Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Age of Digital Beauty

In this day and age, you can never tell what a person REALLY looks like based on their Social Media profile pictures anymore... don't get me wrong, I am guilty myself for "beautifying" my photos before they go online! After all, especially if you are a Social Media persona who thrives on legit and all-adoring followers, you want to make yourself look presentable and even envied by your adoring fans.

I am not saying that's me - lol I am just a normal person and my most loyal adoring fans are my sisters and my mum and mother-in-law... who really just come here to stalk my cute kids, lol. Which is why I am taking the time to write this blog post.. to explain myself as well as to give you a perspective of what you see on the Internet and in magazine covers etc.

Women are beautiful. We are ALL beautiful! But somehow, beautiful is no longer enough. Somehow, in order to grace the cover of a magazine or to look absolutely stunning in pictures - you need to slap on layer and layers of makeup AND THEN have your photo photo-shopped even more.

What this creates is a new age of "Digital Beauty".

People desire to look stunningly and sometimes unrealistically beautiful so they beautify their selfies and invest in professional photo shoots and hide their true natural beauty underneath layers of physical makeup and digital re-touching.

Even selfie modes on smartphones have been pre-configured to a default "beauty mode" which automatically fixes all your blemishes and gives you a radiant look in every selfie.

What damage can this "trend" cause if you are not careful or mature enough to handle the harsh reality?
  1. You spend much more time on the Internet because this is where you CAN be the popular girl at school, and this is where you CAN be adored by people. The Internet is where you can have high self esteem knowing you can control how you present to others. You become addicted to your "Internet fame".. and thrive on positive comments from your followers.
  2. You become more self conscious "in real life" - choosing an outfit that looks good seems impossible. You feel like you need to spend two hours on your makeup each day just to look good "in real life". On days when you didn't have the time to "doll up" you walk around fearing you will bump into someone who has only seen you on Facebook.
Is this how we want to live? Do I really care if people find me on the streets and realize I look about 10kg heavier than I do on my photos online, and that most days I hardly wear any makeup?? I am just a hoodie and sweatpants mum running my everyday errands with my kids and I haven't showered before I left the house?

The answer is NO.. I don't care. I am comfortable with my skin. I try to look decent so I don't scare the kids at kinder - but I do not try to put on the same persona as I do on my Social Media platforms.

So why do I beautify myself online??

Before I answer, no, I do NOT apply digital make up every photo (the use of MakeUp Plus is just an illustration as an example... although how COOL is that app?!)... but I do make sure the selfie angle compliments me the most, and I choose a nice filter, I do tend to eliminate most blemishes and I do use beauty mode for the "radiant look" etc etc...

The answer is so simple... because IT PLEASES ME.

I don't do it to please others, I do it because it makes ME feel good.

And I know well enough that I can still look like that if I brush my hair and spend a decent amount of time on make up, and put on some nice looking contact lenses, but I am lazy in real life so I use digital tools to do it for me. Win-win!

So I say go ahead, post your BEST photos online and give the best impression of yourself to the world. As long as you don't take it too far and as long as it doesn't turn into an unhealthy addiction and constant need for Social Media attention, as long as you know the difference between the realistic everyday YOU and the seemingly flawless you online... I believe we can strike a good balance.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Funtastic Bunchems - you literally bunch em little bunchems!

Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post review brought to you by Nuffnang and Funtastic.

My kids went crazy as they created some pretty crazy bunchem characters!
As a stay at home parent, I am always looking out for fun things to do with my kids and hopefully keep them entertained long enough to stay away from the screens! My kids love crafting, but whenever there is paint or crayons or playdoh involved, things just always get so messy! Also, chances are the little one will go running off, away from the craft table, and start scribbling or tracking mess everywhere else around the house. It gets pretty frustrating dealing with the mess!

Then came along these Bunchems. They are literally what they are called - furry "burr" like plastic spheres that you can bunch together and they would just amazingly stick to each other. No glue, no mess. That already gets my tick of approval.. so let's test them on the kids and see what they think.

