Thursday, 30 August 2012

National Organising Week and Utterly Organised Activities

Can you believe that in a matter of days we will find ourselves in September?! Is anyone else just a little bit concerned with just how fast the year has gone and just how close Christmas is? Eeek!!

National Organising Week kicks off next Monday 3rd September and I thought to co-incide with this, we would use the start of September to dedicate it to the organisation of pantries and laundries - the two spaces that I love to organise and have organised!

Over the next few weeks, the blog will focus on the organisation of these important areas in your home. Let's face it, the kitchen is probably where most of us spend our time on a daily basis, I know I do. Our kitchen is the hub of our house, not only for cooking, but also for entertaining friends and family and as such it is the one of the core spaces in your home that I feel needs to be beautiful and organised. What better place to start with your kitchen organisation than the pantry.

Same goes with the laundry - like it or lump it - piles of dirty clothing are something in no shortage in any household with kids. By creating an organised laundry space, it might just make this chore a little bit nicer to do (I did say 'might'!).

Over the course of the next few weeks we will take a look at;
  • A peek inside both my pantry and laundry - by demand!
  • Ideas and tips on how to organise your pantry and laundry spaces
  • Advice on organising your messy kitchen draws
  • And if you like what I have done, then you might want to download my free laundry printables!!

I am delighted that starting in September, I have the very fabulous Home Storage and Living sponsoring Utterly Organised. If you are not familiar with this amazing online store, then definitely do yourself a favour and head over and check out their product range today. I am a proud customer of this company, so over the course of the series you will see some amazing organisation products from their range that I have been using in my home to keep 'utterly organised'.

Being the generous sponsor that they are, they will also be running a competition and a special promotion for all of my lovely readers, more information on the company, the competition and the promotion soon....

If there is a particular question or area that you would like me to look at during this special feature, then as always I would love to hear from you and try and include your request over the course of this feature. Please feel free to comment below, contact me on Facebook or simply email me at

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Sensational Spring Stripes - bargain buys for Spring!

I don't know about you but I always get so excited when the new season clothes hit the shops after a long and dreary Winter. Each year I try and make a head start on my Spring wardrobe and pick up a few key pieces before the warmer weather hits.

This year was no exception and I recently hit the shops with my girlfriends for a little bit of retail therapy full of hope of doing just this. But my optimism soon turned to despair as I realised that amongst the trends of the season (namely 'neon') there was not a single thing that I could see myself wearing.

Sure the neon trend might be great if you happen to have a 1980's themed dress up party coming up! However for anyone over the age of 21, I don't feel that 'neon' is a very wearable trend for everyday wear.

Well the good news is that that stripes still appear to be around - hurrah!! If you are anything like me, I am a bit of a classic dresser and I just adore my stripes. I wear stripes all year round, and for all occasions - work, play, beach, gym - you name it.

So if you too are a little perplexed about the lack of wearable pieces for Spring, don't despair as I have featured a few of my 'striped' bargain buys for Spring for this week's Cheap and Cheerful Tuesday.....

Source: Country Road

Pick number one is this half sleeve tee from Country Road. It comes in this candy pink/grey combo but if this is not your thing, there are plenty more colours and styles in store. At $34.95, you should definitely grab one (if not two) for Spring. The half sleeve style is very flattering on those that don't like to bare too much upper arm.
Source: Sussan

I adore the above look from Sussan. I love how they have teamed a classic boat neck top, with a pop of colour (that is not neon!). The gorgeous top has 3/4 length sleeves, a boat neck and an equally gorgeous price point of $34.95. This top will look just as at home when teamed with jeans and flats for running around the park with the kids. It also comes in Coral, or my favourite - Emerald.

