Louisa Claire

My Style

Help A Mum Out: Costume Wings and other Cool Kid Costumes!

It’s a tough life being a Mum and choosing Christmas presents for an almost 6 year old girl. I am totally kidding of course, it’s the biggest privilege in the world.  I am beyond grateful!

My kiddos are big into dress ups at the moment but most of what we have are el-cheapo jobs that are falling to pieces or too small. Last night I came across a Melbourne business called Sparrow & B and have fallen head over heals for their amazing creations.

I’ve now spent several hours drooling over their site – I do love me a good locally made Chrissy present after all- and it just felt mean of me not to share them with you!! I sent the girls, Sandi and Belinda, a quick email today to get their permission to use their images and asked them a couple of questions…Sandi came back to me because Belinda was off in labour having her second bub (Huge congrats Belinda!!!)

How did Sparrow & B come about? What sparked the dream?  We started the business at the beginning of this year. I was making tutus and Belinda had the idea to join forces & make costumes, everything has moved very quickly since then!

What inspires you? We’re both utterly love with our children who would be own main inspiration! We are both very passionate about taking care of our beautiful planet, this & our distaste for mass produced junk is another big inspiration for us. We hope to bring creativity & fun to kids with unique, Comfortable costumes that will grow with them for many years.

Do you have a favourite costume? My favourite costume… oooh that’s tough! The bear capes are so cuddly & cute, the owls are lots of fun to make, all the wings are bright & fun. Sorry I’ve never been good at picking favourites!

 Butterfly Wings (come in a variety of colours)

Costumes for Kids, Melbourne Costume Shop, Creative Costumes, Dress Ups for Kids,
Super cute cat masks
Cat Costume SAB

 This amazing snake cape

Costumes for Kids, Melbourne Costume Shop, Creative Costumes, Dress Ups for Kids, Snake Costume. Snake dress up, Snake cape

These divine wings which come in a variety of colours/styles

Golden Bird Wings SAB
Rainbow bird wings SAB
Today this Unicorn costume was updated and OH MY GOODNESS!!!!
Is this every girls dream costume or what?!?!
unicorn dress ups, unicorn costume, handmade unicorn costume

 Which costume would your little one love?

 


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Parenting

I seem to have lost my cruisy-parenting-mojo and I’m not sure how to get it back…

When Bliss was born I had my parenting books at the ready and of course, every second person came armed with advice too! I’ve probably only touched the surface of the books that have been written and while some of them have been great it has often made me wonder if that’s where our confidence is meant to come from? It often feels like there’s just too much information out there for parents and most of the time the ‘experts’ contradict each other!

There was one mum I was friends with who became my “go to” person. She had 4 kids and I liked them, and her, and the way there were with each other. I figured that was a good place to start. I think I chose well because every time I would ring with a question she’d ask me what I thought. She was happy to tell me what it had been like for her and how she’d approach certain things with her own kids but she always empowered me to work out what I thought by reminding me that no one knew Bliss the way I did. She was the only person who did this; mostly people just want to tell you what they did and why you should do it to.

Now that I’ve had three children myself I’ve realised that just because something worlds for one child doesn’t mean it will work for another and so her advice has stood me in really good stead. You can read as many books as you like but at the end of the day no one knows your child as well as you do and you’ve got to trust your own instincts.

But something’s changed.

A few months ago Bluey got sick and I missed it. Badly. We’d had a virus going through the family and when he got it I didn’t think much of it. One night he got quite worked up and The Architect and I considered taking him to hospital. Once we got some panadol into him and he settled in to sleep in my arms, I lay awake in bed for a while wondering if I should be waking him up and taking him in but ultimately I didn’t want to overreact and so let him sleep. I got him to our local doctor early the next day and he did a few obs and then told me we needed to go to the hospital. I casually replied, no worries – I’ll swing by home and grab a few things and then we’ll head in. That wasn’t quite what the doctor had in mind though; a few minutes later he had an ambulance and a fire engine en route to us – whoever got to us first would be taking us in. We spent the next six days in RCH with a few of those nights spent in ICU. Bluey’s oxygen levels had been down in the 60s and his breath/min rate was up in the 80s. If you’ve never had a child with bronchial issues these numbers will mean nothing to you. If you have then you’ll understand why he was where he was. (Oxygen should be 100 and breaths/min should be between 20-40, more than 60 and you’re in trouble).

