Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review: Bega Stringers

Big Thanks to Bega for sending over some Bega Stringers for our little family to review!

They came in this cute little pack with a cooler bag, Bega hats and cute little Bega Stringers pens:



We were given 3 flavours: Original, Cheddar and Swiss. Sophie's all time favourite was the Cheddar :)

So here's the thing - those of you who know me IRL know that I am very structured with Sophie's eating.

She has set meal times and snack times. She has protein with lunch and simple vege & carb based food with dinner, fruit for snacks and milk in the morning and before bed. I'm also big on giving her home cooked food. She's a great eater and a fantastic night time sleeper and I really believe a lot of her meal planning relates to that. It's not for everyone, but it works for us at the moment - and I'm a big believer in 'if it works for you, do it your way'.

I'm also very careful reading the nutritional panels on the back of food labels. I'm definitely not an expert, I just prefer her foods at the moment to be lower in salt and sugar, with no artificial flavours or colours if possible.

I thought Bega Stringers were highly processed cheese and expected them to be higher in salt & sugar than the full cream tasty cheese I was already giving Soph, so when I got them I was pleasantly surprised to find they are made with natural cheese, have no artificial flavours or colours that the salt and sugar content in them was around the same as the brand I was using.

I also love that their website has nutritional information on it so that if you are really into researching it like I am, the info is available to you before you even get to the shops. You can find some of that info here.

I'll be buying them in the future - As well as being a heallthier option, they are extremely handy for packing when you'll be out and about with your little one/s for the day. And I eat quite a few myself. Hey, everyone needs calcium ;)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Endota Spa pack

** Before I start, I want to apologise for the picture issues on my blog design at the moment. This is what's happening, hopefully it will be fixed soon!


I'm having a day off today. Sophie is at her Nan's for a visit and I am having a DIY pamper session as an early Mother's Day treat.

It's all in the name of research - Endota Spa sent me a 'walk about' pack from their Mothers Day Gift range to review, and I can't wait to chill out and give it a sample..

I really believe Mother's Day should be about giving Mum a chance to do whatever she wants. For me, that's a bit of a sleep in, some fun family time at home in the morning, then a couple of hours just to myself to relax. After all a happy mum is a happy family ;)

Check out the goodies that come in the pack:


Inside the cute grey felt case there's a body cream, a hand cream and a foot cream, plus some cute fluffy white slippers to really give you that spa feeling. I'm in love already..

I want maximum indulgence for minimum effort, so it's a quick clip and file of my nails and then I go straight for the products.

Here's how my DIY spa treatment worked out:

  • Step 1- Feet: The mint & desert lime foot cream is light and fresh, my feet feel nice and cool when I massage it in. It's a beautiful start.
  • Step2 - Legs: The lilly pilly body moisturiser is gorgeous and thick, a little goes a long way. I find I really have to rub it in, so at the end my legs are warm and tingly after such a good going over.
  • Step 3- Hands: The lavender & alpine pepper hand cream is fresh and warm at the same time. Plus, it smells just yummy. It absorbs quickly and leaves my hands soft & girly.

  • Last step: I pop my feet in the fluffy white slippers, pick up a magazine and get into the chocolate!

Oh yeah. Great day :)

Endota Spa's walk about packs are $80 RRP, and can currently be purchased for $60 here & be delivered anywhere in Australia, with international delivery available at extra cost. They have other packs available starting at $35 RRP, and I love that 1% of every Endota Spa Organic skincare purchase goes to Bush Heritage Australia.
  
Endota been really generous and offered 2 extra walkabout packs for me to giveaway. If you would like treat yourself or your mum to a relaxing spa treat, please comment below and tell me what your perfect mother's day or pamper day would involve!

The fine print:


  • Make sure you leave me some way to get in touch with you (email, FB, Blog link, Twitter details, etc). You can email your info privately to me at marissaroberts@live.com.au if you like. If I have no way of getting in touch with you, your entry won't count, so don't forget!



    • I'll pick a winner from the comments section using random.org and will announce it here in the comments on Wednesday April 27, 2011 so you need to enter by midnight (Sydney time) on Tuesday April 26, 2011. I'll also contact the winner directly using the contact method from their entry. Please note the prize can only be shipped within Australia. I'll do my best to get it to you before Mother's Day!

    Send me an email if you have any questions!

    ** I received a complimentary walk about pack courtesy of endota spa All opinions expressed are purely my own.



    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Guest Post - What to do with your kids artwork

    ** Before I start, I want to apologise for the Photobucket issues on my blog design at the moment. This is what's happening, hopefully it will be fixed soon!



    Image provided by Tat from muminsearch.com


    Today I have my first guest post on Marissa Writes a Blog! Big thanks to Tat from mum in search who has written a great piece with ideas on how to handle the mountains of artwork your children make. Perfect timing for me as Sophie has literally just discovered art and craft and the house is already covered!

    Check out Tat's blog here for more fun parenting tips and some beautiful real life stories :)


    Is your children’s artwork taking over your house?

