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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Bushfires 2013

I think many of us have feared this would be a bad bush fire season. We have had hot summers, and not very wet winters. The ground is dry, and bush areas are littered with very dry leaves, and no moisture. Add into that 30+ days during what should be spring, and fierce winds and you have a recipe for disaster.
A devastating disaster.

I grew up in the inner suburbs of Sydney, so my previous experience of bushfires has mostly been from a distance. I do have vivid memories of fires in the 90's that occured over Christmas one year. My Grandfather was a volunteer in the Rural Fire Service in the South Coast of NSW. We always stayed there during Christmas holidays, and one year the area was impacted by bushfires. I can still picture him coming home after fighting a fire, exhausted and blackened from the ash and soot.

Now I live near the Hawkesbury region of Sydney. It is the perfect mix of semi rural and suburban. Yet, it also means I am closer than I have ever been to one of the harshest realities of living in this country.


The remains of a home in Winmalee, near the Blue Mountains.

I can smell the smoke in the air, and can see the dark plumes in the distance. My heart aches as I know that within those plumes are people's homes burning. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been destroyed, and thousands of hectares of land damaged. On Thursday, when the fires were at their worst, there were 3000 fire fighters on duty across the state. Many of them are volunteers, battling dangerous conditions to save the homes, and lives, of many.

An aerial view showing the devastation of the Bushfires in Newcastle, but also the homes that were saved.

I wish we could say that it is all over, but the harsh reality is that we are only just starting 'bushfire season'. Weather forecasts are predicting many more hot, windy days ahead. On these days one lit cigarette, bit of glass in bushland, or a backburn one wrong can spark a raging fire.

Thick smoke could be seen from the city centre
My heart aches for the people whose homes have been lost or damaged. There has been one life lost so far. It is one too many. I have waited anxiously to hear that collegues and family members of friends are safe. I am going through my belongings and setting aside anything I can donate, as I know that many people have lost everything they own.

Most of all, I am in awe of the courage of our brilliant fire fighters. They are ordinary people, who are  putting their own lives at risk battling an unpredictable force of nature. They are heroes.

Firefighters protecting a property in Lithgow
All we can do now is wait and see.

Note: All photos have been taken from the NSW Emergency Coverage FB Page

Friday, 18 October 2013

Aussie Curves - Pink

Another week of Aussie Curves has rolled around. I did take photos for last week, but did not get a chance to write a post. Nevermind, I might share the photos later in the week. I think the more I can share how I dress while pregnant the better. Not so much because I am vain, but simply because there are so few photos of plus size Mumma's on the net I figure every picture helps :)

At nearly 36 weeks the emphasis is definitely on comfort when I dress. The weather had been going from really hot 30 degree days, to more mild 24 degree days. Added to the mix is the fires that are happening not too far from my home. That is a post for another day.

Shorts - Target
Top - Big W
Kimono Jacket - Tree of Life
Sandals - Kmart
Bangles - Lovisa
Necklace - Boutique stall (Unknown name)

I have never worn these shorts out in public. They are maternity shorts, and I have felt they were too short for me to wear. However I have seen so many fellow curvettes in short shorts recently, and they all look rather fab! I am very self conscious of my knees, which is why I've never worn these out. Except I realised when I look at other peoples I rarely notice their knees. So I decided to pop on my super comfortable shorts and head out to a fair with my daughter. In a case ultimate 'pushing my comfort levels' I also went out sans make up!

The kimono jacket is just beautiful. I love the pastel florals, and the light breezy weight. It was perfect for this week's pink theme. I love how it blends the two different patterns, and has such a soft pink tone. I kept accessories simple with a pretty bunting necklace and pastel toned bangles.

My sandals are super old, and date back to when I was pregnant with my daughter. I swelled up something fierce at the end, and these sandals (I also have them in gold & silver) were all I could wear, with the buckles widened as far as they could go. Thankfully I am much less puffy this time, but my feet are starting to swell in the heat.

I felt great in the outfit, it was comfortable, light and perfect for the school fair. It was lovely to spend some time with my daughter before the arrival of her sibling. We made purchases from the cake store, I picked up some beautiful material from a stall, and we shared a snow cone.

 Just what this Mumma and Sister  to be needed :)

What do you wear on hot days? Are you shorts-phobic like me?

