Peninsula Date Nights or How Not To Get Divorced Post Children.

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Kids are great aren’t they? With their constant whining and whinging and demands for sugar and attention. You know what they are especially good at inspiring? #romance.

Joking aside, parenting is a bloody relentless gig. Sometimes I look at Insta-Husband while he is asleep next to me and one or the other kids is screaming/crying/scratching my face and I really do wonder if it’s possible to kill someone then have then come back to life just so you can kill them again.

Luckily, my folks live in the next suburb so when I am feeling particularly like I will NEVER have SEX with him EVER AGAIN if he KEEPS ARGUING WITH ME about the F****** dishwasher then I can call my parentals and promptly lock in a date night.

Here’s some suggestions for fun date nights to remind you that the person you are married to is not a useless T***, they are just as tired as you (even though that’s not even possible but whatevs. Maybe I am just better at life than him.)

Date night 1:

Arthurs Seat Eagle.

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Trapped in a gondola so you have no choice but to interact with each other. Winning! When we went, we were lucky enough to do a twilight flight. They provided yummy dinner and a cosy blanket and we watched the stars come out which was pretty spectacular. I did drop soup all over myself because I am really coordinated but Insta-husband helped me clean it up which endeared him to me so I guess it was the perfect date. Plus:

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Have a look at their website here.

Date Night 2: Escape Rooms.

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Sorry, I just need to have a picture of Matty J involved when I am talking about this much romance. Anyway.

If there’s one thing I will say about my marriage it’s that’s we are good in a crisis. You don’t fall pregnant 4 months after meeting one another while still technically being married to other people while one of you is on a Tourist Visa without learning how to work as a team. Vomiting kid at 3am? Easy! Being made redundant 3 days before your second child is born? Simples! Moving country twice in 12 months? Walk in the park!

That’s what makes Escape Rooms the perfect date for us. Also, I am going to say it, watching Insta-husband solve problems is kinda hot. It’s nice to see each other do stuff outside of the norm. If you have not done an escape room then check out the new one that has opened in Frankston. I have not been yet so if you go, tell me how it was! Their deets are here:  Excape Frankston.

Date night 3: Thursday Night Pizza and Bathe at Peninsula Hot Springs

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Okay, okay, I know I never shut up about the hot springs but I really love it there! And hanging with Bae while eating pizza and wearing bathers makes you feel like you are on honeymoon. Their website is a bit difficult to navigate so check out their Thursday night deal here: Pen Hot Springs Pizza and Bathe

So there you have it folks. Sure beats dinner and a movie. Enjoy!

Glow Makeup Artistry

Growing up, my mum worked at the local paper so we were always the back up models for a news story that needed a last minute photo. Exploring the rock pools in Ricketts Point? Sure! Posing in the school uniform shop at the start of term? Of course! And having access to professional photographers meant that we’d have candid shoots in the backyard with our kittens or moody black and white headshots as tweens or even strange beach shoots where we all wore black t-shirts and had out-of-control eye brows.

I realised recently that Mini is five years old and we had NO professional photographs. Half of me was like “Let’s do it!” and the other half was like “But my tired face!” That’s where beautiful Natalie from Glow Makeup Artistry came to the rescue.

Natalie is new to the Peninsula but brings with her a wealth of hair and makeup experience. When she offered to do my hair and makeup for a special event, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity to book in for family pics.

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What’s so funny? I haven’t slept in 7 months.

FYI: I received free hair and makeup for the family photo shoot from Glow Makeup Artistry. This review is all my own words and was my own idea. Just so ya know!

Natalie was on time (I was late) really professional and is just one of those people who knows what they are doing. She moved confidently through the process of transforming my head into something presentable and put me at ease with a bit of a chat about kids, life and the Mornington Peninsula.

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Flower Crown by Fleur and Dahlia

I think on this occasion, I don’t even need any words because her work really does speak for itself.

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Please move in with me Natalie. I need you every morning.

