Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kids Table DIY

Last winter we bought this colourful table and chair set from TradeMe for $25. I had high hopes of turning it into something that would come from Mocka, a beautiful white set of furniture, but had no idea how to do it. 

As a result, the whole process has taken much longer than it needed to, but I am thrilled with the end result, 9 months later!


We borrowed an electric sander from MrMoos work and went to town on it one weekend. MrMoo was much better at using the tool than I was so he ended up doing most of the sanding, and redoing the parts that I had done that weren't good enough. Apparently an attention to detail isn't my strongest point. 

I applied 3 coats of undercoat and one of top coat and called it a day, after about 6 months, and gave it to Milla for Christmas, along with some crayons and colouring in books.

I have since repainted it with a high-gloss enamel paint because I really wanted it to be shiny and the previous paint wasn't. Because of that food was sticking to the table and foot prints were all over the chairs that I just couldn't budge.

The glossy enamel looks fab and I often give it a little love-rub when I walk past it to admire my work! 


Milla loves her table, she can now get up and down from it with confidence and will draw and eat at it throughout the day. It is well used! I'm so glad we did it!

Since finishing the table I've decided I must get on to painting Camillas dresser, which we also bought from TradeMe with the desire to paint it one day. "One Day" being the key word here. 

Also, Deb gave me a delicious tea trolley that I want to use in our lounge to store nappies and other such baby paraphernalia on which needs a coat of paint as well - I've already sanded it!  

Yup, I'm hooked! The trouble is finding an overcast day! 

Here's a bonus pic of Millas favourite buddies right now, Duckie and Sophie the Tiger.  (They say Hi!)

$25, 9 months to complete.
Linking in with Crafty Show & Tell


Monday, February 25, 2013

DIY Homemade Laundry Powder

I was initially interested in making my own laundry powder when my husband, Mr Moo, started to break out in allergies each night before bed. I had recently bought a different powder in the groceries because the usual sensitive powder we got wasn't on special. Big mistake.

Suddenly I was aware of different ingredients and how really, I had no idea what was in the powder, but it made my husbands skin swell up where his clothes rubbed close to his skin.

Also, my 18 month old daughter has had eczema since she was born and I regularly sneeze whenever doing the washing. 

I did my research, so this blog post wont be reinventing the wheel, merely sharing my experience and hoping to encourage my own friends and family to make their own powder once they realise how simple (and cheap!) it is!

1 cup Borax 
1 cup Washing Soda
1 bar of soap

I found all of my ingredients at my local bin in and made approximately 500gm of powder for about $3.50

Notes on Borax:
Borax is a natural chemical that is found in laundry, hand soaps and tooth paste. It does your stain removing.

Notes on the Washing Soda:
Washing soda is a natural salt, and works as a natural water softener / odor remover.

Most online tutorials will tell you you need "washing soda powder" (a very fine powder), I found nothing of the sort in New Zealand, instead Washing Soda works just as fine in crystal form.

Notes on the soap:
I used an ordinary "lemon washing soap" from Binn Inn. You could use any soap, including baby soap if you want to go extra sensitive. This will do your degreasing.

Most online tutorials will tell you you need to grate then blend your soap up, but I found other tutorials saying this ruined their blenders and made their blades blunt. Instead I used the small, fine side of my grater and when that got clogged up with soap I just switched to the large side.

Put all of your ingredients in a sealed contained and give it a good shake to mix together. Shake your contained each time you use it so the large soap grates and soda crystals mix together well.

For a full load use 2 tablespoons of mixed up ingredients. Thats only HALF of one of the small "concentrated powder" scoops. Your 500gm batch of powder is going to last double that of a comercial batch.

And the verdict? Mr Moo hasn't had any reactions to this powder since we've started using it. Infact, when I said I was making my own powder he gave me a look of "yeah right, like that'll be good", and he hasn't even noticed a difference! 

I haven't sneezed, I dont even notice the powder when doing the washing, and Millas eczema has almost completely healed under her arms and in her elbow joints! 

Do you use your own washing powder, or any other thrifty do-it yourselfers around your home? Leave a comment and let me know! Its thrifty-cool!

Love, Sophie x

Friday, February 22, 2013


Circa 2007, dating at the Zoo. The boy I fell for. 

This is the account of our engagement, as told by MrMoo, written in 2009.