Check what the other 'Pink Ladies' are wearing this week!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Formula Feeding Tips

I am currently in my 34th week of pregnancy. I am starting to get tired quickly, ache all over and am counting down the next 3 weeks til I am on leave.

I am also starting to prepare myself mentally by reading as much as I can. Some things I am reading just to remind me how to do it all again with a newborn, others are new pieces of information. One 'new' area I am moving into is breastfeeding. My milk never properly came through with my daughter, Abigail. I think this was for a combination of reasons (that would be a whole different post). However, there is no reason I shouldn't be able to breastfeed this time, so I am reading up on it.

Doing this it has made me reflect on the fact that finding information on formula feeding was so difficult. When I was trying to find tips the first time around it was so hard to find any information. Most sites simply told you that 'breast was best' but if you 'HAD' to, then formula feed. There was advice about making sure you give the right amount of formula, but not many tips on how to store it, pack it etc. Not to mention the many guilt inducing sites, that implied you were doing the wrong thing by formula feeding. Personally i'm pretty sure not starving my child to death was in her best interests, but anyway...

So, with that in mind, I want to share a few tips I learnt in my journey feeding my daughter. I will also share some tips other people have found useful, so you can find what works best for you!

Preparing for the day

We found that our daughter fed about 8- 6 times a day depending on her age and the amount of formula she was drinking. At night time we would steralise all bottles, then prep them for the upcoming 24 hours. This is how we did that
  • We had 2 formula containers with 4 compartments each. We measured the correct amount of formula into each compartment. This way we had it ready to go, and did not have to try to measure out the formula in the middle of the night while tired. Trust me, 2am is not the best time to pause and ask yourself if you had put 2 or 3 scoops into the bottle!
  • We had each sterilised bottle filled with boiled water to the correct level for the amount of formula. These would sit at room temperature on the kitchen bench next to the pre measured formula.

When it was time for a feed we would add the formula to the water, shake well, then heat it in the microwave. Always microwave without the teat on, just to ensure the teat does not overheat, or cause any possible pressure build up of the bottle.

By the next night after the last bottle was used all bottles were sterilized and the system was set up again.

Other suggestions:

  • Some people prefer to pre mix the formula with the water and keep the bottles prepared in the fridge. We preferred not to use up our fridge space, but it you may like this better!
  • Some people suggest making up a days worth of formula in a large jug, and then pour it into a bottle. Some babies drink more or less at different times of the day, so this can be a good method for that. However, you do need to be careful worth measurements with this method. You are more likely to over or under calculate your water to formula ratio
  • With any pre-made formula you must use the formula within 24 hours

Sterilizing and cleaning bottles

It is very important to properly clean you bottles and teats. We found it best to rinse out a bottle once used, then put it in our microwave sterilizer. That way most formula residue was already washed out, and then the bottles are sterilized that night.

Once a week we would also soak the bottles and give a good scrub with a bottle leaning brush before sterilizing.

Other suggestions:

  • Some people prefer to use a sterilizing tablet or solution such as Milton. If you use this method you wash out he bottles, then soak them in the water solution. My sister used to do this and she kept all the bottles in the solution in a sealed container until they needed using
  • Some people prefer to use an electric sterilizer instead of a microwave one. Or you can use a large stock pot and boil your bottles. You do need to check that your bottles actually fit in whichever sterilizer you use!

Feeding while out

The trickiest part in formula feeding is having the water warmed for a feed. I tried a few methods with varying success. I must admit, I was pretty pleased when my daughter decided she liked formula at room temperature!

So, here are all the methods I tried

1) Take a bottle with prefilled water. Fill a thermos with boiling water, and have a container big enough to fit the bottle in, plus water. When the formula needed warming I would mix up my pre-measured dry powder with the water int he bottle, then I would put the bottle in the larger container. Fill around the bottle with boiled water from the thermos, let it sit until warmed.


  • Could heat the bottle no matter where we were


  • Time consuming (so you have to anticipate when bubs needs a feed, or listen to their hunger screams until warmed!)
  • Takes up a lot of space having to carry a thermos and bowl (Although some bottles might fit in your thermos lid)
  • Need a really good thermos that stays hot
 2) Take a thermos filled with hot water. Have a bottle with cooled water, just below the amount of water needed. Add the hot water to the cooled water until desired temperature, then pour out excess water and add formula.


