommended only getting 120×120 sized wraps, Aden and Anais make lovely ones. I switched to love to dream swaddles when Ambria had started to roll and sleep on her belly, I think this was around 6 months old, but until then the love to dream swaddles didn’t keep Bub feeling tight enough however they are a great option to keep them settled once good sleep has been established after a few months and she went on to use the love to dream until she was 1.

TEMPERATURE. If Bub is the slightest bit cold, they will wake. Baby photographers purposely have heaters going during shoots to keep babies settled, now I’m not saying over cook your baby, I hope you know the difference however you want to make sure they are nice and warm. Other than when the weather is of extreme heat, ill always have Bub in a suit, then swaddled tight, then have a wrap or blanket firmly tucked over the top to keep them in place and nice and secure in the bassinet, it stops them from rolling and kicking and again helps them feel secure for restful sleep.

NIGHT & DAY ENVIRONMENT From day one with both of my babies I’ve done the following to get baby in sync with day and night, its fairly simple really, keep it bright and noisy during the day and dark and quiet during the night. I NEVER put Bub down to sleep in the bassinet or cot during the day, why? because thats for bedtime, just like adults go to bed at night. Ive always had my babies out in the lounge area, with the curtains up, tv or radio on and let them sleep either in their rocker, a play mat or a Bub nest. Once Ambria was older, around 1, and good night time sleep was established I would put her down for sleeps in her cot as she was to big for the rocker and Bub nest, but by this time her routine was already in sync with night and day. To me, I don’t really have a routine through the day, they can feed and nap whenever, what matters is that we all get our sleep of a night time. I honestly believe that by doing this both of my babies from early on associated their bassinet/cot, darkness and a silent house to night time and will sleep until the environment changes back to bright and noisy. Don’t use music or background noise to try and help Bub sleep through the night, why? because you need sleep to! and unless you want to listen to white noise or music for the next year or until they break the habit, don’t start one, you want to make your babies routine as close to your normal routine, which brings me to ” choosing a bedtime”.

CHOOSING A BEDTIME TO SUIT YOU or “THE 10.00 BEDTIME! For some reason a lot of new mums think that you should be putting baby down to bed at 6 or 7pm, which is fine if thats the time that YOU go to bed, if thats way earlier than you go to bed then keep baby out with you as stated in the last section, keep them in the rocker, on a play mat or just with you until you are ready to go to bed but whatever time that is keep it the same each night. I Swear by “The 10.00 bedtime” I’ve done this with both of my babies, I usually go to bed around 10-10.30 so I always give Bub a long bath at around 9.30, let them have a good kick around and try to tire them out, followed by a full bottle then we all go to bed at the same time allowing more unbroken sleep for me, and a good way to start a routine with a goal of “sleeping through” by timing the hours from when they go down at that same time each night. Instead of putting Bub to sleep earlier and having to get up to feed when ive only been in bed for 2 hours, going to bed at around the 10.00 mark usually means that you only need to get up for one feed during the night and one early morning, until eventually its pushed out to 10.00 bedtime and one early morning feed. In the early weeks putting Arlo to bed at 10.00 meant a feed at around 2-3am then another at 6am, now at 10 weeks old he wakes for a feed around, 5.30-6 so in another few months he should start doing 10pm till 7.30-8am ish the same as Ambria did and then we all have the same bed time routine and don’t worry they won’t be going to bed at 10.00 forever, eventually as toddlers they will need more sleep, Ambria’s bedtimes naturally got earlier and earlier from having bigger more tiring days once she was around 15 months old. The only feed I try to time is the feed leading up to 10.00, so at around 7.pm ill feed so that bub is due again by 10.00, ill try to keep him awake or wake him around 8-9 if he naps after that 7pm feed (the only time ill wake a sleeping baby so that I can entertain and tire him out until that final feed using bath time to tire out and be calm, full and ready for a good long sleep. I used 10.00 as my starting point so that we all had the same bedtime then with age and the more active Ambria got the more she needed to go to bed earlier but she would sleep through until her usual morning time.

So to wrap all of this up…

• Im a strong believer that formula feeding aids longer and better sleeps ONLY if you don’t have sufficient milk supply or quality or able to get your baby to feed properly getting the hind milk

• Use a dummy to settle instead of comfort feeding

• Dream feed during the night and try to not do a nappy change unless needed, feed re wrap tight and put Bub straight back down.

• Tight, secure, Houdini proof wrapping for the first few months

• Make sure Bub is warm and firmly tucked in to prevent rolling

• Keeping night time and day time environment different and only use bassinet or cot for night time and another sleeping arrangement for day time

• Wake up, tire out, bath and feed at a bedtime that suits you and do this same routine at the same time every night.

