Sunday, 27 November 2016

3 fab outfits for the festive season

Guest post by freelance writer Riley Henson

The holiday season is officially upon us, which means your social calendar is likely filling up with festive get-togethers 
and merry occasions. 
And while celebrating the months ahead with family and friends certainly calls for dressing in your finest, it can be tricky to know just what to wear to each special event. 

Whether you’re headed to the annual office party or are planning on ringing in the new year with loved ones, these ensembles are feminine, stylish, and - most importantly - versatile enough for all of the season’s happenings.

Metallic Midi Skirt 
Sparkle and shine are two design details that reign supreme during the holiday season. 
While it can be tempting to simply throw on a sequined cocktail dress and head to that New Year’s Eve bash, why not explore other - just as festive - options? 
Enter the metallic midi skirt.

With just enough 
flash for an evening out, this trend is equally at home during the daytime or at a work-related function thanks to its longer hemline and full silhouette.
Choose one in a gold, silver, or green hue and pair with a simple tee and flats for an 
afternoon event or an off-the-shoulder blouse and pumps for after dark.

Head-to-Toe White

The winter fashion scene is typically filled with darker neutrals and deep jewel tones, which is exactly why rocking an ensemble in shades of white can be so refreshing and unexpected.

When building an all-white look, opt for pieces that are rich in fabric and texture. Something like the off-white cable knit cardigan seen among 
the American sportswear inspired looks of this designer would be perfect. 

And don’t try to match shades - instead, pair crisp true whites with hues of cream, ecru, and oatmeal to create an ensemble with dimension and movement. 

For a more laid back get-together during the holiday season, wear your favorite white skinny jeans with a silk tank top and a long sleeveless vest (which just so happens to be trending this season).
Finish with a 
classic nude shoe or one that features a pop of colour.

Silky Slip Dress

Thanks to its lasting popularity, the '90s-inspired slip dress has become a staple that works well in all seasons—not to mention it’s universally flattering and versatile enough for nearly any occasion, too.

Chances are you already have this 
slinky style hanging in your wardrobe, but if not, the holiday season is the perfect time to add one to your collection. 

 deep red silk dress feels equal parts sexy and festive, making it ideal for any celebration. 

To add a touch of flair while keeping your look classically elegant, 
go with a midi slip style that features a ruffled hemline or lace details.
Finish with a trio of choker necklaces, a stack 
of bangles, or statement earrings.

This post is presented to you in partnership with Lyst.

What are you planning to wear this Christmas and NYE?

Let's connect:

Guest post: Swimming lessons are a MUST for little ones

Editor’s note:
Like many of us, my heart breaks each time I hear a news report that involves a young child drowning.

The statistics are reducing as each year passes due to an increased focus on education and awareness when it comes to water safety, however one life lost is still too many.

I invited Ian Campbell, a father of three young boys, who founded JUMP! Swim Schools to write a guest post for Gold Coast Mum, in an effort to raise awareness.

Ian, JUMP’s managing director, founded the Queensland-based multinational company in Grafton, NSW in 2010.
He is passionate about increasing participation, water confidence and skill levels across the country in a bid to decrease drowning statistics.

Ian and family.


By Ian Campbell

Babies are capable of achieving amazing things and at JUMP! Swim Schools we have crafted a successful learn-to-swim curriculum to foster water confidence in our children from as young as three months of age.

As a dad to three young sons, and a former swim coach, I know the importance of providing lessons in a private, stress free facility to make children comfortable.

We see ourselves as the child carers of learn to swim. We have a low teacher on baby ratio and we are putting specialised education with metrics back into learn to swim and that relates to our success across the country.

We use the best practices from learn-to-swim programs across the world and focus on the core elements of conditioning, buoyancy, breath control and mobility. Our staff are expert in teaching babies and children in small, intimate classes in a quiet indoor pool that’s heated to 33 degrees all year round.

* Family-friendly approach for children as young as three months
* Outcomes-based curriculum through fun, age appropriate techniques
* Class numbers capped at four allows for personalised lessons
* Just two classes run simultaneously limits distractions
* Water heated to a comfortable 33 degrees all year around

We are excited to have more than 12,800 active swimmers at JUMP! Swim Schools across Australia reaping the benefits of our tailored, highly-personalised program that is delivered in fun and safe state-of-the-art swimming facilities.

Figures show babies are clearly driving our growth. 
Parents of babies and young children are understanding the importance of preparing children for summer and giving them the skills and confidence to enjoy our water lifestyle.

We now have 44 swim schools in operation across the country with another 50 scheduled to open in the next six months.

