Louisa Claire

Read more posted in October, 2011

A Halloween Rant…and Confession

I have a confession.

I was very ready to have a big rant about the way Halloween is being increasingly celebrated in Australia. While I am aware that it did not originate in America it is most widely and opulently celebrated in North America and Canada and next to Christmas, it’s the holiday that features most strongly in American film and television. To deny that the rising popularity it has found in Australia is due to anything other than American influence is…well….deluded.

Just sayin’

BUT…I’ve read a lot of blog posts about this and had some very interesting conversations about and have realised that for some Australians this is becoming quite a big deal. It’s not changed my mind about it but certainly given me an insight into some other perspectives.

In particular, I can see that for expat communities, celebrating Halloween is a way of helping them feel connected to their culture and a way of sharing that with the people who they now share community with.

The best thing I’ve heard is from a friend whose street celebrates each year – they receive a letter in the mail in the lead up to Halloween asking if they would like to take part and if so to put a sign up on their letter box. That way any trick or treaters know which houses are participating and which to avoid. For an area with quite a few US expats that sounds like a great approach.

BUT I do think that joking about Satan is just not funny and I think kids dressing up as the devil also not funny.

Not funny.

I’m sure that to some of you I am sounding like a total party pooper. That’s not it, I promise! I’m all for fun and parties – can’t stop me, but I’d love to see us creating a celebration that is a reflection of our culture or priorities rather than just adopting one from Hollywood.

What about you? How do you feel about Halloween in Australia? Will you and/or your little ones be out trick or treating tonight?


Did you know…

When I finished school I really wanted to go overseas – take some time off, explore the world and have a break. My parents were not so keen on this idea. Thus it was I found myself rocking up to Sydney Uni to study a bachelor of bugger all (B.Arts) and flunk out fairly spectacularly! Having failed 3 out of 8 subjects in my first year things slowly picked up until low and behold I found myself actually wanting to keep studying and moving to Melbourne to do so.

I finished my honours year at Monash Uni and a little while later started another degree, this time a theological one at Ridley College in Parkville. Since the move to Melbourne I have spent most of my times straddling two worlds. I’ve worked multiple jobs and studied, I’ve worked and studied, I’ve studied on campus and I’ve studied by distance, I’ve mothered, worked and studied and now I am just mothering and working – it’s enough…for now.

I can see myself heading back for more study…I almost did it this year but as it’s happened I’ve taken quite a different path. Whenever I do go back I know I will be looking for a course that understands the demands of family and working life, a course that designed to work within those constraints and not against them. A course a bit like this one…

If you are thinking of studying Newcastle Uni has open days this week for their “Designed For Life” courses…

Newcastle Postgrad Study Expo
Thursday November 3rd – 4-7pm
Harbourview Function Centre
Queenswharf, Wharf Road, Newcastle

Sydney Postgrad Study Expo
Thursday November 10th – 4-7pm
The University of Newcastle
Corner of Sussex & Bathurst Street, Sydney


Have you ever studied and worked/mothered, or considered it? What made you do it…or held you back?
If you could study one thing, what would it be?


This is not a sponsored post however I was asked to promote this course via my consulting business, Brand Meets Blog and I chose to write about it on my blog as well as it’s something I am very familiar with and think sounds like a great option for post-grad study.


My Style: For the Kids – Rock Your Baby Fashion

When it comes to kids fashion I have to admit, I’m a sucker for cute. I’ll happily stock up on the target variety tshirts, but I can’t go past some of the beautiful and funky clothes out there for little people. Finding a label that’s at a good price point can be a bit hard (hot tip: David Jones stocktake sale is the place to buy labels like Bebe, Pure Baby, Wolf etc…) but Rock Your Baby is ticking lots of boxes for me at the moment!

Since putting Bliss in this super cute top

Rock Your Baby, kids fashion, kids style

Pearl Necklace $27


to this gorgeous party dress below $39.95

circus party dress, Rock Your Baby

I’ve decided I’m very partial to this brand! I love that they have such funky clothes at such great prices and that they deliver express post for $10. Last week, with summer seemingly upon us, I popped back online and picked up a couple more items for bliss, while eyeing off a couple of others…

1. Strawberry Fields Playsuit $29.90
2. Ruffle Shorts $29.90
3. Bowtie Pink Tshirt $25
4. Lou Lou $29.90

For the boys I think these are adorable…

rock your baby, boys fashion, clothes for boys

1. Western Short $39.95
2. Chaplin T-shirt $26 $10


There’s also a part of me that’s wants to go matchy-matchy with the kids…

Chuck Shorts with Sash $37
Chuck Shorts $35


As you have probably picked up from all the My Style posts thus far, the price point is a big thing for me. Occasionally there’ll be something worth splurging on but most of the time, I’m looking for quality with a reasonable price tag. Rock Your Baby is rocking my wallet.

Where do you buy kids clothes?
Are there brands that you just adore? Do you Rock Your Baby too?



5 Kid-Friendly Cafes In Melbourne

For those who have been reading for a little while you will know that earlier this year Bliss broke her leg and spent 9 weeks in a cast. Oh yeah, it was super fun.


During that time I got to explore more of Melbourne’s coffee scene for kids. I’ve always been of the opinion that if I don’t take the kids to places like this then they’ll never learn to go and I’ll never get to go… and I want to go. So we’ve slogged it out, taking Bliss to cafes and restaurants since she was a few days old. There have been times when we’ve wanted to give up, but going out is one of those sanity things for us – so we’ve persisted and I’m pleased to say it’s been worth it.

Last weekend I wrote a post about a local cafe experience that was less than stellar and was surprised by the number of comments that post got, and the dirth of truly kid-friendly cafes around so today I’m sharing with you my 5 face kid-friendly cafes in Melbourne.

