Friday, March 30, 2012

The Week That Was......

God I've been hopeless this week with my blog! Totally neglected it. Even the awesome bloggers who have more than one child and are attending the blogging awards managed to post something.

Well if you've been wondering what I've been up to, here goes.....

  • Working like a crazy woman in the shop to get all the product on the shelves so Mum doesn't have to do anything but sell while I'm away

  • Sewing, sewing, sewing! I'm determined to feature some of my own creations at the next Little Me Markets

  • Toddler wrangling. This consists of negotiating bath, PJ's and bedtime routine with a 20 month old. She's a determined little bugger who managed to scream her head off till 9:15pm last night!
  • Getting Emily checked out by the doctor because she had an epic stack in our driveway and a day later her eye was still swelling.

  • Cooking dinner every night. Doesn't sound like much but we always do at least one to two take out dinners a week as we both work and it can be hard to get something cooked in time for Emily (we don't get home till about 5:45pm and by then she's starving and crazy). The reason I'm cooking every meal is because we're trying to save money for our big trip to Ireland.
  • I must be totally crazy because I also committed to another market before our trip. Now I'm doing the Little Me Market on 15th April in Wodonga and the Golden Horseshoe Festival in Beechworth on 7th April.
To top everything off I have developed a lovely sinus infection. Albury-Wodonga sits in a basin and pollen hangs around for most of the year. We have gorgeous Autumn trees but when their leaves begin to fall so do these potent fury spores along with their seeds. They cause havoc with my sinuses which over-react to the pollen and I inevitably get an infection. Now the infection has spread to my lungs so I've had to start two courses of anti-biotics or else it will become full blown bronchitis and I won't be able to travel.

Speaking of travel, I can't believe we're leaving in 2 1/2 weeks! I'm excited and nervous and very stressed. Taking a toddler on a plane is a daunting task in itself, but the longest flight I've been on is 5 hours to Bali. I didn't even get jet lagged. I have no idea how I'll handle the flight let alone how Emily will handle it. Then there's my hubby who is terrified of flying and will have to be sedated the entire trip, so I'll also have very little help with Emily. I'm just praying we have nice flight attendants who will give me some tips.

Anyway, I'll try to make an effort next week to blog a bit more often. What a crazy crazy life.....but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Very First Product Review!

OK I'm going to attempt my very first product review. I'm not being sponsored for this (but really would welcome sponsors and freebies!!) so one things for know I'm going to be honest.

Last night was pretty cold and I thought what a perfect opportunity to try out the new Uh-oh! Sleepwear Buggy Bags. These are a lot like the traditional sleeping bag or Gro Bag but with a difference.

Firstly they have arms meaning the TOG rating just increased from 2.5 to 3.0. For those who don't know what a TOG rating is, it's the Thermal Insulance (or equivalent to how many blankets or doona's you have on) rating given to sleeping bags. So according to the TOG Rating, in a 16-20'C room Emily would only need a singlet, nappy and the 3.0 TOG Buggy Bag on to keep warm.

The second difference is that the Buggy Bag has legs. It's like a padded romper that has a two way zip (handy for nappy changes) and the feet have non-slip rubber spots so your toddler can walk safely on tiles or floor boards.

The verdict is.......We Love It!

Emily slept all the way through. She woke at 6:30am this morning needing a nappy change which was easily done without having to remove the whole bag. She then played happily in the cot for half an hour while I had a shower because she could stand up and wasn't constricted like a sleeping bag.

When I got her up I thought about changing her straight away but decided she could lie on her beanbag in front of the TV while I made breakfast. The previous couple of mornings she's needed a blanket to keep warm at that time of the morning but with the Buggy Bag it was like she already had one on.

So I've ordered another one for her in pink floral and would definitely recommend them to any Mum who wants a good nights sleep and has a baby or toddler who's able to stand or walk.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Best Day Ever!!

Today was the best day ever! I mean it, it was awesome.

On Monday I put a Facebook post up saying there would be a big announcement on Thursday. On Tuesday I posted a reminder and on Wednesday I said I had not one but three big announcements to make.

Today was the Albury Gold Cup and a gazetted public holiday from midday which meant no childcare and therefor no shop open after midday. At first i thought it was a disaster. I need the income desperately at the moment and half day closing meant I would struggle to meet my sales target.

So these were my announcements that I made on Thursday:

Announcement 1: It's almost been a year since I bought the shop and to celebrate my 1 year anniversary we are doing a bit of a make-over in the shop. Over the coming weeks you'll see a new color scheme, play area, shop fittings (I've started this already) and a new logo. A huge thanks to Kath from Doodlebugs who has been madly designing the new bear and logo. I can't wait to show you all!