Our shoot took place over several hours with two highly annoying children who are inconveniently not professional models or professional at staying still. It was outdoors and I did worry that my hair would frizz up and my lip stick would come off but whatever Natalie did, it worked.

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What sorcery is this? Amazing hair all day.

So over all, I would recommend Glow to anyone who asked. I’d also use Natalie again if ever I get to leave the house and do something fun like be a bridesmaid. Let’s look at more pics of my cute/annoying family.

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Thanks Natalie for being so good at your job and helping us to create these beautiful shots. You can find her on Instagram righhhhht here and she can fill you in on her rates etc.

Okay, here’s one more photo:

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So cute. But can you sleep through the night for crying out loud??

Hair and Makeup: Glow Makeup Artistry

Photographer: Of Life Photography

The girls wear clothes from She and Little in Mornington (supplied.)

My dress is from ASOS

Insta-Husband bought his own clothes. No idea where they’re from.

Flower Crowns by Fleur and Dahlia (supplied.)

Thursday Nights at Peninsula Hot Springs

Is there anything the Peninsula Hot Springs cannot do? I have enjoyed Hen’s days, date nights, family swims and a hilarious afternoon with my mum in the Spa Dreaming Centre. I always leave refreshed and feeling like I have had a massage. Even on the days where I have not had a massage.

But when we headed down for a Thursday night pizza and bathe session, I knew I had found my soul mate. It has quickly become our go-to girl’s night; the perfect setting for spilling our secrets (never our wine) and comparing notes on work, partners, kids, crisis and Matty. J.

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“As long as Matty. J marries one of us then it will be okay.”

The best part is, it only costs $40 AND THEY GIVE US PIZZA. I went along last week with my sister and lovely friend. This time 6 years ago the three of us were eating dinner at Monsieur Bleu in Paris, watching the sun go down and the Eiffel tower light up. People, this was even better.

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Better than Paris.

We relaxed with our unshaven legs under the cover of darkness then jumped into the freezing plunge holes (what are the really called? Cold-dip? something like that) and stood under the massage showers blissing out on warmth and minerals. The pizza and bathe nights run from 7pm-10pm which means tired mamas can feel like they have had a night out and still feel great the next day. (Okay, ‘great’ may be too strong of a word. Let’s go with ‘semi-normal’.)

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“Is there a porcupine in the pool or is that your leg?”

We finished off the night with a visit to the sauna and then some dancing while the bather’s dryer did it’s thing.

The $40 Thursday pizza and bathe doesn’t run during school holidays (the madness!!) But if you want to book for during term time, do it now.

You. Are. Welcome.

 

Look cute between pools with a robe from Bendon. This one is on sale!

 

FYI: This article contains an affiliate link to Bendon. If I ever make a dollar, I will spend it on coffee.

Flashback Thursday

Last week we visited The Briars and came across a window filled with paper cranes. It reminded me of something I had written years ago and I have finally hunted it down. Although it is a story of grief, I thought I would offer it up to the universe today to give thanks for my two tiny wishes-come-true.

One Thousand Cranes:

I used to live in a block of four flats in a wide, tree lined street; just a stone’s throw from the park where I got married. Not too far from the city, quiet enough to be called the suburbs, a network of speed bumps and canals and art deco buildings bleached white with salt and sun.

 My neighbours were great. Over the fence there was a turtle and two cherub faced kids with earnest eyes and creative parents. In the front flat, down the bottom, sharing a wall with us, were a couple about my age. They made music and art and a teeny little baby boy who would sit in the washing basket while his mum pegged impossibly small singlets on the communal line. Upstairs was a single guy who wore a lot of black and worked from home. Above us, another couple with a child. One night we heard banging and then the police came and one half of the couple was not seen again. Then there was us. My husband and I. Filling our home with furniture from our former share house, the whirl of the juicer signalling morning, our little cat-child sleeping on the end of our bed.