Our rapid expansion is allowing children in every state the opportunity to learn to swim from a young age in  purpose-built environments that are fun, safe, age appropriate and distraction-free.

* JUMP! Swim Schools are teaching more than 12,800 active swimmers at 44 locations across Australia

* Babies aged 0-2 years were the strongest opening customer enrolments at most new JUMP! Swim Schools

* Every JUMP! Swim School that has been open for 12 months or more is teaching more than 300 students

* The average number of students for JUMP! Swim Schools that have been open more than 12 months is more than 400 students

At JUMP! Swim Schools we believe that teaching children to swim is not only a safety measure but a lifestyle choice and it is our mission to actively build a culture of fun and excitement around learning to swim throughout Australia.

Our family-friendly approach fosters close relationships with owners, teachers, children and parents making for a familiar and safe environment, perfect for boosting the confidence in young swimmers.

* Kids forget quickly so keep up their learn-to-swim lessons and make it part of your weekly routine

* Swimming is a fun, low cost and social lifestyle exercise that provides skills for life

* Swimming boosts the immune system and is good for overall mental and physical wellbeing

* Swimming is a great way for children to stay active and healthy while providing them with a vital life skill

Do your babies/toddlers/kids do swimming lessons?

At what age did you start your little ones in swimming lessons?

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sequins & sparkles oh my!

Well hello there!

There's not one household chore I enjoy more than changing the bed linen. 

Yes, seriously.
How can you resist fresh, crisp sheets, and a new colour or pattern to enjoy for the following week?

In my case, I'm a fan of bright and bold colours and patterns (hubby just goes along with my wonderful taste). 

Got to love fresh sheets day!

We've recently been enjoying a gorgeous sparkly SEQUIN bed set. 

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of all things sparkles, sequins and glitter, and when the opportunity popped up to road test bed linen from Just Bedding I jumped at the chance!

My bed set of choice arrived in just a matter of days and I couldn't wait to see it in all its glory!


If you've been looking for beautiful bedding online, then guess what... the search is over!
I was super impressed with my sparkly bedding!
The quality of my Logan & Mason bed set was fabulous and it was super comfy to sleep on/in.

How so, with sequins, you ask?

Like with all of our other bedding, we turn the pillows over to sleep on, and then back over to the 'fancy side' for display during the day.
(So in this case of this bed set, the sequins are only on one side, so perfect for display, and comfy to sleep on the other side).

Our biggest issue was keeping grubby fingers away from the gorgeous, crisp white linen (of course all 4 little ones wanted to touch the sequins and follow their fingers along the Chevron pattern). ;-)
Just Bedding's 30 day return and satisfaction guarantee is impressive, offering online shoppers great reassurance.

Just Bedding also has a teenskids, and baby bedding range! As well as a range of soft furnishings including pillows. Definitely worth checking out.

How often do you change your bedding?
Do you iron your sheets before setting up on your bed?

Let's connect:

*Lauren - Gold Coast Mum - received product for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie split! Ange files for divorce. What is Jennifer Aniston's reaction?

Can you believe it?

Angelina Jolie's lawyer has confirmed that she has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt.

That's right, Brangelina is no more.

Lawyer Robert Offer said Angelina filed for "dissolution of marriage" on Monday, adding the "decision was made for the health of the family".
"She will not be commenting, and asks that the family be given its privacy at this time," Mr Offer said in the statement.
Brad and Ange have been together since 2004, marrying in August 2014.

According to US entertainment website TMZ, Jolie cited "irreconcilable differences" in the divorce papers and listed the date of separation of 15 September.
It is understood Ange is asking for physical custody of the couple's six children (Maddox, Pax, Zahara, who are adopted, and biological children Shiloh and twins Knox and Vivienne).
Ange is asking the judge to give Pitt visitation rights.

According to TMZ, there are allegations of 
conflict over the kids, substance abuse and anger

I had a bit of a soft spot for the couple - having followed their every move during my time as news editor on a national weekly celebrity magazine a few years back (before I went on to have my own twins, just like Brad and Ange did.
The photo of Angelina breastfeeding that appeared on the cover of a magazine also probably helped inspire and empower women all around the world - 'Well if Ange can do it with a household full of other children, then I can too'.
Maybe not, but it quite possibly was in the back of my mind, or helped normalise breastfeeding in general).

Anyway, back to the point.

It's kind of no surprise.
Apparently more than 50% of couples who have multiples (twins, triplets or more) end up divorcing (stat I read somewhere that always gets thrown around).
This can be due to stress, lack of actual adult time together, financial concerns and other issues.

