‘Tis the season to treat the kids in your life with an unforgettable experience

‘Tis the season to treat the kids in your life with an unforgettable experience

By Lauren – Gold Coast Mum

If you’re in search of the perfect Christmas gift for the children in your life (your own kids/ nieces/nephews/grandkids, for example) then I have some good news for you – especially if you’ve left it all to the last minute!

Instead of trying to work out what to buy the kid who has everything, why not treat yourself, and your lil friends to a special outing together?

Disney on Ice’s new production Magical Ice Festival is set to tour Australia in 2016 and I can’t wait to take along my brood who are going to be absolutely blown away when they get to see their favourite Frozen stars in action on the ice.

“For the first time in forever” Frozen’s Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven will take to the ice and finally appear in Disney On Ice: Magical Ice Festival, presented by Feld Entertainment and Disney in 2016.




The audience will experience Disney’s The Little Mermaid with a show-stopping performance by Sebastian and Ariel and can see what sassy and spirited Rapunzel - and her charming ally Flynn - from Disney’s Tangled are up to.


Everyone will get swept away by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as the enchanted entourage take centre stage in a spectacular show for Belle. It will be a magical mix of royalty when Disney On Ice brings this incredible wonderland.

The all ages event, performed entirely on ice, is a fantastic live musical event that will transport you to a winter wonderland full of fun, magic and happiness.
You don’t even need to rush to the shops to secure this awesomeness. This awesome gift idea can be purchased right now here.

For some extra wow factor, you could always do up a gift box with some pictures of the characters/ brochure and maybe even copies of the tickets (this is how my little ones will receive their tickets and I can’t wait to see their reaction!).


The best thing about gifting an experience is that you and the child will walk away from the event with some fantastic memories of the show, after having spent some treasured time together!
Best present ever I say! 




DISNEY ON ICE: MAGICAL ICE FESTIVAL SHOWS play Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall, Thursday 23rd June 2016 - Monday 27th June 2016.

What are your thoughts on gifts that offer experiences to be enjoyed?

Are you planning to go along to DISNEY ON ICE: MAGICAL ICE FESTIVAL in 2016?


Who’s your favourite Disney character?



Disclaimer: Gold Coast Mum will be attending one of the Brisbane shows in June, for the purposes of a review. As always, all opinions are my own.

'Tis the season... to treat yourself/ a friend/colleague to fresh flowers

'Tis the season... to treat yourself/ a friend/colleague to fresh flowers

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

There's something about fresh flowers that make my heart sing!

I love giving and receiving flowers.

                   

I've been on the receiving end for occasions including new babies, new homes, new job/promotions, engagement, wedding, birthdays, 'just because' from dear friends, and more!

My all-time fav are oriental lillies!
They were my wedding flower and, as I always say to my hubby, there's just something about them that make me HAPPY!

I also love sending flowers to friends to celebrate special events, especially now that we live 900km away from where we grew up and where many of our friends still reside. 

Arranging a bouquet delivery is so much easier than making it to the post office to mail a gift - especially if you work and/or have a car full of children to drag along with you, or have left it to the last minute.

I recently sent a bunch of Fresh Flowers to a friend in Sydney, to celebrate the birth of her first baby (I also have a gift to send if I can make it to the post office sometime before bub turns 1 ;-).

It was super easy to place an order via the Fresh Flowers website and, best of all, by placing my order before 2pm, the order was delivered the same day!

I selected the Best Friend Forever (BFF) posy - bright, bold and beautiful.



When delivered to my friend, the posy, was just as gorgeous as the photo online, and was beautifully wrapped in Fresh Flowers’ signature hessian and black and white stitch ribbon.




With Christmas just a matter of days away, it's a perfect time to fill your home with some beautiful fresh flowers - in preparation for any visitors who may be popping in over the festive season.
Or, if you've left it to the last minute to purchase/send any gifts to someone in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, or Adelaide, you can't go wrong with a bunch of flowers!

We're about to move into our new home (in fact I'm avoiding packing right now to write this blog piece) and I can't wait to fill the house with gorgeous blooms!

There are so many great options available on the Fresh Flowers website, you're bound to find something you like!





What are your favourite types of flowers?
When was the last time you received fresh flowers?


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Disclaimer: Gold Coast Mum received a Fresh Flowers item for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Cheeky Labrador puppies on Santa's naughty list

Cheeky Labrador puppies on Santa's naughty list

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

Uh oh! What have these little rascals done?!