Source: Mix Apparel

Does anything say 'classic' more than black and white stripes? I just adored this dress from Mix Apparel (Coles Supermarket Exclusive Brand) so much that I went and bought for myself. I love just how transeasonal it is, I am dressing up with footless tights for now and I'll be baring my legs and teaming with some gorgeous teal or coral ballet flats (with matching bangles of course) for Spring. At $25 you won't regret this purchase - super flattering on the curvier figure - trust me!!
Source: Target Australia

Being the shoe fan that we all know that I am, I couldn't let your feet miss out on all of the striped fun. Target never disappoints with some cute flats for Spring, and these are no exception. Prefer a classic navy or perhaps red? Then you are in luck as these colours are stocked too. The style is called St Tropez and for just $30 these can be yours. I would personally wait until the next 20% off footwear sale (if you can resist) and pick these up for an even lovelier price.

Source: Modcloth
Don't forget that Spring is an amazing time to pick up some 'clearance' buys from our friends in the UK or the USA who are madly trying to clear out their items to make way for their Autumn and Winter lines - yay for us!! I am particularly partial to US site Modcloth who bring us the gorgeous coral striped number above - known as the Like a Dreamsicle Dress - for only $17.99- yes you heard me right!! This dress is perfect when teamed with a neutral cardigan for cooler days and I am sure it will be a regular fixture in your wardrobe come Summer. They also have an amazing sale on at the moment and their styles are very classic and also very beautiful.  Shipping to Australia can be as little at $10.00 depending on how much you buy! '

Also a fan of stripes? Recently found the 'perfect' bargain buy? Would love you to share with me below.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Time to Organise your.... Earrings!!

Well you know that a baby has well and truly taken over your life when you decide to move your beloved shoe cupboard to the garage to make way for a playroom. For those that missed out on reading about my DIY Ikea shoe cupboard, you can read about it here.

My shoe cupboard not only housed many of my precious shoes, but it was also a great way of displaying and organising my accessories - namely my earrings.

It may not be too much of a hassle to retrieve my heels from the garage (because the wear of these is now sadly few and far between!). However I am a bit of an earring aficionado, so I wanted to come up with a way of storing these inside the house - on a budget of course!

To refresh your memory, I do have a lot of earrings to cater for......

So I needed to come up with a way to store ALL of these.

The first thing that I implemented was the 'Allure' earring organiser from Howards Storage World. These retail for $24.95, however I used my free $20 Howards Storage World voucher and just paid the difference - bargain!

This is a great solution for those that only have a few earrings to house, but I still had another 10,678 to store (okay slight exaggeration!). So this stand sits on my dresser and proudly displays the earrings that I am wearing most frequently at the moment.

I decided to store the rest of my earrings using these little fishing tackle boxes from the 'outdoors' section from K-Mart (you know the one with the watering cans etc). These were only $8 each and capable of housing all of my earrings. What I love about these boxes is that they are transparent so that I can see exactly what is in there, and because you can place the earring hooks over the boxed sections, it means that the earrings do not get all tangled.  

I have also sorted these in to colour groups to make it easier to find a pair to match whatever it is that I happen to throw on that day! The best part of these (apart from the price) is the ability that I have to be able slide these away and under my bed for storage - too easy!!!

If these ideas don't quite suit what you need in your home, how about this cute find from Diva?

Source: Diva Australia
This little organiser is called the little Black Dress Jewelery Storage bag and you simply place it over a hanger and pop it in your wardrobe.

I adore the gorgeous little design and the price too, it is only $14.99. It also comes in a smaller pink version which would make a really cute Christmas gift for a little girl.

Hope I managed to give you a few handy (and cheap ways) to store your earrings. Do you have a another way of storing your jewelled beauties? I would love to hear what you do in your home.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Super Yum Honey Muesli Chia Seed Ball Recipe - Thermomix Version Included!

Long time, no recipe!! Or so it seems... We had the not so joyful experience of winter flu here in our household last week, so I haven't managed to do the same amount of baking that I tend to enjoy. We are all on the mend at the moment, so I have donned the apron again and given this recipe a try.

The original recipe was taken from the very fabulous Retro Mummy, but I have made a few modifications along the way.

You see with Spring only a week away (big squeal of delight) I have experienced a little bout of panic about shedding a little bit of my winter and post baby 'coat' in order to get in to some of the gorgeous Spring fashion that is hitting the stores. So I am trying to steer myself away from chocolate (in large quantities!) and towards little treats and snacks with a bit more nutritional value. This recipe is great as it satisfies the sweet tooth in me, while the inclusion of the chia seeds really packs a nutritional punch!

