Monday, 23 December 2013

The Great Aussie Christmas!

It's getting close now and the fat bloke is going to be creeping into our houses and leaving gifts for all the kids! Last year I got a lot of comments on how odd it was to have Christmas in Summer, well not for us on the southern side of the hemisphere. Anyway I thought I would share how we spend Christmas.

A great Aussie tradition is the Carols by Candlelight, local places hold these events in the lead up to Christmas and each state has a huge one in the city on Christmas Eve. We only go to the local ones as having kids up till 1 am isn't going to make my Christmas Day special.

The kids get up and sing their hearts out here is Elizabeth a few years ago. She's the one on the end, sorry REALLY bad phone photos (wasn't blogging back then)

The kids love it, the entire event is free, put on by local companies and charities, as well as the singing other free entertainment includes, face painting, lollies (candy), icypoles, (because it s usually hot) and BBQ plus drinks.

Elizabeth was so upset when we had to wash this off!

Christmas Eve we like to walk around the local streets seeing the light displays, then back home to get the kids off to bed but not before they prepare a fresh fruit platter for Santa (the guy eats way too much sugar) and a beer, because it's way too hot to be leaving milk out! Also remember that Santa comes here first so if he brings the wrong gift let the kids know that's because we ply him with booze before he goes back to the cold and snow of the Northern Hemisphere.

Then it's time for the gifts to be put out and Jule's and I enjoy a few drinks with Santa before he goes on his way.

Christmas Morning is all about running around outside in your PJ's sharing with all the kids in the neighbourhood what Father Christmas brought. Sunnies are a must! Actually from about 6 am you can hear kids shouting out to each other while ringing bells on new bikes and remote controlled toys zooming along the streets.

Many of us eat outdoors if it's not too hot, lunch is always the main meal on Christmas day. While we generally stick to the traditional English Christmas lunch many ofus add an Aussie spin by cooking it on the BBQ, it saves the house from heating up.

After lunch, it's time for some backyard cricket or if you're lucky enough to have a pool or live near the beach it's off for a swim. The little piece of paradise is on my Mother in Law's front door step. Julian thinks it's why I married him. (It wasn't, but it sure didn't hurt his luck!)

Then with the sun beaming through the window, we chill out with the A/C on full then it's an early dinner of left overs, if anyone can eat after lunch. Then an early bed time for the kids (not going to lie, I am rarely up after 9pm on Christmas Day).

As you can tell there's no snow or sledding so here's our own version of Jingle Bells.

 Merry Christmas, I hope you enjoyed a look into a true blue Aussie Christmas! I'm going to be off the blog over the Christmas Period, after that I will be posting sporadically over January while the kids are on Summer holidays. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!

Mel xo

Friday, 20 December 2013

Craft Room Caddy

Even though my craft room is finished, I still need to add to it from time to time.

I needed a little caddy to keep all my seed bead jars together and a while back you might remember that I made this one below for fathers day but never got around to finishing it.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Snow Man Candy Jar

Hi Guys,

Thanks to the lovely Emily at Nap-Time Creations, I'm joining up with a bunch of lovely and talented ladies to bring you a A Crafty Christmas.

I love a good "trash chic" project and Christmas seems to bring it out of me, so I thought why not try and do another trash chic week but make it completely Christmas themed. Let's be honest no matter how many hand made gifts you make Christmas is the one time our hands seem to be forever in our pockets!

This Snow Man candy jar cost me $0 the perfect price (if you don't include the actual candy)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

We Love Melbourne - Botanical Gardens

Hi Guys,

Most of you know that I live in Australia, but more specifically I live in Melbourne which for the last three years according to The Economist Intelligence Unit Survey is the most liveable city in the world. Their criteria is based on these 5 elements

  • Stability
  • Healthcare
  • Culture and environment
  • Education
  • Infrastructure

  • After my trip to the Open range Zoo last week I thought I would share some of the fun things to do around my home town from time to time to and why we think that it's a well deserved title. (don't worry I'm not going to bore you with healthcare, stability and education)

    A couple of weeks ago we took the little two for a picnic to the Botanical Gardens. It's one of our favourite places to visit. For starters is free, always a bonus, great walking paths, beautiful scenery, lovely picnic spots but the kids favourite place of all is the The Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden.