I hope this has made sense and I haven’t rambled! Much harder to write than I expected and much easier to explain in person, I should have just done a video lol

I ask people respect that I made choices that suit me, my situation and my family and ultimately I just had to do whatever worked and when it worked I stuck with it! Everyone has an opinion of whats right and wrong or best for your baby, I believe that whats best for your baby is a happy mum, after all the one thing a baby needs to survive, is a mother or in some cases a doting dad or care giver. For the baby to be loved, nurtured and cared for in the best way possible, the person/persons caring for them, need to be happy too.

If none of this works for you, or if you have tried all of the above and your little ones are still little night owls, HANG IN THERE mama, it won’t last forever and if it makes you feel ANY better, regardless on the fact that my children sleep long hours through the night, I, ironically have INSOMNIA so most of the time I don’t even get to enjoy the fact that my children sleep well!!! Usually I lay there missing them while they all snore they night away! Maybe someone could write an adult blog on how to get me to sleep! lol

Lots of love to you all,

Tahlia xxx

The BREAST Choice? Or NOT The Breast Choice?

Ok, get the rotten tomatoes ready to throw and ill go and get my raincoat because I can guarantee this blog will receive judgment, sad but true, regardless IM READY FOR IT because sometimes things just need to be said.

ALLLLLLL over social media you will see hashtags such as “free the nipple”  “normalise breast feeding” “breast is best” “breast feeding mom” “breast feeding is power” accompanied by a beautiful photo of a mum lovingly and comfortably holding her baby or sadly, a woman in tears, in pain putting herself through hell just to breast feed seeking help. Now, don’t for a second think I don’t love seeing these photos (not of women in pain of course) or support the women who feel empowered by breast feeding, I think its awesome and I love that they are confident and want to share their positive experiences with the world, or their negative turned positive experiences with the world.

But heres the thing, I’ve never actually seen any judgement towards breastfeeding in the first place. Hasn’t it always been supported? as it is after all the natural way to feed your child since, well, humans existed. I’ve never seen anyone try to enforce someone to not breast feed and whilst there might be the odd person here and there that gets offended by seeing a woman’s naked breast, overall breast feeding is absolutely normal and accepted in society and if there was a time where it wasn’t well I must have missed that and the mamas that have tried so hard to “normalise breast feeding” have obviously succeeded, as I can only ever see it being portrayed as a beautiful and natural thing by millions of breast feeding advocates all over social media, job well done ladies, BUT… (and heres where ill get covered in rotten eggs) What about the women that willingly choose to NOT breast feed?

I can tell you now there would be a HUGE difference in the judgement received by a woman posting a photo to normalise breast feeding compared to a woman normalising formula feeding! How often do you see a photo posted of a mother doing a formula feed? yep, you guessed it NEVER, Why? because that woman knows for SURE she will be judged, Why? Because one day someone decided to make every woman on earth feel like a failure if they didn’t breast feed because they created the term “BREAST IS BEST” but best for who?

For me personally I struggled hugely with my first born, I had very low milk supply despite months of trying all the tricks in the book which resulted in a very unhappy breast feeding experience, many tears and a lot of guilt during a time where I should have just enjoyed being a first time mum, I pumped day and night just to be able to give my daughter the smallest amount of this so called “liquid gold” however for me it was basically just like water so how much nutrition was my daughter actually getting? I had no idea.

After 4 months enough was enough this self inflicted torture I was putting myself through had to stop and another “liquid gold” became my saving grace, formula. I stopped comp feeding and put her on formula full time, my milk literally dried up over night thats how little I had! The thing is, the ONLY reason I tried so hard and felt so much pressure to keep on trying was because I was lead to believe “breast is best” and that “bonding” with my baby would be compromised, it was literally thrown in my face from the second I became pregnant and like most mothers I believed it! but was it best? In my case, absolutely not, it wasn’t best for me and my mental health and it wasn’t best for my daughter and her physical health, she simply wasn’t getting enough, so how lucky am I that I live in a time where I can feed my baby a substitute that most paediatricians will tell you is just as good if not in some cases, like mine, better for your baby. Was my relationship and bonding with Ambria compromised? Not at all, we have a beautiful mother daughter relationship and she is as smart as they come for her age!

I think the term “Breast is best” is so generalised and it shouldn’t be! It should not be applied to all new mums because all mums and all women are different and whats “best” differs for each person. How can it be the best choice for a woman with very low supply, resulting in a hungry unsettled baby which leads to a stressed unhappy mum. How can it be best choice for a woman who cries every time she feeds her baby because the pain is so unbearable she dreads the thought of the next feed. How can it be best for a woman who simply doesn’t like breast feeding despite being fully capable with no physical set backs, but makes her feel like a bad mother and guilty for not wanting to do something that society says she should do because they believe its best.