The recipe is super easy to make and even easier to eat (watch the container disappear). If you have a Thermomix, I have included a version for you as well.

You'll Need:
  • 1 3/4 Cups of Muesli (Toasted is ideal, homemade is even better, but I had this Uncle Toby's laying about so I used it up!)
  • 1 Cup of Dried Fruit (Apricots, Apples, Sultanas, Craisins, Raisins, Pears - add your favourites to your hearts content)
  • 60g Melted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut (for mix)
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Coconut (to roll)
  • 1/4 Cup (or less) of Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup of Honey
  • 2 Tbs of Chia Seeds (or more if you like, I used the white variety)
Traditional Method:
  1. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat
  2. Pop all ingredients (apart from coconut to roll) in to your food processor and mix for approx 2 minutes
  3. Roll tablespoon full amounts in to small balls and then roll in coconut
  4. Store in refrigerator until set, approx 1-1.5 hours
  5. Enjoy, they really are that simple!!
Method for Thermomixers:
  1. Put butter in to your TMX bowl and melt @ 100 degrees for 1 minute 30 seconds on speed 2
  2. Pop all ingredients (apart from coconut to roll) in to your bowl and mix for approx 2 minutes on speed 3
  3. Roll tablespoon full amounts in to small balls and then roll in coconut
  4. Store in refrigerator until set, approx 1-1.5 hours
  5. Enjoy, they really are that simple!!

I do hope that you enjoy this recipe. Now that I am back in the kitchen do let me know if you would like me to try, test or feature a particular recipe right here for you on the blog.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Lusting after a two tier fruit bowl....

We sure go through a lot of fruit in this household, which is a great thing, as I believe there is it there is no better snack nutritionally than fruit (sure beats me reaching for the old block of Chocolate). However consuming the amount of fruit that we do in a week (especially with fruit purees), does come through with a teeny tiny pitfall - storage. Since the arrival of Mr B, I found that I was struggling to fit everything in the existing fruit bowl that we did have (sorry I forgot to take a picture before it was tossed in the rubbish, but it was chrome and a bit ugly!).

So I started some research in to larger fruit bowls and fell in love with the idea of a tiered fruit bowl, that way I could have the extra room plus the added bonus of being able to store my bananas at the top and stop them from going so ripe when directly being placed on to the other fruit. Anyone else have this problem?!

It did not take me long to find what I was after, it was love at first sight for this gorgeous fruit stand from Crate and Barrel.

2 Tier Fruit Basket: Source - Crate and Barrel
Perfect size, perfect shape, perfect price (AUD$25.30). Everything was going so well, that was until I hit the check out button to calculate postage... even though I just adore this item, I cannot justify the estimated AUD$103.80 (yes seriously) in shipping costs to get it to me from the States - boo!!

For my lovely readers in the States after this type of thing, rejoice and head on over to purchase this one if you are in the market for a beautiful fruit stand. But please don't brag to me about owning it as I still may very well cry!!

So it was back to the drawing board for me.... After a few frustrated days of searching online, I did manage to stumble across this little beauty over at home and online shopping store - Magnamail.

2 Tier Fruit Basket: Source Magnamail
To be honest this was the least likely place that I would have expected to find what I was after. Sure it may not be an exact match for the Crate and Barrel item, but at $16.90 (plus orders up to $30 are posted at $7.90), I can live with it!! In fact when it arrived, I was surprised that it was actually much better than I had anticipated and the white really blends in with my kitchen decor.

So how does it look at home? Well with my white and grey kitchen, this white unit probably works better than the chrome might have, see for yourself....

If you are after a something-a-rather for yourself, your home or your wardrobe, I would love to help you out. Please email me at and let me know how I can help. Your search might be featured here on Cheap and Cheerful Tuesday. Remember I do love a shopping challenge....

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Winner of the Mor-Stor Competition is.....