Our One Year Anniversary of being together was coming up fast and I’d been secretly paying off a great wee present, small, round, shiny and expensive…

I threw in small comments about making it a special night, the 7th of July, talked about how cool it was how we got together on that day, being 07/07/07
Those who know me well will be certain I set that one up, but its pure chance and I’m stoked on it.
So throwing these comments around got Sophie started on suggestions for how to celebrate, making all the plans her idea and I would agree.

She suggested we go up the hills to one of our favourite spots, one I’d already thought was a great proposal spot.

So a couple days before hand, Roy and I went for a drive to see where to setup the equipment.

That was fun because it involved dodging a road closed sign and getting stuck in snow! then building a snow ramp to jump out of a ditch with my trusty Max (my car)

All set and it was time to do this!

Monday came and I had a flash of a day at work, thought it would take ages considering what lay ahead that night..

4pm came around, I met up with my team of setup ninjas and gave them a brief on their all too important mission.

We parted ways and I headed off to pickup Sophie.

Trip to the supermarket for some food, hot chicken, nice rolls, marshmallows, candles, sparkling wine. We were set..

Phone call from ninjas… Snow is worse! Roads closed again, won’t make it through this time.

Move to plan B! different location, same setup. Go Go Go!

We drive up the hills, looking at the lights as we ascend, its beautiful. Perfect view.

I drove to the road closed sign as if I don’t know, I acted really gutted that it spoiled our plan for our special anniversary night. She bought it.

Out of nowhere I "had an idea." We headed down the other side of the hill.

“Where are we going?” She kept asking
“I have a backup plan” was my response

Up a few crazy roads we end up at a house on top of the hill overlooking governors bay. A beautiful wooden deck sticks out over the hill with a stream running below it, blankets and pillows laid out in the middle with dim lights shining on our setting.

We sit down and I light the candles, they form a circle around us and light up the
picnic beautifully.

We eat, and cuddle, and smile, and talk.
Reminiscing and laughing about the great past year we have had.
Talking about the past, the present and parts of the future.

After some of the food and wine is finished, we stand up and walk over to the rail and look out at the harbour, then up at the stars.

Cuddling close I ask “Are you happy?”
“How happy?”
She makes motions with her arms stetched as far as they reach.
“Could anything make you happier?”
She pauses…

Time to prove her wrong.

I lead her back to the centre of the candle circle. Standing in the middle embracing one another I tell her how much I love her and how important she is to me.
That I wanted this night to be special.
That I have wanted to have a night like this for a long time.

Cue part one.

From the bushes and under the deck comes music, our song, Stolen by Dashboard Confessional plays loudly. The distinctive electric guitar riff in the intro pierces the silence and brings a shocked and very emotive look upon her face.

A moment later, a spot light from above lights up our center stage.

Now completely frozen in a jaw dropped position her eyes slowly fill with tears as I stare straight into them.

“Sophie Anne Hawes” (thats where she blacked out when recalling it later)

I told her further more about her importance and my appreciation for her in my life, removing a hand from her tight grip.
Now holding a small box I open it up, get down on one knee and ask “Will you marry me?”

“Yes” came through a teary, surprised and overwhelmed smile.

Ring on the finger and standing there hugging and crying, she wouldn’t let go of me.
I was happier than ever before.

We stood there for a long time and took in the moment.

It was amazing.

We got in the car and headed back down the hill.
We reached the bottom and pulled into a bar/cafe across the road, Families and friends were all there waiting and full of hugs and congratulations.

What an awesome night. Bring on the rest. I am so stoked.
Thank you God for such an amazing blessing. My fiance Sophie.

Stalker Boy - How we met
The Wedding Ceremony
A Newly Wed Disaster

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cardigan Restyle

When my Big Sister moved to London she left some clothes, a bed and a jewellery box in my possession for safe keeping. The bed I have since given birth on (and apparently she doesn't want it back now??), the jewellery box is away in a hidey hole and the clothes have long been worn. 5 years is a really long time in the fashion world.

I kept this sweater of hers and actually wore it a few times, but most of the time it sat in my sewing box haunting me. I loved the colour, a bright pink, but the shape and style really didn't suit my figure (too much hip hugging going on).

A few weekends ago on a Saturday night at 11.30pm I received the sudden inspiration to chop it up and use it as a cardi (I always thought I would turn it into a cushion).

