Melbourne Baby Expos

So on Sunday my husband and I attempted the near-impossible – two Melbourne baby expos at opposite ends of the city in one day!

I am very happy to say we smashed it, even at 36 weeks pregnant I managed a gruelling 8 hours of new products, pushy sales people and big crowds, would I do it again this weekend? ahhhh, no…

So what did we see, did we learn anything new??

This is the big one, the biggest baby show that appears in capital cities across Australia each year. Packed with all the well known brands and newest products, this expo also draws the crowds – lots of prams and kids was a little overwhelming for us first timers, but also a taste of what’s to come for us as well!

On show were the big retailers (think Babies R Us, Baby Bunting, Target etc.) as well as each of the most popular manufacturers in each of the product categories, Avent, Baby Jogger, Curash, Medela etc. showcasing their wares. As you can imagine, each brand had their best sales people on board to sell sell sell!

The products and services on offer were what you would expect to find in any large baby shop, anywhere in the country. Rather than an opportunity to find out about new products, we found the show to be more like a one stop shop for everything baby.

The expo is most definitely aimed at new parents, rather than those with children already, I would even say the show is best if you are relatively early in your first pregnancy, as we found that most items on show we had already bought or at least researched by 36 weeks – nursery furniture, prams, car seats, feeding apparatus etc.

The main reason we went along was the collection of cloth nappy exhibitors. This is one of the only opportunities you will have to view products from a range of MCN suppliers in one place as these products are not generally available in mainstream baby stores, only over the internet. Being ever organised, I basically have my cloth stash complete for the newborn stage, so didn’t find much to buy (I did get the tiniest swim nappy I have ever seen – adorable!). I was also somewhat disappointed by the lack of show specials and discounts on offer from these retailers.

If you are still weighing up the pros and cons of going cloth then the wealth of knowledge at the show is unbeatable, the stallholders were all more than happy to talk about their products and explain the cloth nappy benefits.

Tip – I found better pricing through the individual retailers throughout the year than what was available at the expo, just make sure you are part of Facebook groups and mailing lists to find the best deals.

We bought:

SRC Recovery Shorts – to address my diastasis recti post birth ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Chekoh Bamboo Baby Wrap

Imse Vimse Swim Nappy (NB size)

Bubblebubs Botty Balm (cloth safe nappy balm)

Idol Eyes Baby Sunglasses

Breastfeeding Association Membership

I was a big fan of the One Fine Day Wedding Expo that I attended last year in the lead up to our wedding. The selection of exhibitors was fantastic, much more in keeping with the feel of our wedding than the more mainstream wedding expos. The new One Fine Baby show was in the same vein, showcasing smaller artisan suppliers and boutique baby products.

We found the clientele at this show to be very different from the PBC expo, lots more first time parents and expecting couples, who like us, are a bit exhausted by the run of the mill products we see in the big baby stores.

The One Fine Baby show was chockers with gorgeous designer baby clothes, decor items and nursery furniture, lots of which is designed and made here in Australia. As you can imagine, the prices were higher for these unique products, however, I think you get what you pay for in this instance. Yes, $130 is a lot for a wool cot blanket, but when its made from Australian Merino wool, designed and knittedย by a local couple in their Brunswick factory, then you can understand why.

Unlike the PBC expo, there was less pressure to buy at the expo, rather, stalls had a selection of products on display and a week long promotion on their websites to coincide with the show, encouraging you to get online and view their whole collection and place orders at your leisure.

We bought:

Actually nothing! But we got lots of great ideas, brochures and contact details for products that would make lovely gifts, plus things we will look into once we have had baby dash and know their gender.

If we hadn’t spent so much at the first expo I’m sure I could have talked my husband into a cute nursery print or cushion at the very least!!

Overall I think we enjoyed the One Fine Baby experience more than the Pregnancy, Baby and Children’s expo. as this was a smaller show, full of different products and suppliers that suited the stage we are at as first time parents. However, we certainly found plenty to buy at the PBC expo! We exhibitor list and discount coupons available on their website prior to the show really helped us plan our day (and spending) before we arrived.

Last word:

Do not, I repeat do NOT pay for tickets to these expos! Both the PBC expo and One Fine Baby had free ticket deals available through their websites and mailing lists prior to the event. We had free tickets to both, worth over $60 on the day.

New Beginnings

Friday I started maternity leave for the very first time. Equal parts scary and relieving to be away from the only workplace I have known for 9 years, I’m totally ready to start this new chapter.

I’m currently 36 weeks plus a few days, so a little while still to go, but being the organised planner girl I’m always striving to be, I’m getting to the end of my baby to-do lists and running out of excuses to shop!

Thats where ‘dash’ comes in! i’m excited to start documenting the high and lows of being a new mum in Australia, both for myself and anyone who stumbles across this particular corner of the internet. I know I have google’d like crazy the last 7-8 months, looking up every product, process and experience I can from people like me, not just advertisers and doctors, so I’m sure there is at least one more girl like me out there!!

