Yellow - Tour Inspiration...

All this talk of "The Yellow Jersey" lately has given me an itch that must be scratched. So, in honour of the Tour de France (even if Cadel is still sitting 4 minutes behind), some yellow inspiration for a sunny yellow monday morning....

Images via Pinterest

75 great books for girls

Today I'm sharing a wonderful pin I found over at Pinterest. It comes from A Mighty Girl and it's a wonderfully curated list of stories both new and old especially for girls. Some of these books were even favourites of mine growing up! From Anne of Green Gables to The BFG, this list has it all...

"A Mighty Girl's top recommended read aloud chapter books are perfect for reading aloud with elementary-aged children or as independent reading for older children. You can view age recommendations for a specific book on its product page under the 'details' section or filter by age range on the left menu. Many of the books recommended for children ages 9 and up are also excellent choices as real alouds for younger readers as parents can use the book as a jumping off point for discussing relevant topics (for instance, the issue of tolerance in the novel Rules)."

Up close & personal: Tessa White

Welcome to "Up close & personal", the first in a series of intimate and honest interviews with real, accomplished and inspiring women. To kick things off, a chat with Tessa White, owner/creator of Down That Little Lane - described by Madison Magazine as, "Australia's local answer to Etsy - our advice, check it out immediately." And I'd say they're pretty on the money. Down That Little Lane is like no other online retail site that currently exists in this country. A superbly curated collection of unique pieces, handmade trinkets and general droolworthy items du jour (if it isn't already on your bookmarks bar you need to sort that out), DTLL is set to become the go-to place to find that special something. It's a credit to this regular chick who's a mum like you, loves chocolate like you, and somehow finds time to be exceptional... Here's Tessa...

*Introduce us to the clan... There is Marcus and I.. both still sub 40 ;) and my kiddlywinx are Kitty Jasmine who is 5 in a few weeks and we have Master Harrington Kingsley who is 3.5

*What are your 5 favourite things? My 5 favourite things would have to be time with my favourite people, a long bush run, a roast dinner, pottering around Vinnie's and lastly a lounger in the sun with a mag and some chocolate (is that last one a cheat as it has too many elements? lol)

*Most humbling moment as a parent? Wow thats a biggy...I think it has to shared between both the kids and there is one thing that always floors me and melts my heart - It is when they come to me unprompted for a cuddle and to tell me they love me.. its not daily but it happens and I have never felt more proud or had all those tough days swept away by just a few words..

*Greatest challenge you've faced as a parent? Oooh.... Learning how to recognise my bad traits in my kids before they truly blossom and nurture them along a path that is more positive. I don't see any of my traits as truly negative but I know they could possibly be shaped in a more constructive manner..

*Best advice you've been given? "Be patient and believe". That was said to me before my first Ironman Race but it has sat with me for everything since then. Not just with my kids but with my business, life and remains for my sporting challenges.. It is so true. You can't have what you want just like that. Everything in life takes time and hard work but if you truly believe it is worth the effort and commit to putting in that effort it will be...

*How do you find the balance between Tessa-the-mum and Tessa-the-BizLady? To be honest, I don't.. I find it hard as I am sure all working Mums do. I am getting better as time goes on and on the days I have my buddies with me I ensure we go out for the morning and arrange play dates and catch ups in the afternoon. It forces me to step away at least 75% and I know they are having fun. 
We come home at lunch and I allow them to watch a DVD, that gives me the time to work uninterrupted and do enough that I can walk away for the afternoon until they go to bed in the evening..
I wish I could switch off but I live and breathe DTLL.. its my 3rd baby and so for now I struggle with the balance but as each month passes I am getting better and better

*Favourite downtime pastime? Curling up on the sofa with hubby, a bar of chocolate and a good DVD

*What led to the creation of DTLL? Well that was a long time coming but it started about 3 years ago...I was always a book marker, I just couldn't help myself. When I found something unique I saved it to come back too, I mean what if it hadn't been able to find it again?!
My friends were always asking for recommendations. I always had the bookmark for exactly what they wanted but I realised there wasn’t a one-stop shop that I could send them too. 