  • Less time consuming than the above method
  • Could heat bottle no matter where we were


  • If you over added hot water you could have a dilemma
  • Can be a bit of back and forth until you get the right temp
  • You had to have somewhere to pour the water out.

3) If you are heading out for just one feed you could fill the bottle with boiled water, and by the time bubs is ready for a feed the water should have cooled down


  • Simple, quick and could heat bottle no matter where we were


  • You are relying on the water being cool enough by the time bubs wants is

4) Have water measured in bottles. Take container with pre-measured formula. Use a microwave to heat (often in the parent room, or can get a cafe to heat it for you) or ask for boiled water from a cafe/restaurant to heat the bottle


  • Less to carry
  • Can be heated quickly
  • Most shopping centres have a parents room with a microwave or at least a bottle warmer (I never liked the bottle warmers, the water always seemed dirty, they were often broken or I couldn't work out how to use them!! )


  • You are relying on there being a microwave/ boiled water accessible. Some cafes will not heat your bottle, or give you boiled water, for liability reasons
  • If you get someone else to heat the bottle you run the risk of them over or under heating the bottle

They are all the methods I know of. In the end I used option 4 the most. However, if  I thought I would be going somewhere that there was no access to a microwave or cafe I would pack a thermos in the car. Even better, see if your bubs will take the milk at room temperature, and then all the above is solved. I discovered Abbie would take it at room temp when she was about 6 months. We were on the opposite end of the centre to the parents room, and she was screaming hysterically for her feed. Desperate times, desperate measures!

So there are some of my best tips for formula feeding. If you have found your way here looking for some tips and advice I hope you find the above helpful. If you have any tips yourself please share in the comments below. Most of all, enjoy this precious time of your child's life!

Note: I will be moderating the comments. There are some crazies out there, and for some reason how you feed your baby can be a sensitive issue. I will not tolerate any shaming or formula feeding bashing. No mother that chooses, or has to, formula feed does so without knowing that breast is best. Enough said.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Festival - Aussie Curves

I have not been to a music festival in a long time. I confess, now days my idea of a great festival is a foodie one!

When I was younger I loved a good music festival, and went to the Big Day Out for a few years. I still remember my first BDO. I wore cut off army cargo pants, that I had purchased from an Army disposal store, A tie dyed shirt, and a pair of canvas shoes that I had painted pink and aqua and coated in glitter.

I remember heading home after the concert on a high. I was completely saturated, not because it had rained, but because I had encountered my first mosh pit and I was covered in other people's sweat. I was buzzing with excitement over the amazing day I had experienced. I had seen, heard and smelt things I had never encountered before (including a rather strong whiff in the air that I discovered later was pot. Ha Ha!!)

My first ever mosh pit experience was during Courtney Love's set with her band Hole. At one point she took off her top which led to me being practically crushed as all the blokes around me rushed forward for a better look. As I am short I was wedged up at shoulder height amongst all the sweaty, leering crowd. This was fine, until she put her top back on and the crowd moved back, causing me to become unwedged and fall to the littered floor and nearly trampled on! I should have been scared but I was actually rather thrilled with my first mosh pit experience, and looked forward to many more!

From what I gather I think for the most part the music festival experience has stayed the same as what I first encountered. Although, I understand the mosh pit is somewhat safer today after the tragic death of a young girl that occured at my final BDO.

Another thing that has changed since my first festival is the availablity of plus size clothing for the young girl. You see, my choice of men's cargo pants was not simply a fashion choice. They were the only shorts that actually fit me at the time. I was not a size 14 (I was most likely a 16) and at the time very few clothing for my age was made beyond a 14.

So, for this week's challenge I have put together an inspiration board of festival friendly clothing for the plus sized festival goer. The emphasis is on comfort with a little whimsy!

Music Festival Style

Print tank top / High-waisted denim shorts / Lana Lace-Up Canvas Shoes - Black - Target Australia / Daisy Chain Headband / Accessories - Target Australia

For me this outfit is perfect.Shorts that keep you cool but also avoid chub rub. A relaxed singlet with a funky print. Flat funky sneakers that offer comfort as well as style. A flower crown for a touch of whimsy. A bright cross-body bag where you can keep some money, ID, sunscreen and a small water bottle.

Check out what the other fabulous curvy festival goers are wearing this week!