In March 2009, my mother-in-law took her own life. During that period I spent a lot of time walking those tree lined streets. I’d walk past the park even though it hurt sometimes to be reminded of the other side of the coin; the joy of our wedding day, so bright and gorgeous, made the darkness of our first wedding anniversary, the day she had died, so horribly devastating by comparison. I’d walk up and down the roads, around the block. Sometimes I’d collect Autumn leaves or notice FOR SALE signs attached to fences and imagine the lives of other people. I’d create dramas around the reasons they had to move, a marriage breakdown? Financial ruin? Moving to France? I guess it made me feel connected to imagine that it was not just my own life that was imploding. 
Often, upon my return from these walks, I would find an origami folded crane sitting on the letterbox or fence post or halfway up the driveway. The paper was embossed and colourful and seemed expensive. The cranes were perfect, tiny, beautiful. I’d pick them up, secreting them into my pocket, then on to my shelf, on the coffee table or a window sill. They seemed so precious, surely someone was missing them. Was I really allowed to keep them for myself? I wondered where they were coming from, if it was a message, a sign that things were getting better. I’d always loved birds and those cranes were a silent, fragile reminder that the world was still wonderful.
 On the weekend that we went away to spread my mother-in-law’s ashes in the Blue Mountains, we asked one of the neighbours to feed our cat. It was the single guy, the one who wore black and spoke to our kitty in a soft voice as he scratched her head. The weekend was fairly strange. I came down with a head cold that made the flights excruciating. We stood in a cemetery, silent, except for the guttural sobbing of my sister-in-law. No one spoke but the voices in my head were so loud and my concept of time so warped that I wondered if I had spoken out loud and if so, when? And why didn’t anyone respond? Why wouldn’t he hug his sister? I could feel my shoulders burning in the midday sun and I truly wished to be anywhere, anyone, other than here with what seemed like the broken fragments of our family. That’s where we were at during that stage. Standing together by some gravestones, tied by blood and wedding vows to a situation that no one should ever be in.
 When we got home, my head cold cleared up and one morning in the kitchen, while making juice, I found a crane in a tea cup. It was the same as the others; perfect, blue this time, fitting on the palm of my hand. Laughter caught in my chest. It was him! It was my neighbour all along, planting little birds about the place when no one was looking. He must have popped it in the tea cup when searching for a spoon for the cat food. I thrust it into the face of my husband, Look! It’s a tiny, perfect, beautiful little folded bird! And it’s in a teacup of all places! Isn’t that marvellous? He looked at me blankly for the millionth time that day. 
They say that if you fold a thousand cranes, you get a wish. I had collected about 10 thousandths of a wish then.
 I later found out that our neighbour, the cat lover, the guy who wore a lot of black and kept mostly to himself, had had a girlfriend, maybe a wife, who had gotten very, very sick. One day, despite the cranes, despite it not being fair, despite Karma and will and the sheer force of love, she had died. I wondered if he had planted the cranes because he recognised the grief in our eyes. If he saw something that was broken and thought we could do with a wish. I wondered if once she has died, the cranes reminded him of too many broken promises and he wanted to be rid of them. I think maybe though, he thought the cranes were like tears, that he had a limited number to shed and that once he had gotten rid of the last one, he could finally move on.
 

Piccolo & Peony, minimalism and motherhood.

Since I decided to declutter my entire house while having some sort of mid-life crisis following the introduction of Bee Glad Eco Wraps into my orbit I have tried to be really mindful of no longer bringing pointless possessions into my house. Just when I was on the verge of Kondoing the joy out of everything I realised that organisation does not really sing to my soul. I’m what I call “too creative” and what my husband calls “really, really messy.”

So, then I started researching a much publicized concept called Hygge which sat better with my free spirited way of life (and that’s what you love me for, right Insta Husband??) Apparently Hygge has been out styled by Lagom but as I am (as per always) late to the party, I am sticking with Hygge.

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So Hygge, probably Lagom but def not Kondoed. Photo via Pinterest.

Okay, if you are still with me after that link-heavy intro, well done. Your prize is some unsolicited advice from me to you. Babies. No, that’s not the advice. I wouldn’t have a single clue when it comes to babies. Obviously.