As the great singer Anne Marie says in her song 'Alarm' (one of my current faves ;-): 'same way they come that's the way they go...' 'a cheat stays a cheater'. :-O

Wonder if this played any part?

Wonder if Jen Aniston is having a bit of a giggle? (Remember she was still with Brad when he and Ange fell in love while filming Mr and Mrs Smith).

How are you feeling about it all?
Who is having the last laugh now?
Would you kick Brad to the kerb as well?

Let's connect:

Monday, 8 August 2016

Surviving the school holidays

By Lauren – Gold Coast Mum

Before having kids I didn’t really give much thought to how working parents juggled looking after – and as well as, entertaining - school-aged kids during the school holidays.

When I was younger and my Mum was working, my sisters and I were fortunate enough to be able to hang out with our Nanna who lived with us.

We spent school holidays riding bikes around the neighbourhood, playing netball, movie and roller skating dates, trips to the local shopping centres, sleepovers and more.
I was a Brownie and Girl Guide in my younger years (PRETTY sure I was the first girl in Australia to receive the Asia Pacific badge back in the day! ;-) so enjoyed a couple of short camps that were so much fun.

Me back in the day as a Brownie.

Me back in the very early 90s as a Girl Guide.

But after having watched too many American TV shows or movies and read too many American tween and teen books, I really wanted to experience ‘Summer Camp’ – an extended trip away camping (or in cabins) to enjoy spending times with friends, learning new skills and participating in fun/challenging activities.
I’ve had friends who have worked at these and had the time of their lives!

Sounds like something my little ones will enjoy as they get bigger!
These past school holidays I juggled my work commitments – working as a consultant and freelancer  and helping current and new clients – as well as taking on a super exciting new gig as Editor of a monthly magazine here on the Gold Coast (will share further details with you in an upcoming post, I promise).

I had Miss 6 home with me during these recent school holidays and she enjoyed a sleepover at her Nanna’s and a day out with a friend from school (they went to the movies, accompanied by the friend’s mum, and also had manicures! How cute!). Miss 6, Mr 4 and my 2yo twincesses also enjoyed trips to the park and visits from interstate relatives.
School holiday fun.

A few of my friends who work full time have to put their children into vacation care during the school holidays, or are lucky to have grandparents/aunties or friends happy to come to the rescue, and mind their children, for the whole school holidays.

I recently came across Crusaders, also known as CRU Camps - a Christian youth camp who run holiday and day camps for kids and teens. 
They offer activities such as abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing and more.
It looks like a great option for my friends’ kids and for my little ones when they are bigger!

The team of young adults – who have all had the child protection screening checks in accordance with government child protection legislation - look after campers 24 hours a day, there’s a ratio of at least one leader to every five campers (amazing, this is more than school or kindy!) AND there are at least two leaders in each group with Senior First Aid qualifications.
A camp ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ attend primary age camps to care for the emotional needs of young campers. How good is that!
Check out their website  for further info about the fabulous camps such as Splash 2016 being held in September.An epic week of water and land action where attendees enjoy magical days on the lake canoeing and rafting, tubing around the beautiful Lake Macquarie with new friends.
They’ll try fishing and awesome day and night wide games, water wars, chill out times, fun leaders, tasty food, a movie night and campfire.

Such fun!

What did you get up to in the holidays when you were younger?
What do you do with your kids in the school holidays?

Do you take time off work?

This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own.




Sunday, 7 August 2016

World Breastfeeding Week 2016: Time for mums to be empowered and informed

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

After 6 years of being either pregnant or breastfeeding, this ‪World Breastfeeding Week 2016 I'm neither (my twincesses weaned around last Christmas).
But I'm still as passionate as ever about being a breastfeeding advocate to help‪ normalise breastfeeding!
By no means does this mean I'm 'anti' formula feeding mums (I have plenty of beautiful friends who formula feed & we love & respect each other regardless); it's just that I know there is a huge need for ALL women to have/use the support to be informed and empowered if they do WANT to breastfeed.
Too many 'booby traps' are causing mums to cease breastfeeding earlier than they desired, when, if armed with the correct info & advice (& a good support network), they may have been able to continue their breastfeeding journey (if this was their goal).

The more this is discussed and we can ‪‎normalize breastfeeding, the better.
Formula companies have big budgets and continue to creep into all areas of our lives to promote their products, & by doing so, prey on new mums' vulnerabilities & create self-doubt.
Breastfeeding is (generally) free to produce & isn't a big moneymaker so there are no big corporations lining up out there spending millions to promote it, or offering women the best support to ensure they are successful in their quest to breastfeed.