Announcement 2: With the success of new labels Gaia Organic Cotton, Eternal Creation, Mizzle, Walnut and Skeanie added to Bearly Worn over the last year I've decided to expand the range for summer 2012! I'm very pleased to announce I have just signed orders for Koko & Co., Milky and Freshbaked. There will be more to come so keep your eye on Facebook as I'll list them her as they're confirmed.

Final announcement for today! To celebrate Albury Gold Cup I am having a one day only SALE! Come in between 10am and 12pm tomorrow and get 10% discount on all new winter stock from Gaia Organic Cotton, Mizzle, Skeanie, Uh-Oh! sleepwear and... Walnut Melbourne. This is for TOMORROW ONLY with no exceptions, rain checks and not in conjunction with any other offer. So come in and save some $$$ on your kids winter wardrobes! See you tomorrow :-)
Well turns out a lot of people read my post about the sale and at 9:30am there were people lined up at the door. In two hours I did a weeks trade and I couldn't be more chuffed! Honestly i wasn't expecting this at all and today I finally feel like I made the right decision buying the shop. It's been a really hard slog this last 12 months and days like this give me hope that it's all worth it.
Anyway, not to worry. I hope tomorrow is just as good and that the trend continues. Next on my list of many things to do is the new radio campaign. Anyone good with writing jingles?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Feeling Better.......

Today was my first day off in 9 days and boy did I need it! I finally feel a bit better and a bit more organised. Emily slept 12 hours straight last night which meant I finally got a good nights sleep and so I just had to start this morning with a special cooked breakfast for hubby and I. Emily even had her first boiled egg this morning so after a great start I figured some shopping, visiting and cleaning were in order.

  • Did the grocery shopping
  • Visited Mrs Doodlebug and picked the new logo for the shop
  • Did some more shopping and bought some winter pyjama's and an Elmo DVD about travelling
  • Cleaned the entire house including bathrooms, windows, vacuuming and crayon removal from walls
  • Colored
  • Danced to the new Elmo DVD
  • Made a lasagna for dinner

Now Emily is in bed, hubby is in his man cave and I am free to sit on the couch in a very clean house and blog away.

I'm trying really hard not to make my posts like an on-line diary of my daily events. I've never thought of myself as a writer but I guess that's what you do when you blog. I look at my blogging hero's to see what they do that makes them a success and there's a few things they have in common.

  • They blog every day - even if it's to say their day is shit and they have no time to blog
  • They're opinionated and they say what they think with no apologies
  • They're open about who they are, they don't hide their identity and we all know their names.
  • They always have pics, links or videos on their blogs so it's not just text
  • They are social media queens and regularly post on Facebook and Twitter
I can log in at any time and see what these women were up to. Late at night I often lie in bed with my i-phone and read their blogs and they're like a bunch of friends that I get to listen to each night before I go to sleep. They have interesting things to say and they make me laugh and cry.

My blogging hero's are Woogsworld, Edenland, BabyMac and retromummy. These women are inspirational to me because apart from having kids and and doing all the wonderful and selfless things mothers do, they've actually inspired so many other women and given an outlet for many of us to express ourselves.

Can you imagine what our mothers would have blogged about back in their day?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Even Superwoman Needs a Break

I can't believe it's been a week since I last blogged! It just goes to show how busy my life has been lately.

Tomorrow will be my ninth day straight of work and I'm running on empty, just trying to make it till Wednesday when my casual girl works and I get to spend the day chasing Emily around instead of chasing suppliers, serving customers, cleaning stock rooms and pricing stock.

I had my first Little Me Market stall yesterday. I've been a handmade fan for many years and I stock quite a bit of handmade clothing and baby gifts in my shop, however I've never really tried to sell anything I've made myself.

After celebrating St Patrick's day the night before (not the smartest thing to do but when your husband is Irish you don't have a choice), I was up at the crack of dawn and over to the site to set up my stall. Severely hung over it wasn't until after I'd set up and the market had started that I realised I'd left the keys to my lock box on the kitchen bench at home. Aaarrrgghhh!

All set up and ready to go

Thank goodness for a friend walking past who saw how distressed I was. She watched the stall while I raced home and picked the keys up. Thank goodness people generally spend the first 15-30 minutes of a market browsing while they decide where they'll spend their cash.

Anyway, after all that I had a hugely successful day. I sold loads of clothes and baby gifts. I did so well that I booked the same spot for the next market and that's two days before we go to Ireland. Crazy but I think if this mad and crazy last week has taught me anything, it's that I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to. I also decided I'm going to have a go at making some items myself.