Silver quietly observes the instructions and sample creations like she is so grown up, lol.
The Bunchems Mega Pack comes with over 400+ pieces of furry spheres with accessories - and a little booklet with examples of what you can create. The beauty of it though is the freedom to create anything you like. I love that this encourages my kids to be creative and use their imaginations to make anything they can think of, even if it appears to be a normal bunch of bunchems with random colours (to them it looks like a dinosaur and they play with it) - after all my kids are only 4 and 2 hehe. Either way, the pack has everything we need to get started and keep busy for hours.

Micah's T-rex fighting my little monster... I think his T-rex obviously won.

Bunchems is recommended for kids ages 4+ but I find with supervision, even my little one can have fun with it. The texture of the product itself is great for sensory play - and surprisingly quite solid and not easily "destroyed". They do tend to stick to hair, so keep them away from their heads!

Simple creations made crazy using the accessories included in the pack.
Some cool creations with the help of mummy.
 The accessories are securely fastened onto the furballs so they won't fall off easily.

Accessories have a 4-point nail which attaches securely to the holes in the plastic furballs.
Once securely connected to a bunchem, use them on your creations to sparkle and dazzle em!

Overall, I love it. These things are great! They tick all the boxes when it comes to having fun, engaging with my kids and encouraging creativity. Like most things that are little, it is best to supervise their play when little kids are involved to avoid any swallowing incidents. Thankfully, my Silver Grace has grown out of that phase of putting things in her mouth, but still.. you can never be too careful! Besides, the kids love it when I sit down and partipate in activities such as this with them. I love watching them create things and then having pretend play. I must say I enjoy creating cute little Bunchem monsters myself! (If I can get my kids to spare me a few of em bunchem balls... lol)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Day Without Kids

Melbourne Airport at 6am
Yesterday, I flew up to Brisbane for the day to attend Visual Impact 2016 - a printing industry expo - to do research for our business as well as to establish some connections and talk to experienced people and just do some networking in general. Enoch took the day off so he could look after the kids.

My day started ridiculously early. My alarm was set to go off at 4.15am and I found myself awake at 2am (checked the time) and again at 3.15am and finally up at 4.10am and decided to just lie in bed awake until my alarm went off, lol.

By the time I was showered and dressed, I was out the door by 4.50am.

I arrived at the airport at 5.45am and was waiting around at the terminal by 6am because I have already check-in online and had no baggage to drop off.

My flight was at 7am, so I had a coffee and some breakfast before going to the boarding gate.

The flight was on time and I arrived in Brisbane at 9.10am, hopped into a taxi and arrived at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre by 9.45am.

The expo featured the latest technology in printing equipment, material and media, and other printing solutions - exhibitors include manufacturers (Australian as well as from overseas), distributors and some specialized family businesses. 
The expo was scheduled to open at 10am but there were already a lot of visitors waiting outside the exhibition hall. I had a very productive day at the expo. I spoke to a lot of people - mostly salesmen who were trying to convince me their printer is the best... but also some suppliers and distributors of materials and media, and a handful of business advisors who were so kind to spare their time and pass on some wisdom for little ol' me who is very new to the industry and just starting this journey into owning her own business.

I had lunch at a local cafe across the road. I figured I was only by myself for the day and wanted to have a decent meal someplace nice and not just grab a quickie sandwich at the exhibition hall cafeteria. The cafe had great coffee and my burger was absolutely delicious!

After a wonderfully peaceful lunch on my own, I went back to the expo and talked to more people and gathered more info and attended an advertising workshop.

After a few more hours I decided I have had enough and collected all the information I needed and physically cannot talk to another human being anymore lol. So I ventured further down the road and took some photos around Southbank and enjoyed the beautiful views of Brisbane for half an hour before hailing another taxi back to Brisbane airport. 

