Monthly Archives: March 2015

Mums on Blogs… Karin O’Grady

March 27, 2015

  1. IMG_3267 cropWho are you and what is the name of your blog?…..My name is Karin and I am a writer at my blog Calm to Conniption. I chat about all things parenting and the life that comes along with it when we try to not just be Mum. I am a FIFO wife with two small kids (one in each flavor) who loves to laugh, doesn’t take life too seriously and can’t help fishing out the credit card for cool cushions, table lamps and linen.
  1. How long have you been blogging?…..Calm to Conniption was birthed around September in 2013. Prior to that I had a few other blogs that I shut down (hopefully), which I was a bit sporadic on.
  1. What made you start your blog?….I was looking for something for me outside of thinking what to make for dinner and how long until nap time. I wanted to create something that could develop with unlimited potential that was completely up to me to make of it what I will. I wanted to connect with other like minded people and hope to give other parents a bit of light relief with relatable moments, how to’s and sharing things I love.
  1. What do you love most about it?….I think mostly I love having a little online space and a creative element for myself. The community I have joined has been brilliant and an unexpected element to the blogosphere.
  1. Any favourite online shops?….Oh my gosh!! I am a bit of an online shop whore and spread myself around. I do love Down That Little Lane, Hard to Find, and of course the rabbit hole that is the wonderful Etsy!!
  1. What is your one guilty pleasure?….I love good wine and have become a bit of a snob these days. Life is to short for shit wine. Of course with wine must come a nice soft cheese and fancy cracker.
  1. The kids are in bed, the washing is done… What do you do now?….You would probably find me in my office working on Calm to Conniption or if there is something good on TV I will have my Mac on my lap on the lounge while I watch combined with reading some awesome content from my Bloglovin’ feed.
  1. What is the one thing you cannot go one day without?…..A cup of tea. A good cup of tea is like a refined kick up the ass, Downton Abbey style. Tea cures so many ailments; laziness, sleepiness, headaches and noisy children!
  1. Do you have a favourite person you follow on Instagram?...I love checking out @summer_murdock for her beautiful family pics, @lisamessenger for her inspiration and cool shares, @childrenofthetribe for their awesome kid-wares, @designlovefest for beautiful places and things, @_carlybrownphotography_ for amazing Summery photography, @dr_sash for more bright, clever photography, gosh, so many favourite people but not just one person. Will stop now as I could be listing forever.

10. Who inspires you?…..The many women in places I aim for in this blogging business inspire me. They may or may not be at the top of their game but they are successful in life (or doing a damn fine job of faking it) and juggle family and a career that they have made for themselves.

Layne Beachley also inspires me for damning the man and taking on the surfing empire. Also she is a down to earth chick who makes the effort to encourage and support other women not just in surfing.

Lena Dunham for breaking the mold and never being afraid or ashamed to just be herself. Also for her amazing intelligence and creativity. I wish for just a scrap of her writing capability!

You can find Karin at Calm to Conniption and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Loving ModelCo. skin care

March 23, 2015

IMG_7803So last week I looked in the mirror and thought… Wow.. You look like shit. Given it was 7.00 at night and it had been bullshit hot through the day, but still…not good.  You know those moments when you think it might be time to shake up the skin care/makeup products. I was having one of those… but what to use? I have used the same stuff for so long I really have no clue. I need decent stuff but I can’t spend a fortune because then I will just end up feeling guilty, and I hate it when I feel guilty over spending money on myself…..It just pisses me off really.

So after consulting with my friend Madeleine from The Daily Mark, she suggested I give ModelCo. a try. And so I did. And… I am LOVING it. Yep, it’s not just tanning products and make up anymore, this awesome brand has moved into the world of skincare. Only twice in my life after trying something new have I ever noticed a visible improvement straight away. My skin looked brighter and felt like I had a new face!

I have only started out with the cleanser, exfoliant and a moisturiser just to try and see how I liked it but now I can’t wait to try the other products as well. They smell like a garden of essential oils and feel amazing. The cleanser is a foam which is super convenient for the shower. The exfoliant has just the right amount of “scrub factor”, enough to make you feel like it’s doing something but not like your using industrial sandpaper, and the moisturiser itself spreads really well and a little bit really goes a long way. Lesson learnt after night one… Really don’t need much at all!

What I love just as much as how my skin looks and feels now is how little this costs. All 3 of these products I bought for under $60, and you can get it form Target or Priceline, or if you are more of an online fan you can grab a number of ModelCo. products from Score!!! So if you think it is time to shake your regime up a little bit… Give this a try. It’s beautiful.

