Dirty kids = brainy kids?

Looks like a nightmare doesn't it? The thought of my boys playing in the mud like this send shivers up my spine. I'm consumed with images of them up all night with raging fevers and blocked noses, my laundry pile growing higher than it usually is, the mud being trodden through the house, the notion that if I let them do it once they'll want to do it every time there's a cloud in the sky... I even went so far last week during the rain, to leave my husband with instructions to make mud pies with them for an entertainment idea. Clearly he's just as horrified by the thought as I am and ignored my suggestion taking them to an indoor play centre instead.

But did you know researchers from the Kidsafe NSW Playground Advisory Unit have found that playing in the mud can make children smarter? Apparently! A new study has shown there is a positive side of soil-borne bacteria that is likely to be inhaled when children are playing outside. Fraser said soil bacteria in mud can also increase serotonin levels when inhaled, so it also reduces anxiety which ultimately can stimulate growth of certain neurons in the brain. The research was welcomed by Kidsafe NSW Playground Advisory Unit program manager Kate Fraser as another reason kids should be encouraged to get outside and get dirty. But Fraser also warned parents to be careful to choose the mud, because some mud can be contaminated with harmful bacteria. “As long as the safety direction is followed, then playing in the mud can be a great experience for children,” said Fraser.

Unfortunately a what's what list of good and bad mud wasn't supplied, but I'm guessing you just use commonsense and don't let them loose in mud that's been lying about for an extended period of time, is green, smelly or mud that comes with a public loo nearby etc. Colour me convinced. I'm giving it a go. Next wet day (which could be sooner than I'd like here in Sydney at the moment) we're into it. I'll be the mother taking deep breaths in the corner of the playground...
Image via. Story via

Free Mothers Day printables

Last weekend we stopped to spend time with our families to celebrate Easter and pay tribute to the men who lost their lives fighting for our freedom. Next weekend we stop again to spend time with our families, but this time it's to acknowledge the incredible selflessness that comes with being a mum. Here's a little something to pass along to dad (let's face it, he might need the help), or to print out yourself for your own mum perhaps. They look great as a set on the breakfast tray or just as a tag to attach to the chocky box and new slippers...
Note: These are an original Noosh design. If you'd like to share them on your blog, please feel free, but don't forget to link back to Nooshloves.

Yum. My Raspberry Ricotta Dessert

This is the dessert I made for my family for Easter lunch last weekend. I have to say it went down a treat, and it was the easiest bang-together ever! Only 7 ingredients. 10 minutes to make. No cooking required. All types of delicious... Read on.

Raspberry Ricotta Dessert

1 x 500g packet of frozen raspberries
1 x 500g packet of Italian sponge finger biscuits (Savoiardi)
1 x 375g tub of smooth ricotta
1 x 300ml jar thickened cream
1 x teaspoon vanilla essence
1 x teaspoon brown sugar (or a little more if you're me...)
1 x cup apple and strawberry juice

1. Lay savoiardi side by side in two rows to completely cover the bottom of a baking dish.
2. Drizzle your apple/strawberry juice over the biscuits
3. Beat cream, sugar and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form
4. Fold ricotta through your cream mixture
5. Spread mixture over the soaked biscuits
6. Top with defrosted frozen raspberries. Serve

Note: Juice can be substituted for any flavour

Bless you Ms Butler.

This is so far up my decor alley right now. 50s. Loving it. Totally rocking my world.
And any truly loyal Noosh lover will know that Amy Butler is another fave.
Well, turns out, this, is her house. Explains a lot right?
Her every finger is placed firmly on the pulse of everything I love it seems.
God bless you Amy Butler for making the world a more stylish place to be...

If I was the tooth fairy...

...I'd have a kit just like this one from Papermash for all the kids I visited. It comes with a personalised certificate to keep track of teeth lost as well as an "official" envelope to hold the precious tooth, and it is all delivered in a gorgeous drawstring bag. Each certificate is hand-letterpressed and carries the Tooth Fairy Seal. Papermash do ship to Australia and these go for around $28 delivered to your door depending on the exchange rates on the day.

Perfection in pink

To me, this is perfect. I wouldn't change a thing. What do you think?

IKEA Hack: Neg lamp

This little DIY project will cost under $15, take you about 20 minutes to do and it puts a positive light on an old negative storage problem...
It goes like this: 
1. Take one IKEA Grono Lamp, $14.99.
2. Dig out all your old negs from the dusty photobox.
3. Carefully glue negative strips in place with a little PVA glue. Voila!