After my experience with my first born and the happiness it took away from those precious first few months I decided feeding wasn’t even going to be an issue with my second baby, I was going to just go with the flow and I packed formula to take to the hospital, if my milk came in and feeding happened to be a natural and easy process then my son would be breast fed, if it didn’t then he would be put on formula without hesitation. So how are we going this time?

Well, I guess we are doing “better” this time around, I certainly have a much better supply but the pain is so intense I feel sick when I feed him, yes I’ve checked tongue tie, yes I’ve checked, latch, yes I’ve used shields, yes I’ve used the gel discs, I’ve used every bloody product on the market just to survive and “make it through” to the part where you “enjoy it”, I also got this weird huge pimple/boil thing on my nip! Like seriously! How does that even happen! Over the last few days the pain has started to subside and my supply is good BUT (and heres the kicker) I DONT enjoy breast feeding, I don’t get that beautiful empowering feeling some women describe and whilst thats so beautiful for them that they experience those emotions through breast feeding, I, for whatever reason, don’t! In fact I get anxious sitting there for half an hour thinking of things that need to be done and saying to Ambria “mummy won’t be long” on repeat is just not enjoyable to me. I don’t feel bad about it and I certainly am not going to feel guilty about it! It just means one thing, I am different to them, I am a different mother to them but I can assure you the love and bonding with my children is no different I just experience it and feel it in different ways.

Because of this and the fact that I have a toddler pulling at me to play every time I sit down to feed (again, mothers guilt for not being able to give her my attention) I have decided to wean him at 3 weeks and put him on a bottle full time so that we are ALL happy and things just continue to run as they normally do in our household.

When I told my intentions to a visiting clinic nurse (of the older generation) it was of course met with some judgement and a lot of advice to try and persuade me to keep breast feeding. I thought to myself, as I explained my reasons “WHY am I even justifying my decision in this day and age” it should be treated no different to me saying “I’m going to breast feed” the response should be “Ok Tahlia not a problem do you need any help with working out his formula ratio for his weight etc? not an instant interrogation that makes you doubt, question and feel guilty about your choice.

I can tell you now that I consider myself to be a wonderful mother, I am so devoted to my children and devote my life to their health and happiness so whether I breast feed or not, I don’t believe needs to be added to my “motherhood resume” as an attribute to successful parenting.

There is still ALOT of pressure put on new mums to exclusively breast feed, there is still a feeling of shame felt by women and the need to justify when switching to or starting out with formula and who makes them feel that way? OTHER WOMEN! Why can’t formula feeding mothers receive the same amount of praise acceptance and support that breast feeding mothers do, I can honestly tell you that when I switched to formula with my first born I felt like I was put into this group of category’s such as “broken” “lazy” “selfish” or “un educated” mainly by older women and older midwives. On my Instagram I have a beautiful following of women who are all about just “doing you” some are very passionate about breast feeding often posting many gorgeous photos feeding their babies, but of course would always support their fellow women regardless of their decisions, however, the shame that can come with formula feeding is often a result of seeing such a huge amount of beautiful breast feeding mums on social media, these mums unknowingly and certainly not on purpose can cause a woman thats struggling, to put pressure on herself thinking she should be the same and keep pushing through to make breast feeding work, when in some cases its just NEVER going to work.

SO forgive me for being blunt but I’m just going to come out and say it, ITS BULLSHIT and ABSOLUTELY UNNECESSARY you should NEVER feel this way because of a decision you made that was BEST for you, WHY? Because our children are a reflection of us and we will get the best out of them if we are doing our best and we can’t do our best if we are unhappy. I promise you that whether your child is formula fed or breast fed they will be healthy and given all the nutrition they need for a perfect start to life, where they will differ is not from how they are fed but from how they are raised!

This blog isn’t to deter women from breast feeding as mentioned before if you love it, if it is an easy natural and enjoyable experience for you then you should absolutely stick with it for as long as your heart desires, its also not to point the finger at women that are passionate about breast feeding, I respect your passion, I just ask its not enforced on others without some openness to other ways of doing things.

This blog is for all the mums out there who may currently be tormented by the idea of whether or not to formula feed, feeling let down that they can’t or don’t want to breast feed, because they are trying their hardest but not getting anywhere, because they are feeling pain, because they are finding it hard to make the time with multiple children or careers, this is for you. I get it and I don’t judge, I know you might be feeling like you are not fulfilling your role as the “perfect mum” by making this decision, but what you are doing is amicable, what you’re doing is something that in motherhood we don’t often do, you are PUTTING YOURSELF FIRST, and thats OK! Your baby will be fine, more than fine so its SO important that you are too.

Ladies, there is no shame in formula feeding, it should be as irrelevant as whether you choose cloth nappies over huggies!