So I guess the next couple of weeks I'll be spending my nights sewing and putting together enough stock to have another successful market stall.

One of the dress designs I'm thinking of for the next market

Hopefully this week will be a bit more relaxing. I feel like I've been trying to be superwoman this last week but even she needs a break now and then right?

How was your weekend?

Monday, March 12, 2012

One Day at a Time

It was an absolutely huge market day and I wish I had of grabbed some photo's, but honestly it was just too busy!

It started at 5:30am with a toddler who decided it was time to get up and sang "mummy mummy mummy" for about 1/2 an hour before I finally dragged my tired ass out of bed.

After that it was go, go, go setting up my market stall and opening the shop for the annual Traders Market Day in Albury. Because we're a twin city with Albury on the NSW side and Wodonga on the VIC side, half the population got the day off with VIC Labour Day and they all came over for a family fun day at QEII Square.

All I can say is it was hugely busy, although I would have liked to be busier. I did better than this time last year but not as good as two years ago. Considering I now have new kid's clothing and shoes in the shop whereas last year there was only recycled kids clothing, I expected a much bigger days trade. But I guess with all the flooding and economy worries, a lot of people weren't spending.

Hubby picked up Emily who hardly slept today and was really grumpy so I decided we needed fish and chips for dinner as I just couldn't deal with sore feet, a grumpy toddler, a frustrated hubby and cooking tonight. But now I feel sooooo guilty that I ate all those chips. It's always when your busy and tired that you give in and go for the easy take away option. To make matters worse I'm sitting here watching The Biggest Looser and all the ads in between are weight loss program ads like Lite 'n' Easy and Weight Watchers!

Tomorrow morning I have to meet with the creative team from Aus Stereo to create my new radio ad. I've been trying to think of something creative and punchy that really gets the message about the shop across to my customers. I'm changing everything about the shop except the name and I'm trying hard to pick up those customers that never came in before because they only bought new and up-market brands. It's really hard changing the reputation of an existing business. When your a new business you have no reputation and so people naturally come in to see the new kid on the block. But when your an existing business and you already have a particular reputation, it is that much harder to convince people to come in and see what's new.

I think this week is going to be a "one day at a time" week. I literally have something major on every day and no time for rest. Here's hoping next week is a little less stressful!

The reason for everything I do......

Sunday, March 11, 2012

No Rest for The Wicked

What a great weekend! I got no housework, cooking or washing done. But I did have a great time!

It started with Saturday morning coffee and a trip to the hairdressers. I was so scared because it was Emily's first haircut and I knew we'd be cutting off the last of her baby hair. Why is this such a big deal? I think after she started toilet training early and because she is so physically advanced and big for her age (at 20 months she's 15kg and 90.5cm tall), cutting off her baby hair means that she's now a little girl and I kind of want to hold onto Baby Emily for just a little longer.

My little girl is a bit of a loner most of the time. She can be shy and doesn't like strangers or big crowds. So our plan was to just sit and chat in the hairdressers and if she seemed comfortable enough we would cut her hair. It worked a treat. She even thought sitting in the big chair by herself was great fun and happily let the girl cut her hair. Then she stood in front of the mirror for ages checking out her new do.

The only thing she didn't like was getting her photo taken.

Since that went so well we went off to see my friend Mrs Doodlebug who's husband had gone away for the weekend to a music festival and she had the two boys and her 8 month old (also named Emily) at home. We decided to go for a short walk to the main street of Wodonga as the Harmony Carnivale was on and there were loads of live music, art and market stalls.

First thing Mrs Doodlebugs boys did when we got there was run off so we spent the next half hour searching for them, prams in tow. After finding the boys (I managed to sneak an Organic Olive Tapanade purchase in) and giving them a stern talking to about not scaring their Mum like that again, we sat down for coffee and scones and watched the local primary schools music group perform some singing and dancing. Emily thought it was awesome fun and even got up on her chair and did dance moves I've never seen her do before. See what happens in childcare!

We went home for her midday nap and she slept for 3 hours! Whenever she does that it means she'll be up late that night (usual bedtime is 7pm) so I suggested to hubby that we head back to the Carnivale for a curry dinner and to watch the parade. Emily had a ball and we ran into loads of friends. It was such a great family atmosphere and I definitely think we'll go back next year. Emily even had some butter chicken from the Indian curry stand.

Today was always going to be busy. One of my oldest friends is due to have a baby next week and I wanted to catch up with her before she went in for her scheduled Cesar. She has a little girl 6 months older than Emily and I thought they could have a play together.

