I’m going to let you in on a little secret; I have never owned an iron. When I left home I avoided things which needed ironing without issue and once James and I got our own place he brought all that kind of stuff to the home.
I avoided using it for as long as humanly possible until James made me a deal I could not pass up… I can only remember my part of the deal, which was to take on ironing his uniforms, which means that he obviously didn’t hold up his end and I am only realising that now – years down the track.
Honestly, I have never really learnt how to iron properly. So, I have used James’ iron year after year and not once have I adjusted the settings. Okay, except that one time I burnt something and that other time I made his pants all shiny. Not the most practical way to iron but the safest in my case.
Enter Philips PerfectCare Aqua.
On first impression, I was quite taken aback by the size. As a non-ironer I assumed it would look much the same as the one we had been using. In the beginning I tried to have the iron and it’s water tank living on the ironing board, just as the last one had, but I was worried it wasn’t a stable or practical enough solution.
Thanks to the reasonably lengthy cord I am able to house the base on my drawers and use the iron without any hindrance or having to move the whole system, which is important given that I iron 5 out of 7 days.
The Philips PerfectCare Aqua has a generous 2.2L water tank which means I’m not filling it daily and is so easy to use. You turn it on, let it warm up (2 minutes, tops) and then iron away. It doesn’t have dials and settings, so I don’t have to worry about whether I am using the right temperature.
I don’t understand how the OptimalTemp feature works, how it can possibly tell the right temperature to use with no input? But it does. I have not had any water leakage on garments – which was my general issue with ironing – no burning, no wrinkles, no shiny pants. No. Issues. The best thing is that it is safe on all fabrics. You can iron your silk blouse straight after your cotton tee, not change a thing and not have a worry in the world.
I am new to ironing with steam, I thought it was a more about the pressure I was applying but now I know better. The powerful, continuous steam delivered by PerfectCare Pure (120 g/min) makes for easy, perfect ironing every time. There is the option of an additional steam boost up to 220g for those deeper, harder to flatten creases.
While the whole unit as one is bulky to accommodate the water tank, the iron itself is light and sleek. It is fitted with a SteamGlide soleplate which is smooth, easy to clean and scratch resistant.
One thing I have found very difficult to get used to is placing the iron face down on the ironing board while arranging clothes. Sometimes, I still go to stand it on it’s end. However, the iron is designed to be placed face down and will not burn or damage the board cover. I was nervous about it to begin with but, with daily use have come to trust that it is safe.
Other than needing to be aware of the size for practicality reasons, the only other thing I would mention is that it is quite noisy when heating up the water. It doesn’t last long and most days it is a non-issue, but on mornings when I might be getting up earlier than my husband and wanting to get the ironing out of the way, I have to avoid turning it on.
I am never going to jump out of bed in the morning, excited to iron but it’s not such a chore anymore either. It’s fast, easy and efficient. My ironing ‘skills’ have increased, or at least that is how it appears thanks to an iron that is smarter than me.
Disclosure: I was provided a unit for review purposesRead More
When Jasper was born I was introduced to aden+anais swaddles and burpy bibs, we still use the swaddles for Jasper to wear his babies and as blankets around the house so I was thrilled to hear they have released adult sized Daydream blankets.
I received an ocean edge classic daydream blanket and promptly fell ill, so I got it out and snuggled up on the lounge. It is a luxurious 153cm x 183cm and made from 100% cotton muslin which, in sick-mumma-on-the-couch terms means it was big enough to cover me, keeping me warm and comfortable with it’s gorgeous softness.
Four layers of muslin make it cozy and so very soft. Washing just makes it softer and if it holds up like the swaddles have, it will still be soft and lovely three years down the track. Something I really love is that it is just heavy enough without being too much. I can’t stand blankets that are light – a weighted blanket is something I need for whatever reason, so this is perfect.
The problem with things that are this good is that it’s hard to keep it a secret. I will often find Jasper snuggled up in it on the couch or in book corner reading. Thankfully, it’s big enough for me to slip in and snuggle with him, assuming he’s in a willing mood.
While this would be a great new mum gift idea, it is on the costly side at $136.36 for the muslin style or $172.73 for the bamboo fibre muslin blanket. But, if you’re in the market for some luxury, you won’t be disappointed. I love my daydream blanket, aden+anais make good quality goods and I look forward to further testing it as the cooler months approach.Read More
Given our recent passionate declarations to be shark lovers, we were very excited and very grateful to our friend, Molly, for letting us review Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. For the kids and I, this was our first visit to Manly’s Aquarium, in fact, I hadn’t really known it was even there. James had visited once when he was younger.
We started our adventure by meeting Nanna at central. Given that she’d never been to an aquarium and we get to do these awesome things we thought we would pay for her to come along. Once we made our way to Circular Quay we boarded a ferry to Manly. The ride over was the longest I’ve ever been on any type of water vessel. Seriously. The kids loved it, it was calm and gorgeous.
