31 July 2015

Mum DIY: My Quirky Toilet Makeover

My Quirky Toilet Makeover

Like it or not, we humans spend a lot of time in the smallest room in the house a.k.a. the toilet, the loo, the john, the W.C., the can. But this room is usually boring, bland and functional at best.
Even without the dribbles on the seat and puddles on the floor left by lads who need to go to Aim-Your-Weapon School, the loo is usually a pretty uninspiring place to be.

I had a cunning plan to change all that, at my house. What I needed was a window of uninterrupted DIY time. It's my Mum DIY philosophy that "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission".
Some ideas are just too hard to explain to the people you share a house with. They will probably not agree that your vision to wallpaper your toilet walls with pages torn from 1950's school annuals is a good idea. They may not be visionary enough. So you need to show them rather than tell them...

29 July 2015

La Café de Paris Party - c'est magnifique!

La cafe de paris Party

The day finally arrived - Sunday was Miss Fab's Paris Party at long last, after months of planning and preparation. The cakes were baked, the croissants and macarons purchased. The bunting was hung, and so were all the other homemade decorations: the Patisseries canopy, the Paris street scene sketch, the blackboard menus etc. Ooh la la, but it was all looking très magnifique!
This was a party that looked absolutely gorgeous (if I do say so myself), but the true test of a party is not whether the photos get repinned a gazillion times - it's whether the guests and the birthday girl have a fab time. By which standard this was (and I quote the birthday girl): THE BEST PARTY EVER. Which is saying a lot.

Here's some scenes of party gorgeousness:

22 July 2015

*Ooh La La* Paris Party Prep & Printables

Paris Party Prep and Printables

My beautiful girl turns 11 in less than a week, and to celebrate we are going to Paris. Well, not literally. We are pretending to go to Paris by holding an "Afternoon in Paris" party.
I'm turning my dining room into a café, we'll be speaking french and wearing berets, eating croissants, macarons and taking photos in front of the (blackboard-drawn) Eiffel Tower.

C'est Magnifique!

The inspiration for the party theme came from Miss Fab's styley black-and-white bedroom makeover. Somehow it put us in mind of Paris chic, and since I LOVE all things Paris and topped my high school french class, I was ecstatic when she said: We should do a Paris party for my birthday!

Ooh là là, mais oui! Bien sûr!

18 July 2015

Nights of Fire and Marshmallows

Cooking over the fire and toasting marshmallows

One of my favourite things in the world is what we call "Fire Nights".
Basically, when the evening is fine - be it winter or summer - we light the brazier and cook our dinner over the flames. Sausages or chicken skewers, either will do.

Sometimes we have fire nights "just us". Sometimes we have friends over.
We snuggle under blankets on chairs pulled up as close as safety allows to the warm fireglow. 
We toast marshmallows, tell stories and play games like Truth or Dare or our fave: Circles and Triangles*.

Fire nights are the best. Nobody needs to be entertained, it's nothing complicated or fancy. We just hang out around the fire, under the lights. (Of course we may snap a pic or two, as evidence of fun times, for posterity, but otherwise gadgets are superfluous).

The last couple of weeks, I've been sole-parenting, with hubby galavanting in Europe (as you do). And of course, during his absence it's also been SCHOOL HOLIDAYS (best-of-times/worst-of-times).
But a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do, and sometimes you just need a Fire Night, even if there's no dad around to chop wood.

08 July 2015

We Made a Jungle

Jungle theme decor with pallet bridges

I just wanted to share with you these photos of the Jungle me and my clever friend Carla created in the foyer of the Mercury Theatre for Shout Kids school holiday programme this week. We sewed acres of vines, cut out thousands of felt leaves, sewed a four-metre giant snake, a gazillion cushions, made a waterfall from cheap taffeta and tarps and a rock wall from brown paper.
But the pièce de résistance had to be the AMAZEBALLS pallet bridges that Carla's amazing hubby made from pallets, from the dump.

Together with an army of Bible college student volunteers we pulled an all-nighter on Sunday and transformed a boring foyer into a magical jungle. All the months of planning and sewing and gluing and cutting came together and, just WOW.

02 July 2015

My Two Cents on the "Christian" Response to Gay Marriage

Love vs Hate

I had to write this post even though I know every man and his dog has already had their say on Social Media. In fact, that's exactly why I have to write this. Heck, America is not even my country but the stories have been clogging my Facebook feed all week, and the comments on those stories - the awful ugly comments - have literally made me sick. Actually vomitous. Like, I am lying awake at night feeling very upset.

So America has legalised gay marriage and the sky has started falling. No? OK, the end is near, fire is on it's way from Heaven, God is very upset and so is every Christian pastor who is worried he might be forced to marry gay people.... Come on!
Oh my goodness, the backlash! Is it true what my friend told me that a Texas pastor actually threatened to set himself on fire if the law was passed?
People! What the heck??!!!

My country, little ole New Zealand, legalised gay marriage back in 2013, and guess what? The sky didn't fall. The end didn't come, there was NO FIRE FROM HEAVEN to destroy us all.

Also, I've not heard of one Christian pastor who has been forced against his will to marry a gay couple.
Even stranger, the teachers at my kids' school who are gay didn't suddenly start forcing their gayness on their students. My kids are completely oblivious to the fact that some of their teachers are gay. Because guess what? The teachers are there to teach, and that's what they do. Their personal lives do not come into it. It's none of our business.

Why do I feel like I have to write a response to the outpourings of hate and judgement I have seen in my Facebook feed? Because I want to make it very clear to the people I know and love who are gay (and my straight friends who have gay people that they love) that the haters do not represent me.


01 July 2015

How I Turned my Reluctant Readers into Book Lovers

Turning Reluctant Readers into Book Lovers

Hi, my name is a Mrs Readalot and I'm a bookaholic. I gave birth to three energetic offspring who rarely sat still long enough to pick up a book. Not one of them showed any librarian tendencies. All of them were Reluctant Readers. It fair broke my heart, I tell you.
I've known since my youngest days the magic of books.
Books contain worlds. They expand our horizons. They let us inside other people's heads. Reading fiction even helps develop empathy (and combats narcissism).
"A recent study found that reading fiction helps people improve their empathy, because it encourages them to place themselves in others’ lives and understand their actions. In that way, reading is like traveling — with your mind." (Source)

For all these reasons and more I was desperate for my children to love books, I wanted them to enjoy rainy evenings snuggled in bed with a good book, nodding off to sleep as the rain pitterpatters on the roof and the book grows heavy in their hands, their eyelids droop and they slip into dreamland...