A BIG congratulations to:

Kylie Wieland!!!!

The beautiful Pippa Nursery set will be making its way to your home very soon and I would love to see what you do with it.

Thank you so much to Mor-Stor for supporting Utterly Organised with our first, but definitely not our last, giveaway.

To the readers, I really appreciate the time that you all took to enter and I reading how you would use the set if you won, thank you.

Thank you to the gorgeous blogger girls that helped promote this competition - Bec @ Because Everything Counts and Liz @ Bizzy Dayz. I am utterly grateful for your support.

For those who missed out, don't despair as there will be another giveaway happening in a few short weeks when a new sponsor comes on board, I cannot wait to share this with you.

Organising your Nursery: Some ideas, advice and inspiration

Firstly thank you so much for all of the lovely comments that I received on Part 2 of the series that shared my planning and a look at Mr B's budget friendly nursery. If you haven't checked out this post, I would love you to do so here.

Part 3 of the Project Nursery series gives you a little sneak peak in to the organisational aspect of my nursery, and I truly hope to be able to provide you with some ideas, advice and inspiration for planning your own.

If I could only give you one piece of advice for creating and setting up your nursery, it is that organising it is vital. Give everything a home and ensure that your nursery is set up for ease of use at all hours of the day (especially at 3am in the morning)! There is always something happening in the nursery- feeding, sleeping (if you are lucky), nappy changes, frequent changes of clothes and playtime. If you don't have organisation in place for all of the toys, clothes, nappies and baby products then your nursery can very quickly go from clean to utter chaos in a matter of seconds!!

One of the most important areas to organise in the nursery is most definitely the 'nappy' station because as much as I hate to break it to you, this is where you will be spending a lot of your time!!

You definitely don't want to be caught short in the nappy area, so put together an organised system that is easy for you to use and also to maintain.

In my nursery we have a chest of drawers that doubles as a change table and it is fabulous. I find that with the separate change tables, quite often there is not enough room for a large nappy caddy to sit on the top of these units. This means that you are constantly bending down and trying to reach underneath for what you need. I personally love having everything organised and right there at your fingertips. The added bonus of the 'all in one' is that you save space in your nursery by just having the one unit.

If you cannot find a suitable all in one, then consider looking around for a dresser you love (ebay is great!), as you can purchase a change mat to affix on the top and simply remove when you are done.

I highly recommend getting a large nappy caddy so that you can not only fit in your nappies, but also keep your other everyday essentials in it such as cotton balls, sorbelene cream, hand santiser, wipes and paw paw ointment (how good is this stuff?!). Keep the caddy close to the action - nappy action that is - because it is quite obviously very unsafe to leave bubs on the change table whilst you run to the bathroom to get cotton balls! My gorgeous little chevron caddy was made for me from a wonderful seller on Etsy.

Are you a hanger? Or do you prefer things folded up neatly in drawers? Find a style (or a mix of) that suits your space requirements and preference for organising clothes.

As you can see from the above, I am personally a 'hanger'. I love opening the cupboard door and seeing everything hanging neatly in a row and organised in to sections. Some people like to organise by size or by colour but I like to order my nursery by type and then by size. My cupboard is organised in to the categories of sleeping bags (yes I hang these!) jumpsuits, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, jackets, shirts, coats and pants. I find that this system also allows my husband to easily find clothes when he takes charge.

To keep things organised in 'sections' I love the idea of making your own 'section tags' that fit over your wardrobe rail so that you can see where each section starts and ends.

Source: The Amazing Jen from I Heart Organizing
The very clever Jen from I heart Organizing has implemented this idea at her beautiful home, and used section tags for planning what her kids will wear for the week ahead. In a nursery, it would be brilliant to instead have customised tags to show clothing 'types'. I am eager to implement this idea in to my nursery, so if fellow readers are interested too, I would be happy to design a free template for you to use in your home. Let me know by comment if this might be of interest and I can run this little project down the track.