Cheeky puppies on Santa's naughty list, labrador puppies, goldcoastmum blog,christmas tree, dogs and christmas trees, 11 pups

Seems like babies and toddlers aren't the only ones who are attracted to all things tinsel and baubles!

These gorgeous 8-week-old Labrador puppies, and their love of destroying Christmas trees, are proving to be quite a hit.

Perth resident Natalie told Gold Coast Mum her “adorable grandpuppies” are normally well behaved except for their love of chewing up the mail.
“I had to stop my grandson bringing it in as it's rather embarrassing having to ask for another Synergy bill as the puppies ate it,” she said.

Cheeky puppies on Santa's naughty list, labrador puppies, goldcoastmum blog,christmas tree, dogs and christmas trees, 11 pups

Natalie said she owns both of the puppies’ parents and got more than she bargained for when the puppies were born.
“We had decided to wait another season so my girl Marlee was a little bit older (she is 3-and-a-half) but Buddy (he is almost 2) had other ideas.
“Two ultrasounds showed there was definitely 7 puppies, most probably 8. She had 11!”

Natalie says her family managed to keep the puppies all alive by taking shifts to rotate and then substitute bottle feeding them from five days old.
“Marlee did so well and, surprisingly, Buddy is the best dad and has helped Marlee from when the puppies were three days old and she was over trying to keep him away. He would help stimulate them to pee and poo, give them tongue baths like Marlee did and was there when one sooked quicker than Marlee could get to them and was already giving them kisses to calm them down.”

Cheeky puppies on Santa's naughty list, labrador puppies, goldcoastmum blog,christmas tree, dogs and christmas trees, 11 pups
All together now... nawwwww! <3


“I have a friend who comes over to check on them during the day while I am at work and she rang me up the other day as they had trashed my house.
It looked like confetti as they had ripped apart their puppy pee training mats, chewed the TV cord (luckily it was turned off at the power point) and my 10-week old brand new blinds. Not to mention there were puppy poo prints all over my walls, glass doors and the floor. My poor friend was throwing up while she was cleaning up,“ Natalie told Gold Coast Mum.

 “I keep my big dogs’ food in a container and if the puppies get into the kitchen they run straight to the laundry to try to get their food. One of the puppies has worked out if he pushes in the right spot he can open the lid and has managed to fall in there twice!”

Natalie said most of the puppies are going to people who she will keep in contact with “as they have been coming to visit them since they were almost 4 weeks old to get the puppies used to them before they leave”. 

“My oldest son is getting one for Xmas and he is the naughty one. My son picked him from the minute he first saw him and they have the same personalities with their playful natures getting them into trouble so it looks like I will be puppy sitting a lot!,” Natalie said.


Do you have a pet/pets? Have you experienced cheeky puppies in action?

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Summer days

Summer days

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum
This summer we're loving the awesome Gold Coast beaches and waterways!
It's been wonderful to get out and about, enjoying our beautiful surroundings!

Going to the actual beach - where the waves are rolling in, isn't the safest option for us with 4 little ones to keep an eye on at all times.

(Miss 5 is a good swimmer and stays close, and mostly listens well, thankfully.
Mr 3 thinks he's an Iron Man and wants to escape out of our reach and go off and swim/ride the waves on his own.
Our 2-year-old twincesses, like Mr 3, are also pretty confident around water and really don't want to hold our hands. They want to run off and be freeeeee.)

So... we prefer to go to rockpools/ quiet beaches and 
Tallebudgera Creek.
Depending on what time of day you arrive, it can be a challenge to score a car park, but we've been pretty lucky most visits.

I love that you can set up in the shade/apply sun cream and then only a short trip across the sand to set up on the shore.
It's a lovely spot to hang out, make sandcastles and frolic in the water with inflatable toys.
It's patrolled and really kid-friendly. And, at the end of your visit, the toilets and showers are convenient.
And, there's a play park to entertain the kids (though I would love it even more if it was fenced).


Tallebudgera Creek, Gold Coast, Queensland.

Tallebudgera Creek, Gold Coast, Queensland.

As well as being constantly on patrol to monitor the safety of our 4 little ones, hubby and I are also super vigilant when it comes to 'Slip, Slop, Slap' (Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat).

Or little ones have fair skin so we are constantly lathering up with our fav Banana Boat sunscreen.






