Let’s talk about bags. Handbags. Nappy bags. Change bags.

Before I became a mum I had a reasonably large collection of handbags. After all, a handbag is a very important accessory, and the right handbag can perfect an outfit. I owned a nice range of colours and sizes in which to carry my wallet, keys, lippie, phone, sunnies and a pen (one must always carry a pen!). Everything within my bag was for me. Only me. What a luxury!

You sacrifice a lot of things when you become a mother. Along with privacy, spontaneity and freedom you also kiss goodbye your handbags for a while. A long while.  When I had my first baby I traded in my assortment of bags for one giant-sized nappy bag! Like most new mums, I was shocked at all the STUFF babies apparently needed. Bottles, bibs, wipes, dummies, nappies, clothes, comforters and breast pads – and those were just the essentials! For the next few years my stylish handbags hibernated in a cupboard, along with my good lingerie, makeup, and heels!

Having three children very quickly meant my nappy bag became my constant companion. I longed for the day of being free from all the STUFF you need to carry around for a tiny person. Foolishly I thought that when my youngest outgrew nappies, I would be reunited with my nice handbags. Wrong. You see, I’ve come to realise that a mother needs WIPES forever. She also needs to carry around all the things that children won’t carry.

I was naive to think I would outgrow the need for a nappy bag. A mother always needs a “nappy bag” even when she’s free of nappies. Surely, a stylish nappy/handbag existed, I wondered. And then I discovered Storksak!

Storksak is an international phenomenon.  The functional, fashion savvy collection is adored by parents worldwide with some of Hollywood’s hottest stars, including Angelina Jolie and Jessica Alba, choosing the Storksak as their preferred accessory.  Now, I am no Jolie! I can assure you I don’t look effortlessly chic running around after my tribe, nor do I intend on having five kids, but I am in love with my new Storksak Noa bag.

This bag is ideal for mums with toddlers, who may be juggling iPads, drink bottles, colouring books and the like! Unless you have a child who likes to carry around their own stuff??? No, didn’t think so. My last nappy bag was bulky and I was rather glad to get rid of it. My Storksak bag is light, roomy, and the perfect depth.

Here are my favourite features of the Noa bag:

  • It’s practical AND stylish. Double tick!
  • I love the colour. The chic, neutral shade of Navy on the outside is complemented by a co-ordinating grey lining. But I also have my eye on the Powder Pink….(hint, hint hubby)!
  • The coated canvas fabric is wipe clean inside and out, meaning your lovely new bag needn’t become grubby!
  • Internal features include a changing mat, side insulated bottle pocket and interior pocket, whilst an external pocket ensures valuables are easily accessible.
  • The Noa also includes a handy mini-organiser bag, featuring six pockets and an internal compartment. The mini organiser was designed to hold a mini iPad but it’s perfect for holding nappies, wipes, bottles, pencils and just general little accessories for kids.
  • The bag is finished off perfectly with stylish silver hardware, detachable long strap, and luxurious leather handles.

Take a look at all the STUFF I am carrying around in this bag, and there’s still plenty of room for more.

What I love most about the Noa bag, aside from it’s functionality and style, is that you can “wear” it with anything. Dressed up, or dressed down, this bag looks good with any outfit. On the odd times that I step out of my mummy uniform, it’s nice to be carrying a stylish bag as the perfect accessory.

Exclusive NASD reader discount

The Storksak Noa bag is available in January 2015 but you can pre-order now. Storksak is offering NASD readers a 15% off when on all pre-orders. Simply head to the the Storksak website and order online. Enter the discount code DIP15 at the end of your transaction.

The code will expire on Friday 30th January. Happy Shopping, ladies! :-)


*Disclosure: Storksak kindly gifted with the Noa bag to trial and review. All views expressed are my own. This baby is hot off the press  – it’s nice to know I am on trend with something :-) 

The end of a childhood chapter

When my first-born daughter was a baby, I couldn’t wait for her to reach the next milestone. I was eager for her to roll, crawl, walk and talk. She is now five and those early milestones are firmly in the rear-vision mirror.

There are so many firsts in a young child’s life; the first smile, the first word, the first steps. These beginnings are highly anticipated and cause for great celebration. But there are many endings, too, and often these bring mixed emotions. I remember shedding tears during my last breastfeed. I wanted to hold onto that feed forever.

People often tell you that babies grow up fast. And indeed they do. But no one told me years would disappear in a blink; that time would speed up right when I want it to slow down.

Recently my first-born daughter attended her transition sessions for school. When we bought her school uniform, it struck me with brutal force that she is no longer a pre-schooler. Soon, she will skip through those school gates and into the next fabulous phase of her life. And this means an ending is also imminent.

As her last day of kinder approaches, I find myself reflecting on her pre-school journey, and contemplating her school life ahead.

I remember her first day of kinder like it was yesterday. We were both apprehensive as we had never really been apart. She took her faithful soft companion “Doggy” along to help with the separation. As I bid her farewell, I felt a lump in my throat that came out of nowhere. Only it hadn’t come out of nowhere; it had been building – quietly swelling since the moment she was placed in my arms in the delivery suite. Life is a series of beginnings and endings, and one make way for the other.