Well they didn't exactly play, they wanted everything each other had and there was scratching, biting and a bit of slapping involved. How ironic though that because Emily used the big toilet my friends little girl had to use it too. My friend says she can never get her girl to use the toilet and it's great that she wants to copy what Emily did. On the other hand Emily has never really been very social with other kids and after the initial squabbles, my friends little girl came over and gave Emily a hug and a kiss. Emily thought that was great and reciprocated. It was so sweet!

I can see these two being great friends when they get older, just like her Mum and I were at school.

So after I put Emily down for her midday nap I headed back into town with my Dad for a fun filled afternoon of putting up new shop fittings and re-merchandising the shelves. We still have a long way to go but the beginning of the shops transformation is now underway and it's so exciting.

Showing off my new Gaia Organic Cotton range.

So tomorrow I have Market Day at QEII Square in Albury and it's going to be fine and sunny so I'm hoping for a huge day. I have a stall going and just finished packing the car withy everything I think I'll need. The shop will also be open so fingers crossed we get loads of people with kids looking for baby or children's clothing.

I'm trying to think of something special to do with Emily on Wednesday as it's our new day together. I'll be in Melbourne buying on Friday, then another market on Sunday (which I haven't even sewed anything for yet!).

So with such a busy week ahead I better go get some shut eye.

How was your weekend? 

Friday, March 9, 2012


What a massive day......or not really.

It started with a semi successful drop off of Emily to her new day care center. All was going well until I put her bag in her pigeon hole and she realised Mummy was leaving. There were tears and the poor childcare lady could barely pry her arms from around my neck. I sat in the car, told myself to get it together and took off for work. I hate leaving her like that.

Coffee in hand I was determined to get a heap of pricing done today and was also hoping my three boxes of winter Eternal Creation clothing would finally turn up. After the morning rush of sales (yay! I love meeting my target by 11am) I received a much awaited package from one of my organic clothing suppliers. I won't name and can figure it out by yourself. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I had to return some stock from this supplier due to imperfections and marks. There were about a dozen pieces and one in particular looked like it had been dragged across the factory floor before being packaged and sent to me. So when I received my replacements I expected to find perfect pieces all ready to hang.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I think they just re-packed the pieces I returned and sent them back to me! A pair of pink footed tights for a newborn had dirty marks on one of the feet and all the cream tops had small red marks. Two of the items were listed as no longer available but there was no credit on the invoice. I was slightly fuming.

OK, stay calm I thought. I filled out new return forms and repacked the stock to return for the second time. Then I called my agent to tell her that for a second time I'm returning faulty or marked stock. When she called me back she was apologising profusely and also wanted to let me know the Production Manager wanted to call me personally to apologise. Quite frankly, having come from a manufacturing and logistics background I understand that the owners and reps are not responsible for this kind of thing and as much as they try, it's the guys on the ground who make it happen. Unfortunately the guys on the ground are in China and their Quality Control sucked. I also wrote a long winded email (well they did ask for my complaint in writing) expressing my "disappointment" at the lack of attention to detail and difference in quality from last year.

The fact is this brand is extremely good and apart from one line everything else is perfect and my sales reflect how good they are. So I'm not going to hold it against them, but I'm allowed to be pissed off that I wasted an entire morning and half the afternoon sorting it out and I only got one tub of stock priced for the shelf tomorrow.

Hubby was home sick today and apparently too sick to pick up Emily from childcare so at 5pm I rushed out the door, stopped by the butchers on the way to the car park, picked up some stir fry and raced to pick her up before they closed at 5:30pm.

By the time I got home I had a splitting headache and no motivation to cook a rousing stir fry and rice. It's Friday night for FFS! Pizza! So I called the new pizza delivery up the road while hubby lay moaning on the couch and Emily tugged and cried at my legs for a bottle of milk that we're desperately trying to wean her off. I swear you'd think she was coming of heroin the way she carries on.

The pizza was disgusting and hubby complained the whole time about it and how sick he felt. Emily finally went off to bed crying herself to sleep because she wanted a bottle and we're trying hard to stick to our decision to get her off them.

Then I sat down, opened my laptop, checked my Facebook and what do I see? Mrs Woog shared a picture of me in my short condom dress. You can see it here Thanks Mrs Woog, as one of my blogging hero's you made my day!

This is my little munchkin all ready for day care today. I think she thinks she's driving the Mazda.....

Who's your Blogging hero?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Super Mum

Why is it that when a Mum is sick, she's still a Mum? When my hubby is sick he's just plain sick and can't even look after himself.

Yesterday he came home at 3pm with a migraine. He walked in the door and went straight to bed, much to the confusion of Emily. "Daddy nigh nigh?" she asked and then looked outside at the sun shining.