Formula feeding has been a god send for me and I am so glad I made the decision to do so. I have very settled babies that sleep well, my husband can help me rest by doing some bottle feeds, I can feed Arlo in a reasonable amount of time keeping Ambria happy also, I can relax knowing exactly how much he has had and another big factor for me was being able to have control over my body again! I can be free from huge breasts, breast pads, leaks and higher hormone levels all of which just make me feel totally not myself.

To sum this up, I wish you all well and really hope you have a successful breast feeding journey BUT if you don’t it’s NO big deal and if you don’t want to? WHO CARES? The ONLY person that needs to be happy and comfortable with your decision is YOU! This is YOUR world of motherhood and you need to do what works for your world and do it with confidence.

Don’t waste these precious months and years of our children being little putting pressure on yourself and feeling guilty over things that really should have NO GUILT associated with it. All our babies need is love…

oh and milk, HOWEVER it comes…

sending you all my love and support,

Tahlia xxx

Hospital Bags For Mum And Bub

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Usually for your first birth, given the circumstances, you rock up to hospital totally over prepared, over packed with absolutely no clue what you need and what your going to really use. I was the opposite, as a first time mum I arrived with basically nothing for the baby thinking it would all be there other than a going home outfit! I was so un prepared! Ambria spent the whole time in hospital in cloth nappies and the hospital gown until I had someone come and drop off things I realised I needed or didn’t expect to need! Such as formula as it took 5 days for my milk to come in. They also used things and brands that now with experience I don’t like and wouldn’t use on my baby. So whilst there are many many blogs and info on “What to pack for hospital” I’m just sharing what I will be packing and why.  Some people might not agree with my choices but its what I’m comfortable with and what I’m used to and what I know we will use in our house hold, each to their own, take and leave what you like.

I pack 2 bags, one for me and one for Bub, this is just because its easier to find things and feel organised having seperate bags. I also have my bags packed at 35 weeks, this is because I feel like anytime after this point Bub could arrive unexpectedly and I want to be able to just grab the bags and run especially when I live an hour away from the hospital I have decided to birth at.

I buy new supplies and travel size toiletries so that they are all in a small cosmetic bag, packed and ready to go and I’m not having to remember to throw in shampoo, toothbrush, face wash etc in a hurry, they are not the usual brands I use but will do for my stay at hospital.

So here are my lists for mum and Bub I hope this makes packing a little easier for you, when there is so much unknown having a baby its good to atleast feel the best prepared you can be, even though this is my second Bub and I definitely feel far more confident with what I think ill need, every Bub and birth is different so its hard to know exactly what you will need, my lists I feel cover all bases, keep in mind these are the brands I feel confident with you can alter to your liking.

WHAT TO PACK FOR BUB

  • Huggies newborn nappies
  • Huggies unscented wipes
  • Some soft comfortable clothing appropriate for the season ill be packing Bonds suits (wash all new clothing first) pack socks if your suits don’t have covered feet
  • mittens, (optional) Bubs do tend to scratch their little faces
  • Moogoo bath wash for if we do happen to bath him at hospital
  • Tommee Tippee newborn bottles
  • munchkin formula ( I had massive issues breast feeding Ambria and she was basically on breast and bottle from birth until I weaned her at 3- 4months postpartum, breastfeeding may be more successful for me this time around but ill be prepared for if it isn’t and won’t hesitate to do whats best for me and my baby, we had a very successful experience using breast and bottle Ambie was an extremely content baby, slept long hours from day one and has continued to do so, again each to their own on this topic )
  • Difrax newborn dummies ( again, each to their own,  we choose to use dummies to help settle our babies and find they will take to them if used early on, they are also proven to help prevent sids, this brand is just what we like and trust)
  • A new soft bunny/bear, so that he has it from birth as a gift from mummy and daddy and to take a precious photo of him looking tiny with his first soft toy.
  • wraps,  I like Aden and Anais wraps
  • Announcement name plaque/wrap or clothing, this is optional, some people have a name picked and like to take a photo of their little one at the hospital with a personalised item like a beanie or name plate

WHAT TO PACK FOR MUM

  • 2 Pairs of new pyjamas or lounge wear, I like to get something a little special like Peter Alexander, they are so comfortable and look nice enough to wear around the ward, its nice to have a shower and put something new on to make you feel good.  Button down and loose fit is best for feeding.
  • socks/slippers or slides
  • A comfortable outfit to wear home
  • A pack of black comfortable underwear, handy for blood spotting
  • A compression suit, these are recommended for post natural or c sec births to help with swelling  and recovery buts its optional you certainly don’t have to wear one if you don’t want to
  • Travel dental kit from Coles/woolworths
  • Travel size shampoo & conditioner
  • A new roll on deodorant ( again I buy these all new so they are in my bag ready to go and I’m not having to pack my things last minute)
  • A small face wash and moisturiser I’ve packed a small “Sukin” set
  • 2 packs of maternity pads
  • Breast pads
  • A small makeup kit. I’ve just put some old products I don’t use in a little cosmetic bag that will be good enough to freshen me up and use just for hospital, just a foundation bottle and sponge, blush and blush brush, lip balm and mascara.
  • One of my perfumes to smell fresh, even if I don’t feel great it always makes me feel better to smell nice after a shower and apply some perfume
  • I pad, if you are in there for a few days you might want to watch a movie here and there in between snuggles to keep you occupied.
  • SNACKS! Double check if your hospital has a cafe, however I am a chocolate lover so ill be packing some post birth treats that are ready and waiting for me  lol