Mums on Blogs….Fairlie Dennison

March 19, 2015


1. Who are you and what is the name of your blog?
I’m Fairlie, a Melbourne-based travel blogger writing about family travel
experiences at my blog Fairlie is not actually my real name…it’s Alison Dennison.  It’s a long (and probably very boring) story as to how I came to be blogging as Fairlie – and now, several years down the track, the moniker has stuck, and at times I actually do think it’s my real name. Fairlie is my travelling alter-ego, the Superman to my Clark Kent.

2. How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging at a couple of previous blogs since 2007. Initially, I
started with a personal family-story type of blog, mostly just to keep
interstate and overseas family and friends in the loop with what we were up
to. Then I co-wrote a blog with a good friend. On that
one, we examined the knowledge and wisdom of life pre-1970 and applied it to
life in the 21st century. I’ve been blogging specifically about travel
experiences since March 2014, so is fast
approaching its first year anniversary. This time around, I’ve approached
blogging very differently and the past year has been a massive learning
curve as I’ve absorbed all I can about it.

3. What made you start your blog?
Reading and writing have always been my biggest passions. Initially I saw
blogging as a way to exercise my writing muscles, but at the same time to
capture all the stories I was forever telling people when we returned from
trips (whether they wanted to hear them or not!). I was always offering
advice and tips to friends and friends of friends via email, so this
particular blog was a natural extension of that.  I take lots of photos and
I collect lots of stories, and on the blog I put them together into
bite-sized bits which remind me of where I’ve been, and offer tips, advice
and information to others to entertain and inspire. I post mostly about
family travel with two older kids (11 and 17).

4. What do you love most about it?
Blogging is a window into diverse lives in a variety of places. Through it,
I have made lots of great new connections with people around the world. The
best part about travel blogging, is sharing personal stories about places,
sites and experiences. There’s nothing quite like other bloggers’ honest
opinions and observations to shape itinerary plans.

5. Any favourite online shops?
Ah, well…accommodation booking sites of course (expedia,,
agoda)! And airline websites.  I also love for
ordering travel guides and pre-trip reading. On my blog I have an occasional
series of posts where I create lists of novels and memoirs that can be read
before you visit a place. The pre-trip reading of a few titles provides
texture to my experience of the destination, and an understanding of some of
the more personal stories of those who live (or lived) there.

6. What’s on your bucket list?
I’ve written a bit about the concept of bucket lists on my blog. I don’t
have a set-in-stone list, it’s a fluid, constantly changing collection of
vague ideas. “Oh look! Shiny, new place. I’ll add that to ‘the list’.”
However, a few of the things that are on my list at the moment are: trying
out an onsen in Japan, seeing a live volcano and  going on a cruise ship
(the kitschier, the better!). I hope to tick off two of those items this

7. The kids are in bed, the washing is done… What do you do now?
Oh my goodness, the washing is NEVER done. With one teenage and one tweenage
girl in the house, washing seems to pile up faster than we can do it!
However, I’m really good at ignoring washing. So, late in the evening, once
I’ve done the myriad of other tasks that need to be done, I like to watch an
episode of one of my current favourite TV shows.  I’m working my way through
House of Cards at the moment, and having been in Washington DC just last
year, I really enjoy spotting landmarks in the background of the action.

8. What is the one thing you cannot go one day without?
Coffee. I’ve tried, really I have. But coffee is the one vice I just cannot
give up. Whenever we travel, our first priority every morning is seeking out
a good coffee (I can’t stand bad hotel buffet coffee…). In Vietnam
recently, I became quite addicted to the Vietnamese method of coffee. Café
sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) sure packs a punch and is not for everyone.
I brought some bags of the beans home so I can recreate it here.

9. Do you have a favourite person you follow on Instagram?
I have lots of favourites, so many that to name any at all would be really
unfair to those I leave out! I love Instagram. It’s the perfect social media
channel to peruse while waiting in the car at school pick up, or those
moments in between things where you have a few minutes to spare. I love
Insta feeds that show the quirky detail or the texture of travel
destinations. My own feed (@feetonforeignlands) is a mixture of travel
photos while we’re ‘on the road’, photos from or related to blog posts and,
on a day-to-day basis, photos in and around Melbourne, particularly of
street art.  I try to view my own city as if it is a ‘foreign land’, never
taking for granted what it is about our way of life and our environment that
makes it so unique. So there are always plenty of great pics to capture and

10. Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by everyone who doesn’t take their surroundings for granted,
whether they are at home or in foreign lands. It’s inspiring when people
take the time to understand the uniqueness of the world’s cultures and
histories, and views what they’re seeing and experiencing with an open mind.
I’m inspired by people who take that knowledge and use it to create greater
tolerance and understanding throughout the world.