*Most gratifying moment in the DTLL journey so far? They just keep coming... a stores first sale always makes me smile. Seeing our name in print is VERY special but I think these days the truly gratifying is the amount of personal emails I get from buyers and sellers saying how much they love the site, that the selection of products is divine and that they love the way it all looks. It makes me so proud and that is truly gratifying

*What's next? Oh my... if I could show the development tickets we have created you would wet your pants. Our creative team bounce a million ideas around and we then implement the ones that will be most fabulous for our buyers and sellers alike. We are going to be continuously developing the site and ensure it is a fun place to hang out.
As for right now.. we are about to shoot a series of images to showcase just what DTLL is and who our gorgeous sellers are. We have one of Australia's best stylists from a very high profile interiors magazine onboard and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.. it will be two days of DTLL Decadence!!

I'm in awe of you Tessa! Check out DTLL here!

Tuesday Tour: Hamptons home in Sydney

You'd seriously feel like you were living it large in the Hamptons in this stunning Sydney family home. Jealous much? I know I am....

Here's the ridiculously gorgeous kids room

And the rest of the house is just as good. I die...

10 awesome FREE iPhone apps for kids

It's quite alarming amazing to watch kids navigate their way around an iPhone. Even my 3 year old can open apps, play them, import phots of himself into drawing apps and 'decorate' his own image... heck, he's even signed me up for things and sent an email or two in his time (although those last two weren't intentional...), but you get my drift right?

Well, bearing all that in mind (and considering their growing addiction to my iPad), I thought it might be a good idea to set up a kind of "app-swap-party". I'll tell you my list of favourite apps for the kids (both theirs and mine), and you can do the same telling me yours by leaving a comment! Good idea huh? We all stand to gain a lot from this.... Maybe even a moments peace for a cup of tea... Don't worry, you can all thank me later. Here goes...

This free app is a great one for littlies. Along with a few favourite songs like Old MacDonald and London Bridge, it features an in-app game that the kiddos can make their own music in Little Fox's studio with virtual spoons and insects...

Kids can breed, hatch and raise their own dragons in this one. The game itself gets great reviews and the graphics are perfect for kiddos, but beware the in-app purchases. There are gold packages you need to buy for some parts of the game and they start at $5 and go up to a mind-boggling $99! A good one if you have in-app purchases set to OFF in your settings.

A free app by Disney. No violence, no inappropriateness. We love Disney don't we? And best of all - FREE! Be warned though - the first thing you'll be faced with is an option to buy the full app for $1.99. You need to slide the windows across to get away from this and then you're home free. There seem to be quite a substantial amount of levels available without having to buy anything and my kids love it!

I love this game. Even though it's meant for kids - it has me hooked. The basic idea is to build a street fair. The game starts you off with a small amount of "Snoopy Coins" to buy stalls with. These stalls then earn you an income. There are plenty of opportunities to spend real money within the app, but with your settings set correctly you can leave the kiddos to play worry-free and as long as you have a little bit of patience you can easily earn enough money to build a great fair without spending real cash. One of my favourites!

Fairly simple in concept - this app allows the user to draw a cool doodle in funky neon brights and then replay a movie of the drawing being made - the kiddos love it!

Perfect for the preschoolers who haven't quite mastered the fine motor skills to draw well yet. This app converts their "squiggles" into sheeps wool, fairy floss or the exhaust from a car... Clever!

For once you'll be happy the kids are playing with their food! This free comes from US based Whole Kids Foundation for the promotion of healthy lifestyle choices for kids. It gets them sorting and stacking veges and grains, all the while learning about healthy food choices. There are 32 levels all getting progressively faster and more difficult so even the older kids will find this fun.