At 4am he woke and couldn't get back to sleep. He tossed and turned until I kicked him out of bed.

Today he was sent home from work with a viral infection and high blood pressure and was straight back in bed. He could have had Emily with him today as all he'd have to do is supervise, but instead he sent her to Mum and Dads so he could rest.

A couple of months ago I had a very severe case of bronchitis (something I get a lot of in Albury thanks to pollen hanging around for 9 months of the year). I couldn't call in sick to the shop, who was I going to call? Myself? So I go to work, sick as a dog apologising to customers all day for my incesant coughing. That night I pick up Emily from childcare, take her home, bath her, make her dinner and put her to bed. I crawl on to the couch for an hour or two watching SVU or NCIS until I fall asleep and hubby wakes me to get into bed.

All night I cough and splutter and just as I fall back asleep Emily wakes crying and wanting a feed. I go back to bed, coughing again and hubby complains that I'm too loud and wants me to stop coughing. I would if I could! I go back to the couch until I wake to Emily crying in the morning.

My point is, when I'm sick I suck it up, I do what I have to and get on with it. On the other hand I also take so much longer to get better. Tonight hubby is already feeling better and has let me sit on my ass and blog instead of doing dishes and cleaning the family room (after cyclone Emily was there earlier).

Sometimes I feel like telling him to "suck it up princess", then when he's feeling better I just want to hug him and kiss him because at least he tries to make up for his winging and inability to do anything.

Sometimes I think I should stop trying to be such a super Mum and let others handle it for the day, even if I don't exactly like how they do things.

Hubby and Emily playing games on the computer tonight while I cooked dinner. Obviously he's well enough for that! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When the Going Gets Tough, Country People Stick Together

It's been very eventful around here in the last week. Last Thursday there was an absolute deluge of rain in Albury resulting in Emily's new childcare centre being evacuated. We had a reprieve on Friday and thank God because thanks to the rain the shop had been dead all week. I couldn't even bribe people to come in with new WALNUT gumboots on sale.

Saturday came and the deluge returned. Albury has pretty good levy banks and drainage but my birth town of Urana 1 1/2 hours North West of Albury was hit hard and Sunday morning and so they began building up the levy at the nearby Columbo Creek.

Monday dawned and the sun came out, but the news came through that the levy at Columbo Creek had burst and the water was headed to the town.

This is the town yesterday aftenoon .....

I've never seen Urana drenched like this in all my 36 years. It is certainly higher than the 1982 floods I remember as a kid which came halfway up our driveway but never reached the farmhouse. It's definitely higher than the 1942 floods that the oldies are talking about in town.

Urana is a resilient town. It was once the epicentre of sheep and wheat trade in the district however with the removal of the railway it has slowly declined to a small village of 400. The people that remain are strong and carry a "she'll be right" attitude. Our old neighbour who is now in her 70's said "oh it's just a bit of water" when asked to evacuate last night.

I love this photo posted of one of the locals today on Facebook. Says it all really....

When you get lemons, make lemonade.....or row row row your boat.

Last night they took a vote in the town meeting as to whether they should evacuate and it was a unanimous no. The water began to subside today but they have a long way till their out of the woods. More water isexpected to move to the Billabong and Lake Urana and that will cause more flooding towards to end of the week. Then the clean up begins.

Country people stick together in times like this. They don't care for politics or who "should" be doing what. They just get on with it, they just do what has to be done. They're very matter of fact about it and I love it. There's no bullshit. They say it how it is and they do what has to be done.

Then they all go off to the pub afterwards for a beer.

Monday, March 5, 2012


My weekend was pretty uneventful.......

I weeded and harvested the vegie patch before the deluge of rain hit.

Then I made a lasagne with the herbs and a salad with the lettuce we'd picked.

Then I made some cheese and chive muffins....

Then I organised my new sewing and craft chest of drawers....

This was my fathers chest of drawers and his mothers before that. There is a stamp on the back of it stating it was made in 1923. I just love it.

Then I made a dress for Emily......

Then I made a pair of denim pants for Emily......

A bit daggy but suitable for Childcare I think

Then I made some Oat Bran Biscuits for hubby's lunches this week.....

Then I made a Silverbeet and Potato Gratin with Pork Chops for dinner.....

I really did mean to take a photo of this but.....

With all the housework, washing and ironing done I'm now sitting back tonight thinking I can achieve a lot when it's pissing down rain and you can't go out!

How was your weekend?

PS> My thoughts tonight are with the flood affected areas of NSW, VIC and ACT, especially my hometown of Urana NSW which is being air evacuated as I type this.