Entering Manly, the Sea Life Sanctuary is well presented but seemed quite tiny compared to what I was expecting and I have to admit that I was nervous, having visited Sea Life Sydney Aquarium for a Shark Mission event only a week beforehand, I wondered if I might be disappointed. However, on entering, I was immediately drawn into the magical world.
I love the effort that goes into presenting the areas surrounding the enclosures, it really makes an impression and you feel like you could truly be underwater.
In the large tank, immediately as we walked in, we were greeted by scores of gorgeously wonderful species, in particular, a couple of fish which caught my overly excited mum’s eye – they look like they have noses (first pic, second row) and we spent a good while marveling at them amongst all the other vibrant residents. As you move around the aquarium there are screens beside the exhibits telling you the names and details of what you might be looking at. The ability to learn as you make your way around at your own pace is a real highlight for us, as taking away knowledge from our experiences is a very important aspect of enjoying ourselves.
I was pleasantly surprised to be seeing so many things we had never seen before, even having been to another aquarium not so long ago. The oceans are full of weird, wonderful, scary, amazing and sometimes disgustingly enthralling things. Things you could never even imagine. Watching the kids and Nanna pressing their hands to the glass in wonder, gasping and exclaiming in delight filled me with so much joy. And, I have to admit, I did quite a bit of gasping and exclaiming myself.
As with all good aquariums (I’ve been to exactly two but I feel this must be a universal truth), there is a sensory pool where we could touch shark eggs, starfish and, much to my disgust, a sea slug. Often, these things do not feel how you imagine they will (with the exception of sea slugs, they feel as gross as you imagine). This hands on part of the adventure is a great learning tool and the kids love it. Ellie did complain that the pool was too deep and most things that were there to be touched could not be reached.
We made our way up to Penguin Cove, on the upper level, just in time for the Penguin feeding. I loved the ability to look out the windows at Manly beach, such a stunning view. Sitting on the provided benches, we learned about the Little Penguins while watching them be fed.
Then it was down to the depths for us and our little shark lovers. Shark Harbour is beautifully presented and completely awe inspiring. As you walk through the under water viewing tunnel you can see Grey Nurse sharks, Port Jackson Sharks, huge and not-so-huge stingrays, fish and ‘Sea Biscuit the Green Sea Turtle – who is literally the biggest turtle I have ever seen. The best thing was, there wasn’t a mad crush of people pushing us through the tunnel – we could look, study and discover as we pleased. We would have missed so much if we had to rush, instead, we got to really appreciate what we were seeing.
With ‘Breed, Rescue, Protect‘ being the sanctuaries mission, education and conservation are a key element here, with so many important messages being shared about things we can do from simple things such as keeping our beaches clean, to becoming a Penguin Warden . There was an opportunity to sign a petition against the current shark culling in Western Australia but no pressure to do so.
Our visit was the perfect mixture of wonder, excitement, education and fun and we will definitely be coming back for a visit. Next time we might bring along my 18 year old brother who has never been to an aquarium. Ellie already has her sights set on doing the Shark Dive offered as soon as she is old enough.
Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary is open from 10am – 5.30pm every day, except Christmas Day
Daily admission prices are;
- Adults: $24
- Children (4 – 15yrs): $12
- Concession (student/senior): $20
- Family (2 adults + 2 children): $60 – additional children: $10
Be sure to check out their online ticket prices if you know in advance you plan to visit, as they are always discounted
In the lead up to Kahlei starting school in the new year her interest in phonics and letter games on the iPad has increased considerably. I am thrilled that she is obsessed with spelling, letters and words but have been thinking about the transition from learning to form letters with her fingers on the screen to writing them with a pencil.
Obviously, she does use pencil and paper, too. She is just as obsessed with doing it that way but I wondered how the app teaching her to correctly write letters and doing so with her finger would translate to doing so with a pencil grip. It’s a different angle and a different motion and a recent visit with the courier, where I had to use my finger to sign for a package as they’d lost their stylus, confirmed what I’ve been thinking, so we’ve started using the Phantomus Kids Stylus.
The Phantomus Kids Stylus is specifically designed for children, with a chunky body for comfortable grip, a soft tip for smooth motion across the screen, all over bright colour with a fun monster (they say it’s a ghost but my kids think it’s a monster) on the end, it is the perfect mix of practicality and fun for little iPeople.
I absolutely think her letter and number development is improved when she uses the stylus over her finger and she loves to get it out and use it because it is so cute.
It’s not just good for Kahlei, though. Jasper is discovering the increased control that comes with using a stylus and is finding he is able to complete games he normally might have some trouble with, as well as enjoying less limitations when using drawing and puzzle apps. He likes feeling like a ‘big boy’ and using a stylus is seen as a big person thing.
