what harper wears ... spend vs save edition

I'm a firm believer in spending your money in some places and saving in others. When it comes to Harper's clothes, I do a bit of both.

Bow from eBay, cardigan from Best & Less, leggings from Country Road and mocs from Hello My Darling Boutique

Baby clothes can be SO expensive and yet our little ones grow so quickly. I choose to spend my money on pieces that will fit Harper for a long time and save on things that she will grow out of / wear out. 

I usually SPEND on leggings and rompers by purchasing a size larger. Given leggings are stretchy they can be worn both loose and tight, so I tend to get a lot of use out of these. My current favourite leggings and rompers to splurge on include:

Lulu and Milly Ballet Shoes Leggings - $32 (great quality and organic cotton material)
Country Road Gingham Leggings - $24.95 (so versatile and on-trend)
Mary Bobbin Folk Child Vintage Romper - $71.95 (currently on sale - this has an expandable waistline and four different strap length options so it literally grows with your baby)

I usually SAVE on tops and dresses, as I find I don't get the use out of these and Harper tends to grow out of tops quickly. Some of my favourite tops and dresses to save on include: 

Kmart Aqua Gingham Seersucker Gingham Dress - $10 (I tuck this into bloomers and use it as a top or put it over a pair of stockings)
Hello My Darling Fairy Tulle Flutter Top - $16 (currently on sale - perfect on its own for little babies otherwise pair it with bloomers, leggings or a tutu skirt)
Kmart Black Gingham Shirt Dress - $12 (so beautiful on and a transpersonal piece, I've added a vest and white tights for Winter but it looks equally as cute by itself with a pair of sandals)
Kmart Blue Stripe Seersucker Tank Top - $9 (not pictured as I just purchased this yesterday but another great top that would be cute tucked into bloomers or denim/white shorts)

What do you other mamas splurge and save on?

xx G

a day in the hills ... family friendly weekend ideas

We had the most beautiful day wandering through the Perth Hills, stopping in at little cafes, walking through beautiful gardens and taking in the aroma of Spring.

You could spend your whole day hopping through different venues, or take your pick and spend a few hours relaxing at just one.

We started off our day at The Packing Shed - a beautiful cafe and cellar door with the most magnificent gardens. I originally came across this after reading about it on Miss Kyree Loves blog - so thanks Kyree for the hot tip! This is the perfect place to bring your family - kids of all ages would love strolling through the gardens. You can bring along a picnic rug and sit on the lawn or find a table on the back verandah of the cafe and watch your kids play outside. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch and has a kids menu (and also offers takeaway for those wishing to relax on the lawn). We had lunch and it was divine - fresh local produce packed full of flavour!

After our visit to the Packing Shed we wandered next door to The Vineyard Kitchen, checked out the cellar door and restaurant and then went for a walk around the gardens. If you are planning on a visit to the hills without your kids, then I would definitely recommend stopping here for lunch. The menu looked amazing and you could dine inside in their rustic tin shed or outside in the most stunning vine covered courtyard. The views from outside were just incredible and the smell of the fresh air in the hills is SO good!

We finished off our day with an afternoon drink at Core Cider House. They have an impressive outdoor area with the most beautiful cherry blossom trees lining the entrance and plenty of room on the lawn to sit on picnic rugs or grab a table on the patio. Their is a playground to keep kids occupied and a beautiful view of apple orchards as far as you can see. Core Cider House also have a more formal dining option upstairs which you need to book for (weeks in advance). Downstairs, you can order pizzas, fries and fish and chips.

Unfortunately we didn't make it to Masonmill Gardens but I have heard great things and we will be checking it out soon. I have seen pictures of the amazing french gardens and have heard the restaurant (which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on select days) is great.

Spring is such a beautiful time of the year and we have made a pact to venture out each weekend and visit some new places. It's so easy to stick with the familiar and easy option of staying in town, but I just loved the fresh country air and it felt like we were on a mini getaway!

Do you know of any other amazing places to visit in Perth? I have heard Araluen is beautiful at the moment as it is tulip season.

xx G

transformed into a routine mama

Before becoming a mama, I never thought I would be writing this post, but I feel like I have to share this with the world as embracing a routine has literally changed my life.

Harper has always been a great night sleeper (see this post on our sleeping journey), but when she hit 10 weeks old she stopped consistently napping during the day. Some days she would sleep for a few 40 minute blocks (in our arms) and other days she would only sleep for 20 minutes at a time. Every time I was out she wanted to be fed (even if she had just been fed an hour earlier) and she just wasn't happy unless she was being cuddled or played with.