    If your place is anything like mine, it would be full of drawings, paintings and craft projects that you can't (your children won't let you) throw out, but are taking an awful lot of space.

    Here is what I do with my kids' art and craft pieces:
    • Hang them on the walls.
    • Put some in a special folder.
    • Recycle them in new projects.
    • Throw some out when no one is watching.
    • Make special occasions cards from old drawings and paintings.
    • Use them as gifts to friends and family.
    • Take pictures and post them on my blog for the whole world to admire.
    • Whinge to my husband that we need a bigger place with more room for storage.
    • And I still have artwork lying around all over the place!
    How do you store your children's artwork?

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Mummalicious Maternity Wear

    It's a sad day for this pregnant lady today.

    The only good Maternity Wear shop that I know of in Newcastle is closing down :(

    I love shopping online, but sometimes you just need that extra one on one service and to be able to try things on..

    Mummalicious is a gorgeous shop run by the lovely Jodie.

    The shop sells maternity lingerie, everyday clothes, work clothes, special occasion outfits, and more.

    The clothes are just gorgeous. On my last visit I came home with about 5 or 6 pieces that were great quality, affordable, worked well with my current wardrobe and would still look good after the baby is born.

    Here are a couple of pics:
    IMG_0423

    IMG_0443
    Mummalicious is located right across the road from the old David Jones in the Newcastle CBD (19 Wolfe St). David Jones closed earlier this year, which means less people coming to an area that had been quiet for a long time anyway...

    If you are or know of a pregnant lady in Newcastle looking for decent maternity clothes, tell them to hurry and go visit Jodie at Mummalicious.

    There's a closing down sale at the moment, please show some support if you can and clean out the stock!

    You can check this week's opening hours by calling 02 49294757 or have a look at the Facebook page here

    A Beauty Organising Mission

    beauty bags

    We are renovating our bathroom this week.

    I can’t wait to have a shower that doesn’t leak and a bathtub I can fit into ;)

    Husband is doing the renovating, my job is to clear out the cupboards before he starts.

    Yesterday I took all my beauty / hair / make up stuff out of the cupboard to organise it.

    It’s been a while since I went through it, and I definitely had more than I remembered – check out all the bags!

    It took about a half hour to go through it, throw away the out of date / empty ones and pack it neatly into categorised bags – skincare, hands, eye make up, lip products, hair stuff, make up brushes etc.

    What can I say, I really like organising – maybe a little too much?

    How do you store your beauty products?

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Our Mooo Family Calendar

    ** Before I start, I want to apologise for the Photobucket issues on my blog design at the moment. This is what's happening, hopefully it will be fixed soon!







    How cute is that!


    I've been looking for one with lots of extra room to write in and didn't really have much luck until I came across this style from Mooo.com.au


    I want to give a big thanks to my friend Fi for introducing me to Mooo products, she got Sophie one of their personalised books last Christmas and little Soph loves it - we have to read it everyday!


    So, back to the calendar: It has a month per page, lists the dates down on the left side, and then has a column for each family member. So if the husband is going to the football and I'm having a girl's day, we don't have to squash it into one tiny box on the calendar.


    See?




    Here's a close up:




    (Georgie won't be born until June, but I just couldn't leave her out!)


    And here's how it looks juggling all our social stuff:




    Wow after looking at that, I think I should probably start booking in less social stuff and take it easy now until the baby is born..


    Anyway, for me, this layout makes all the difference.


    At Mooo, they have heaps of different designs and colours to choose from, they start at $29.95 - you can have a look at them here. And don't worry, if you like the 'grid' calendar format, they make them too, but their ones have heaps more room than your usual calendar :)


    It's not just calendars either, they have personalised books, name puzzles, wall stickers (including chalkboard ones) and heaps more.


    I'll be back for Birthday and Christmas presents!


    Do you use a calendar to keep track of your family / social stuff? What type do you use?


    P.S If you want to have a look at how cute the puzzles are in real life, check out this post at the lovely Mumma In Heels blog. You'll love it :)




    ** I received a complimentary calendar from Mooo for the purpose of this review. My opinions are 100% honest and entirely my own.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    5 things about pregnancy that no one told me about

    Image: Louisa Stokes / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    1. After 7 months, you can't reach your feet anymore. Showers and pedicures are not the same.

    2. It's hard to stand still without getting light headed, so waiting in queues gets tricky. It helps to rock back and forth or stamp your feet... but you do look like a mad woman.

    3. You make that old person sound whenever you sit down, stand up or roll over - and don't even notice you've done it.

    4. Leg cramps come from nowhere. Usually at 3am. And the only thing that helps is walking on cold tiles. While your partner (who got you into this in the first place) sleeps peacefully.

    5. You see baby stuff everywhere. EVERYWHERE. And everything you think or talk about relates to babies. "Oh, you're getting the new iPhone? I saw a baby using an iPhone last week.."

    Have any of these happened to you?


    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Oh Yum. Hot Cross Bun Review.

    bakers delight


    Far out I love Bakers Delight.