So here we go, another ‘mummy blogger’ in the making I guess (I can hear the collective sighs), I’m not in it for the free nappy samples or book deal (just yet!), I just want to find other mums like me to share this crazy life change with!

If you do stumble across my page, let me know what brought you here and what I can add that will make you stay.

Love to all,

Ash xx

Why the fuss:: chia seeds

So I thought I would begin with a few posts on the latest ‘it’ foods and whether they live up to the hype. First cab off the rank are chia seeds, first brought to the western world in the form of the chia pet (remember those? yep same seed!). These innocent little dots, similar in size and appearance to poppy seeds are said to be a power house food, full of omega fatty acids, fibre and protein. But how do they compare to other foods and how can you incorporate them into everyday meals without it feeling like a science experiment? Read on to find out…

The USDA nutrition table for chia seeds shows they are around 16.5% protein, nearly 31% fat and a whopping 34.4% fibre in their dry state. But it’s the micronutrients that make all the difference, of the fat content, nearly 90% is unsaturated, these are the good fats, some of which can assist in lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, improving cardiovascular health.

Nutrition analysis by the FDA has also found significant amounts of many essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc. However, as chia is generally consumed in pretty small quantities, there are easier and decidedly tastier ways to get a similar multivitamin kick, including fresh fruit and veg.

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Probably the greatest asset of chia is its water holding ability, up to 10 times their weight in water in fact. When soaked overnight, chia seeds form a gel like mass, often flavoured or mixed with cinnamon and coconut milk to make a ‘pudding’ of sorts.

The combination of high protein and fibre content, along with the water holding properties mean that chia is a great dietary ‘filler’, that’s actually from nature, no artificial sweeteners or added sugar in sight! The calorie profile means that the very few kilojoules you are taking in are quality amino acids and good fats that will keep you full between meals or instead of dessert. If you are trying to lose weight, the full feeling you get from a chia pudding will help you to ward off cravings and give you an important nutrient boost that diet yogurts or muesli bars just can’t match!

I will sign off with a word of warning, if you decide the take the plunge and give chia a go, start slowly. The water absorbing properties can continue even once in your tummy, so make sure you manage your fluid intake to avoid some serious bloating and potential temporary blockages as they make there way through the digestive system. I offer these words of caution from a position of experience.

Here’s a popular chia pudding recipe from the The Chia Co. to get you started:::

CHIA SEED PUDDINGS
By Chef Kate McAloon
Prep time
5 – 10 minutes
Total Time
2 hour refrigerate
Serves
A group
These healthy treats are great when you desire something sweet and delicious. They take very little time to prepare and are great in the mornings for a quick and yummy addition to your breakfast. Serve with fresh fruit, eggs and veggies for a nutritious start to your day.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup coconut cream or coconut milk
ยผ cup Chia seeds
ยผ cup honey, agave, coconut sugar or palm sugar (or to taste)
ยฝ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Possible flavouring options:
2 tbsp coco powder
ยผ cup raspberries puree (or other fruit purees)
ยผ cup lemon juice

METHOD
In a medium size bowl, mix all ingredients and add your choice of flavouring. Mix well to combine. Transfer pudding into shot glasses. Refrigerate the pudding for at least 2 hours.

http://www.thechiaco.com.au/content/chia-seed-puddings

Fail to plan, plan to fail

Last year’s birthday present was a great one, I have always loved to be organised and my new gold kikki k personal planner has been a revelation!

Not only do I have somewhere to write down my lists and to dos along with appointments and reminders, the age of the Internet has opened up a whole new world of creative possibilities. I have spent many hours and dollars turning my planner into a mini work of art, a creative outlet that I can fill with pictures, quotes, stickers and my new favourite – washi tape!

I have fallen in love with so many bloggers and youtubers who share their planner set ups, including Miss Trenchcoat, Chelleydarling and Belinda Selene. I dream of one day having a weekly spread or DIY dividers as beautiful as the ones they have created. Mr Dash rudely states that I have found the end of the Internet in my new pursuit and that my planner is a little folder of self indulgence. But he clearly doesn’t mind too much, as I keep spending more and more on stickers and pens and new printable inserts, searching for the often mentioned ‘planner peace’.

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I’m pretty proud of my first public showing, resplendent with DIY dashboard and laminated dividers, all made from scratch by yours truly! For someone with not a creative bone in my body, the hours spent choosing the perfect scrapbook paper and colour scheme have been weirdly calming and very addictive.

So I will be continuing to play in my planner, decorating each weekly spread and always looking for new and expensive ways make her pretty! Based on the investment to date, I hope this is something I keep up all year, so far it’s been super fun, so that shouldn’t be too hard!

This time its for real!