I didn't mind devoting all my time to her for those first few months, it was nice to develop that bond between us and I knew that newborn babies often want to be held for no reason. However, when she got to three months old and she still wasn't napping properly I started to worry.

People would tell me not to get anxious about her not sleeping during the day as she slept so well at night. While I knew we were lucky Harper was a good night sleeper, I also knew she needed more sleep during the day for her brain development and emotional wellbeing.

It was also starting to get to me that I never had any time for myself and I was struggling to keep on top of all the household duties because Harper constantly wanted my attention.

I had read numerous sleep training programs while I was pregnant and pick and chose bits and pieces from each program to suit my lifestyle. When Harper was first born I decided not to even try sticking to a routine as it was Christmas and we had a constant stream of visitors coming over. After the holidays were over and my husband returned to work, I continued letting Harper feed and nap on demand. It was important to me to respond to all her cries and be really gentle with her during those first few months.

Not to mention, all the sleep training programs had super strict routines which meant I would have to be home at certain times during the day EVERY day and we would never be able to go out at night. This was a major turn off for me as I naively thought my life would be exactly the same post-baby, apart from the fact that I would be bringing my baby along to all my social commitments!

Well I soon realised that if I wanted a happy and content little bubba, then my life needed to change drastically. At around three months, I introduced a routine into our life and it has seriously made things SO much easier. Now I know when Harper is going to feed. I know when she should be waking up and I know when she should be playing.

I devote all of her play time to being with her, actually being present, rather than sitting her on the floor and running around like a headless chicken trying to get household duties done haha.

Harper is now nine months old and an average day for us looks something like this:

06.00am - I wake up and try to fit a work out in.
06.30am - Harper wakes up and my husband brings her into our bed (her wake up time varies day to day but is usually around 5.30-7am).
07.00am - I feed Harper her first milk feed of the day, we get ready for the day, have breakfast and usually head out to grab a coffee (sometimes we drop my husband in to work and other times we meet someone out for a coffee).
08.30am - Play time. Sometimes we head to the park for a swing or have some floor time.
09.00am - Harper's first nap. She will sleep anywhere from 1-2.5 hours depending on how well she slept at night and what we have done that morning. I try and get most of my housework done during this nap as I am most productive in the morning. Plus it's so nice having a clean house and being able to relax in the afternoon!
11.00am - Milk feed, followed by lunch and play time. I also schedule any catch ups or run errands during this time.
01.30pm - Harper's second nap - she will usually sleep for 2 hours. I usually spend 30 minutes of this nap time cleaning or cooking and then have 1.5 hours of bliss to relax, make lunch for myself, read a book or take a bath.
03.30pm - Milk feed and play time. This is where I have to make sure I am actively playing with Harper as the afternoons (or the witching hours as some like to call it) can be very hard! After an hour or so, Harper gets grizzly, I'm trying to get last minute jobs done around the house, get dinner ready and it can be difficult keeping Harper up and playing (which is integral if she is going to sleep well at night). I usually set up play stations so Harper does some time in her Jolly Jumper, some time watching The Wiggle, reading and singing nursery rhymes and some time doing floor play. I will also take Harper on a quick walk at this time if the weather is nice.
06.00pm - I feed Harper dinner and if hubby is home, we usually eat at the same time.
06.30pm - Bath, book, milk feed and bed.
07.30pm - Mama finally has time to relax!

While this routine may seem quite strict, I am actually very relaxed and go with the flow. My husband plays football so has training a few nights a week. These nights we usually stick to routine because we are home and I find it easier to get through everything when it's just me and Harper! Other nights when we head to our parents houses or have weekend commitments, I try and give Harper an extra little afternoon nap so she can stay up to 9pm when we return home.

If you are going to trial a routine, I think it's important to still consider your lifestyle and fit in sleep and play times around that. If you are flexible then you are more likely to stick to your routine and mama and bubba will both be happy. Also don't worry if you get thrown off your routine for most of the day, just try and pick up from the time you get home and don't stress if your baby sleeps less on the odd day. If I am out of the house and miss one of Harper's nap times, I know she will still squeeze in a 20 minute nap while I am driving home, which usually recharges her enough until her next nap time. Otherwise I will move her afternoon nap forward and then give her an extra catnap around 5pm.

Babies really do thrive off routine and it has been an absolute game changer for us.

Disclaimer: We have followed this same routine since Harper was six months old. Before that, we followed a similar routine with one extra 40 minute nap at 5pm. All of Harper's naps are taken in her cot - she doesn't sleep very well in her pram, but will sleep in the car. I know some friends whose babies sleep for hours in their prams ... if you are one of these lucky people then you can even stick to your routine when you are out and about! 

xx G