Back to school

How is it that time again? Not only are the school holidays nearing an end but we are about to start a whole new chapter with my oldest son starting primary school.

He is ready. I am not.

Atti1smashNow everything else aside all I can think is “I’ll be making school lunches five days a week for the next seven years at least!” Ha.. The school doesn’t have a canteen and (like most I’m sure) has a naked lunch/zero waste policy.

So finding the right combination of lunch boxes and accessories to suit him was very important.

Enter SMASH Enterprises to the rescue again with their back to school rang

We were recently gifted some products to try including Insulated and hard lunch boxes,  BPA free drink bottles,  Freeze accessories and everything you need to fit in an Insulated Lunch Bag.

I have being using other Smash products over the last year but its always great to try out the new range.

So over the holidays we have been experimenting with different combinations and seeing what works best for my big guy.

So far the favourites are the Bento Switch up lunch box – “Its like a food puzzle Mummy!”- , the Snack & Dip container (OK, so this is actually MY favourite) and the 750ml Mister drink bottle- “My big boy water bottle!”-.

smash1

The containers are all easy to open for little hands and are the perfect size to fit in a school bag.

Another plus is the Fridge insulated bag. It has removable gel coolers so its perfect for keeping food cold on hot days. Given the current extreme weather we have been having in Sydney a major concern for me is making sure the food is kept at the right temperature.

All in all I have found everything to be functional and affordable with a great range of colours and styles.

All these products are available at Officeworks while stocks last.

* I was gifted these products for review but all opinions are my own.

Good luck to all those with little ones starting school this year.

Happy lunch making!

LK x

 

Shiny & New

So let’s talk cleaning. I hate cleaning. I  am a very untidy person and a bit of a hoarder and lately I really struggle to keep a clean house.

FS2

We have a fortnightly cleaner that does the basics but two of the areas the cleaners don’t do, and I am ashamed to say that I have neglected, are the windows and blinds. I mean who has the time?

OK, so I could make the time but I am blaming #busymumlife.

So when the team at Fantastic Services contacted me about working with them how could I say no?

The customer service team were so friendly and helpful.  I had to rearrange the appointment multiple times due to some scheduling conflicts and it was never a problem.

I could have chosen any service from an oven clean to a full domestic clean. But it was the windows & blinds I chose to tackle.

A team of two cleaners spent four hours cleaning all my windows and blinds, as well as the tracks and flycreens.

fsnew.jpg

We have over eight windows and some of them have three large panels so it was a lot of work.

I sat back, relaxed and had the experts take over. The team was amazing and I’m very happy with the service.

I can actually see out my windows now.

#fantasticservices are available in Sydney, Melbourne & Perth and offer a range of domestic cleaning services.

To get $20 off your first booking, simply enter the referral code: larasstyle when creating your account or sign up using this link- https://accounts.fantasticservicesgroup.com.au/invite-and-earn

Further information available at Fantastic Services

*My cleaning service was done in collaboration with Fantastic Services but all opinions are my own.

 

LK x

 

Lunchbox Life Part 2- Woolworths SMASH review

So I am becoming quite the lunch making whiz. Not just for my kids but for myself too.  The food options at my work are limited to one very average and overpriced cafeteria and a snack vending machine that is mostly empty so I am all about the BYO.

Hubby laughs that I pack enough food for a week but hey a girls got to eat!

me snack too

Enter smash with their versatile range. I have been trialling a variety of their products over the last month (see previous review) and I’m really happy with the options.

The chiller snack pot range is perfect for me, as depending on my shift, I am not always able to store my lunch in a fridge. We are trying to reduce our plastic waste too so I have cut out buying individual yogurts and instead I buy a big tub and portion it up in the snack pots.

snack1Another favourite of the boys is the mesh lunch bag with drink pocket. Perfect for individual snacks but it also holds all the chiller pots (and I can fit it in my handbag!)

mesh2.jpg

The boys can open all the containers and zips with ease and none of the containers have ever leaked which is another plus.

*All products were gifted for review from Smash and this particular range is available at Woolworths. Check out Smash for full product range and further details.

LK x

Lunchbox Life Part 1- Coles SMASH review

If you haven’t done multiple Google searches on the best lunch boxes to buy are you even a parent?

When I was a kid I had a large orange rectangular Tupperware lunch box with one divider and a small drink bottle come freeze block. In fact I’m pretty sure I still have that lunch box somewhere.