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“No little baby, we wear lip stick not lip gloss”

Here’s the actual advice:

When a baby is born, the mother is the one that needs to receive gifts. Lots of gifts. But not gifts that are going to create clutter and stress.  

What is Hygge, disposable, beautiful and perfect for a new mum or basically anyone ever? A FLOWER SUBSCRIPTION. Yes! It’s so perfect. It’s a present, but you get to chuck it in the compost afterwards! No excess stuff to distract you from those newborn baby vibes. Just luscious, fresh flowers to enjoy day (and night.)

On the Peninsula, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to florists (my fave being Local Love Co) but some people live near the city. I know. People be cray. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a bit of Hygge in their lives. This is where I get to my point. And my point is: Order a 4 week or 10 week subscription for you friend from Piccolo and Peony. That’s not an affiliate link by the way – I don’t get a kickback or anything like that, I just want you to be happy.

Piccolo and Peony is a family run business with the beautiful Polly at the helm of the flower ship. She sent me a piccolo last (for free) to try out. Do you know how long it has been since someone gave me flowers? I’ll give you a clue, I have been married 5.5 years. That is not a jab at Insta-Husband, by the way, because he doesn’t read this blog.  He told me if I wrote about sport and published it in the newspaper then he would read my writing. Ha ha. I am going to hire a cleaner and make you pay for it. Joke’s on YOU, buddy. Bet you’re sorry you never read this blog now, aren’t you? Also, I’m in love with Matty J from the Bachelorette. How do you like them apples, Insta- Husband? I digress.

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I bet Matty. J would give me flowers every single week. Photo via Pinterest.

When my glorious flowers were delivered I couldn’t stop smelling them. They just looked so pretty. The piccolos are quite petite so they are perfect on a desk or a book shelf or even on a kitchen bench.

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So pretty and so Hygge

I was interested to see how long the blooms would last. I hoped they would provide gorgeousness for up to a week as that is when the next piccolo would arrive (if I had ordered a subscription.)

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Day three, still beautiful. (I took off the wrapping for a more simple vibe.)
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Day six: Removed a couple of the tired flowers and let the peach rose take the spotlight.

Today is day 8 and they are probably on their last day. I didn’t change the water or anything (is that a thing? I feel like it’s probably a thing.)

Have a look at the website for pricing and subscription details here:  Piccolo and Peony. You can order in the morning for same day delivery and even add a candle which is very Hygge. If you have read this far, you deserve another reward: For 30% off your order, use  discount code  PICCOLOANDPEONY30. Enjoy!

Thanks Polly for brightening up my week and giving me the opportunity to write about plants, Matty J and babies (three of my favourite things.)

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OMG. Someone call a divorce lawyer.

Three For Free in Frankston

 

The school holidays are almost upon us. I can hear the collective whimpering of mothers and fathers and other carers across the state as they prepare their already paper thin patience for the whinging, whining and general irritation which is 24/7 with kids.

I asked my mum recently how she bought up three kids without any of us going off the rails. Her advice was to “let them out.” I do recall spending the majority of my childhood up a tree or on a shed roof trying to fly and I’m not on any illegal drugs so maybe she is on to something. So with that philosophy in mind, may I present three outdoor activities for free in Frankston these school holidays (or any time the kids are making you cray):

1. Geocaching.

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Before we go any further, if you don’t know what Geocaching is, click here. It’s basically a treasure hunt and there is treasure hidden in the Frankston Botanic Gardens! All you need is an app (it may cost a couple of dollars to get the advanced caches for the gardens but there’s plenty around Frankston on the free version) and away you go. This is a good cache to go for if it’s your first time. Plus you can enjoy the playground, see the ducks and if you get hooked on Geocaching, you can make your way to Sweetwater Creek to find another one!

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2. Frankston Foreshore Flag Puzzle

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Did you know that the flagpoles on Frankston Pier hold a secret message? Neither did I until I went fishing with Insta-Husband and Mini one day and got SO  BORED that I discovered this cool little titbit.  It’s made up of 22 letters and is perfect for preppies who are learning to read or older kids who think that they know everything.