Beautiful Brisbane city :)

The market was just finishing up and Southbank beach was gorgeous!
I am glad I managed to do a mini tourist walk, Queensland is absolutely beautiful. I loved Cairns while I was there last year, and now I love Brisbane too.

I was back at the airport by 5pm and my flight wasn't until 6.30pm so I sat down at Roll'd and enjoyed a quiet, peaceful dinner. Actually, maybe it wasn't so quiet and peaceful, because I ended up talking to the person sitting right next to me! Too much adult conversation in one day, not sure what to do with myself!

Crispy Chicken Ribs from Roll'd.. after I have already devoured two rice paper rolls, I was SO hungry!
I was still pumped, my brain was too busy thinking and planning and strategising, I gained so much in one day, and my mind was full of ideas I had to write them all down before I forgot them! I did not even sleep on the flight back home (I scribbled on my notepad.. so many notes) even though I was clearly physically tired from being awake since 4am. The physical tiredness is different compared to caring for children, it wasn't as physically demanding.. I did not have to do anything for anyone else for the day and only had to look after myself. It was a really good day, the kind of day I need every once in a while to inspire me to do something for myself.

I missed my kids though.

They were in good hands though!

Enoch apparently took parenting to the next level for the day. He did the kinder drop off and pick up, he went grocery shopping, he took Silver to a music class, AND he entertained some guests for dinner! What. the. heck?! Is my husband better than me at this staying home with the kids thing??

Well, I am glad he was good at it - because I am hoping this business we are building together will take off and be successful and then we will not only share the business load but also the parenting duties a lot more!

So much to do this week, all the follow ups and purchasing decisions we need to make. We need to buy the equipment, stock up some material and media, create a working space at home, build our website, create / outsource designs, keep working on our business planning and strategy, etc. All this while trying our best not to neglect our kids, lol. It is difficult to neglect them though, they are very convincing when it comes to wanting attention... they will not stop hassling until you stop what you're doing and give them the attention.

I think I have figured out a schedule that works, I hope. I have set aside times during the day which works best to be able to work peacefully for a solid block of an hour or two, as well as set aside times that are specifically for blogging, chores and kid related duties like preparing meals, laundry, cleaning, entertaining them with an activity, playdates, etc. Trust me, my daily schedule is FULL. I have even scheduled set times to rest and do nothing, that necessary 30-minute break just to recharge and have a cuppa and refocus.

In other news, my Facebook Photo Book arrived yesterday while I was away - so excited and so happy with it! Thank you, Pastbook!

Took some photos of the kids today - just thought they were cute and wanted to post them on here, hehe.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Casey Central - that new shopping centre ;)

Photo Credit: Daniel Boyle
Ladies and perhaps some gents, there are many reasons why I love living in Australia. I love the weather, the people, the schools and medical facilities, the beautiful walking tracks and family friendly parks... just to name a few reasons. Quite possibly most of all, I love being a suburban mum and having access to some pretty amazing everyday shops. I am not even talking about a grand shopping mall or anything... just the normal local supermarket and mini shopping centres. I love that I only need to drive a few minutes down the road from my house and have everything I will ever need in one location. I love my suburb, and I love my suburban shops hehe.

Living in Berwick, my main shopping centre for weekly groceries have always been Eden Rise shopping centre. I shop at Coles and kids sometimes play at the playground. Sometimes, we have lunch at Nando's or check out what's on Special at ALDI.

For more variety, I would go to Fountain Gate Shopping Centre. This is when I have to not only do my grocery shopping at Coles, but also seafood shopping at the fish shop, fruit and vegetable shopping at Fountain Gate Fruit & Veg shop, get some fresh meat from the butcher, maybe grab a few things e.g. presents, homeware etc from Kmart or Target, and general browsing. Kids would sometimes play at one of the few play areas within the mall or just the little play corner in the Parents Rooms after a nappy change or toilet break.