For those with kids, y'know how when it's time to apply sunscreen, the little ones usually wriggle around like an Octopus (well mine do most of the time, anyway)? Well the Banana Boat clear spray, pictured below, is such a handy must-have and essential for suncream top-ups throughout the day!
The clear spray is a convenient, clear spray that requires no rubbing and is easy to apply. Up to 4 hours water resistant, the Kids Clear Spray provides a non-greasy broad spectrum for UVA and UVB rays and is fragrance-free.

I also love the roll-on cream for the twins' faces!



                                                       

We've always had a great experience when using Banana Boat - no cases of sun burn for our little people, thank goodness. Touch wood.

What do you do to slip, slop, slap? Are your kids sun safe?


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Disclaimer: Gold Coast Mum received Banana Boat product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

'Tis the season... for some sweet treats! DIY Christmas cakes!

'Tis the season... for some sweet treats! DIY Christmas cakes!

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum
The countdown is ON!
Christmas is 12 days away.

If, like me, you’ve been searching for a new tradition to incorporate into your Christmas festivities, then a Christmas cake might be just what you’re after.

I’m no Betty Crocker, so the do-it-yourself Christmas cakes from Cake 2 The Rescue are right up my alley!




It’s a seriously awesome concept.
You select your design and then receive a kit containing EVERYTHING you need to make and decorate your cake.
The kits include everything from labelled ingredients, instructions, disposable baking tray, gloves, pre-made fondant, stencils, candles and more.


 


I first came across this successful Gold Coast business, run by Louise Duggan - also known as Baker Girl Lou – when I was on the hunt for a cake to make for my eldest daughter’s 3rd birthday. 
I bought, and then successfully made (YAY!), the Dora cake, and was a returning customer for my eldest’s 4th birthday the following year when I made the mermaid cake.

I recently made a horse cake and Minion cake (with the help of 
Miss 5 and Mr 3) for my twin girls’ 2nd birthday, using the DIY cake kits from www.cake2therescue.com.au (you can have your kits posted to you, or if you live locally, you’re welcome to pop into the fab warehouse to collect your order).

Thanks to the fab easy-to-follow instructions, the cakes looked and tasted fab!













I can’t rave enough about Cake 2 the Rescue!
I have previously spent hundreds of dollars at a time buying baking/decorating supplies I didn’t need/ didn’t know how to use/ or only used once to make one cake (because I was determined to try and make it myself). 

So, thankfully, with the DIY cake kits, everything you need is supplied and you really can’t go wrong (except if you drop the tray on your cake like I did after decorating the Minion cake, causing me to craft some fondant to do some cover ups ;-)





If you’re looking to impress this festive season, or even if you have some birthday parties coming up, I definitely recommend giving Cake 2 The Rescue a try!

Top Tips from Cake 2 The Rescue’s Baker Girl Lou

1.       Use the spreadable butter that comes in a plastic tub to make your butter icing, it’s so hard to get slab butter to the right temperature, it’s either too hard or too soft.  Also, don’t be scared to use margarine either, you really can hardly tell the difference in taste.

2.       Add the food colouring to the icing before you finalise the thickness of the icing.  The quantity of food colouring added can thin the icing quite significantly so the best steps are. Start with thick icing, add the food colouring, now if the icing is still too thick add more butter.

3.       When icing a cake with a raw edge, add a large amount of icing to the top of the cake and glide a spatula or palette knife over the top of the icing moving it towards the edges.  Do not drag or apply pressure to the sponge.  Push the icing just over the raw top edges.  Now add more icing to your spatula and start working round the side of the cake, overlapping the icing that has been pushed over the edge.  Apply an excess of icing, once the raw sponge is completely covered remove any excess to define the shape.

4.       When working with fondant it is really important to warm up the fondant in your hands by kneading to remove any colour variation and cracked edges.  Once softened the fondant will be much easier to use and less likely to crack at the edges when rolled.

5.       Use a flat edge knife to cut out your fondant shapes not a serrated edge. Once you have cut out the shape gently run your finger round the rough edge to smooth before placing on the cake.

6.       To create face shapes such as eyes, noses and smiles it is much better to mould in your hands.  Cutting out these small round shapes can be very tricky and messy.  Eyes and noses can be created by hand rolling balls and then flattening them slightly into circles using your thumb.  Smiles, eyebrows are best created by hand rolling fondant sausages.  The added bonus is that creating these 3D shapes rather than flat cut outs will add dimension to your design.


This photo is the talk of the town!

This photo is the talk of the town!



By Lauren – Gold Coast Mum

This photo is the talk of the town!