While you are on the foreshore, don’t forget to check out the sculptures and free art. You can find out more about this here. Also, be sure to visit the playground to get rid of some of that wonderful energy.

 

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Frankston Beach

 

3. Go nature foraging at Beauty Park.

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Frankston is so lucky to have some of the best outdoor spaces in Melbourne. Have you been to Beauty Park recently? Home to the amazing Little Beauty Market it is a perfect piece of picturesque parkland. You can enjoy the play equipment, see the ducks in the huge pond or have a go on the outdoor exercise equipment (again, get rid of all the energy. Do you notice a theme here?)

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Once you have done everything on our Three For Free list do not panic. You still have a few more options up your sleeve for free stuff to keep them busy:

Visit the free book exchange in Karingal. More details here.

Find out which playground we think is Frankston’s best here.

Or, discover the wealth of free street art in Frankston. To get you started, click here.

So there you have it. Loads of free and fun activities to help keep you sane this school holidays. Have something to add? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Good luck people. See you on the other side…..

Brilliant Bianca

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Bianca, a jewellery maker from Mount Eliza, is not your average 16 year old.

Talented, creative and original, this teen not only has the drive to succeed in her chosen field, she also possesses the gratitude and grace that will see her keep her balance in the business world.

“I love Gorman” she tells me “I’d love to work in New York and draw inspiration from the street fashion there. But I could also see myself studying Art and Design after high school. Or moving to Holland to work on a family fashion label.” Whatever path she chooses, she will be taking years of experience along for the ride.

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Bianca started the market circuit at just 12 years of age and quickly found her favourite in the Emu Plains Market.

“Everyone is just so supportive. The organiser, Vanessa is so encouraging and positive. The other stall holders have given me tips; it’s just such a great environment to be in.”

She makes sure to mention those that have helped her along the way. With mentors like Kaitin, creator of Koa, Chloe McColl, Kate Macindoe and Emily Dornbusch on the list, it is easy to see why Bianca loves surrounding herself with creatives.

Mini had a couple of questions for Bianca and she was only too happy to answer them.

M: How do you make the jewellery?

B: I use polymer clay. When it is baked it hardens and holds its shape. Once cooled I can drill holes to attach tassels or thread the necklace in.

M: What was the first thing you made?

B : I made my mum a necklace for mother’s day using Sculpty and then, over time, I refined the design.

M:  Where do you do your art work?

B: I am lucky enough to have a small studio at home that I can work in. When I am in the studio I find that art making becomes almost meditative. It calms any anxiety I may be experiencing and I find it very therapeutic. My mum has always encouraged me and she also uses the studio to paint.

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It is easy to forget that this artist is still in high school. When I press her for details of when I can expect a website or online store she tells me she is content with market stalls for now.  She does, of course, have classes  Monday to Friday.

Before we finish our conversation, I can’t resist asking her what we can expect in fashion for the reminder of 2017. She does, after all, spend her free time browsing Pinterest and Instagram to keep her finger firmly on the fashion pulse.

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“Metallics and glitter” are her predictions. And you know what? I believe her.

You can find Bianca’s Shop at the upcoming Little Beauty Market in Frankston on both March 25th and April 22nd or check out more of her creations on her Instagram page here

All images used throughout this post come courtesy of Bianca and her mum. Please don’t republish without permission. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

Red Gum BBQ = OMG.

I met Martin Goffin, one half of the Red Gum BBQ team, ten years ago. At that time he had not yet found his calling as a BBQ Pit Master. Instead, he was a youth engagement officer working hard in St Kilda and the surrounding areas. It seems his quest to make the community a better place continues. Martin and Melissa opened the restaurant (shed? Space? Beer/BBQ hall?) earlier this year after making the tree change to the Mornington Peninsula a few years ago and I daresay that they will never look back. They are the perfect combination of hard working and talented – this duo have made their dreams come true.

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Beer dreams.