I confess to being a bit obsessive when it comes to my hangers - they must all match. I have used the Ikea 'Hanga' Wooden kids hangers and they come highly recommended - check them out at your local Ikea store. Whilst not the cheapest option at $1 a hanger, they really are great quality and will last for many more years to come. When I was pregnant I started 'collecting' these every month so by the time Mr B arrived I had a wardrobe full and I bought them as I could afford.
Source: Ikea Australia
If you are short on space, but like the idea of having things hanging in the closet, you might consider a hanging organiser. Babies clothes are teeny tiny so implementing something like the below Ikea Skubb organiser would give you oodles of vertical space if you are short on room.
Source: Ikea Australia

If you are choosing to fold most of your items in a chest of drawers, implement a system that makes sense. Put the items that you use most at the top - for us that is extra lotions and potions, socks and singlets.

As you can see my lotions and potions are proudly displayed in the Mor-Stor Pippa Nursery set in 'white'.

This set is just amazing and if you haven't entered the giveaway to win one for yourself, definitely do so now, and you can see just how fabulous it is for yourself.

The rest of the drawers have Ikea Skubb organisers in place to sort out all of the little items. These are a really inexpensive way to keep your drawers organised and neat and small items separated.

I love the below idea, again from the fabulous Jen at I Heart Organizing, to design some tags so that you know exactly what is located in each of your drawers.

Source: I Heart Organizing

For something so small, babies sure need a lot of 'things' - swaddles, blankets, towels, bibs, toys - do I go on?! For ease of use, I have opted to have everything set up in the nursery, as I prefer the idea of keeping everything together including linen for the nursery.

The top of the wardrobe has been filled with these amazing storage boxes from Home Storage & Living. The style that I have used is from the the 'Linear' basket range and they are the perfect size to store sheets, towels, extra nappies and blankets. The labels featured throughout my nursery have been designed by yours truly to fit the colour scheme of the nursery.

One of the many things I have learnt about babies is that they grow of of clothes - super fast. It can be a bit teary to do, but once your little one grows out of a particular item or a range of sizes you need to start thinking about what you are going to do - stash, sell or pass on to friends or family. If you are planning on another baby, then you might want to look at packing these away for number #2, #3, #4 or #5!.

I use these simple and cheap plastic tubs from K-Mart which are labelled with what is being packed in the tub and then stored in our garage. That way if we are fortunate to have another baby down the track, I can take in the tubs one by one for use. Another great idea if you are short on storage space is vacuum sealed bags which are labelled. Labelling and sorting these in to categories is the key, it will make things so much easier down the track. I keep the tub at the bottom of the wardrobe and add to it as we grow out of an item.

For the most part, the majority of your play with your beautiful bundle of joy will probably be outside of the nursery for now, so you might not need nursery toy storage as yet. At the moment we have a cube storage unit set up in our lounge area which is where we do the majority of our playtime, you can read about the cube unit here.

We do however have a small selection of toys and books that we keep in the nursery for bedtime. These are housed with a few other items on a cheap bookshelf in the closest. The bookshelf has been lined with the Ikea Skubb organisers and each has been labelled to easily show the contents. 

Well not you literally, but your nursery space!! Your needs are going to quickly change over time and in the blink of an eye your baby will become a toddler with very different organisational needs.

Don't you wish they could stay this small? Mr B is 2 days old and just slightly bigger than a washer!

Well that wraps up Project Nursery, I truly hope that readers planning a nursery will have gained some ideas and inspiration from this series. I sincerely wish you all the very best with your planning and preparation and if I can answer any of your questions, please contact me.

If you are in Melbourne and would love some help setting up a beautiful and organised nursery space, please get in touch as I would love to work with you to ensure that when your bambino arrives, you will be set up in the most organised fashion!

Don't forget that the Mor-Stor giveaway ends tonight so head on over now and enter for a chance to win the gorgeous Pippa set. As my pictures will attest, this is a 'must have' piece for any nursery or kids room.

What is your best nursery organisation tip? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Look at Mr B's Baby Boy Nursery

I hope you all enjoyed reading Part 1 of Project Nursery featuring my nursery colour ideas. Today Part 2 gives you a little look in to Mr B's nursery and the key elements that I incorporated to create my dream nursery (on a budget!).