I hope this has been useful! Again, this is just what ill be packing to suit me, feel free to use and not use what you wish.

GOODLUCK to all my mamas on your upcoming arrivals! I wish you all a safe and positive delivery.

Lots of love to you all,

Tahlia xxx

Dressing For Spring Racing All The Do’s & DONTS!


For many years spring time meant one thing to me, FASHIONS ON THE FIELD! Over the last 10 years I have competed, placed and judged many FOTF events, This year being pregnant with baby number two I have to sit on the sidelines and watch all the rest of you get frocked up! So, I decided if I can’t be there I may as well be involved by helping you ALL get race day ready! Whether its just getting dolled up to enjoy the day or competing in FOTF here is all you need to know about pulling off the perfect outfit for spring racing!


Lets go over a few house rules for the average race goer who doesn’t intend on entering fashions on the field but rather just wants to get dressed up and possibly get blind drunk and walk home with no shoes on ( we all see those poor souls each year, bless them) which by the way is totally fine, its all about having fun, HOWEVER, for race meets, ladies, PLEASE leave your club wear at home. This is a day for you to bring out your inner “lady” the general standard for race wear is knee length dresses and covered shoulders, tailored well cut dresses are always a good choice, skip the lycra, sequins and jersey fabric please! Showing a midriff is also definitely frowned upon for racing attire. Maybe re consider the sky high platforms for a more sophisticated shoe choice. It goes without saying, you will need to wear some kind of head piece, fascinator or hat, which ties in nicely with your dress, bag and shoes. Open toe shoes are appropriate for spring racing. Hair, nails and Make up should all be tidy, make up should always be suitable for day time so leave the dark smokey eyes for night time. Spring time “theme” is always BRIGHT this is the time of year to wear standout bold colours or you can always go the safe option of soft pretty florals which is here to stay for the next 200,000 springs ahead. You will find it easy to buy things off the wrack that are well suited for race days at this time of year. Some good places to try for the perfect dress with a low budget are David Jones, Review, Forever New, Myer, Sheike and ASOS, however keep in mind dresses from popular retailers such as these just won’t cut it for big FOTF events as there can be multiple women in the same dress ( ill get into FOTF shortly). For millinery you can also find some lovely matching pieces at David Jones and Myer, but there are also plenty of milliners who have many pieces available on Ebay and Etsy you just have to look for them by using search words such as “millinery” or “Headpiece” again, a lot are very affordable and if you get in early enough they may even be able to make you something perfect for your dress. On that note why not try making one yourself? Totally cheap and you can choose the perfect colours, all you will need is a starting base, for e.g a plain straw boater hat or head band, a hot glue gun, cut up faux florals, feathers or whatever choice of accessories you like and arrange them on the head piece of choice. A simple floral head band is perfect for spring and very easy to make! Look up You Tube for a tutorial!

Lets move on to the ladies who might be interested in lining up for FASHIONS ON THE FIELD this year!


Honestly, for me,  its ALOT of fun and slightly addictive BUT if you’re serious about placing or even just nailing a winning look, it takes lots of creative thinking, unique design, preparation and head to toe polishing. Here is a run down of what I do to design a winning look and be FOTF ready on the day…

  • Design a unique look, ill draw up a dress and head piece and get in contact with a dress maker and one of my favourite milliners well before race season to discuss the outfit and start the process of having them made
  • Sometimes I’ve been lucky enough to find a rare unique dress overseas or by a designer and in that case its only the millinery I have custom made to match the dress
  • Fittings, I have a fitting with both the dress maker and milliner to make sure it all fits and all the colours compliment each other with enough time to make changes and alterations
  • Choose accessories, in previous years I’ve bought a simple bag and had it covered in the same fabric as my dress or head piece, decide on accessories such as earrings, shoes and gloves, half style gloves for spring, your outfit MUST look cohesive from head to toe
  • The week of the races ill have my hair freshly coloured, brows done, nails done in the appropriate colour and sometimes if needed a light natural spray tan (don’t show up orange it will literally detract points)
  • On the day ill have a stylist do my hair in a neat and tidy up do so that it doesn’t detract from my millinery, generally most FOTF entrants will have their hair up styled and not out. I am quite good at makeup as over the years I’ve had plenty of experience however in the early days I always had my makeup done professionally which I suggest if you are not handy at this yourself, makeup should be cohesive with your outfit.