They don't want us to succeed in doing what we can do for FREE.

Our success = their failure.
For now, mums can thank the kind & helpful NFPs, volunteers, advocates, educators & professionals who are helping women succeed with breastfeeding all over the world.

However, too often, people turn their noses up at such helpers, claiming they feel judged etc.
Here's the thing. Breastfeeding can be challenging. It can be friggin hard. Bleeding, cracked nipples & attached 20 hours a day in the first few weeks can be tiring! 
Once you make it through the first few weeks/months, breastfeeding is beautiful. 
It's easy & free.

But just like anything, if you want it bad enough, you work hard, you persevere/ arm yourself with the right info & advice to help you meet your goals.
Just like if you were wanting to get a 6-pack & run in a marathon, you'd accept advice & tips from professionals & others who have 'been there, done that' without feeling like they're judging or that you're a failure if you choose not to use the tips or tricks offered, or if you choose not to keep running.
The same applies to breastfeeding.

However this topic stirs emotions & people get defensive.
So, to new mums/ mums to be, accept info/advice & help, call your local Australian Breastfeeding Association, attend a meeting, read up on cluster feeding or the 'top up trap', speak to a Lactation Consultant or IBCLC or a helper. 
We need as much help as we can get to be empowered to know we CAN do this!
(Obviously in rare cases there are genuine health issues etc which may prevent breastfeeding. Some health professionals aren't up to speed on this and give bad advice - I have been on the receiving end a number of times, but thankfully I knew better or sought better advice.

But don't let anyone tell you you can't due to having a premature bub or twins (or more). 
I breastfed my twins on demand while also having my then-1yo & then-3yo to look after & while doing some work from home.
I overcame obstacles including tongue ties, flat nipples, mastitis, colic, silent reflux & more. I have friends who had twins at 28/30 weeks and pumped religiously to ensure a supply etc.)
World Breastfeeding Week isn't about patting ourselves on the back or to shame those who choose not to breastfeed or those who genuinely can't.

It's about ensuring current & future mothers feel (& are) supported in their quest to breastfeed - if that's something that is important to them - & that they have access to the right help. 

Peace & love to ALL mothers. xx
Here's me with my ‪‎twins right before they weaned just after their 2nd birthday. 

What timing!

And here is just one example of the cheeky formula companies and their mission to influence vulnerable mums...

This appeared in an Adelaide publication over the weekend.
An article about breastfeeding to HELP mums, with quotes from the president of the Australian Breastfeeding Association. And strategically placed next to it??? A formula ad (apparently by law they can only advertise the 12+ months product, but still...)

Wouldn't it be great if the ad was promoting the FREE and/or low-cost services available to help mums breastfeed instead.
But as we know, helpers/supporters and professionals in this field - who dedicate time and effort each and every day to HELP and EMPOWER women, generally don't have budgets to match these big brands!

(Brand label covered as their $$ has helped them gain enough exposure...) 


Saturday, 30 July 2016

Gold Coast Bump to Bub Expo for pregnant women and new mums

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

In case you're wondering why I have been a tad quiet on the blogging front lately, I have been super busy working on various projects as well as juggling work (as a consultant/ freelancer/ employee and with my own clients) and being a Mum to four little cherubs.
I am beyond excited to share the details with you about these projects as soon as I can.

Today, I'm thrilled to announce that Gold Coast Mum has partnered with maternity and newborn photographer Jade Read Photography - a fellow Gold Coast mum - to present to you, the first Gold Coast Bump to Bub Expo & Pamper Day!

Sunday 23rd October, 201610am- 3pm
Nerang Bicentennial Centre, Nerang, Gold Coast

(Opposite Goodlife Gym/ near Council Chambers/ Town and Country Motel)

Gold coast pregnancy and baby expo, bump to bub expo, gold coast mum expo, maternity gold coast

The Gold Coast's first Bump to Bub Expo is set to be a 
unique and exciting day full of shopping, manicures and massage, our very own Eat Street, fashion parades, and experts to ask all your pregnancy and birthing questions.
Major raffles and prizes to be won!

An amazing line-up of sponsors, brands, small and large businesses will be there on the day to help Gold Coast parents and parents-to-be.
Attendees can access all the information, services and products around their birth and baby in one place and can relax with the Pamper Experience – book a massage, get your manicure and relax in the dedicated comfy lounge room.
I look forward to seeing you there!

Raising money for our charity of choice: Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness.

If you have a business that suits the demographic, feel free to get in touch.

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