Now, there is nothing wrong with any of the two above mentioned shopping centres... except, Eden Rise lacks the variety and Fountain Gate is too big and hectic and rather exhausting to walk around because everything is so far away from each other.

Photo Credit:

Last month, the newly renovated all improved Casey Central shopping centre officially re-opened and many friends have told me how amazing it was. Casey Central is about the same distance from my house as Eden Rise (in the opposite direction), or possibly just a minute further away.

I haven't been able to check it out earlier because life has been hectic - and the thought just hasn't crossed my mind to go anywhere else but my usual shops. However, I decided to check it out today because school holidays are over (so it should be less busy) and now that it has been open for a few weeks I was hoping there would be smaller crowds.

So after I dropped Micah off at kinder this morning, myself and Silver went for a bit of a shopping expedition. Here's a quick rundown of what I thought:

  • Parking - at 9.30am, it was super easy to find parking. I was parked at a Parents with Pram spot within seconds of arriving. No hassle at all.
  • Walking distance - very much tolerable. Unlike Fountain Gate, everything I need and like are close to each other and we didn't have to walk very far to get to where we want to be.
Photo Credit: Daniel Boyle
  • Fruit and Veg shop - amazing! Unlike Fountain Gate fruit and veg shop which is super cramped and small and I barely manage to walk around with kids in my trolley as space is so limited, the fruit and veg shop at Casey Central has wide open space and makes it so easy for me to move around even with a trolley. Selection-wise, pretty much the same as any other good Fruit and Veg shop. I had some special things on my list - eg. okra and silken tofu and they had them! No complaints here.
Silver happily sits on the trolley as I do my grocery shopping at Coles Casey Central
  • Coles - beautifully laid out, super high ceilings, wide open space, great shopping experience. The only thing missing is the Mix clothing range and homeware stuff and toys etc that Coles Eden Rise have. So, it is a smaller Coles selling less variety but who needs the clothes and toys and homeware etc when Target is just a few shops away!
  • Fish & Meat - The Fish Pier has decent selection of seafood, however they do NOT have my usual pack of Salmon Belly & Bones that FG sells for $5 a pack... so that's a small disappointment. Butcher is decent, but Fountain Gate still has a bigger selection and possibly better prices.
Photo Credit: Casey Central Facebook Page

  • Playground - great playground! Highly secure as you can only access the playground through a door from inside the shopping centre and kids cannot escape. However, this may be a small inconvenience as there isn't a gate allowing access to the playground from outside the shopping centre. Either way, I am happy with the playground. It is new, it is clean and it has great activities for kids to play happily for a decent amount of time. Plenty of seats for parents to sit down and rest in between shopping errands.
I have not yet checked out Target or Aldi or any of the other shops at Casey Central, but my first impression has been quite a positive one. I think I can easily be persuaded to switch my weekly shopping centre to Casey Central - provided I come on a weekday and early enough during the day to avoid big crowds. I can see how easily it could get busy on weekends. Parking might even be an issue on weekends.

Overall, very impressive. So many shops and restaurants and takeaway options - some of my favorites ChinaBar. Wok'd, Grill'd, everything from fish n chips to charcoal chicken to pizza to Indian.. you name it, Casey Central probably has got it! Lots of cafes for your caffeine fix because obviously Australia is so huge on the coffee drinking culture, boutique shops, and so many more.. check out the full list of stores here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Woohoo! I have a business email address!

Every single day for the past couple of weeks have been a whole lot of planning, and researching, and more planning, and setting up, and experimenting, and more researching, and lots and lots of reading and configuring things to get our start up business going.

Today, we finally got our official business email addresses AND business bank accounts set up! I don't know why but this got me super excited. Running the latest version of Office, having Outlook all set up with my new business email address... having access to bank accounts specifically for running the business and incoming transactions in the future... I feel like we can do a mini celebration tonight. We are taking positive steps towards launching this business, and things will continue to progress. One step at a time!