    But first we had a spot of lunch on the benches provided.

    Then off the the playground, the kids adore this living tree house.

    Of all the things they love most is the little river that flows through the garden, it's a great place to splash about.

    We really should have brought along some spare clothes, Max had an absolute ball. The garden is a great place for sensory play.

    Then we wandered about looking at the beautiful plants that, blooming in the last days of Spring.

    Julian managed to focus right in on the bird crap....

    After a few hours of walking and seeing the gardens we declared it was time to go home, which did not go down too well with Max who decided he would take a quick run to have one last look.

    So if you're in Melbourne and you're looking for something fun, not to mention free, to do with the kids, the gardens are always beautiful. This is a place we visit often, regardless of the season it's always a happy place to visit.

    Thanks for reading,

    Mel xo

    Tuesday, 17 December 2013

    The Ghosts Of Christmas Past

    Hi Guys,

    It can be hard finding spare crafting time around the holidays, so I thought I would share some really quick crafts. Just click the pictures to go to the tutorial.

    I love to  wear crazy accessories at Christmas. I made this very simple hair clip for my girls using small size baubles.

    Monday, 16 December 2013

    Mini Knitted Christmas Stockings

    When I was a kid, I went to my grandparents house every Sunday, after church we would go to my Grandparents house for dinner. All my cousins and Aunts and Uncles would be there and it was great fun. My favourite thing, other than Nana's desserts, was to go through her collection of magazines. These magazines were older than me and I used to gather up the Christmas ones and just drink in the beautiful crafts and decorations.

    Friday, 13 December 2013

    We Love Melbourne - Werribee Zoo

    Hi all,

    Here in Melbourne we have some amazing Zoo's this weekend we took the kids to The Werribee Park Open Range Zoo. It was fabulous!

    The Zoo is about 30 minutes away from the CBD and lucky for me about 20 minutes from home, straight just off the Princes Freeway.

    I was a little concerned as to what the older kids would think of it but rest assured there is plenty for every one. I loved that the enclosures were made in a way that even the little ones could get a close look. Madeleine was so enthralled by the tortoises.

    Werribee Open Range Zoo is not like any other Zoo I've been to before, while it has the Australian Tour for local wildlife, it's mainly dedicates to African Animals and as the name suggests it open range. The animals have plenty of space to walk about.

     The kids loved that the big enclosures had little things for them to play with, at the lions there was this ute where they could pretend to drive through. Here's Madeleine "driving" and pointing out the lions.

    Then at the Hippo enclosure, Max enjoyed steering the boat.

    After that on this beautiful sunny day the kids played in the water park. Let me tell you trying to drag all 5 away from there was no easy feat. Max was a little shocked when the water came one, so funny but then he thought it was the best thing ever!

    Even the older kids got in on the water action!

    One of the really awesome things about The Open range Zoo is the Safari ride, general admission includes travel on a bus that takes you into the enclosures where, from the safety of the bus you get to see the animals right in their habitat, which has been designed to replicate, almost exactly, what they have in nature. The buses leave every 20 minutes and the hostess was full of amazing information regarding the animals. The Giraffes were only a couple of meters away.

    Max was just mesmerised by what he was seeing. The older kids were a few seats away. Jack who wants to go into zoology found the information on the breeding programs amazing and there was a recorded commentary from people in Africa discussing how the Zoo's efforts are helping fight extinction.

    Other attractions included in the general admission include meeting the keepers, unfortunately for us we missed the first two then Max got tired and began crying at the top of his lungs and we didn't want to ruin the experience for the other visitors, however we plan to return soon and make sure we get in early.

    The grounds are just beautiful with plenty of beautiful places to picnic, or you can purchase lunch onsite. The kids were enjoying a bit of play on the grassy picnic spot.