I didn’t post about it at the time because, well, I was a bit distracted and even now some of the photos feel too personal to share. They probably don’t look like much but they fill me with emotion…

in the ambulance

bluey ambulance

in short stay, waiting to see which way he’d go
bluey sick 2

in ICU
bluey ICU

I was pretty calm that week; level headed enough to realise how lucky we were that it wasn’t more serious, to know that we were in an amazing hospital and that we would be going home soon enough.

But it’s really shaken my confidence.

I don’t trust my intuition anymore. I second guess myself and regularly unsure about whether I’m ‘missing’ things/signs/symptoms.

With three kids to look after a bit of extra caution doesn’t go astray but I don’t like how this feels.

We were back at RCH at the weekend and I ran into one of the nurses who had looked after us when Bluey was admitted. Amazingly she remembered me and we had a lovely chat (gosh the staff there are incredible!) As I walked away I heart her talking talking to another nurse about how calm I had been when a Bluey was in and they had called the MET to have him transferred to ICU. (MET stands for ‘medical emergency team.’ This is when they press a button and at least 15 medical staff come running – literally running – with carts, trolleys and machines to assess the child. Personally, I think the reason I didn’t panic was because the RCH staff had done such a great job at preparing us for it and we knew it was going to be the best thing for Blue). It was delivered as a compliment and I appreciated it – I like that I’m not an overly anxious person in these circumstances – but now I find myself constantly second guessing this trait, and I really don’t like it.

It seems I’ve lost my “they’ll be right” parenting mojo and I’m not really sure how to get it back.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Parenting

Do you want your kids to fit in?

This afternoon Bliss and I had some quality time in the car driving around doing errands. She was being her usual, exhuberant self and I turned to her and said “You are SO beautiful. Do you know that?”

She smiled and then continued on with her antics, cracking herself and Bluey up more and more as each moment passed.

“Do you know what else you are?” I said.

Without skipping a beat she cried out “CRAZY!!!”

Got it in one kiddo.

Bliss fairy skirt

We celebrate the crazy in her – as exhausting as her degree of exuberance can be, we know it’s a huge part of who she is and we love that about her. We also don’t ever want her to feel she has to shut down, or conform. Yes of course there are times she needs to understand about behaving appropriately (though, from what her teachers tell us – she knows that already; they all say she is just a delightful girl to be around) but we don’t want her to think that there’s something wrong with her approach to life. In fact, we often think she could teach us a lot about how to embrace the moment!

The other thing we’ve heard from school is something we can see ourselves – somehow, throughout this first year as a school kid, she has managed to avoid becoming self conscious about herself. She says what she thinks without inhibition or fear of reproval from her peers.  She started school a happy, random little chickie and seems to be on track to finish her first school year in much the same fashion… only having learnt a bunch of cool stuff along the way.

Why am I telling you this? Probably because I’ve thought a lot about childhood this past year; what it means to leave the family home and move into the world – my beautiful girl now spends a huge amount of time with people who aren’t her family, people who aren’t wired to love and adore her. We gave a lot of thought to this when it came to choosing a school for her but still, this transition is a big one and you never really know how it’s going to go.

It can be tempting to want your child to fit in, to go with the flow – I guess with the idea that if they can do this they’ll get through unscathed.

Maybe that’s true, but for me – getting through school unscathed is a pretty low benchmark to be setting.

It seems to me that when we talk about “fitting in” what we are really saying is – let’s all be the same, let’s all conform to some external standard of well, being standard. Don’t rock the boat, don’t think outside the square – just get along and try to make nice with people.

So, do I want my kids to fit in? Heck no!

I don’t want them diluting their sense of self in order to get approval from their peers and I certainly don’t want them going quiet about their passions and beliefs in order to be accepted.  I want them to have confidence in who they are and what they believe so that they can stand up for those beliefs and be comfortable with difference. I hope they will seek out and find the good company of other intelligent, independent young folk who are curious about the world and unashamed of who they are and what they stand for. Of course I want them to know how to get on with people and be able to relate with empathy and kindness to the world around them, but I also hope they will strive to be intelligent in their conversation and committed to their views.