Another one of my favourites - this one is great for slightly older kids. Your job is to help find the hidden objects in the mansion to raise funds to bring the grand gardens back to their former glory and win the garden contest. While the list of objects is a written one making it hard for pre-readers to play without help, there are opportunities to reveal the list as picture clues instead. The kids love rummaging through the mansion and purchasing new things to decorate their gardens. You can even run up to four separate gardens on one device! Our whole family got hooked on this one and our only gripe with it was that it ended too quickly. It needs more levels. Check out other games by Playrix, the same creators as well.

An oldie but a goodie. JellyCar is a massively popular app amongst the kidlets. Drive your Jelly Car through the Jelly World and learn about the basics of soft physics as you go. Try it out and if you like it you can upgrade to JellyCar2 and JellyCar3 for 99c and $1.99 respectively.

A better way for the kidlets to watch their favourite ABC4 shows than YouTube. No more worrying about what else they might see...

Obviously there are thousands more out there. I'd love to hear what you think of these and share your own favourites in comments too... Happy Apping!

Nina Proudman - Steal her style

If you cast your mind back to here a few weeks ago when we were talking pressed metal panels and their many uses - inspired by Sophie & Dale - you might also remember my confession that Offspring is yet another of my favourite places to visit in TV land. Soooo, you can imagine my oohs and ahhs when I came across Wee Birdy's post yesterday Get the look of Nina's apartment from Offspring! Rebecca (aka Wee Birdy) has absolutely nailed this one. Even down to the candles... Pictures below, but you have to hop over here for the lowdown of where to actually get it (because as much as I wish I'd thought of it myself, I didn't - WB did...)

AND.... if Nina's interior style isn't enough to satisfy, you can hop over to Styling You for Nikki's tips on her wardrobe as well! Seriously impressive - you can pick up a virtual shopping list of the outfits worn by Nina each episode with links to the stores... Which brings me to a question - if Nina's boots (that I have coveted all season) happened to be available, in my size, half price, with free shipping - AND the style was even called Tina (seriously) - wouldn't you say I needed to buy them? It's a sign right?

Ace space saturday - 2 room bliss

Apartment Therapy has turned up yet another winning space. Two rooms. Both stunning in their white modern simplicity. I'd love a peak at the rest of the house wouldn't you? I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be if the owners can decorate their kids spaces so tastefully. They've struck such a delicate balance between honoring the vintage character and introducing modern elements...

6 nice nooks

Perhaps it's been my interest in Window Seats of late? Or maybe a need for a quiet spot to work? But it could just be that these 6 spaces are so lovely that I want one for myself... A cozy nook to eat, read or just catch up with a friend and a warm cup of tea sounds delightful to me.

Cure for the common cold

...okay okay, maybe not a "cure", but it'll definitely make you feel better.

I found this hack over at Frugal by Choice and it's gold people, gold. FBC call them "Vicks Vapour Disc Thingys". Throw one on the shower floor while you're in there and let the vapours clear you up in an instant. They'd be great for croupe and chesty coughs as well! And as our entire house is filled with coughing spluttering males at the moment they'll be beyond useful... (The fact that it was I who brought the lurgy into the house shall now be overlooked). Interstingly, I've noticed that the older the male, the more intense the symptoms - or at least the louder the moaning... These little gems will work a treat at shower time! Hop over here for the recipe and instructions - and be sure to read through the comments section for extra tips and tricks.

8 Blue rooms for the girls

A couple of months ago, Hugh and his team-mates were ridiculed at a soccer game for wearing pink jerseys (by a parent of all people - I know, I still can't believe it either), I got to thinking about how many narrow-minded folks there are still out there when it comes to kids and colour. You know, the archaic "pink is for girls and blue is for boys way of thinking? But I like to think we've come a long way since that was the norm, and that these days it's more than okay for a boy to love Dora, a girl to climb trees and, for a girls bedroom to be blue. Here are 8 kinds of pretty in blue for the girlie whirlies...

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