    Werribee Open Range Zoo is a fabulous place to visit if you're in Melbourne, beautiful grounds, friendly staff and very interactive. They continually have all sorts of extras on offer including overnight stays, I would highly recommend it for all age groups, I know we will be back soon.

    For more information on pricing and planning your trip visit the Werribee Open range Zoo site here.

    Thanks for Reading,

    Mel xo

    Disclosure: I did not receive payment for this endorsement, I did however receive tickets for general admission all opinions are true and my own.

    Thursday, 12 December 2013

    A Christmas Dress

    Every year I have bought the kids an outfit for Christmas, the last two years I have gone with hand made, but from other people. 

    Wednesday, 11 December 2013

    Name Bracelet

    Is it vain that I have a stack of stuff with my name on it? Well here is one more which I am totally loving right now. I think they would make a beautiful gift for the upcoming holiday season.

    Tuesday, 10 December 2013

    Entry Update

    Well haven't I had a heck of a lot of fun trying to do this entry! just a reminder of the before as seen here

    Monday, 9 December 2013

    Funky Tween Sunglasses Case

    Hey guys,

    So you might remember a while back I made this bag for Elizabeth, you can see it here.

    And I decided that she needed some matching accessories, so immediately I decided that she had to have a matching sunglasses case. I really love this fabric from Wholeport available here.

    I was going to measure and couldn't get motivated then I remembered that Amy from Clippie Dips had done all the hard stuff for me over at the Inspiration Cafe, it was a nice and easy tutorial to follow and I think hers is just awesome. It was really easy to follow.

    DIY Delight or Disaster? It's just a fun and funky little case perfect for the tween who thinks she's 21 instead of 11, delight!

    Thanks for reading,

    Mel xo

    Thursday, 5 December 2013

    Christmas Fudge

    Hi Guys,

    I'm not sure if I have mentioned it or not but I have no oven at present. It's totally annoying and means that there will not be any baking this holiday period. We're in the middle of a kitchen makeover and while we await new bench tops. ONE of us decided we could do without the oven until the bench tops are of us thinks that is a ridiculous idea!

    So at present I'm scouring the net for as many non bake ideas that I can make "Christmassy".

    Tuesday, 3 December 2013

    Magnetic Paper Dolls

    When I was a kid I remember being babysat by a friend of my parents and she was kind of old fashioned, in preparation of us coming she had got some paper dolls for me and my sister to play with. I LOVED them it was the only time I had ever seen them and the only time I ever played with them.

    Fast forward 30 odd years and I saw these pretty Christmas paper dolls on Pinterest, you can check out my board here and I wanted to make some for Madeleine

    Monday, 2 December 2013

    Wooden Christmas Signs

    I LOVE Christmas! I love making stuff for Christmas, I love shopping for it, I love all the activities leading up to Christmas. I love the smell of Summer in the air.

    The other day when I posted the before shots of my entry a few of you asked what was hiding behind those frames, well here this is it.

    Sunday, 1 December 2013

    Wooden Advent Calendar

    This post first appeared on Our Pinteresting Family

    Hi Guys,

    I'm Mel from Mellywood's Mansion and I'm so excited to be here baby sitting at Our Pinteresting Family today, while Megan and Rob are busy welcoming the twins. As a mother of 5 I think I'm busy, however, I think a 2 for 1 baby arrival would have me beat!

    Anyway given that they love all things Pinterest I thought I would make one of my pins a reality. I have seen these wooden advents all over the place and every year I swear I will make one. By the first of December, it goes on the "to do" list for the following year, actually that list should be renamed "the things I pretend I am going to do" list since it seems to grow longer all the time.

    Keep Your Baby Fresh and Clean With WaterWipes - A Review

    Hi all,

    Recently I was sent a packet of WaterWipes to try. Basically they are baby wipes that contain no chemicals. Previously I have spoken about the fact that my Max suffers from terrible nappy rash and the poor boy is in agony when it flares up, so I was eager to try them.