Crunchy Cinnamon Muesli

March 17, 2015


About 12 months back I was making this every week for my girls and then one weekend I didn’t make any and then it got forgotten about until this week and my middle daughter asked if I could start making it again. Of course I am happy to oblige because I forgot how frigin delicious it is.

It is too much to have as a regular muesli, but to have it sprinkled over some yoghurt and fresh fruit for some added texture and flavour it is perfect. My girls even like it over vanilla ice cream for an easy dessert. You can use it various ways and I may have even sprinkled it over toast with Nutella once or twice.

Give it a go… and your house will smell like a giant cinnamon doughnut while it’s in the oven!

So you need to start by preheating your oven to 180c and lining a baking sheet with some baking paper. Then in a large pan melt 125gr unsalted butter, 60gr brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Once melted add 300gr rolled oats and 120gr slivered almonds. Stir to coat all the oats and then tip onto the prepared baking sheet and whack into the oven for 10 minutes. Pull it out of the oven and give it a little stir just to break it up a bit and then put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Once out of the oven and cool enough you can then start munching on the little clusters it might have formed. BE WARNED- DO NOT EAT STRAIGHT FROM THE OVEN!!!!! It really holds its heat and will surprise you how long it takes to cool down. Let it cool completely and then transfer to an air tight container and store for around a week. It might not last that long though. 😉

You got an award for WHAT???

March 13, 2015


For quite some time now I have wanted to write a piece on how children are being raised in comparison to how WE were raised. Knowing I will undoubtedly be met with criticism over my opinions, I have decided to go ahead and write it anyway. First of all let me start off by saying I am by far not the perfect mum. I swear, I don’t cook every night and (gasp) I even go out without my children sometimes. I have made mistakes and I am wise enough to admit to them.

Recently I came across an article on 9 News on Facebook about how giving children too much praise can be a bad thing. Well, I tend to agree. Most of these studies that are performed I usually just think… “Why did we need to know that shit?”… However, I found this one to be particularly interesting. Why do kids always need to be praised? Thanked if they have done something for you..yes, but praised…constantly?11048282_880632351984603_7735114961194144279_n

Yes…. kids today are different to when we were kids…. but how, and more importantly why are they? Technology can be blamed for a portion of how things are different, for a start look at social media. I have let 2 of my children have Instagram as long as I have complete control over their accounts. Everything is to go via me. I have been enlightened to no end seeing the narcissistic bullshit that some of these kids carry on with. My god are they in for a surprise when people stop stroking their extraordinary sized (for no good reason) egos.

A while ago I wrote an article that ended up being seen as far as the USA about kids sport and how I think some of the rules now are a joke. It’s called The Issue with Sport if you want to go check it out.. Now, it’s about being at home and at school. I will use myself as an example. A few years ago one of my daughters came home from school very disheartened as she had not received an award in class for weeks but the naughty boy (who was ALWAYS naughty) did get one. In fact he had been getting one every week for his “outstanding” behaviour. Now, the thing is.. one award I understand…Perhaps this boy has a problem doing what is right… Perhaps this boy had been trying really hard and he deserved the recognition.  But every week?…. And more to the point… What about the kids who actually WERE being good in class, ALL the time…. getting their work done well and being responsible? What about THEM? Constantly they are being overlooked in favour of the child who needs all this “positive reinforcement”.

Again, I will use myself as an example. At the start of this year my  daughter came home with a class award for “paying attention in class”. Ummmmm…..Sorry, what? Now here is where I think there is a problem. What do you mean you got an award for paying attention? I’m sorry but this is not something that needs to be praised. That is what you SHOULD be doing!!! Do you think you or I would have EVER received an award at school for doing what was expected? Pffffft my father would have scoffed at it and been at the school with the award in hand telling them it was a load of shit. Which, really…. is exactly what I should have done. But… I didn’t. Why didn’t I?.. Because it probably would have been a complete waste of my time, that’s why.

Why has everyone gone so frigin soft??? Even at preschool…. You can’t say to the children “Don’t run”… no no no, that’s too negative. Instead we say “Excuse me Johnny, would you mind walking please?” What. A. Load. Of. Shit. At the risk of sounding like an old bitch saying “back in my day” I would have been grabbed by the arm and very firmly told STOP!….and… I would have stopped.