To win FOTF EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of your look needs to be polished and perfect, race wear rules need to be strictly adhered to! Classic elegance is always a strong winner however as always, with anything, it can depend on the style and opinion of the judges on the day so even if you don’t place NEVER take it to heart. They might be going for something incredibly unique, specifically on trend, for e.g mesh, embroidered, metallic etc or pick a winner who’s look involved the most difficulty in design and construction. You can study magazines, follow milliners and style icons to keep up to date with whats trending or you can do what I do and design something YOU love that suits YOUR style and hope for the best! Sometimes its paid off and sometimes it hasn’t but even when I don’t win I’ve always had the BEST time with beautiful photos as memories. Ive met many friends and milliners who have become friends of mine over the years through competing in fashions on the field, and believe it or not the women competing are ALWAYS so gorgeous inside and out, always complementing each others efforts and just there to enjoy one of their passions FASHION.

Regardless of how you choose to dress for the upcoming spring carnival I hope that above all you just enjoy the day with your friends! I can’t wait to see all the photos of you all dressed up as I scroll through over the coming weeks!  AND if you are the one to get blind drunk and walk home with no shoes on and a fascinator falling off your head? then please take a photo of that too as ill appreciate that just as much whilst I am at home unable to fit a custom made potato sack!

Much love to you all,

 

Tahlia xxx



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Up Your Insta Photography Game

Ask and you shall receive, here it is, a blog on how I take photos for my Instagram page @housewifestyle, what I use, cameras, editing, tips and tricks!

lets get straight into it shall we?

WHATS YOUR STYLE AND WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE??

Firstly, it depends on what kind of page you have or what you’re hoping to achieve. Many pages I follow are not for their beautifully thought out content, I follow them for their witty captions and down to earth view of day to day mum life, they will snap selfies, unedited raw pics with no particular theme in mind. For this kind of page an I phone is totally fine because photography isn’t their thing, they connect through just being their awesome selves and posting photos that are totally relatable to the daily grind. Other pages, I follow because they are incredibly creative, the photos and themes are perfectly styled and visually captivating, you can appreciate the hard work it has taken them to have every photo intertwined. I believe I fall somewhere in the middle, I love to write honestly and give people a realistic insight into our lives but I have a passion for beautiful images that I use to partner my captions. I wouldn’t say I have a theme but I do try to keep my page looking clean and professional, my photos are all taken using a DSLR and I keep the feel light, fresh, pretty and bright however I personally don’t like matching colour themes etc as it leaves me limited to what I can share. So all that said, have a think about what kind of page you want to have and stick with it!  Make sure its true to you because other wise you won’t enjoy it! If beautiful imagery is the path you want to go down then read on and ill do my best to share what I know!


WHAT DO YOU NEED? WHAT DO I USE?

To take good photos you NEED a good camera, I often have people ask, “can’t I just take them on my iPhone and use an editing app?” yes, of course you can but your quality won’t be like you see on beautifully curated Instagram pages. Pretty much all lifestyle/fashion bloggers use a professional DSLR camera or a good quality mirrorless camera such as the Olympus pen which is loved for travel bloggers as its light, compact and takes great photos, there are SO many varieties. I believe you get what you pay for however you don’t need to spend thousands, If you want to get into photography I would start with an entry level DSLR first, stick with brands like canon and Nikon, learn to use an entry level camera, see if you like it, then sell it and move on to a bigger and better camera in time. I use a full frame Nikon D750 it was around $3000 including the lens kit which is a 24mm-120 portrait sense, its for professional shooting and I’m still figuring out its many features, however manual mode on a camera thats good quality is far easier to use than on an entry level, well with Nikon anyway! When buying a DSLR try to pick one that is “full frame” and has wifi/bluetooth settings, why? lets not get technical, Full frame is just far better as it has a larger sensor area, wifi or bluetooth means you can transfer your photos straight to you phone, straight into apps straight onto instagram! lifesaver! I have NEVER uploaded photos onto my computer to edit using photoshop or light room etc, why? because I don’t have time and at the moment I get a good enough result with what I am doing, its time efficient and still looks good so why change a good thing. I do intend on learning how to use photoshop and Lightroom to take my photography to the next level. However, right now I do whats convenient, my photos are only for me, my followers and not for paying customers, other than people that pay me for content in which case they generally already like my style and I can easily send them good quality photos to be used on social media. If I was a paid photographer needing to do large prints etc id obviously be editing them professionally to be able to give them to customers in high resolution.