Cheap flooring DIY idea

Would you believe me if I told you this floor was laid for around $1 per square metre? One Dollar people! And it looks fantastic! It's DIY. It's easy and its the cheapest darn floor you'll ever get looking this good... I found this project over at Design Dazzle and it's really quite genius. It's made from ply sheeting!

You can pick up at your local hardware for around $10 per sheet or if you have a bit more time, you can save even more cash by having a look on eBay or Grays Online where there are often auctions for bulk quantities and then you can save a bundle.
  
Cut into 15cm wide strips the length of your sheets.

Start laying them on your prepped floor! These were stuck down with Liquid Nails, given a light sand (as ply can be a little splintery and rough) and then stained. Stain-wise I would tend to go for either a darker chocolate colour stain or a whitewash for a more contemporary finish. 

Varnish Tip: Remember that if you use a stain with a built in varnish (or any varnish for any job), go for a water based one over oil based to avoid yellowing later.

Staining Tip: Always start at the end of the room furthest from the door so as not to "paint yourself into a corner" so to speak...

Laying Tip: Cut your boards to at least 3 different lengths so that your joins don't fall into a uniform pattern like this. The end result will be much better with a more random join configuration.

To finish, these floors were given a polyurethane coating, which gives a glossy and smooth finish and makes the floors more resiliant to scratches. I think the result looks fantastic! Especially for the price! But even without the cost consideration I prefer this to the knotty pine floors we have in our place... Such a great idea - colour me impressed!

My secrets revealed...

I bet you'd like to know where to find one of these!
A couple of weeks ago, the lovely Steph over at Bondville asked me to write a guest post for her fabulous Baby Essentials Series. Well, today is my moment in the spotlight! Have a look here for my list of favourites and must have's including some brands you might not have even heard about yet! Well, go on!

Make some mud cupcakes...

So after a rainy Easter loooong weekend it's back to work tomorrow for me. And while hubby's still on holiday's I'm leaving him at home in charge of kiddo entertainment. This is the idea I've left him with to make the most of our muddy garden... I've assured him of a good hour of play and another one to clean up the mess afterwards! Heheh...
 For a twist on the ever popular mud pie creation activity  - try pulling out some baking equipment (don't worry, a bit of detergent will get it back to cooking condition afterwards). Give them a cupcake tray and some patty pan cases and let them get creative with whatever's available in the garden to decorate!

Grey and pink nursery

Grey is my number one favourite colour right now. Our whole house is undergoing a (slow) transformation at the moment and grey tones are prominent. The best thing about grey is that it sits so well with everything and any colour next to it "pops". Pink and grey is especially good...
Those display shelves are cute cute cute! And how much do we love that geometric print on the floor cushion?

The gallery wall works so well with the focus on black and white prints.

Sneak peek: Mariah's Nursery

I can only imagine what it would be like to have so much money that nothing was beyond my reach. As much as we all like to think we'd remain tasteful and stylish, I'm sure the majority of us would make one or two style blunders. Especially when time is so limited and a lot of the decor decisions are left to a decorator  (whose taste probably doesn't mirror your own...).

Well it seems this is true for a number of celebrities when it comes to the styling of the nursery for their babies. And while some of them are a bit OTT/tasteless/gaudy, they are great to look at... Here's the offering of Mariah Carey...



Mariah Carey, who is due on May 14 with twins has reportedly spent a whopping $100 000US on this little setup. She says, "Sometimes I just sit in the nursery and stare at the ceiling because I love it so much. To me, it symbolizes wanting my children to dream as big as possible and to let their imaginations be unbridled." Click here to read more of the Life & Style interview.

Love a long weekend

Happy Easter peeps. Hope the bunny brings you way too much chocolate.
Enjoy the extra long weekend and keeps safe! x

DIY: Ribbon Wands

These are a brilliant craft project to make with the kiddos. Super easy to do and hours of fun outside in the fresh air. I let the boys choose their colours and they even decorated the handles by wrapping them in ribbon to match! You'll need: dowel, ribbon and the ability to tie knots...

Removable Wallpaper!

Okay, not only is this just pure genius, it's an Australian product! Double love! Truly, wallpaper that comes off! No steamer or glue or work! It comes from The Wall Sticker Company and there are loads of designs to choose from to suit spaces for kids and adult styles, and, if you still can't see one you like, they'll even do you a custom design! Fantastic news for frustrated decorexics who can't unleash their hearts desire on their home... Check it out!