I have a friend who teaches Year 11 and 12 kids and last year sometime was being addressed by the school Principal for being a smart arse. The Principal spoke over the top of this girl as she was acting like a petulant child only to have the girl put her hand up and say “Ummm, I’m pretty sure I was speaking!” To which my friend almost swallowed her teeth at the audacity of this teenage girl. Now… Would you have spoken to your Principal (or in fact anyone) like that? Holy shit I wouldn’t have bothered going home. Yet, this girl stood her ground. I just do not understand.

I’ve digressed again… back to the praise..Is it necessary to praise your kids for cleaning their teeth, having a shower, sitting still in class, doing what they are told? Surely there are some things that are just expected. When they have done a good job on something then sure, of course, praise away..but for unpacking their bags after school.. No. That is expected and they will not get anything out of me only some afternoon tea.

Perhaps the children need a dose of reality. This world is not full of sunshine and lollipops and the quicker they realise that not everything is about them and people will not always be so forthcoming with their praise the better. I mean, what happens when these kids actually get a job? When they do the job that is expected of them. Are they going to be ok when their employer doesn’t make them feel ten foot tall for doing something that is just their job. Or are they going to fall over their bottom lip and have a cry because they weren’t made a big deal of?

I fear we are going to have an entire generation of sooks coming up because their ego expects to be pumped up constantly, only it won’t be. The world just isn’t like that.


I have had another rant similar to this called When Rules Were Rules about kids and their school uniforms if you are interested. 

Midweek meals..

March 10, 2015

PicMonkey Collage

I have carried on before in articles about how important I think it is to have a meal plan in place for the week, fortnight or if you’re SUPER organised the month. So much easier if you spend an hour writing out meals you will have over the coming week(s) and shop accordingly as so you have all the ingredients and not having to duck out to the shops to buy one thing and end up spending an easy 50. We all do it, don’t worry it’s not just you.

So here I thought I would make it a little easier for you and have sourced 7 meals that aren’t too difficult and easy on the funds.  These are not my recipes… they have come from other talented people who make food look much prettier than I do!


1. Chicken and Chorizo Paella from Jamie Oliver.


2. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese from Donna Hay.


3. Sesame Peanut Noodles from Nigella.


4. Smoky Chicken Kebabs with yoghurt dipping sauce from Foodies Agenda


5. Zucchini Slice from Taste








6.. Baked Mushroom, Bacon and Spinach Risotto from Donna Hay


7. Fish cakes with Pea Mash from Taste.

Now, you obviously don’t have to have all 7 of these particular meals in a row… It’s just for some inspiration. We all need it when it hits 4.30 and we’ve got no clue!

Mums on Blogs.. Bryony Gamble

March 6, 2015


1. Who are you and what is it that you do?….. My name is Bryony and I am a qualified  hairdresser and makeup artist.

2. What is the name of your blog?… I have the blog with all the latest hair and makeup trends and tips to makeup women feel comfortable trying new looks no matter what there beauty skill level is.

3. What made you start blogging?….I started blogging to compliment my new business venture, my own makeup academy a few months ago.

4. What do you love the most about your blog?…..What I love most about blogging is the gratitude  you recieve from women about informing them.

5. Any fave online shops?…..My favourite  online shop is cotton on for both the kids and me. They have 30%off regularly and do great basics.

6. What is your guilty pleasure?….My guilty pleasures would be chocolate and online shopping.

7. The kids are in bed, the washing is done… What do you do now?…Kids are down and I watch YouTube, check my social media and write a bit if I’m in the mood.

8. What can you not go one day without?….I cannot go a day without watching a makeup tutorial on YouTube…lol.

9. Who is your favourite person to follow on Instagram?…..My favourite  person to follow on instagram would have to be  @narsissist, @sigmabeauty and @kevynaucion.

10. Who inspires you?….I would have to say makeup artists like Val Garland, Rae Morris and vloggers like Nicole Gregorio and Carly Bybell really inspire me to create unique work and share my skills.

Pottery Barn Easter

March 3, 2015

AU_easter_th_pip_W15sp90AltPlushBunnies_bh_002So… I am a bit of a Pottery Barn Kids fan. I have just stumbled upon their new Easter products and I had to share.

It’s not all about chocolate, hot cross buns and seafood at Easter… It’s also about the decorations.. Just like Christmas!

Personalised Easter baskets, table decor, garlands, even a gorgeous Peter Rabbit range. All the colours are just beautiful. So cute for all the little ones…



Go grab a coffee and take 10 minutes out to have a look.

Click here to visit.