I added strips of fun cotton fabric to the insides to give the knit strength and I love it! Perfect "maternity" accessory, I was going to put buttons on the top but as it turns out with my growing figure I can't even close it! Whoopsies.

Big Sister, hope you dont mind :) (seriously?)


You may remember this skirt from that time I told you I made a skirt
Bump was 21 weeks here :) (any girly name suggestions??)
Linking in with Show and Tell

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Christchurch Schools

My thoughts are all a bother today.

I am annoyed at ignorant people who think schools closing is no big deal or doesn't affect them, Nationwide. Yes, its fairly obvious some schools needed to be addressed, but initially on such a large scale for what seemed like no reason at all, absolutely not.

I am sad that our local primary school, Phillipstown School will be merging with another local primary, Woolston school.

I am confused because they are two individual schools, who serve different communities, and are expected to "combine", knowing full well that both of those schools are technically closing and starting again.

I am sad because I live in the hood of Christchurch, although I hate the very thought of the fact we live here, constantly fearful of our lives and belongings I know that Phillipstown School is a beacon of light and hope in many families in this area. It serves needs and supports families in a way many schools don't.

I know that having to go those extra blocks to Woolston school will mean many kids wont make it there. See, kids education really isn't a priority to families around this area. If its raining, people don't have cars, kids don't get to school. If families dont have lunches for their kids, kids dont get to school.

But Phillipstown school changed that. They made a way. And now I am sad because perhaps many families will loose that way having to go to a new school.

I am also confused because right now Woolston school is having 2 new class rooms built because it cannot provide for its current enrolment rate. People are moving here all the time, classes are full, and yet they want to close down a school and double the size of another one.

I am feeling trapped in this low-income area, always hopeful that when it came time when we were able to afford a home of our own we would be moving out of this area. Certain we wouldn't be attending these schools when it was Millas turn. But now I am starting to think "what if we stay here" in this area.

Milla would be going to a brand new school. "They" say it takes about 5 years for a school to fully set up and be completely functioning. With new schools come new faculty, programmes, culture groups and sports teams. Essentially; teething problems. We would be sending our 5 year old daughter to a school that has only existed for 1 year, and for the rest of her primary life will be experiencing so called "teething problems". I am reminded of the shambles of being in the first few years of NCEA. How confusing it was, how many mistakes were made, how I feel like now my high school education means nothing on paper.

So for the first time since our Earthquakes I am feeling rather glum about the future of our area. I am trying to see the progress side, which I usually see all around me, but right now, today, I am stumped.

I am prepared to eat my words, knowing that change can often be good, I am just struggling to see that right now.

Don't mind me, I'll be back tomorrow with a clear head (spending today cleaning, organising and cleaning! ) xx

Phillipstown Principal speaks to media ahead of announcement
"a school is not built overnight, it takes a community to raise a child"
Phillipstown Principal speaks to his school
February Earthquake 
How much I love Christchurch

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What Happened on Kindness Day

My favourite two quotes from Saturday Sisterhood KINDNESS DAY:

Gail popped over to the Sisterhood Facebook page and said::
idn't know it was Happy kindness day but wanted to know why my facebook friends were doing amazingly kind things." and then she went on to share vegetables out of her garden that afternoon because they had "more than enough"

And Sarah, who said on her blog I bequeath Love::
Thanks to The Sisterhood for the initiative and the encouragement.  Intentional kindness is going to be  a 'need to' not a 'want to' in our family going forward. "

If only those two things happened on Kindness day I would consider it a huge success. But thats not all that happened, women all around New Zealand took it a pon themselves to reach out of their ordinary and do something extra ordinary.

Honestly, you all amaze me. This is no contest, there is no competition, each small act is hugely significant, but some of you have got guts!! You achieved things I, in my wildest dreams, would still need to spend a week working up the courage to do! I applaude you all for being so brave and radical! 

Many acts were completed, and here is what was shown on our Facebook page and from blogs around the sphere. I don't own any of these images but i'm being an internet rebel and sharing them anyway. 

Kindness inspires kindness.

Baking shared with the roadworks heros of broken Christchurch

Gift baskets and treats for homeless

Lunch for elderly neighbours that bought about hugs and tears

13 women in Dunedin got together and bombed the NICU with baking! Astounding team work! 

