What I've been up to....

Turns out I'm a handywoman! Here are some DIY projects I did for Handyman magazine. Check out the latest issue in Bunnings stores and newsagents for full how to's and step by step photos....

PS I'd love to hear what you think!

Thank god it's over!

As you know, we had a sugar-free week last week at Casa De Hutt. I bet you're dying to find out how it went - well, it went well. Surprisingly well in fact. The kids coped MUCH better than me. I have to confess to a bowl of vanilla icecream with crushed up Oreos in it one night... I did struggle. It's that thing where once someone tells you that you can't have something, it's all you can think about and if you don't have it you'll surely die kind of thing.... Willpower of steel - not!

But back to the boys, they were much better at it than me.... See, Mister 6 is an absolute stickler for the rules, so once I told them the rules, he was going to abide by them to the letter. He even pulled me up one morning for putting a (very small) sprinkle of sugar on his Weet Bix! I had to convince him that that was okay! So on the whole they were good. and behaviourally, which was what I was really interested in, they were good too. Only a week off the stuff so there was never going to be a massive difference, but it was a definite start. The point was really that there was an improvement so I can now go forth confidently knowing that sugar actually makes kids evil as well as being evil... And I think having that week hiatus period has made them more aware of what they eat which is fantastic. There were lots of questions: "mummy, does this have sugar in it?" They were quite taken aback at what did and didn't contain the sweet stuff. And it was a learning curve for me too in that they, for instance, didn't think Nutri Grain, Icecream or jam had sugar in it. 

So onward we proceed with our new way of eating. Dessert is now a special occassion - unless it's yoghurt (for now the yoghurt is the supermarket variety that is full of sugar, but we'll get there slowly) or fruit. Lollies are a special treat not for everyday consumption. 

From the overload of information I've had over the past few days, I see that our diet is far from perfect according to certain ways of thinking, but I'm not sure I can do all that just yet. I understand Sarah Wilson's school of thought on eliminating fruit from your diet because it's full of fructose which is the "bad" type of sugar, but thats' all a bit far from my world and capabilities right now. The diet soft drinks are the first thing I have to eliminate. I now know all they do is send hoax messages to your brain that you've had something sweet and cause your body to crave sweets and food to supply your brain with the sugar it can't find!

As overwhelming as it's been, it's something that has my attention and I do intend to work on, so if anyone's got any more good tips to share feel free!!!! I'm completely at sea without my sweet buddy.

I won't even mention it.... and sugar IS evil

There's no point is there? We both know I've been slack/absent/just plain old not here... I've been run off my feet doing Trade Shows for Noosh, designing books, styling covers and building and making projects - all of which I'll show you. But I just thought I'd pop you a little post to tell you about a semi-commitment I've made to myself to rid my life of sugar. I just got off the phone with my gorgeous girlfriend who lives down in Melbourne (let's call her the Nutrition Nazi). NN is doing a BA in Food Sciences and she is to say the least passionate about all things healthy food. At the mere mention of putting my boys on a "sugar free week plan" this week, she went into a long tirade about sugar and all its evils. Tirade makes it sound like torture - which it wasn't - its never torture talking to NN. I love her. The tirade has actually inspired me. As I write this I'm knocking back a Lose Baby Weight Smoothie with raspberries, yoghurt & oat bran. Still not super organic but a long way from the Coke Zero I gulped down for breakfast!
It all started with a kids party we went to on the weekend. Fabulous party. Biggest Candy Buffet I've seen in my life. The macarons were to die for! And I won't even mention the White Chocolate Cake Pops! The boys came home each with a box of treats weighing in at around 700g. EACH! Rainbow lollipops, Jelly Beans, Snakes, Smarties, Blocks of chocolate with personalised birthday girl wrappers... And they were absolute nightmares that night and all day the next day. Even monday morning they were still showing signs of sugar intoxication... Something had to be done!
So last night, after dinner, when the inevitable question was asked "what's for dessert? Can I have ice cream?" My answer was easy. No. We're having a sugar free week. I've never seen 3 sadder faces (one of them was my husbands). You'd think I'd cancelled christmas! Their reaction has only fuelled my resolve on this. There's far too much junk food in our house. I need to purge it. Starting with the 4 litre paint tin full of lollies (thanks Wattyl)...
Today is day one. I'll keep you updated on how it's going. I'm really interested to see if, how quickly and how much the boys behaviour is affected. I like experiments. Wish me luck! Quinoa here we come!!!!

Bwahhahahahaha!!!! 25 Christmas flavoured Dad jokes

It's always good to have a few mum/dad jokes up your sleeve to get the silly season off on the right foot... Nurture Store have given us just that with these 24 sillier than silly "bad" jokes that will have the smalls in stitches... Better yet, it's been designed for you as a free printable so you can slip them into crackers, advent calendars or just pop them on the table for Christmas lunch...

When a kids bedroom isn't a room...

What with all the pre-christmas craziness of buying far too many presents for our kids (I know I'm guilty of that one every year no matter what my intention is when I start my christmas shopping...), it's sobering to be confronted with the reality of less fortunate kids than ours and gives us cause to be so very grateful for all that we do have.