These days there is SO much variety it can be overwhelming.

luluswitchupI used to have a multitude of random boxes for snacks for the boys but until recently I never had to worry about school lunches.

Both my boys now need to BYO lunch to daycare and not only do I struggle with what to make but what to pack everything in that is practical and easy for them to open.

Reducing our plastic packaging and waste is also very important.

Luckily I was recently sent a variety of products to try from the Smash Back to School 2019 range.

We are really happy with the selection.

bb

Favourites so far are the Bento Bite Box (loving the ice brick and inner removable tray), Bento Switch Up box (removable and adjustable dividers) and Glow Bottle (My oldest wants to go to sleep just to see the bottle light up in the dark)

Just quietly I am also claiming the the purple glitter bottle for myself.

My little guy also loves the novelty puppy bag. The smaller bags are great for quick trips to the park when I don’t need to pack a full lunch.

Smash has a great mix of lunch boxes and insulated bags (all BPA free) to suit everyone and I find their range very reasonably priced.

I love that there is a great mix of prints and styles too.

puppyglitter

What lunch boxes are you loving and why? Tell me in comments.

*All products were gifted for review from Smash and this particular range is available at Coles. Check out Smash for full product range and further details.

LK x

Good Grief!

Today is 13 years since my dad died. 13 years. It feels like a lifetime ago. As the years go on it has gotten easier (but if you had told me that 13 years ago I probably would have slapped you) but there will always be a dark cloud over today and this time of year is always bittersweet.

dad 1

My dad and my maternal Grandmother died 10 days apart and it was a really tough time.

My dad was a good man, a fantastic father and loving husband. He was a proud Scotsman who loved his golf. He was the life of the party.

I’m an only child and I was very much daddy’s girl.

In August 2005 he had a Stroke and didn’t recover.

Doctors could never really give us a clear prognosis of what to expect for the future. After multiple operations, infections and another Stroke he just got worse.

He was in hospital for 3 months before we had to move him into a nursing home. He was 60. Now 60 isn’t old. 60 year olds shouldn’t have to go into nursing homes. But there was no other option. He wasn’t sick enough to stay in hospital. He wasn’t well enough to come home and he wasn’t deemed fit for rehab.

image2.jpg

We visited him every day, morning & night, while still trying to maintain some sort of normal life. My mum would visit in the morning after her night shift as a Nurse. I would then go after work and we would go together on the weekends.  It was exhausting but it became the new normal.

He was able to breathe on his own but not move much, or talk and had to be tube fed. It was so sad to see a previously healthy, happy vibrant man reduced to a vegetable like state.

Every time the phone rang we expected “The call”. But as much as you think you can prepare for that, I don’t think you ever really can.

My nan on the other hand was 90 and had always been sickly. While it was also sad to have to put her into care, it was made worse that her and my dad were both there.

I don’t think I realised at the time how hard it was for my mum to see her mum & her husband like that. It took me a few years to realise just how different our grief was.

Mum later told me that she just wished her mum was well enough to understand and comfort her when dad got sick and then wished dad was able to understand and comfort her when her mum passed.

I sat with my nan and held her hand while she passed. She was surrounded by her loved ones. My dad died alone.

My mum maintains that dad willed himself to die so he didn’t have to stay in the nursing home. I agree.

I don’t think the grief fully hit me until a few months later. Everyone is there for you then they aren’t. People don’t realise its in the months or even years that follow that you need the support. The flowers, the food deliveries, the calls and messages to ask if you are OK. They all come at once and then they stop.

Mum and I escaped Sydney for Christmas that year and went to Thailand. We had been there the year before for a family trip and dad loved it. Little did we know it would be our last trip as a family of 3.

We returned in the new year and I went back to work and just carried on as normal. No one told me it was OK not to be OK.  I was 24 and feeling very lost.

dad2.jpg

We planned a trip to my dad’s hometown in Scotland for later in the year to honour his wishes to scatter his ashes.

I didn’t realise it at the time but I was depressed and I had developed social anxiety. I was also drinking a lot and self medicating and all together just not in a good head space. My poor mum was trying to hold it together for me and I don’t think she ever fully grieved properly.

Again- no one told me it was OK not to be OK. I just wanted to fix it. Any way, any how. I went to counselling, group grief therapy. You name it, I tried it.