    As it happened I got the packet during one of Max's flare ups. I am a user of wipes but when he has a rash I revert to using terry-cloth and tap water, however it's not the most practical thing when I'm out and about. Even though the packet states 99.9% distilled water and .01% grapefruit seed extract I tried it with a little trepidation.

    First thing I noticed was that he didn't cry, with the softness of the wipe, it was so gentle on his poor little butt, usually nappy change time is a bit of a nightmare for us both. That in itself impressed me, the poor kid usually jumps a mile, so I continued to use the packet.

    The second thing that I found really convenient was the fact they they're made from water I could use it while I was out to clean their hands and faces. A while back I read this article about all the things regular baby wipes could be used for and while it's great to have the chemical ones remove pen from my leather couch, putting those types of chemicals on my children's faces scared me. Especially with Madeleine who suffers from eczema. This usually means that I need to run to the restroom to clean them up and at this time of year you know what a nightmare that can be.

    As you know with 5 kids I am on a pretty tight budget, WaterWipes retail for $6.99 for a packet of 60, my usual brand is $3 for 80, so it is quite a price difference. However in weighing up Max's comfort when he is suffering nappy rash and the fact I can clean them up without any hassle over the Summer when we are away from the house so often, I am prepared to fork out the extra for the convenience.

    Baby Waterwipes are also donating their product free to maternity wards to help protect those fresh little baby butts from nasty chemicals.
     I definitely would recommend them to all mothers, particularly those whose children suffer from skin allergies or nappy rash. Now my Max is happy he's ready to take on anything!

    Baby WaterWipes are available from selected Coles and Bilo stores across Australia. For more information you can visit their site at

    Thanks for reading,

    Mel xo

    Tuesday, 26 November 2013

    Next On The List, The Entry.

    With the Craft Room finished and the boys room never going to be finished, (there are future plans making that pointless) I decided I just wanted something small to end the year. So I decided on the entryway.

    Here it is at present, I will freely admit that I had done some major de-cluttering before I decided to do the room, so you are seeing it much cleaner than it normally is.

    Monday, 25 November 2013

    Star Wars Cookie Jar, Or I'm About to Out My Dad

    It was my Dad's birthday on the weekend and I wanted to write a post about what an awesome, loving, caring Dad he is with lots of heartfelt emotion, but I can't.

    Wednesday, 20 November 2013

    Mini Christmas Wreaths

    I love wreaths, but my first and only attempt, until now was a huge disaster, sadly for you guys it was pre blogging and I don't have any pictures but here is what Jule's said upon seeing it, "that's great, ummm is it a steering wheel cover?" which was a lot nicer than the bellows of laughter from my boys. Seriously lucky they didn't get coal that year. But I decided to try a mini version.

    Tuesday, 19 November 2013

    DIY Plaster Ornaments

    If you have every crafted with kids this post is going to make you think that I have gone crazy. Kids crafts should be sturdy and strong because they're rough but instead I went for very breakable plaster ornaments.

    Guest Post at Our Pinteresting Family

    Hi Guys,

    I'm babysitting over at Our Pinteresting Family, while Megan and Rob are cuddling up to those gorgeous little boys that have recently arrived.

    Saturday, 16 November 2013

    Freaking Awesome Fridays #12 plus Features

    Hey Guys,

    Happy Friday, I hope you've all had an awesome week I'm posting this late because I have realisewd that most of you are just getting up when I post it at 10 pm my time, so hopefully this is a little easier on you.

    On to the Features

    Here are the Delights, just click the pic to be taken to the post.

    I love these Bagged Herbs, what a beautiful gift idea from Stone Cottage Adventures.

    Thursday, 14 November 2013

    The Candy Cane Bracelet

    Last year I went a little crazy with my "Silly Season" accessories. Like this one, but this year I wanted to keep it a little more subtle. Also if you aren't from here the Silly Season is what we call the lead up to the holidays, Summer starts, School ends and it is party town all over the country.

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