Chocolates for letter boxes and sweet notes left in library books

Baking for hospital

Sweet hand knitted goods for NICU babies

A craft box stoked and left for hospital patients

chocolates for apartments

chocolates and notes left around a local library

bags of "sunshine" filled with yellow treats given out in Australia

Cups filled with chocolates and fudge given out

Parking meteres paid for (in Dunedin AND Christchurch!)

Coffee vouchers left in public toilets

As you can see, so many things happened yesterday and this is only the tip of the surface!

Me? I spent my day on my computer fielding emails and posting other peoples photos, I had written a few letters to dear friends ahead of time who live yonder to encourage them with kind words.

To read what other bloggers have to say about Kindness Day check out these posts:

Check out our Facebook Page and leave a description, photo or story to encourage others if you haven't already!

Thank you to everyone involved who made it such a success! It truly was a delight to read the excitement in all of your stories! I think we'll be doing more of this! Oh Sisters, you really are a blessing to my life xxx 

Did you participate in Kindness Day!? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought of it!


Saturday, February 16, 2013


I've only been at my computer for half an hour this morning, I have organised my day (millas naps and play time) so that I can spend the rest of the day on it.

Already my heart is pounding in my chest and my body feels as light as air. This is what purpose feels like. 

This is what makes me know its all worthwhile. All that stress before hand, the worry, the TIME, its all for this. 

Hundreds of people across New Zealand are taking a few deliberate moments today to be kind to one another. Chocolates have been dropped off, baking delivered, baby hats made, concert tickets purchased already and its only 11am. In essence, people are being appreciated, surprised with love and being told they are worth it, this world is a good place, they are loved.  

Will you join in with us today? Feels a bit like heaven is here on earth. 

Stay tuned to our Sisterhood Facebook Page for constant updates on whats going on around New Zealand, I'll be doing a recap on the blog at the end of the weekend! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Hearts

Happy Valentines Day Lovers!

I sent MrMoo off to work this morning with 10 of these kraft paper sewn hearts filled with sweet chocolates! He was under strict instructions to deliver to each of his work colleagues and to look happy about doing so! I hope they were received well! To be honest I can't imagine how they are supposed to be opened without spilling everywhere! :)

I love Valentines Day. I love the idea of expressing love and I love receiving love. 

At the wedding we went to at the weekend we sat across from one of MrMoos work mates who has divorced in the last few years. He was with a new woman, also divorced. He looked at me and said out of the blue "Marriage is great. But DONT. GET. COMPLACENT"

Love is a verb, its a doing word. Every single day, loving each other. 


Linking in with Show n Tell

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Babymoo2 - 20 Weeks, wearing Breastmates

At the beginning of this pregnancy I vowed to myself (body and soul) that I would wear some lovely maternity wear. Last pregnancy I didn't buy anything aside from jeans, and as a result stretched every single item of clothing I owned. When the baby came, none of it was wearable so I had to throw it all out and invest in a -whole- new wardrobe. Silly Sophie. I learnt. 

MrMoo and I attended a wedding at the weekend and I got the opportunity to show off my brand new Glory Breastmates Dress from their new maternity line. 

I felt pregnant and fabulous in it and I think it shows! Its stretchy, soft and fits my pregnant figure perfectly! My new go to "special" favourite!  This isn't the only time I've worn it since owning it. I've worn it on two date nights with MrMoo and to a Sunday morning Church service. If I had a job I think it would go down a treat in an office too!

I generally base my new outfits success on the amount of out-of-the-blue compliments I get. So far this has received nine. NINE! (I consider 3 good). I'm excited about having a nice dress to wear through the big months and then through the breastfeeding stage. Last time I missed not being able to wear dresses while breastfeeding, not realising maternity clothes allowed for nursing and this one does! Yipee! 

The wedding we went to was lovely, MrMoo played celebrant for the first time (anyone want to get married!?) and the dress did great transitioning from an afternoon under the hot sun to eating dinner outside in a garden in the shade. Maternity wear, I am completely sold!

The 20 week bump is ever expanding in a basketball like fashion and BabyMoo2 is already half way along, it is flying by and I feel fabulous (and rushed!). I love the middle of pregnancy. My sickness has stopped, my skin and hair feel healthy and lovely and I'm reminded just to slow down, enjoy it and feel beautiful while it lasts! 