I hated everything familiar and quit my job before we left on our trip just because I hated that everyone knew what I had been through.

So off mum and I went to the UK & Europe and had a good-as-can-be-expected-under-the-circumstances trip. Being over there around my dad’s extended family made me feel close to him and I was happy to be away from everyone in Sydney.

I decided to stay away for 2 more months travelling around “Trying to find myself”. Travel I did, find myself I did not. I remember looking out of my hotel in London after returning from a trip around Eastern Europe and it was so cold and miserable and I thought “I just want to go home”. It took being away from everything familiar to realise what I was missing.

Again my poor mum. At the time I didn’t care that she was now home alone. All I could think about was me.

So once again regular life resumed. I went back to my old job and another year rolled on. All the firsts are hard- the anniversaries, the birthdays.

The next year I formed some unhealthy relationships, moved out of home and partied way too much. I was looking for anything to make me feel better and again nothing did.

Sadly a few friends also lost a parent around this time and we bonded over our grief and I think it helped to talk about it and share experiences.

I don’t think I really came to life again until I met hubby in 2008.

As we started to build our life together my mum also seemed to come to life. She started being more social, travelling more and it was so nice to see her looking happy again.

But grief comes in waves and some days its debilitating. That literal heartache. So you cry, you cry a lot. You get angry and sad and everything in between.

To this day my mum and I don’t (can’t?, won’t ?) cry together. She gets upset and I comfort here, and vice versa. Its like we block each others pain so one is always the strong one. I don’t know if this is good or bad.

dadd

Someone once told me “The pain doesn’t ever really go away, you just learn to make room for it”. So true.

Everyone has a different experience and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I do believe the circumstances play a part. For me, and I know for my mum, there is a lot of guilt and “What ifs?” and “If only’s” around the way things happened. But I try not to dwell on that or I just go in into the darkest of places and its sometimes hard to come back from that.

Mostly I’m OK. We are OK. But as the years go on it feels like Dad was never here sometimes. That he is a legend, a myth we talk about and tell my boys about. But he was real, and he was so loved and is so missed.

I keep replaying our last proper conversation together. The morning before he had the stoke we had been arguing. We were very alike and clashed a lot over silly things. I can’t even remember what about but I had asked him to look at my car engine for me before work. As I drove off he said (in his thick Scottish accent) “Love you, you cranky wee shite”. “Love you dad, cya later”.

That afternoon my mum called to tell me she’d just found my dad and suspected he’d had a stoke. I rushed home and had no idea at the time what was to follow.

Tell your loved ones how you feel. Hold them tight. It sounds so cliche but you seriously never know when it might be the last time.

LK x

 

 

 

 

We got married- finally!

After 10 years together, 5 years of engagement, 2 kids and postponing twice, we finally got married.

jm

A bit of history- we got engaged in January 2013 (after 4 years together) and had plans to marry in May 2014.

I got my dress (well 2 actually) , we booked the venue and celebrant and even planned our European honeymoon so we could be in Scotland for a family wedding just after ours.

Well even the best laid plans go astray and just as we were finalising plans I discovered I was pregnant.  While the timing wasn’t the best it was a happy surprise and we were excited to become parents.

We postponed the wedding to the following May 2015 and tried to rearrange things.

I did start to get cold feet around that time. Not about getting married but more the type of wedding I wanted, or didn’t want. Then to top it off there was a fire at the venue and they couldn’t guarantee it would be re-open in time. I took it as a sign.

So as we adjusted to parenthood and juggled finances I then delayed returning to work to help my mum through cancer treatment. So the wedding just kept going in the “Too hard” basket and we postponed indefinitely.

Well fast forward 3 more years, another baby and as our 10 year anniversary approached I said we should probably look at FINALLY getting married. I wanted to make it official,  especially now with the kids.

Hubby (I can officially call him that now ha) and I agreed we didn’t want a big fancy affair. We toyed with the idea of eloping or just going to the registry office but then agreed we wanted it to still feel special even on the small scale.

The chat went on for weeks and I said about 6 weeks out from our anniversary we should just book it. I still think hubby thought I wasn’t fully serious and that (like most things) I go on a high making plans then change my mind last minute. Well he was wrong.

I contacted our celebrant, the amazing Jessie Caccchillo and even at short notice she was available and honoured our deposit from 5 years ago.