What I love about all these places is that they have factored in the needs of parents and children and created really different spaces that work for both.

1. Tea Time & Tales, North Carlton

I discovered this little gem by accident one day and fell in love. It’s a cafe with toys, a library and bookstore, and a gorgeous little outdoor space out the back. The cutest part is that every week they run cooking classes for kids! You come along, your child cooks with a teacher and you can either join in or chill out with a coffee. It’s such a great idea and a really lovely, light space. I’m a big fan!

2. Little Creatures, Balwyn

Ok, so the website for this place really lets it down but you have to believe me when I say this place is incredible. It’s 3/4 play area and 1/4 cafe. The coffee is pretty bad and they say they do lunch (for adults) but I’ve never seen any there BUT putting those things aside it’s incredible. The owner takes real pride in keeping it clean and tidy so it’s never a mess and she’s really careful to tidy up after the kids as they move between the varying play stations. Yes, play-stations! There’s a reading corner, a dress up station, a home corner, a market shop, a lego station and a slide. Oh and a train table for the littles. It’s bright, clean and the kids LOVE it. It’s the sort of place I”m happy to go with 4 kids in tow and know that they will have a blast and I can either play with them, or sit and have a coffee. They also do a really simple lunch for kids which is great so I can feed my kids up before getting in the car and heading home. This is definitely my favourite play centre for kids in Melbourne – bad coffee and all!

To give you a better sense of it here are some pics from one of our visits…

little creatures balwyn, kid friendly cafes melbourne,

3. Cafe Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe

A word about Ivanhoe in general. Ivanhoe is one of the most family friendly suburbs I’ve come across and every cafe I’ve been to on Heidelburg Road has been just brilliant at accommodating the kids. If am ever catching up with friends for coffee and Ivanhoe is a vaguely central location I suggest there because it just makes the whole experience easier.

Cafe Ivanhoe is great – they have a few toys, a high chair and even a booth seat at the back which works so well. The reason it’s so great though has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the attitude of the staff who are just at ease with the kids – bring out the babycino’s quickly and generally make it not just an easy experience, but a pleasant one!

4. Alfio’s Cafe, Fairfield

I first discovered Alfio’s during my brief stint with a personal trainer this year (ahem). Alfio’s was just around the corner from the studio and I rocked in one morning, both kids with me and all of us absolutely starving. The staff were so friendly and helpful with the kids it put me at ease straight away – not to mention they serve the best bircher muesli I’ve had in Melbourne! I had such a great experience that I kept going back.  It’s not a super trendy cafe such as you might expect on Station St in Fairfield but it’s got outdoor seating, big windows at the front of the cafe, lovely food (seriously, try the bircher!) and they are great with the kids (plenty of pram room too).

5. Birdie Num Nums

No list of this sort can fail to include Birdie’s! One of the reasons I love Birdies so much is not just because it’s close to where I live and they have a sandpit (not to mention the yummiest corn fitters!) but because if you walk a few doors up from it you come across the most delightful children’s bookshop – The Little Bookroom. A visit to Birdie’s is a chance to kill two birds with one stone! (bad pun?)

Birdies has a large, comfortable inside area and an equally large outdoor area complete with sandpit and toys. It’s designed to be a place for families to come so it can be busy but we’ve always had a really good experience when visiting.


So there you have it – my top 5 places to go with the kids in tow…

Do you take your kids to cafes? What makes it work for you? Do you have a favourite?

Incoming search terms:

  • little creatures balwyn


My Style: Shoe Lust

A fun collection of yellow shoes, celebrating this wonderful colour that is so popular at the moment.

‘Shoe Lust’ by ellce88

Enough said…

size 8 vintage 80s Aurulent …

Vintage Mustard Yellow Leath…

Vintage MOD Yellow GOLD Pump…

Daisy Yellow Cut out Espadri…

Vintage 80s PROXY Yellow Lea…

Yellow Women’s Shoes Sli…

Snowed In: My Only Sunshine …

Walkin’ on Sunshine Vint…

vintage multi strap yellow l…

Yellow leather sandals

Lemon-Lime Studded Pumps- 19…

S N E A K S / size 9

SALE Handmade Caimen Hornbac…

Bananarama Vintage 1950s Ban…

Handmade Indian Inspired Sli…

Vintage RARE yellow classic …


Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.


If these ones were my size…they would be mine already!

yellow vintage boots, yellow shoes, vintage boots

Are you loving yellow at the moment? Any of these shoes make you swoon?


Self-Sabotage and Mindful Eating

Confession time. I fell into some bad patterns over Bear’s birthday ‘season’. Somewhere between having an abundance of smarties in the house and multiple dinners out I allowed myself to slacken off. I was aware of it and yet…those old habits die hard.

It all felt too hard – to hard to count every calorie, to think so much about what to eat when I was hungry and to not eat for the sake of it…but somehow, last Friday I made the decision to stop and change. To really stop.

I want this!

Saturday morning I stepped up to the plate…or in this case, the scales and took a deep breath. I had mentally prepared to be back to the beginning and felt quite anxious about things being even worse than that.

I was down  1.5kg – just a short 0.3kg away from my first goal.

I didn’t really know what to say about it…I was ready to confess my bad ways here and wanted to find a positive way to write about it because it’s too easy to focus on the negatives, on how hard it is but here I am. I am back on the wagon and over the past fews days realising that it’s the little things that happen in your mind that make a difference. That thought I’d falled off the wagon I was still listening to my bodies hunger signs, drinking water or berocca instead of eating carbs, eating less fruit, eating more mindfully.

In a few weeks 12WBT is going to be over.

Here’s hoping the mindfulness is just beginning.


Are you a mindful eater? What’s your biggest challenge and your best tip?