    First for sending me some hot cross buns to review this week (plus vouchers to give away!).


    Second for making them in fruit, mocha and chocolate. Mmmm. Breakfast, Morning Tea, Dessert, they work anytime. Bring on Easter :)


    Here's what I liked most about them.



    • Fruit: these are soft and doughy and full of sultanas, but no orange peel - good for me, I hate orange peel in fruit buns, it's all you taste. So nice, I'll eat this for breakfast any day.

    • Chocolate: these are dark, sticky, and oh so chocolaty. Yum. Great for dessert.

    • Mocha: Nice to have a flavour that is light and doesn't overpower my cup of coffee. My favourite for Morning Tea. These were all a hit with everyone last night when we shared them with Sophie's Nan and Pop. And the pic above is what Ben and I had for breakfast this morning.

    Jealous? Then go buy some now, you don't have to wait for Easter.


    Or enter my giveaway. I have 5x $5 vouchers to give away and they are valid till the end of June 2012.


    The rules are the same as usual:


    Required:



    • Comment here and tell me what you would get with your $5 voucher.

    • Make sure you leave me some way to get in touch with you (email, FB, Blog Twitter details, etc). You can email your info privately to me at marissaroberts@live.com.au if you like. If I can’t reach you, your entry won't count, so don't forget!

    Optional (1 extra entry for each):



    I'll pick a winner from the comments section using random.org and will announce it here in the comments on Tuesday April 12, 2011 so you need to enter by midnight (Sydney time) on Monday April 11, 2011. I'll also contact the winner directly using the contact method from their entry. Please note the prize can only be shipped within Australia.


    EDIT: This promotion will now run until midnight (Sydney time) on Monday April 18 and winners will be announced Tuesday April 19.


    Send me an email if you have any questions!



    ** I received complimentary Hot Cross Buns from Bakers Delight for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Busy Mum's Guide: My experience with Coles Online shopping



    Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



    I have been freaking out at the idea of grocery shopping with a new baby and a toddler.

    I just don't know how it would work - If I use a trolley, I'd have to:



    • Find one that has that special baby seat - and there aren't very many of those

    • Work out what to do with Sophie - who likes to walk but would be tired or distracted after a while and I'd find myself chasing her around more than actually shopping.

    I know I could shop on weekends with my husband, but I really want to spend the time together in a more relaxing way.


    I know I could ask someone to have the kids while I shop or shop for me, but I'm pretty independant and I'd like to be able to do this myself.


    I don't however, want to drive myself crazy trying to do it all.


    So lately I have noticed a few friends, people on Facebook and Twitter and a couple of Mummy Bloggers talk about how they do their shopping with Coles Online. The feedback seemed to be pretty good so I thought it would be worth a try. I almost didn't do it as I am a big fan of Aldi - good products, good prices. But Aldi doesn't have online shopping, so they were out. Here's my experience:



    • I saved time: by using the Express Shop option: The only bad thing I had heard about Coles Online was that the first shop took ages as you had to go through the virtual aisles, so I skipped that using this button. When you click it, it gives you a box to type your shopping list into, so you just type things like nappies, tomatoes, crackers, etc and hit search. It comes up with the product options available and you pick the one you want and add it to your trolley.

    • I saved money: because it let me sort items by unit price, and they gave no name options like Coles Smart Buy.

    • Paying for the products: I used my credit card, and it gives an option for EFTPOS on delivery too. I had a problem with the checkout, it wouldn't confirm my address and I couldn't finish the shop. So I called the help line and spoke to Amy, who finished it off for me over the phone and said it would work next time (Note: I just did my second order this morning, and it worked fine today).

    • Delivery Time Frames: If you get in early enough you can choose 2 delivery options: a 3 hr window for $9 and a 2 hr window for $13. The 3 hr windows were all taken so I went with the 2 hr one for my first shop, and am going to order early next time (Note: For my second order this morning, I had no trouble booking a $9 time slot).

    • Delivery Day: It was fun - like Christmas for groceries :) The products were delivered to our kitchen counter, checked off against the order list, and I signed for it. The cold stuff was cold, it was all packaged well.

    • Easy to put away: Because I wasn't buggered from doing a big shop with Sophie and my huge pregnant tummy, I had heaps of energy and didn't mind cleaning the fridge before I packed it all away.

    • Price difference Coles vs Aldi: I think it ended up about the same. Normally I shop Aldi first and then fill the gaps on my shopping list with Coles items - it comes to around $150 a shop. The online shop came to around $150 as well. I didn't do any impulse buys so I think that's where a lot of the savings came in. And I got freebies! Some Be Natural Muesli and a Shampoo and Conditioner sample :)

    All in all, I'm very happy with it, and will be grocery shopping online again (Note: Actually, I just did. Put my second order in an hour ago).


    I'll also be doing it after baby #2 arrives. But I'll get the husband to clean the fridge for me ;)


    So that's my story. Have you shopped online with Coles or another supermarket?


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