A Target employee is being commended for performing a kind gesture that has given the social media world the warm and fuzzies.

Dylan, a Target employee at the chain’s Runaway Bay store on the Gold Coast, was photographed by a customer as he assisted a man, who appears to be missing his right arm, by doing up his belt.

Amy, who captured the touching moment, posted on Target Australia’s Facebook page:
Today I caught this beautiful moment between one of your staff and customers at Runaway Bay Target. The cashiers Nane {name} is Dylan and he kindly helped to fit an amputees belt.. what amazing customer service!!

Other locals were quick to commend Dylan, who appears to have made a good impression with many shoppers.

 Dylan is always friendly and helpful. Always makes me smile! Dylan has the best customer service. Your outstanding customer service never goes unnoticed. Keep doing what you are doing Dylan. If only there were more people like you in the world.:-)” said another.

Other comments included:

That pull a smile on my face but almost tears in my eyes we need more ppl like this .... the guy always asks if we need help m with a smile on his face

Some folk are just naturally kind. Dylan is obviously one of them.”




Target Australia responded to calls for Dylan to be recognised for his efforts by posting:
“This feedback has been delivered to the Store and Regional managers of Runaway Bay, as well as our senior management team. We love receiving fantastic feedback like this about our team members!


Way to go Dylan!
Keep up the good work!


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Breastfeeding twins - Celebrating 2 years!

Breastfeeding twins - Celebrating 2 years!

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

When my twins were born, I was determined to breastfeed.

Both girls had tongue ties and were feeding CONSTANTLY.
I persevered through shredded nipples, latch issues, supply concerns (that I actually shouldn’t have worried about at all as the girls were piling on the weight), mastitis, suspected silent reflux, colic and more.

I was amazed, pleased, and proud to have reached each little milestone I set along the way.

So here we are, 2 years later, and guess what?! They’re kind of still boobin!

I never set out to be an ‘extended breastfeeder’ or a ‘natural term breastfeeder’. It just kind of happened.

My first two children weaned at around 15/16 months as, both times, I was around 3 months pregnant (with #2 and then with #3&4). So I didn’t have to tackle the whole weaning issue.
I have shared various details about my breastfeeding experiences here and elsewhere within the blog.

In the past few months I have been ready to wean.
The girls have been on one feed a day (at night, before bed) for many months.

So around the time of the girls’ 2nd birthday, I met with a lovely Gold Coast mum I came to know via Instagram DH Photography and she captured some beautiful breastfeeding photos to celebrate the journey I have experienced with my twin girls.


Gold Coast Mum blogger breastfeeding twins
Around the time these photos were taken, the girls were having one feed before we’d put them to bed. 

After their 2nd birthday hubby and I started changing up the routine a bit, so the girls would ‘forget’ about their feed.
It worked. 

For a couple of days, the girls forgot/ were distracted and didn’t miss having their tandem feed before bed time. And, to be honest, I enjoyed having my body back as I was getting to the stage where I was kind of ‘over’ them having that one feed most days.

There have been a handful of times since where the girls have both been wanting a feed but I’ve distracted them and they’ve happily forgotten.
They went a week without a boob feed and then both demanded a feed at the same time where I caved in and let them for a minute before saying ‘ok, all finished’.

The girls are now 2 years and 1 month.
They lasted a week without a feed until last night when Victoria awoke – super unusually – after midnight and it was the only thing that would calm her down.

I’m super proud to have reached all of my breastfeeding goals – first it was 1 week, 6 weeks, 12 weeks. Then 6 months, 10 months, 12 months, 18 months.


And then as we approached their 2nd birthday I thought, oh, what the heck. So I started following a ‘don’t offer, don’t refuse’ rule of thumb. 

Which worked well.


I feel very lucky that the girls have been able to wean gently, and happily, at their own pace.


The gradual drop in feeds has meant I’ve had no discomfort at all and everything’s just phasing out in a natural way.

I am proud that I was able to provide comfort and nourishment for so long and the many benefits breastmilk provides (just like broccoli, breastmilk doesn’t suddenly lose its nutrition once a baby reaches a certain age).








I am now ready for this chapter to come to an end and am so glad that I had photos taken to capture the beauty of our breastfeeding journey (coz, let’s face it, while the photos of me sitting around in a maternity bra and singlet, wearing yoga pants are a natural and accurate reflection of how I spent a lot of my time, it’s nice to have the moments captured in a special way as well).