Below are two images from a photo essay by James Mollison - "When a kid's bedroom isn't a room", which shows a portrait of a child and the room where they rest. All of them are disturbing in their own way, and the stories he tells about each child's situation only add to the weight of his images.

Above: 14 year old Erien lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The baby she carries is her third pregnancy...

Above: Samantha is 9. She lives on Long Island New York. She is a black belt in karate and has already been world champion three times...

These images made me feel a combination of shock and empathy for these kids. For how bleak their possibilities are and the narrowness of their worlds. Even the "priviledged" ones seem to have been robbed of their youth in some way. Parenting is such a tough road to tread. Often we struggle to make what we hope will be the right decisions for our kids - the choices that we hope will give them the best chance down the track to achieve what they want in life. But what's best for a child is so often very subjective isn't it? Would you be happy for any of these kids to be yours? 

Meet my dream house...

On the vary rare occassion I find myself with a spare bit of time on the sofa in the evening, I like to browse around Domain and dream a little. It's all in the name of aspiration.... My husband calls it self torture. 

Take a look at this little beauty I found in Camberwell Victoria... It's for sale for a meagre $3.45M - and worth every penny by the looks of it. Maybe if we all chipped in? With 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a triple garage we could almost fit!

Idyllic. Even down to the tyre swing and the perfect sweep of the jacaranda over the sandstone path... I die...

Lots to catch up on....

It feels like ages since I've slowed down to write - hence there's lots to fill you in on!

1. Noosh in the news
A big shout out to Simone over at The Daily Buzz for this lovely post about Noosh today! It never gets tired for me seeing our designs and products on blogs and websites. Massive gratification... Spread the word people! The new range is so lovely and it's selling fast! 

2. Fab new app for illustration lovers and card senders!
Now even if this app weren't the brainchild of my dear friend Felicity Loughrey, I'd still be singing it's praises because it is pure genius. It's called CardLust and it enables users to send e-cards to pals for special occassions or just because... get it on iTunes for less than the price of a single greeting card and send art and love to your friends and family. There are twelve decadent designs to choose from by Brooklyn-based artist Elspeth Tremblay and 12 holiday-themed illustrations by Gold Coast-based Sara Hingle. Share your message via text, email or pin to social media. Have a thank-you note in your pocket, a pick-me-up for a pal and never miss a friend’s birthday again. 

3. My favourite new bevvy is....

Hillbilly cider! It's not just Australian made - it comes directly from the wonderful Blue Mountains and it's just in time for summer! Winner of a Bronze Medal after only four months on the market! - this isn't your usual sickly sweet cider - it's got a sharpness that makes it a real thirst quencher and when served icy cold it's the bomb baby! Check out the website for stockists - not suuper widely available yet but it's only a matter of time before this puppy becomes known and is unleashed into mainstream society!

Read to me.

So turns out it isn't just my blog I've been neglecting. Let me explain...

This week I finally dragged myself along to Hugh's kindy reading groups for the first time in forever - seriously, it's been weeks (I say weeks because I feel a bit bad about it but it's probably been more like a month or so... okay two...). It had been so long that I'd forgotten the names of the groups and even some of the kids! Rude! 

The glaringly obvious thing that I noticed, was how well some of the kids are suddenly reading! I chatted to a couple of mums and they mentioned that they all read with their kids every day for at least 15 minutes. Hmmmm - needless to say at this point that I don't do that. One also told me very gently that she reads with Hugh in groups and he could be doing better.... Not in a bad way - she was so PC about it. I really wasn't offended at all, just horrified. Cue competitive nature.

Now in my defense, I find he really resists doing anything schoolwork related after school - and by that time of the day I'm exhausted and a little pre-occupied trying to achieve all the things I still haven't done for the day - like dinner!

But we started last night. He was super tired and really struggled. We put the book away and did some more at breakfast this morning. A thousand times better when he was fresh! I am determined to get him back on track. Oh the pressure! If I don't put in the effort with him now and he gets left behind in kindy with his basic reading skills how will he ever go as he gets older! 

Isn't it interesting how much you learn about yourself once you have kids? I was the same with my own homework when I was a kid. I'd do the barest minimum that I knew I could get away with until someone pulled me up on it. Then I'd lift my game, make an effort and do well. I don't really want to continue that pattern now - not when it's going to effect my childs future... It's time. Bad Mummy is now BANISHED... Wish me luck!

What do you do with your kiddos? Are you big readers? If they're in school do you do much homework? Please tell me there's someone out there as slack a parent as me!!!!

Here's a great little list of excellent books for reading with your wee ones. They're all classics. Notably absent is Roald Dahl though - for this age group he is THE BOMB. A fave in our house - when mummy bothers to read to them... x

Boring but necessary

Soooo.... Fb has changed the rules again! You've probably already heard - but now you need to adjust your settings as shown below to make sure you get NooshLoves posts in your feed. Then we'll all be content in the knowledge that you aren't missing one inspirational thing. x

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