Everything about the place has a story. The long wooden dining tables? Made of recycled wood sourced from Rosebud. The recipes? The couple’s own developed over their time working in America. The kitchen? Custom designed and built and the place that magic happens. Melissa is the brains behind the styling and I basically want her to come and re-style my house. They rented the huge space after seeing it only from the outside and transformed it with the passion and zeal which would probably not be present had they done this before. That’s right, this is their very first restaurant venture.

Perfect place for a pre-dinner jar of beer
Tea light candles and generous chairs. Perfect place for a jar of beer.

Okay. Let’s talk food. It’s amazing. Simple ordering process of choosing a meat and then a side dish. We sat down with Martin and sampled the ribs, brisket, chicken, sausage, macaroni ball, mac and cheese, BBQ’d beans and potato salad. I didn’t even get a photo of it because I was too excited and just ate it instead. Here is the aftermath.

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And the beer. So, I’ll set the scene. I am married to a Welshman. The village he grew up in had a schoolhouse, a river, a church and a pub. You can guess which one he spent the most time in. He is not easily impressed when it comes to beer in Australia but last night…..

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I’ll take one of your massive jars of beer thanks barman.

He was impressed. I had a small glass of the Little Red and it was delicious.

By the time we had finished dinner, our babysitter had called to say that the baby was crying and would only stop when my neighbour (who she had gone to for assistance) held her and let her watch television. So, we decided to call it a night and head home. But the reminder of being a parent quickly brought me back to earth and made me take this shot of the gorgeous play area.

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As we drove home I reflected on how our thirties are the time to make big life dreams happen. All that experience. All the knowledge. By thirty, you are closer to knowing what kind of stamp you want to leave on the world. Since we moved down this way we have fallen in love with the area. The wineries, the slower pace, the trees, the space and the people. Red Gum BBQ seems to encompass all of that and more. I also reflected on the all consuming passion I saw in Martin as a Pit Master that I had only witnessed as a flicker in him when he was working for council. The way he watched Insta Husband peruse the menu. “Have the chicken” he told us “It will change your life.”

Well, it certainly has his.

Red Gum BBQ is in Redhill. It has high chairs and nappy changing facilities. It’s an indoor/outdoor venue and is wheel chair accessible. And amazing.

Need some date night underwear inspo from Bendon? No, me either really. But a girl can dream.

 

FYI: This post contains an affiliate link to Bendon. If I ever make a dollar I will spend it on coffee.

Peninsula Wellness Store

Practicing self love, as a mama, is so important. But it is also so hard to prioritise in amongst the white noise of school pick up, pumpkin stains and the daily trimming of precious minutes to yourself. I practice micro self love moments. For me, this looks like 5 minute meditations, baths with Epsom salts, foot massages, new nail polish…you get the idea.

I have recently discovered a gorgeous local online business: Peninsula Wellness Store. Owner/Operator Carissa is in her final year of studying naturopathy and has recently added her own creations to her store. She very kindly sent me a couple of complimentary products to try out.

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They were packaged beautifully and each product came with a little swing tag with printed instructions and ingredients. And look at those gorgeous sticky labels. Pretty! I love a bit of bohemian branding.

The Bite Ease roller blend smells good enough to wear as perfume. Seriously. It’s amazing. And the roller top makes application easy for dramatic five year olds who are claiming to have bites but who secretly just like the smell.

 

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Easy roll on application

Does it work? It seemed to. It felt like a gentle antiseptic.

The Face Serum smelt beautiful too with the lemon and orange essential oil blend (amongst other oils.) I loved that I could use it on my hands without a greasy feeling. I even used it to give myself a foot massage and it was divine!

 

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“I don’t want to be an Instagram Husband’ Said Insta Husband as I forced him to take this photo over my shoulder.

 

 

Overall, the Peninsula Wellness Store offers you a chance to take time out and be kind to yourself. The treat for your senses -the smell and the soothing application- feels like a mini luxury. I think we could all do with a bit of that!

To learn more about this wonderful Mornington Peninsula business, take a look at their website here: http://peninsulawellnessstore.com.au/