Easter Craft: Easy Egg Dyeing

They look elaborate, but all of these designs were made with plain old masking tape. 

1. Simply cut the tape into strips to create stripes and plaids, use paper punches for letters or plant and animal shapes,and try craft scissors for the wavy bands at far right. 

2. Then apply the tape carefully to the shells of raw eggs, smoothing out any air bubbles, and tint according to the dye package’s instructions.

3. Once the shells dry, blow out the yolks and remove the tape to reveal your motifs.

Tip: Just hard boil your eggs before you decorate and dye them to avoid the torturous process of blowing eggs...

Easter Craft: Decorated eggs

I love these botanical themed dyed eggs for Easter. No fussy egg blowing necessary either! You can just hard boil your eggs and then set to work on the decorative touches. Food colouring will do the trick but these ones were done with homemade natural food dyes using red cabbage, onion and cranberries. Here's how...

Simply positioned a blossom or a leaf facedown against each egg, then wrapped the egg in a four-inch square of panty hose and secured it with a twist tie. 

DIY Wall storage tubes

This looks great and it isn't too hard to do. It's one of those projects that leaves you with a good sense of gratification when you've done it.. I'm definitely giving this one a go. Here's the step by step...

1. Purchase two, four-foot-tall cardboard tubes, one measuring 10 inches wide and the other 12 inches wide. Use a jigsaw to cut each tube into smaller tubes of varying heights (refer to the photo above for guidance). I've also seen similar heavy duty cardboard cylinders at Reverse Garbage that would work just as well and would probably be even cheaper.

2. Cover the outside of each smaller tube with contact paper. Cut away any excess paper with a utility knife. 

3. Arrange the tubes on the floor as you'd like them to hang. Wherever two meet, use an awl to poke a hole through both. Slide a no. 10 washer onto a 6-32 x ½" bolt, push the bolt through both tubes, slide another no. 10 washer onto the bolt, and secure with a nut. Fasten all the pieces together in this way. 

4. To create load-bearing braces, slide a piece of wood that's at least an inch thick underneath one of the topmost tubes. Trace an arc along the top half of the tube's interior onto the wood. Measure down two inches and draw another arc that connects to the first, making a crescent shape. Repeat for all the tubes on the top row. 

5. Use a jigsaw to cut out crescents from wood, following the shapes you drew. Drill a hole into the center of each shape. 

6. With a friend's help, position the tubes on your wall. Use a pencil to lightly trace the top arc on the wall, along the interior of each topmost tube. Set the tubes aside. Place a brace so it aligns with one of the drawn-on arcs, then stick a pencil through the brace's hole to make another small mark on the wall. Drill a hole in that spot, then tap in a plastic anchor until it's flush against the wall. Repeat with remaining braces. 

7. Align the hole in one brace with the corresponding anchor. Using a drill with a Phillips-head bit, screw the brace to the wall. Repeat with remaining braces. Set the tubes onto the braces. 

8. At the back of each supported tube, just above the brace, make a pilot hole with an awl. Fasten the tubes to the braces using ¾-inch screws.

Life Hacks: #1-5

I love these old-school random bits of homely advice. 
1. Banana Peels relieve pain from burns, remove splinters, remove warts, stop itch from insect bites.

2. Baking tip: To prevent honey sticking to the jug when you measure it - fill the jug with oil and tip it back into the bottle, then measure your honey.

3. Repair cracked china with milk - You place your cracked piece in a pot and cover it with two cups of milk (or more if needed). Next, heat over low for an hour. Allow to cool in milk and then remove and rinse. Your piece, if the crack wasn’t too far gone, should now have resealed itself!

4. Baby oil makes an excellent chrome polish and it's also great for preventing rust. (Great for bikes).

5. Great reuse tip for aluminium foil - scrunch it up into a ball and use it to scrub glassware. (Now I can roast in my Pyrex without having to worry about cleaning them!)
1-3 Via 4-5 Via 

I might not be back...

No. It's not a tree house. Well, it is, but it's not a leaky kid type one. This one is for adults. It's real. And it's for RENT! 8 metres up and nestled amongst 12 hectares of lavender hills. True story!

Just to the north of Tuscany, $425 clams per night will buy you this little piece is paradise.

It just gets better doesn't it? Wait till you get to the last one...


This is the view at sunset. So you'll understand if you suddenly stop seeing new posts, that I just had to go right? I've already checked, and it's available for my birthday. And our anniversary... And my husbands birthday... Sigh.