We decided we would just have our immediate families at home in our yard for a civil ceremony. We aren’t religious and didn’t want a long winded service.

fam1

It ended up being 10 people and we didn’t tell anyone other than those invited. We didn’t want the fuss, the fanfare or any of the dramas associated with traditional weddings.

It was an emotional mess in the lead up. My father is passed away and understandably he was on my mind constantly. You always think as a little girl your dad will walk you down the isle.

I also started to feel bad at how deceptive we were being, even lying to close friends in order to not tell them about the wedding. But we kept it under wraps.

I got a casual dress for $45 at Sportsgirl and ordered flowers and a cake from local small businesses. We didn’t splurge on rings either. We just wanted basic bands. I was mindful of keeping costs down since it was such a small scale affair.

A major bonus was also having photographer best mate  (Christian Scott ) that also does hair and make up so that was sorted too.

So we pulled it all together and on 14.11.18 – 10 years to the day after meeting- we finally got married.

The ceremony ended up being in our lounge room as it started to rain so we quickly shuffled furniture around. My mum walked me in,  our oldest son carried the rings and it was perfect. I’m so glad our boys were a apart of it.

wedding1

The rain then cleared and we signed the registry outside and got some photos and had a champagne toast.

I used my fathers clan tartan around the bouquet and also added his wedding ring. It was my tribute to him.

I cried during the ceremony. Like a lot.

We dropped the boys at daycare afterwards so we could enjoy a relaxing lunch and headed to a local restaurant to celebrate.  Then later we spent the night at a hotel.

We spent the next day letting everyone know our big news. Understandably some people felt they had been left out.

Has anything changed? not really. But at the same time it does feel a bit different. I have been very emotional all week. I think the build up and keeping everything a secret just caught up with me.

We are planning a belated reception in the new year to celebrate with extended family and friends. Not a big traditional reception but something more to include everyone. Note to self- I should get cracking on organising that!

So there you have it. My low key budget wedding. It can be done!

P.S- Yes I still have both the old wedding dresses. I will donate them.

LK x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dyson Airwrap Styler

Last week I attended the launch of the Dyson Airwrap Styler at the Dyson Sydney City pop up store.

d2

In less than 30mins I had my hair washed and was shown step by step how to use the Airwrap styler ending with a sleek new ‘doo. No additional hair products were needed. I was also treated to a few glasses of Champagne, always a plus!

The Airwrap is a game changer for a curly-haired time poor mum like me. I’m either rocking a frizzy ‘fro or a boring “Mum Bun” as it would usually take me a good hour to tame my frizz.

I have various hair dryers and straightening irons but no other product has ever given me salon quality results in record time. I gave up on curling irons years ago!

The low down-  The styler uses Dyson’s intelligent heat control and multi styler engineering to create curls, waves and smooth blow dry finishes without extreme heat. Its 6 years in the making and uses a phenomenon called the “Coanda effect”. The Coanda effect happens when high-speed air in a cylinder creates a vortex. In the tool, high pressure air flows through six slots in the barrel, which gets the hair to latch onto the curler.

It has a wand base with various attachments, including a dryer (I was surprised at how light this was and how quickly it took the bulk of moisture out of my hair), two paddle brushes, a round brush, and two widths of curling barrels. Now the barrels don’t clamp your hair like most curlers. This is one of the selling features. The barrels go in different directions and use only air to wrap your hair around. 

KH-COMPOSITE-DYSON-AIRWRAP

The time saver is also that you can use bigger sections of hair than with a regular dryer. We sectioned my hair off into about 8 x 1-2 inch sections and got an instant results.

It did take a few goes for me to get the hang of it but its very user friendly. We created some natural curls then brushed them out to a bouncy bob.
dyson 1
 
Because no other hair products were added, no gloss, no spray, I got almost 1 week out of the blow dry before I started to get oily roots.
 
Now let’s talk about the price tag- it’s $699 .. yes six hundred and ninety nine dollars. That’s certainly above the prince range I’d usually pay and I’m sure more than most people can afford to splurge on. But in this case I do think the product is a worthy investment.
Over the years I have spent a lot on various dryers and straighteners that haven’t lasted and I have paid upwards of $50 for a professional blow dry. Well I can now create the same look at home in record time.
dybox

Shop here- Dyson.com

 

LK x