I have always been terrible at reflection, even as a kid the first draft would do, no ‘good copies’ for me, I hated re-reading anything I had written, this continued right through high school and uni – thank god my field of study was more numbers than words! So the point is, blogging feels like reflection, like I have to re-read part of my life, or really think about the chosen topic. Its no good giving a purely factual article on food, or science or the latest news, it needs to include an opinion, my opinion. And that’s where I’ve fallen down and why this page has been so damn quiet!

 

Three months ago I got married and now finally I have something I want to reflect on and re-live over again! We planned our day for 13 months (well, officially, I had ideas in mind for quite a while before!) and when it finally arrived it was everything we hoped for. We had poured over every magazine and website we could fine, I spent literally hundreds of hours trawling pinterest, sorting through what we liked and didn’t like. In the end our wedding was 100% us, not the latest trends or even to everyone’s taste, but totally us.

I will reflect further on the day and the planning process more over the coming weeks, more as a record for us, but also because it was so damn special I can’t wait to share – but first THE NEWS!

 

We collected our photos from our epic photographer last month and learnt that a magazine here loved our wedding just as much as we did! This was basically the icing on the cake, our pretty wedding, that was so much fun was actually unique enough to be published! The magazine comes out Monday and I’m so excited!

So bye for now, but I’ll be back, like a proud mumma with my wedding baby!

Ash xx_K5W4949

Reboot

After a bit of a break I’m going to give blogging another go, since my last posts at the end of 2013 I’m now officially mrs dash. Planning our wedding was a lot of fun, I’ll be sure to review a few of our amazing suppliers. We had the very best day, I would love to redo the whole day again, I wouldn’t change a thing, it was perfect!
 
 We also just got back from a short honeymoon in bali, I’ll also post a few reviews on the places we visited, where we stayed and where we ate. Having never considered bali as a holiday destination for us, we loved it so much we are seriously considering a return trip next year!
 
 I’m going to post about anything I find interesting, what we are getting into now, including photography, working out how to use our new espresso machine, getting impatient about the eventual arrival of a puppy, finishing our garden and navigating the first year as husband and wife.
 
 Can’t wait to get started!
 
 Mrs dash xx
 
 
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Officer,Australia

Taste of summer!

I just enjoyed my first delicious juicy mango of summer, love this time of year for the great variety of tasty fruits, all perfectly ripe and in season.

So yummy, but also so very good for you, mangoes are a great source of vitamin A for eye health, vitamin C to support immunity, soluble fibre to fill you up and maintain healthy cholesterol levels and even copper, essential for the production of red blood cells.

A quick search on Pinterest brings up a multitude of mouth watering recipes, desserts, icy treats, smoothies, even salads, but my favourite way to enjoy a mango is straight off the stone, over the sink of course to catch all those juicy drips!

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Snags of substance

Here is a fantastic idea to satisfy fussy eaters from an online butcher based in QLD

http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2013/11/20/brisbane-online-butcher-launches-%e2%80%9chigh-nutrient%e2%80%9d-sausages-for-kids.html

Sausages formulated to contain a serve of veggies and all the additional nutritional benefits this brings, including a truckload of vitamins and minerals that parents of fussy offspring worry that they miss out on.

Now I don’t have kids, but I vaguely remember being one and I know how appealing little sausages always were. Parents can now rest assured their kids aren’t missing out on the nutrients they need and avoid dinner time dramas at the same time.

At this stage these tasty snags are only available to those on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane proper, but hopefully the idea catches on in butcheries all over the country real soon!

Decorating DASH manor

Mr Dash and I built our first home a couple of years ago, as many first time home owners will know, furnishing a new space is hard, and expensive! So, 2 years later we still have PLENTY of blank open space and lots of very white white walls.

With a flash of creative inspiration, but very little ability, one wet weekend in August I jumped Tara Denis style into my first project. Pom Pom flowers! Why – because these little guys bring colour to a dull table or corner, but can’t be killed off by a forgetful waterer with two black thumbs. It also meant I could legitimately buy a hot glue gun and spend some time wandering the aisles of spotlight.

After consulting Pinterest I decided the very easiest way to make a pom pom was the hand wrapping method detailed here

I like a dense pom pom, so wrapped and wrapped until my fingers couldn’t take anymore, this also makes them stronger and less prone to disintegrating before your eyes as you try to tie them up. I lost a few this way, stringy little casualties of useless off cuts when I got to the trimming stage.

Once I had made a few in different sizes (just adjust the number of fingers you wrap) and colours, I was ready to put it all together. I used thick gauge florists wire (smaller numbers equal stronger gauge) that was already wrapped in green paper as my stems and a few wrapped in green wool to give a sturdier look. It was simply a matter poking the wire through a Pom Pom then positioning in my chosen vase to get the look I was after. A pair of kitchen scissors were strong enough to trim some stems to get a variety of heights.

Now it’s time to fire up the glue gun and make the look more permanent. A squirt of hot glue on the end of each stem, then reattaching each pom pom keeps everything in place, then voila!

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