Gold Coast Mum breastfeeding twins, 4 under 4

When/how did your breastfeeding journey come to an end?

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Cute Christmas pregnancy announcement!

Cute Christmas pregnancy announcement!

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

How's this for a super cute pregnancy announcement?!

Gold Coast mum Samara enlisted the help of Santa - at a Gold Coast shopping centre - to help her and her family share their exciting news!




Samara shared the news that her baby daughter is set to become a big sister with the message:
"Guess what Santa's bringing me for Christmas? Mummy's due with Baby no.2  May 2016".

Samara had the poster designed by a professional via the Etsy website.

"She emailed the file, I printed it off at Big W and stuck it on cardboard," Samara told Gold Coast Mum editor Lauren.

Soooo cute!
How did you share your pregnancy news?
Connect via Facebook to share your images.


Click here to see how I shared the news that we were expecting our twins in 2013:




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3 Kids’ Room Makeovers

3 Kids’ Room Makeovers

Gold Coast Mum presents this article in partnership with Fort Knox

Just like life, children are constantly changing. It’s fascinating to watch them reach major developmental milestones and to witness their personalities emerge.

While this is one of the wonders of parenthood, it can also present a number of challenges.

There’s the revolving closet of bigger clothes, shoes and accessories – as well as new, more age-appropriate toys and books.

As our children age, so do their tastes in colours, toys, characters and styles.
So how do you keep up with your child’s ever-expanding closet, toy chest and interests?

Here are three kids’ room makeover ideas that could help you tackle this challenge.

1. New Life Stage, New Theme
When you were expecting your baby, you probably prepared a nursery, complete with cute pictures of baby animals or other infant themes.

While you can get by with these designs for two to three years, by the time your child is about four or five, they’re no longer appropriate.

By the time your bub embarks on the next major phase of their life: starting kindergarten and school, they’ll need somewhere to do their drawing, practise writing and eventually complete homework.

They’ll also need a place to store their school bag and they probably won’t need as much room for toys and floor-based activities. 


You don’t need to go crazy and you will most likely get by with a simple junior desk, sturdy bookcase, some new décor and bedding, and possibly a fresh coat of paint. One of the cheapest and fastest ways to create a whole new look in your child’s room is by using vinyl wall decals.

These are removable stickers and you can virtually create any theme you want with them.



We have cute butterflies in our twincesses' room, and these Paris-themed stickers in Miss 5's room.
Hubby and I can’t wait to let Mr 3 choose what he would like when we set up his new room when we move house soon.




2. Upsize Your Storage
Babies and toddlers accrue a staggering amount of clothes and toys.
Friends, family and even neighbours may offer you second-hand clothes and toys and – before you know it – you’ve got a mountain of stuff and nowhere to put it.

Because little ones grow so quickly, it SERIOUSLY may seem like you are constantly sorting, rotating and storing different sized clothes. (Story of my life anyway ;-)

You’ve probably also managed to accumulate the contents of a small toy store, most of which ends up being scattered throughout your entire home.
To keep on top of these things, you’re going to need some purpose-built storage furniture as well as somewhere in your home to position them.

If space is the key challenge, consider outsourcing the problem.
Renting space at a self-storage facility such as Fort Knox might be the perfect solution; click here for an example of the different sized spaces you can hire. This extra room will help you sort and organise clothes, toys, books and other items. Simply swap boxes over when necessary. 


3. Upgrade and Rearrange Furniture
When your children are babies, it doesn’t really matter how you store their clothes and items (as longs as furniture is safely secured and any small/dangerous items are out of reach).

Once they’re fully mobile, it’s the perfect time to encourage little ones to become a little more independent. This means setting up their room with small furniture so they can reach their clothes, toys and books.

You will also need to upgrade their bed from a cot to either a toddler/junior bed or a single or king single bed. Once your bubba is out of nappies, you won’t need a change table anymore either. (Hooray – after 5 years of nappies across 4 children!)
So, undoubtedly, a complete furniture and room reshuffle is in order.

 This can be one of the most effective ways to makeover a room, giving it a completely different look and feel as well as changing the way it functions and fits your child.

If your child has outgrown their bedroom and it’s time for a change, there areso many ways you can transform and tailor their private space to better suit their age, desires and needs.
I've also become a Pinterest addict and Instagram stalker to find inspiration for my little ones' bedrooms.

What tips do you have? How do you stay on top of the clothes/toys/stuff that babies/toddlers/children accrue?

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