You MUST I repeat, MUST learn to use you camera on manual setting! I’ve also changed the setting on my camera to shoot on “RAW” this means its taken at the highest quality and if you do intend to use professional editing like photoshop you can zoom in to the finest frame and it will still be clear enough to edit tiny features in the image, despite that, it just gives you better quality overall. You will never achieve perfect images at all times of the day, in all different lighting if you do not know how to use your camera on manual. Even when its late afternoon and getting darker inside my house, I usually can change my camera settings to make certain areas look incredibly bright, if it was on auto the images would be dark.

Never use a flash, it changes the look of photos and just isn’t nice in my opinion! It seems like way to much info at first learning the three key things to manual photography which are iso, aperture and shutter speed but when you get it, you get it and you can quickly become a pro at using it on manual changing the settings in seconds to suit changing light. I learnt with You Tube, trust me if I can learn so can you! because I am hopeless with tech stuff! I sat down with tutorials on my computer with my camera in my hand and a note pad and just started figuring it out as I watched, making notes and taking test shots as they explained the settings, generally you can find tutorials for the exact camera you are using. You Tube things such as “what is Iso, aperture and shutter speed” and “how to shoot on manual setting” or better still try to find a tutorial for your specific camera to walk through its features. I’m lucky enough that my husband also learnt how to use our camera, I simply just showed him manual settings one weekend and he literally nailed it in one session, now he can always pick up the camera and take a great photo, Again if he can, you DEFINITELY can lol!

 

LIGHTING

For most lifestyle bloggers, brand reps etc, Using natural lighting is everything, its the kind of style I love as most people are drawn to beautiful, natural, bright photos. For outside, mornings and afternoons are perfect, the middle of the day is always to hard as the sun is to harsh right above you, I’m sure professionals work through this all the time but I avoid it as I can’t seem to get what I’m looking for. For inside, you can shoot all day provided the room is filled with natural light, find a sunny spot in your home to practise, images are always beautiful with the subject in front of where the light is coming in, this is how you achieve that beautiful glow and dust sprinkles behind them just as you can achieve outside in that beautiful golden hour in the afternoon! Practise makes perfect you just need to try shooting in all different areas at all different times of day to get a feel for whats easiest and where the sweet spots are, reading will only help so much, get a hang of the manual setting and go and practise, I wish I could tell you there wasn’t a bit of hard work involved but like most things practise and knowledge is key!

For “fake lighting” I sometimes but RARELY use my “ring light” I use this if I need to take photos of my face for beauty products etc. Its the furthest thing from natural light which is why I don’t often use it, but if you are in to beauty blogging or even Vlogging then you will love a ring light! It will make your face look bright, detailed and make your eyes sparkle, but overall you won’t need this unless you want to do videos or photos of makeup etc!


EDITING

I really don’t like editing, I always try to get the lighting perfect and take a good photo to begin with as this takes the work out of editing! If you take advantage of beautiful lighting with a manual camera setting you will find your photos are already beautiful! A LOT of my photos are literally uploaded straight from my camera, to my phone onto Instagram without any editing but sometimes if the photos are to dark or I want to soften or sharpen the look ill simply edit using an app.

EDITING USING APPS AND EQUIPMENT.

Once my photos are loaded on to my phone ill go through and select my favourites and delete the rest so there isn’t clutter on my phone. For Some I will simply brighten the colour and brightness using the I phone setting in photos. when that isn’t enough I resort to my apps! Here are some you can try, again I am not a professional, in fact professionals probably hate these apps, this is just specifically what I do for my photos I even only use these apps to the bare minimum and probably only know half of whats available on them, however for basic editing features its simple.

SNAP SEED APP

To be honest Its very hard to instruct how to use these apps, there might be video tutorials out there for you, but I’m telling you they are easy enough! Just upload a photo and start fiddling around with all the features! It comes with heaps of pre sets where at the tap of your finger the work is done for you, it will brighten, add filters, defocus and add clarity to your photos along with a tonne of other things, most of the time fiddling around with the colour, brightness, filter and clarity is enough for me. Upload a photo and play around with it, Go into the “tools” section, this has a range of tools you can use to soften or sharpen sections of a photo, bring out detail, edit out imperfections and add glow to your photos. Try each of the tools you will figure out very quickly the way they can change or enhance a photo. For e.g “heal” can blur out certain things you want to remove from the shot etc, “portrait” will automatically zoom into the face and you can select presets that improve facial appearance mainly through lighting and clarity it doesn’t actually change how you physically look, this feature can also help to make eyes clear or particular features that are grainy from a distance. Again though, I can’t stress enough, if you’re going to have success editing you need to be working on a photo that actually has good aspects to it, this I can’t help with as I believe having a natural ability to capture something that makes a special image, can’t be taught, or if its taught it takes a lot of practise with the insight of another who has an eye for photography..