I like to think it will help the development of his pencil grip, too.
For Ellie, it’s the perfect tool for candy crushing. Just recently, I told James off for taking my phone and finishing a level I had literally been on for a month only to discover Ellie had finished it. Seriously.
The stylus allows for less of those ‘whoops, I just swapped the candy completely the wrong way’, which is often what I am cursing myself for when I bother to play. We were send both a pink and blue Phantomus Kids Stylus, but for some reason the pink is the favourite, so Mr Blue and I sometimes try to beat a level or two (plus, he goes with my Beyond Blue wrist band) – you know, for research sake.
There is just something about using a stylus, especially for me who still prefers pen and paper over gadgets. These are smooth, comfortable and fun. The soft tip won’t scratch your device’s screen, although, they can pop off. As long as you’re watching when it happens, they’re easy to just slip back on.
If you’re interested in learning more about the case on our iPad, check out my review for the Speck iGuy Case and Stand for iPad.
I have a lovely iPad 2, which was purchased to allow me to blog on-the-run. Unfortunately, the only time I get my hands on said iPad is when I am plugging it in to charge, taking it off quarreling children or giving it to well behaved children. When MobileZap approached me to give the Speck iGuy Case and Stand for iPad a go, I was keen.
Protecting the iPad, or Jasper-proofing it, had become a very important issue as he became increasingly interested in using it and, while he was trying to be as careful as a two year old boy can be, I had to accept that bumps and little accidents were par for the course if I was going to allow him to use it.
And, honestly, there were a couple of really good reasons to let him. Firstly, he has two older sisters who have activities which he has to attend and, often, find a way to quietly entertain himself while they dance, swim, get awards, read and so on. Life as the younger brother of two busy sisters can be boring if your mumma is not prepared with paper, pens and all manner of iThingies. Then, there are the doctors appointments we seem to have had a plethora of recently. Grumpy kids in the waiting room for an undetermined amount of time are not my favourite.
The Speck iGuy Case Jasper-proofs my iPad 2 very nicely. It is made from a sturdy foam, which fits the iPad snugly and is soft to touch but effective in protecting from bumps and breakages – especially on our tile floors. I have also noticed that it softens the blow when Jasper manages to let it fall on his forehead while laying down to play (I seriously hate when that happens).
iGuy is fun and bright. He has arm like handles and feet which can be used as a stand for watching movies and so on. It’s like a little character, making the case appealing to young children. The iGuy fits iPad 2, 3 and even iPad 4.
The case has cut outs in all the right places so you can still access the volume controls, ports, plugs and use the camera. Plugging in the charger is difficult due to the charging port being under one of the arms. None of the children will even give it a go anymore and it often takes me numerous tries to get it plugged in.
The only other problem I see with this case is it is a little on the smelly side. When we first got it, the ‘plasticy’ (it’s the only word I can think of to describe it) smell was quite overpowering but that soon wore off. Now, it’s only if I end up with it in my face (which happens more than you might think) that I notice it. Honestly, these two little niggles are non-issues when I have seen exactly how thoroughly Jasper has tested this product.
If I could get one for the iPod Touch, I’d be winning.
I’ve always loved when my hair is all straight and silky. Unfortunately, I do not have the time or patience to get out a straightener daily and do it. My hair is just too stubborn. So, the only time it looks smooth and silky is for the day or so after I’ve been to the hairdressers. Which, actually, practically never happens. So, I’ve given the Jo Baz Everyday Straight Hair Extra Straight a try to see if I can have what I want without spending hundreds of dollars at the hairdressers or having to straighten my hair daily.
This is what I have to deal with. Granted this was a rainy day, but still.
Jo Baz Everyday Straight Hair is an at home permanent hair straightening kit and can last up to 3 months. I had hoped to get my hubby or mum to help me out but it didn’t happen, so one Thursday after helping out at school I bit the bullet and did it myself.
The Everyday Straight Hair kit contains three product bottles, detailed instructions and plastic gloves – everything you need to tame your unruly locks.
Each product is clearly labeled A, B and C, making it easy to figure out which product is needed for each step.
The first step is applying the straightening cream (A) to your washed, towel dried and sectioned hair. You need to gently comb the cream through while gently pulling your hair straight. I found this product smelt quite strongly and had to open more windows to help with ventilation. You then have to cover your hair with cling wrap for the appropriate time (which depends on your hair).
I found applying the cling wrap while (gently) keeping my hair straight to be quite difficult and frustrating.
After rinsing and gently combing, the Keratin Protein (B) is applied and left in for 10 minutes. Making sure you keep your locks straight throughout the process. This step conditions and replenishes your hair and after rinsing it out, my hair felt pretty amazing.