This means we’ve got quite a job cut out for us and I pray we’re up for it…the world feels likes a harder place to resist than it was when I was growing up.

 FairyBliss

{Photo credit: Chris Allsop Photography}

What about you? What do you think about fitting in? What are your hopes for your kids?

 
 
 


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The Fast Diet 6 months on

Earlier this year I started the 5:2 diet, otherwise known as The Fast Diet. For the first little while I blogged a diary of my experience with it – I enjoyed the process of recording how my body, and mind, responded to this change of eating habits. I was loving it, and am pleased to say that 6 months on we are still fasting twice a week and have really embraced this way of eating.

The major upside
- I have never felt such freedom with food as I do now. Almost all guilt has evaporated from my thoughts around eating and I have begun to embrace my body as it is.

The challenges
- My weight loss plateaued around the 8 week mark on the diet and I haven’t really lost any weight since. This puts my total weight loss this year at around 10kg, which is still a long way off the 30kg I would ultimately like to lose and a good 10kg off where I had hoped to be at the end of the year.

- I still find the 5-7pm hour a bit tricky to manage with the kids on fast days. I have tried a variety of tactics (having a low cal snack just before I start their dinner time routine etc..) but I think that it’s mostly a mindset issue that I’ll keen working on.

Is it worth it?
110% yes! I really hope that anyone considering this approach to eating realise that it’s about so much more than weight-loss. Yes that part can be great if you need to lose weight to improve your health BUT I really can’t emphasise enough how liberating I find this style of eating and how much freedom it has given me along with mental space to reflect back on the way I view my body and the disordered approach to food I have battled my whole adult life.

The way forward?
I have resisted buying scales as I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a house where we worry about weight and where she sees me weighing myself. At this point I think I could probably get a set of scales for a limit of 6 months and use them discreetly. I think if I was weighing myself on a weekly basis I would be able to pinpoint anything I am doing that is stopping my weight loss

I could keep a food diary but I am not that meticulous a person so imagine I wouldn’t do a very accurate job at this so I don’t know how helpful this would be.

Lastly, I would like to start to incorporate some excercise/movement into my life and now that we are moving into a new stage with the kids I am hoping sleep will be more forthcoming making excercise a more realistic goal.

I’ll continue to share my journey with The Fast Diet here on the blog – and if you have any questions about it please let me know.

You can read my other posts about it here:

My journey so far…
What is the 5:2 Fast Diet and why do it?
Diary of the Fast Diet: Weeks 1-3
Diary of the Fast Diet: Week 4
Diary of the Fast Diet: Week 5
Diary of the Fast Diet: Week 6


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Parenting

Hey parents, how are you going today?

In recognition of Postnatal Depression Awareness week I am reposting something I wrote earlier this year…..

Last week I wrote about spending a night away from the older two kids as part of a competition we ran here on the blog – It was such a treat! As I read the comments coming through I saw a common theme…

Mums tired
Mums messy
Mums thinking about their family, not themselves
And it took me right back…

When Bliss was born I was given a PANDA magnet as I left the hospital. I brought it home and dutifully stuck it on the fridge.  I would occasionally look at it and whenever I found myself at my wits end I would think about that magnet and PANDA. No matter how overwrought I was, I never thought PANDA was for me – surely what I was going through was normal? Surely…

PANDA #bepndaware
The few times I seriously considered calling were outside of their operating hours – I don’t know if I had postnatal depression with Bliss but I do know that I isolated myself to the point where I lost a friendship. I am truly amazed that I didn’t lose more because I simply withdrew; I didn’t return phone calls let alone initiate them and I felt like the biggest failure on earth.

How could it be that I didn’t take to motherhood like a duck to water? This was my lifelong dream! I found all the tasks easy, and we were pretty relaxed on the things that made other new parents anxious, but the emotional transition completely took me by surprise. I had always wanted to be a Mum, a full time stay at home Mum at that. I loved my daughter but I was scared and tired, so very tired. Well meaning comments meant to make me feel less alone like “that happened to me too” only left me feeling more isolated, more lost… perhaps somehow more generic? More than anything, I felt embarrassed.

A large reason I don’t feel embarrassed today is because I know that this is a really common experience and I know that because other people, including a lot of bloggers, have told me through their own stories. If in sharing my own journey just one person feels less alone then it is all worthwhile.