(( Don't be surprised if every photo you see of me for the next 20 weeks has this dress in it! I'm a big fan! ))

Dress: c/- Breastmates Glory Maternity dress
Shoes: Toeless wedges from Farmers
Bracelet: Pandora

Did you see BabyMoo2s gender reveal?
and Babymoo2's journey so far?
Linking in with Wardrobe Wednesday

Whats your maternity wear policy, are you sold out on it or still need to be convinced, or just make do? Leave a comment and let me know! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to Get Your Blog Ranking High On Google

So you've done a Google search and discovered your blog post, business or name is way down on the list, or perhaps not even there? Ever wondered how you get your name, business, product, image etc to the top of that list?

It's using a handy little bit of knowledge called Search - Engine - Optimisation, or SEO for short, and I'm going to let you in on a few of its secrets today, because I care about you and your blog.

And here's the truth, its all to do with your hyperlinks.

Every time you click a link on the internet, you're sending a really quick message to the staff at google to tell them what a website is about so they can include it in their search engine.

  • BAD: I love to tell you about blogging, go check out my blog design tips here
The above link, when clicked, will tell google that the web address it is linked to is about "here". Not really helpful at all. 

When clicked, the above link will take you to my page about designing blog headers, and will TELL Google that the website is actually about designing blog headers. Amazing!

So when someone types into google "how to design a blog header" you will notice that my page is the very first that comes up. That is no accident. 

The more that link is clicked with the correct description, the more google knows thats what the link is about, the higher it will appear on google searches. 

Get into the habit of slightly rewording your posts so you can use hyperlinks correctly, and dont forget to give your blog posts relevant titles! 

Also, pay others the courtesy of linking them correctly when talking about other sites on your own blog. When your readers click those links you'll be doing them a favour! 


The same theory applies to google image searches::


Simple as that. Each time a photo is clicked google gets told what the photo is about because of its file name. 

This is time consuming and not something I often do on my blog, however there are a few blog posts where I have pureposefully named my photos, one of those is my blog on going to the Taylor Swift concert with a 6 month old baby

I receive blog hits every single day because of people searching about taking a baby to a concert (i'm the top result), and for people doing image searches for "taylor swift crowd photo" (i'm the 6th result). 


Read More:
If you want to know more about blogging, check out some of my most searched topics:
Must Know Side Bar Tips
How To Find Out The Size of Your Blog Header
How To Link Your Email Address To Your Comments (so bloggers can easily reply directly to you!)
How To Create New Tabs On Your Blog
How To Create A Blog Header In Under 5 Minutes


Did you know about SEO before you read this post? Anything else you would like to learn? Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Wedding Ceremony. Part Three.

I woke up next to my Sister, eager to see the world outside the curtains.

The bright sun shone through. I breathed a sigh of relief because today was the day I was getting married. I had no other plans, determined to get married amongst the green berry fields and when thunder was forecast the night before I threw my hands up in the air not knowing what to do.

Hours later as soon as my necklace was fixed and flowers in hand we rushed to the cars. For some reason I was desperate to arrive on time, not giving us any "late bride" slack.

My Step-Dad drove myself and my Father in his car to the venue, a small moment I took the time to notice and remember.

I found myself sheltering under a large tree holding up my white dress to air my sweaty legs. We watched guests arrive in the car park and hurry towards the ceremony. A Canterbury nor-wester was blowing through, bringing with it a burning sun and just as hot air. We couldn't escape it. It was hot and we were melting but it was time to go through.

The Youth Pastor had edited our favourite song, the one he proposed to me with, into a mix of instrumental with vocals. It was extremely choreographed and timed well and we all had to focus on when we were to enter. I wished he was there with me, knowing I would most likely screw it up.

I walked slowly and in time, my father on my arm walked out of time. "I'm so sorry!" I thought in my head, hoping Youth Pastor could hear.

For most of the walk down the aisle I was blinded by the sun shining onto my vale, I trusted my Dad was leading me in the right directly and tried to focus on smiling, not knowing who was smiling back at me.

"Hi" Youth Pastor breathed as he took my hands in his. His hands were slippery but they firmly held onto mine. He was dashingly handsome and I felt like we were in a fairy tale.

Stalker Boy. Boy and Girl Meet. Part One.
A Newly Wed Disaster. Part Two.

Sister Amy, Camilla, Brydie, Dad all waiting under a tree hot and sweaty

The first meeting on the altar
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