One of the very first nursery pieces that I found to work in with my colour selection was the Poang Chair from Ikea (pictured below).

If I am honest, I fell in love with the Ikea Poang chair long before I was pregnant, and when I settled on a grey and white theme for the nursery, I knew that it would work perfectly in this print. Although I would have loved a white frame on the chair, I found that the 'birch' frame still works well with the white furniture in the room.

When I went to purchase the chair I went in to a complete panic as the fabric (known as 'tuna') had been discontinued only weeks early - I know, what are the chances?! I was so fortunate that I was able to track down one and it was on clearance for a bargain buy of $80 - bonus!

For those planning a nursery at present, I highly recommend the Poang chair for your nursery. I found that it offered terrific back support for all of those long hours spent in the chair in the early weeks. Also because I have only really used the chair for the first 6 or so months (as my  little monkey quickly became too long to feed in one), I am so glad that I didn't invest in an uber expensive recliner. The Poang chair typical retails for around the $169 mark here in Australia (dependent upon fabric) and you can also get a footstool if desired.

The next mission I embarked upon was trying to find a little side table to fit in the small space next to the cot and chair. I wanted a table that was compact, yet still big enough to fit a glass of water, some snacks and the monitor on (in my view, room for snacks is a must!). Oh and did I mention that I only wanted to spend less than $20 on this?! After a long time searching, I decided to use the Ikea Frosta Stool as a side table instead. It was the perfect size, shape and the perfect price ($15) and it was in the same 'birch' colour as the chair frame.
The next job was finding a white cot and change table. The cot was a breeze, I settled on the King Parrot 'Scout' cot as I liked its' clean, simple lines and it converts to a toddler bed down the track. We were fortunate to receive this as a gift from the Grandparents to be, and are ever so grateful. King Parrot is the more 'economical' brand from popular cot maker, Boori. Their cots are the same fabulous quality, but on a smaller price tag. Definitely a brand worth looking in to if you are in the market for a cot.

Given that space is a bit limited in the nursery (how I'd love a bigger house), I decided to source an all in one change table/chest of drawers, which was not an easy task. As usual I found exactly what I was after in the States, but nothing locally here in Australia (I swear if I lived in the States, I'd be flat broke!). Eventually I managed to track down one on ebay that was just what I had been searching for and at such a great price. Down the track the change top can be removed and used as a regular chest of drawers. The chest of drawers is so roomy, I wish that I had it in my own room for my belongings!

The last part was injecting the accent colours in to the room and personalising the space. Some of this was done once Mr B arrived and some before - like I told you, I had a strong hunch a boy was on the way. I wanted the nursery to feature an 'animal' of some kind and I decided that elephants would be super cute and fitting with the grey tones in the room.

Sadly but surely, I am sure that the elephants will be phased out when we enter the toddler 'remodelling' phase and incorporate some more 'boyish' features in to the room - boo hoo!!

As you can see, the room features white walls with a pale grey feature wall. My accent colours of turquoise and lemon have been injected using customised wall art, nappy caddy, bunting and framed prints.

These little 'touches' were an inexpensive and easy way to incorporate these colours in to the room. Most ideas can be done yourself and cost very little for maximum results. If you are wanting to get some help in this area, then look no further than Etsy. I just love Etsy, as the sellers are just so accommodating to try and create or source products that will work within your 'vision'. You can pick up so many personalised and handmade items here for some truly terrific prices.

So how does it look all together? Well it so hard to take one big room shot, but hopefully the below will give you a little idea of how it all came together.

I must say that even though I am, prone to changing my mind about colours and projects, I have not tired of this room once and that is a big statement given how much time I have spent in here staring at the walls at 3am.

Next up, Part 3 will focus upon storage and organisation ideas for your nursery space and look at what I have incoporated in to the little mans room.

I truly hope that you love Mr B's room as much as we do.

If you haven't already entered the Mor-Stor competition, you can do so here. You definitely don't want to miss out on the gorgeous little Pippa Nursery set....
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