After rinsing you blow dry and straighten your hair. This is definitely where I could have used an extra pair of hands. I am ok at doing the front and sides of my hair with the straightened, but I’ve always been not-so-great at getting the back part done. So, I am sure my hair wasn’t as dead straight as it could have been before proceeding (as you can see above, left).
Apply the fixing cream (c) to leave your hair permanently straight. Without this product, your hair is still mold-able and will not hold the straightness you’ve just worked so hard to achieve. You leave this in for 10 minutes before rinsing out and using your remaining Keratin Protein to condition your hair.
For the best results you need to blow dry and straighten again.
My husband managed to walk in right at the end, so he helped me with the final straightening before I raced out to get my daughter from school. It took me over 3 hours to apply and I found it immensely difficult to do it myself, especially with the loose fitting gloves.
I am certain I would have had much better results had I been able to have someone help out at certain points along the way. Even so, my hair is still much more manageable, there are significantly less fly aways and if I do want to straighten it (like when I went to Pink) it’s not a whole big thing.
Using Jo Baz Everyday Straight Hair is certainly a more cost effective way to get straighter hair if you’re willing to enlist a friend and set aside an afternoon (which you would have to do to get it professionally done, anyway).Read More
We are often sent some great products to trial and I love to share some of my favourites. If you’re interested in having your product featured in a monthly review or in a review post all of it’s own, please contact us!
Here are some of the things we have been reviewing and loving in March
Ruby Who? is a lovely story written by Andrew & Hailey Bartholomew (of 365 Grateful and You Can’t Be Serious) and illustrated by Alarna Zinn touching on the issues of being discontent with who we are and what we have.
From the site;
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Ruby Who? was created as a way to explain to children that having more ‘stuff’ doesn’t make life better; looking like the other kids won’t make you happy; it’s who you are when you’re being yourself that counts. The result is a short film and book that are playful, happy and poignant without being too preachy.
With Ellie having started school this year, this delightful book has been a great tool for us. Being in ‘big school’ now leads to many wants and wistful thoughts about possessions, clothes and features new friends have. Ruby Who? has been a gentle way of addressing the desire to be different or to have more and to instill a sense of contentment.
The fun rhythm of the story and the gorgeous (and unique) illustrations engages the audience and makes it easy to read night after night.
Ruby Who? actually started out as a 6 minute short film created with the help of Natala Stuetz and starring Andrew and Hailey’s eldest daughter, Zali (this is a family of seriously talented people. Seriously). It is lovely and bright.
I think it’s so important to teach our children to be grateful for what they have and to fully embrace who they are. It’s also important to remind ourselves that what we have is enough. Who we are is enough and I think this is a perfect way to bring our focus to those points.
You can purchase Ruby Who? online from I Like to Be Me
Ruby Who? book $19.50
Ruby Who? DVD $19.95
I love Instagram. The ability to take snapshots of life wherever I am and then share them with friends and family instantly is oh-so-appealing to my blogging self. To date I have 1811 photos on Instagram and there are so many I am simply in love with. I have been searching for a way to bring those photos into my life in a more physical way. While it’s awesome to have them all at the tip of my fingers it’s not the same to look at some of them on a screen.
So, when the opportunity came up to try PosterCandy I was thrilled. I jumped straight on and chose what type of posters I wanted from the five different sizes; 30cm x 40cm, 40cm x 50cm, 50cm x 50cm, 50cm x 70cm and 70cm x 100cm, each of which suits the frames available from IKEA. Each poster size also gives you a choice of 4 image layouts (less or more photos included).
The process of creating your poster is easy. Once you’ve chosen your size, you log in and then it’s a simple drag and drop interface from your Instagram account (which you logged into). Now, you just have to go through your shots and choose which ones to have included. PosterCandy have added the capability to search by hash tag to help narrow it down, which I imagine to be very helpful unless you use hash tags in ironic and silly ways, like me (#FAIL).
Once I had decided I wanted a 50×50 poster of my favourite nature/things shots and a 50×70 of my family I was able to get through relatively quickly with minimal photo switch outs which is really to be expected when you post pretty much everything ever.
Once you’re happy with the photos you have chosen and their placement you can choose from a white or black background and then you’re ready to order.
My posters arrived within the same week, carefully rolled in tissue paper and placed in a cylinder.
The quality is impeccable and they look great up, even without frames (our IKEA visit has been postponed for the moment). They are really striking and I find myself looking at them all the time. To top it all off, PosterCandy is 100% Australian owned and operated.
Follow PosterCandy on Instagram (postercandy) to see what they’re up to or like them on Facebook to keep up to date.
You can order online at PosterCandy.com.au
30 x 40 $19.95,
40 x 50 $24.95,
50 x 50 $29.95,
50 x 70 $34.95
70 x 100 $49.95
Are you on Instagram? Pop by and say hi to me (bybecky)!