Kinder has given her a flying start to life and learning. And the environment has been fun; pure, uninhibited fun. It has given her a rich, imaginative, playful space to grow and develop without the pressures of structured learning. She has loved every minute she has spent there. It will be an emotional day for us both when she removes her much-loved backpack from a familiar hook and we walk out the kinder gate.

The adage, when one door closes, another one opens is well-known for a reason. The kinder gate must close in order for the school gate to open.

A few years ago, when my niece had her first day of school, my sister told me the school was putting on champagne and tissues. I understood what the champagne was for, but why the tissues? “Because some mothers feel sad,” she told me.

And now I “get it”.

As my daughter prepares to skip through those school gates, my heart aches at what she’s leaving behind. Kinder has been a place of energy, curiosity and play. Within those walls is a space of eager learning and discovery. I have watched her grow into a curious, kind and creative young girl with a quiet confidence and focus.

As we both prepare for the last kinder pick-up, I find myself at the intersection of joy and sorrow, loss and excitement. Soon, I’ll be losing my baby, my companion, and my “buddy”. It will no longer just be me. In my place will be the influences of her peers and school teachers. But I will send her off knowing that the preschool years have been filled with play, the perfect building block for lifelong learning.

My daughter is the perfect measure of excited and ready for school. But she knows she’s saying goodbye to a much-loved chapter of her life. She understands a big change is ahead.

I am feeling a mixture of pride, nostalgia, and sentiment in the lead up to next week. Mostly, it is immense pride. I am so happy for my little girl. It’s the end of her pre-school journey. Another exciting journey awaits her.

I’ll try to contain my emotions as we leave kinder for the final time, knowing that it represents all that is good about childhood.

Did you feel emotional when your child finished kinder or started school? What has been the hardest chapter of your little one’s childhood to farewell?

*First published on Essential Kids.

Christmas gift ideas for teachers & childcare staff

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about whether parents should give gifts to school teachers, childcare staff and preschool educators. Some argue that the staff get paid and therefore a gift is not really necessary. I disagree. In my mind they deserve GOLD on top of their salary for caring for our little ones. But, gift giving can get expensive, especially if you have more than one child and multiple staff members looking after them. In my mind the most lovely gift you can give is handmade card. Nothing else says “thank you” like a gorgeous card hand drawn (or scribbled) by your child.

Last year I made Christmas Rocky Road, which we displayed in glass mason jars and tied with a ribbon and a Christmas decoration. This year, we baked White Chocolate and Cranberry cookies to give to Childcare and Kinder staff. We also bought some beautiful Christmas tree decorations so that they have something that lasts as the cookies certainly won’t!

Here is how we said THANK YOU to the wonderfully patient, kind and caring ladies who have looked after my three girls this year.

First we made these…

These White chocolate and Cranberry Cookies can be adapted using this divine cookie recipe. They are lip-smacking DELICIOUS. Trust me, they were hard to resist, and these sneaky little hands were very persistent!!

Soft, chewy and oh-so-yum!!

We packaged them in clear cellophane sleeves and tied with Christmas ribbon and mini antique angel decorations. Simple and pretty.

In addition to the cookies we also gave Christmas decorations as gifts, which they can hang on their tree as a reminder of our family.

Another non-expensive gift idea is a small hamper of “foodie” items. There’s always people to thank for hosting Christmas events and these make lovely gifts – and it’s dinner sorted :-)

For more gift ideas for grandparents, teachers and childcare workers, check out this gift guide from last year.

Our homemade gifts were baked with bucket loads of love and thanks. And it’s a nice way to involve the kids in teach them about the joy of giving.

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Linguine with fresh tomato and tuna

This is one of my favourite pasta recipes. It’s simple, fresh and tasty. PLUS all my kids eat it. They don’t even realise I put a few sneaky anchovies in it. If you’re not a fan, leave them out. The best thing about this recipe is the sauce same cooks in the same time it takes the pasta too cook. So dinner can be prepared, cooked and served in about 20 minutes. My kind of dinner! Put this on your weekly/fortnightly rotation. (more…)

How to set up the perfect Nursery and the coolest Kid’s bedroom

When I was pregnant with my first baby we were living in a small, two-bedroom terrace house in the inner city.  It was a gorgeous house but there wasn’t much space. Our would-be “nursery” was a multifunctional room (read: spare bedroom, study and junk room all in one). We planned on having the baby in our room for the first few months, only it was so small that we couldn’t fit a bassinet or cot in it.  Poor Miss A spent the first few weeks of her life in the pram bassinet, half in our room and half poking out in the hallway! It wasn’t sustainable. So, off to the spare bedroom/nursery/junk room she went. I never really got to set it up as a nursery as when she was just 8 months old I fell pregnant again and we decided to farewell our inner city pad and move out to the burbs where grass and space were aplenty. (more…)

The ultimate chocolate-chip cookie. Seriously.

Long-time readers of my blog will know I have a sweet tooth. I have chocolate, in some form, every day. Every. Single. Day. I also love cookies so naturally a choc-chip cookie is my obvious choice. I’ve tried a few recipes over the years but recently I found one that kicked the others to the curb. (more…)

Why you need a kid free weekend

When Mr NASD asked me to keep a weekend in November free, I was naturally curious. He offered little information other than the significant detail that it would be a KID FREE weekend. He arranged for the girls to go to his parents for two nights and he told me nothing else. The destination was a mystery. (more…)