5 years and 2 more children on and I am incredibly clucky. Incredibly! With each child it’s been easier and with Bluey, I have finally taken to it like a duck to water. I love having a baby in the house and easily want another (our bank account currently does not agree with this sentiment). Yes having 3 children has been a total gamechanger and I have never felt busier, but I have also never felt clearer – like I have finally figured this thing out. I think that’s why I have the idea of another baby in my mind…I have finally gotten the hang of things, I’m not ready to stop! {update: Bluey is now 1, I am ready to stop!!!}

Bluey5mos
My story, so far, has had a happy ending. But I know this isn’t always how it goes…and I know that it could only take a few weeks, that turn into months, of sleepless nights to send me backwards.

Last year I started working with PANDA as a charity partner through Brand Meets Blog. I identified with their mission and shared their desire to make support services more available to the public.

Around 48,000 women will be diagnosed with post natal depression this year and PANDA (the Post and Antenatal Depression Association) is the only national helpline that offers counselling for struggling families.

Through my work with PANDA I have learnt that the PANDA helpline offers more than just phone counselling to people who call. PANDA actually take responsibility for making contact with the callers as often as required, for as long as required to ensure that the caller is able to access local support services. PANDA also offer in home visits for people in situations that require it – I find that completely amazing!

If you are struggling or wondering if what you are feeling is normal, please know you are not alone. You can call PANDA anytime, judgement free or visit their website www.panda.org.au If you’re bloke, or living with one and you think he might be struggling then check out www.howisdadgoing.org.au – it’s the new website PANDA have launched to provide support to men who are struggling themselves with postnatal depression or have a partner who is struggling.

 

 If you’re a blogger with a story to tell please join up with Emma from Five Degrees of Chaos – together, we can help break down the stigma.

 
 
 


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Being A Mum

And then there were five

On the eve of Little Blue’s 1st birthday I find myself reflecting on the changes that have come with his arrival over the past year. It would be easy to skip over documenting this because putting them to words feels quite hard; how do I convey all that is in my heart when I feel two equally strong, but very different emotions?

I felt like the luckiest woman alive the day that Bluey was born; in a way it felt like I was finally born myself when he arrived. Perhaps it was the endorphin’s flowing through me after my surprise epidural-free delivery? Perhaps it was that I had mentally prepared myself to slow down in the weeks and months following his birth allowing me to truly embrace that time? Perhaps it was something totally beyond my ability to control! Whatever the reason, he completely stole my heart the moment he was placed in my arms and I can’t imagine my life, nor our family, without him.

 

Baby Blue 2

Baby Blue 9

{photo credit: Teacup Ballet}

At the same time, this past year, has been hands down the hardest year of my parenting life so far. Everything is just ‘always’ – there’s never a moment where no one needs us or needs something from us. I have never juggled so much, spent so much time in doctors waiting rooms and hospitals, nor felt so frazzled.

All this has made it the most physically challenging, exhausting and most sacrificial year that we’ve experienced so far. I have had to accept that my life is permanently altered as a mother and while I am deeply grateful for the gift of motherhood and the gift of each of my beautiful, incredible children I have also realised the impact of the a personal cost attached to caring for little people, however delightful they might be.

I have found writing this post somewhat uncomfortable for I fear that it paints Bluey in a negative way – that in saying I find two children easier to three I am saying that I find Bliss and Bear easier than Bluey. It’s not so much whether you, dear reader, might judge me but that one day my children might misunderstand. Is this the challenge of the ‘mummy blogger’? To convey how two equal but opposite emotions can be held together in a way that feels bizarrely harmonious?!

It is truly hard to imagine a more delightful, easy going, charming little baby that could have joined our family than Bluey. I completely adore him! And I am so grateful for him, not just because he’s been the perfect addition to our little family and is doted on by us all (the other children love him so much I can’t believe they haven’t squished him into a tiny ball already) but because of the ways I have changed because he joined our family, and for the ways I have become a better mother because he is here.

Bluey

 {photo credit: Teacup Ballet}

I thought I would be sad to say goodbye to babyhood when his birthday came around but, as he perches on the cusp of toddlerhood I just feel so very excited about what comes next!

 
Happy birthday my sweet, beautiful, Bluey!
 
 


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