So to recap, here is a list of our progress so far:
  • Business Plan - approx. 60% complete
  • ABN registration - done
  • Business Name registration - done
  • Company Phone - evaluating
  • Logo - done
  • Domain name - done
  • Email accounts - done
  • Office Suite, Skype for Business - done
  • Business bank accounts & debit cards - done
  • PayPal - done
  • eBay - done
  • eCommerce platforms - evaluating
  • Suppliers - evaluating / networking on Friday
  • Products - identified
  • Freelance designers - negotiating

You know, they say blogging is a really good habit as it helps with your thought processes... I must say, ever since I started blogging again it has really helped me to maintain focus in what I am doing and not be distracted, or be discouraged. Staying motivated is so important!

Friday, April 8, 2016

For The Love of Trampoline

Purchased March 2013 - read full post and see more pictures from our first few weeks of using it here:
Photos taken earlier this morning
Three years ago, we bought a second-hand trampoline that was only 3 months old and in excellent condition from a lady on a Facebook Buy/Swap/Sell Group. Today, we still firmly believe it was the best thing we ever bought for our kids. It still gets a lot of use and the kids still love it, and we spend a lot of beautiful days just hanging out in the trampoline as a family.

It serves great purpose whenever we have friends with kids over - just send the kids outside to play in the trampoline while we adults sit and socialise in peace!

It is the best way to tire kids out - just chuck them in and let them run around in circles and jump around to their hearts' content.

Finally, for me if we ever let this trampoline go someday - maybe when kids are older and no longer use it, maybe we will need the extra space in the backyard for something else - if the trampoline is ever gone, at least I have hundreds and possible thousands of wonderful photos taken while the kids are on the trampoline. These photos will always bring back all those joyful memories of hearing their laughters and giggles and squeals of delight.

I love our trampoline :) 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What is the Definition of a Millennial Mom?

Or... more importantly, why did I self-proclaim yours truly as essentially a Millennial Mom?

Here are a few articles and resources that provide a really comprehensive explanation of what defines millennial moms:


These make such interesting reads, simply because I am not only one of them, but I am surrounded by them! Women in this day and age are driven, and technologically savvy, and highly connected. Gone are the days when all women do is stay at home and look after their kids and take care of the chores. Women have become amazingly efficient in staying productive and maintaining a work / life balance - they are so good at it - and have further emphasized the fact that we can, in fact, multi task. 

We can maintain a healthy social life (both physical presence and online), stay organised, raise our children and use creative modern ways to engage with them, maintain traditional values, keep the household running smoothly (with some duties possibly outsourced - according to what's the best way to use their time and the value of that time), self development (eg pursuing a small business, health goals eg gym classes or physical activity, a hobby or passion, etc) and top it all off with some much needed R & R time to reset, recharge, renew and then start all over again.

The keyword here is healthy. Millennial moms are highly digital, therefore they spend a lot of their time on screen (I mean, look at me... typing this blog post right now and have already spent an hour in front of my laptop and it is only 9.45am)... so in 15 minutes I need to remind myself that my kids still need me and whilst I am always happy to drop what I am doing here if they really need me, they still need that undivided attention time so I need to make sure I strike that balance and not neglect my kids completely). It is also a good idea to NOT look at any digital devices while out and about eg socialising or at the park. They can wait until you get home and stick to your allocated and scheduled time for work / digital time.

Millennial moms also tend to have it much harder than most other demographics. They are more vulnerable to mental health problems and stress and anxiety issues. Without a solid support network, and when things go wrong, it is easy to lose control over being in control.

So, reach out to your fellow millennial mom friends - tell them they are doing a wonderful job. Do not be discouraged if you have some bad days, you are a strong confident woman and you will come back from this. Find inspiration to be motivated again. Surround yourself with positive people who make you smile and make you feel good. Do not let yourself be burdened by the list of things you need to do, always remember to stay organised and plan, plan, PLAN!

To all my fellow millennial moms...