Doily garlands

I want to make some of these to decorate our Easter table... but which one to choose?







Easter Craft: Bunny Ears

To make one of these kid-friendly accessories, you’ll need a child-size headband and about 2 metres of 3cm-wide double- fold bias tape. 

1: Cut an 45cm-long piece of bias tape. Hem the cut ends under 2cm on each side, then stitch together the long side to form a casing. Fold the casing in half so that the ends touch and use a straight pin to mark the fold’s center.

2: Feed an extra-thick, 30cm-long pipe cleaner through one end of the casing, stopping at the pin. Feed a second pipe cleaner through the casing’s other end until it, too, meets the pin; remove pin. Bring the casing’s open ends toward each other and twist the exposed pipe cleaners together to form a rabbit ear shape. Repeat steps one and two to make a second ear.

3: Cut a piece of bias tape the length of the headband, plus 3cm extra. Wrap the tape over the headband, then use pins to mark the two spots where you want to attach the ears (use the photo above for guidance).

4: Remove the tape from the headband and stitch the long side together, from the pins out to both ends of the tape; stitch these ends closed, and remove pins. Twist the ears’ pipe-cleaner ends around the headband in the desired spots, then slide each end of the headband into the casing. Use a needle and thread to slip-stitch the tape around and between the ears closed.

Easter Craft: Pretty Pastel Wreath

Sugared almonds make an especially sweet Easter decoration. And this one's easy peasy to do. Glue guns ready...

1. Take a 30cm Styrofoam wreath (available at Spotlight), and beginning with the inside circumference, hot glue the almonds in place, overlapping a few of them to add dimension. 

2. Continue in a circular pattern until the entire front and inner and outer edges of the wreath are covered.

3. Hang with a sturdy piece of cotton ribbon.

To store the wreath, wrap it in paper, place flat in a box, and keep in a cool, dry spot. It should last for one to two years.

Yum: Gwyneth's Duck Ragu

Hot off the presses, Gwyneth Paltrow has just released a cookbook, My Fathers Daughter, and if her gastro tour of Spain that aired on Lifestyle last year is anything to go by, it'll be worth getting your oven mitts on... Here's her Duck Ragu recipe as featured in the new book...
Duck Ragu

Serves: 4–6
1 organic large duck, washed and dried
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices duck bacon, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 medium stalks celery, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 5-inch sprigs fresh rosemary, stems discarded and leaves finely minced
3 14-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1 cup Italian red wine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound pappardelle pasta (fresh or dried)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Trim off excess skin from the opening to the duck’s cavity and back end. Rub the entire duck with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, inside and out. Roast it for a total of 2 hours, flipping it from its back to its breast (and vice versa) every 1/2 hour. Let it cool in the pan until you can handle it. Drain off the fat and either discard or reserve it for another use, such as roasting potatoes. While the duck is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven (or heavy based casserole dish) over medium-high heat and add the duck bacon. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until starting to crisp. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and rosemary. Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomatoes and their juice and put 1/2 cup water into one can, swish it around to get all the tomato stuck to the sides, pour into the next can, and repeat again with the third. Add the tomato water to the Dutch oven along with the wine, a good grind of pepper, and a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down very low and let simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

After the duck has cooled down a bit, remove and discard the skin and bones and shred the meat. Fold the duck meat into the ragu along with the tomato paste and cook on very low heat, uncovered, for at least 1 hour (and up to 4), adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from drying out (continue to season with salt and pepper as you splash).

To serve, cook the pasta, divide it among bowls, and spoon a generous amount of duck ragu over the pasta. Top with the Parmesan.

Active preparation time: 50 minutes
Total preparation time: 4–5 hours

5 hours is a little extravagant to cook one meal, but then again we're inches away from winter and a cold, rainy sunday could be well spent with a duck... Get the book here.

FREE Printable Easter Tags

Look what I made for you! Easter Tags! 
It seems to be becoming a bit of a trend to give gifts at Easter instead of chocolate (not necessarily a trend I agree with or follow too closely, but a trend nonetheless...). And so, to go with your Easter gift, be it chocolate or something else, some lovely tags! Share the love around and send them to your friends! To download, Simply double click the template image below and hit print! Enjoy! x 
This is an original Noosh Design. 
We're happy for you to share it on your blog, but please link back to NooshKids.
Thanks! And Happy Easter!

Bright vintage

Vintage doesn't have to be about pretty pastels and flat white - these 3 rooms are as bright as a button!


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