VSCO App

I don’t use this much but there are certain filters I like on here that I can’t achieve on on snap seed. You can adjust the filter strengths. so when you find one you like adjust the strength it may just add the right amount of warmth you need to a cold coloured photo or vice versa, you can always fine tune in snap seed then upload the edited photo into VSCO and apply a favourite filter a lot of people use the same filter for every photo to have a synchronised look on their page, I don’t do this because I don’t have a “match matchy” page lol but if you are willing to put the time and effort into creating a colour coordinated page then sticking to a regular filter is ideal.

 

FACETUNE APP

This app is used a lot by makeup bloggers to perfect and fine tune their faces, however since I rarely upload selfies and really don’t like when people edit their faces to the point where you can’t recognise them this is NOT why I use this app lol.  I use this app for 2 features only the “details” feature, amd defies feature. The other apps have these features but I find these specific things easier to use on facetune, other than that I don’t use facetone much at all.

DONT over edit, you want to still look like you and more importantly you want your children to look like children! I personally don’t like “over done” sometimes I see images that have been so over edited that you can’t even see the persons facial features because they have smoothed the crap out of it, added fake edited make up and it doesn’t look clear or appealing, plus you can TOTALLY tell they have done this so whats the point! Its totally ok to want to want to improve and edit your images and I certainly won’t judge if you want to remove a huge pimple for a lifestyle/beauty shoot! But there is a line I do not cross I never want to look “over edited” or not myself. If I need to I edit, I do so because I want a professional looking finish for my page and for the products I am showcasing or being paid to advertise but I always want to be natural, thats just my style.
TRIPODS! Need I say more, if you are a blogger, brand rep or just a mama who is sick of waiting for someone to pick up a camera and take a few pics of you with your kids, then you need a tripod! We all use them, there is no shame, I once stood in the middle of a busy road in Bali with my tripod set up in front of a beautiful wall and wouldn’t leave until I got the perfect shot, traffic just had to go around me while I posed. lol


LOCATION AND SETTING

If you want beautiful images you need to create a beautiful space! Go for a drive and find pretty leafy areas, beautiful gardens, interesting walls or backdrops anything thats visually appealing. If you are at home with babies and don’t have a perfectly styled room then create a pretty area just for photography! when my daughter was a baby I would buy cheap fabrics to use as backdrops they always looked beautiful. You Tube and Pinterest have plenty of ideas just search “DIY photography studio” and you will get a range of ideas that suit your budget and home. you could even buy a cheap white backdrop from eBay, hit your local trash and treasure stores for some props and then you have a little area to practise and get started with styling some settings. If you are into product styling a white base and white backdrop to style your products on is a must if you don’t already have a white kitchen or somewhere suitable to shoot, but it doesn’t have to be expensive! I used to use white sheets then use the “smooth” editing tool in the app to disguise the creases, it just looked like a white backdrop! I however don’t really do product styling anymore, my page is more a lifestyle page showcasing things we use or wear in a candid way, for e.g. Ambie playing in her room and just capturing all her cheeky toddler moments.

So as you can see what I do is fairly basic, it comes down to quality, knowledge of your camera, taking advantage of good lighting and of course using your natural ability to create beautiful settings and scenes to take beautiful shots.  I wish I could tell you that you could simply use your iPhone and apps to create perfect pictures every time, whilst you can still manage quite good photos with your phone, if you really want good quality you must invest a bit of time to learn and money for decent equipment.

So to summerise I believe you need,

  • A good quality DSLR Nikon or canon that can import direct to your phone
  • Learn to shoot in RAW manual mode ( using Iso, aperture, shutterspeed)
  • A full size Tripod
  • patience and practise
  • Get familiar with apps, snap seed, VSCO, Facetune (if you can’t be bothered with computer software like Lightroom and photoshop like me)
  • creativity and signature style, you need to have a passion for creating visually beautiful images and a style/theme that suits you that you can stick to.

 

I hope this answered some of your questions, or I apologise if I don’t have enough knowledge for you, I too, am still a beginner and still learning. Don’t get disheartened if it doesn’t all come together the first time you try to shoot with your new camera or on manual setting, it didn’t work for me the first few times and I nearly threw my camera at a wall,  then all of a sudden I changed one setting, took an amazing photo and it all just made sense! Stick with it, keep practising! Use resources like Youtube etc! Its how most people learn and we all started at the beginning too!

For me it was a hobby, that became a passion that became a job I love, being paid for my styled images is such a credit to the hard work I have put in over the past year to my Housewifestyle page, if you are going to stick with it you NEED to love it, like anything, if you enjoy it you will enjoy the journey even when its tough.

GOODLUCK and don’t give up, you can never have enough knowledge and there is always more to learn if your willing and passionate enough to try!

 

Lots of Love,

Tahlia xxx