Finlee & Me https://www.finleeandme.com.au Lovely stuff for kids Thu, 25 May 2017 03:03:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Recognising Signs of Mental Illness in Your Child https://www.finleeandme.com.au/recognising-signs-of-mental-illness-in-your-child/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/recognising-signs-of-mental-illness-in-your-child/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 12:58:31 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=16102 Don’t freak out or anything, but I watched Netflix for the first time last week! And in just three days I watched more TV then

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Recognising Signs of Mental Illness in Your Child

Don’t freak out or anything, but I watched Netflix for the first time last week! And in just three days I watched more TV then I had in literally the last 5 years; it was amazing.

It’s really no surprise for those that have followed my blog Finlee and Me for the last 7 years, to guess that the series I started with was 13 Reasons Why. You see, as a mental health clinician of 15 years, going through my son’s mental health journey over the last 8 months and also mine, you could say that mental illness holds a special place in my  heart.

After the series was completed (I’ll talk more about it later in the blog), I reflected on the stigma around mental illness and how many parents would struggle recognising signs of mental illness in your child and this could only mean one thing, writing a blog post to help parents in the event their child is struggling with their mental health; because education is knowledge.

Defining Child Mental Health

It’s super important to understand that when defining children’s mental health that it’s different from adult mental health due to the unique developmental milestones that children experience.

Britannica encyclopedia defines child mental health as:

“the complete well-being and optimal development of a child in the emotional, behaviorial, social and cognitive domains. Characteristics of the child (e.g., gender, genetics) are important determinants of that child’s well-being. However, child mental health also includes those conditions that directly affect or modify mental health, including aspects of a child’s family, community, and broader society.”

So if any of these domains or a combination of these domains start to change then it may be time to speak with your GP.

Prevalence of Mental Illness in Children

I always like to put things into perspective with statistics because it’s often that people can relate with numbers vs just reading words on a piece of paper. I’ve done some research online and found the following information from The Sydney Morning Herald:

    • Hundreds of thousands of Australian children and teenagers are experiencing serious mental health issues, but many parents have no idea what is going on.
    • As many as one in 10  children, some as young as four, have mental health disorders according to the survey.

netflix australia 13 reasons why

Recognising Signs of Mental Illness in Your Child

There are tons of symptoms for each mental health diagnosis and so my goal is not to list every single mental illness and their symptoms, but rather give you the top symptoms to recognising signs of mental illness in your child and then if you have concerns you can speak with your doctor about the specifics.

The top 11 symptoms for recognising signs of mental illness in your child by Live Science are:

  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for two or more weeks
  • Seriously trying to harm or kill yourself, or making plans to do so
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
  • Involved in multiple fights, using a weapon, or wanting badly to hurt others
  • Severe, out- of-control behavior that can hurt yourself or others
  • Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to make yourself lose weight
  • Intensive worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
  • Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that puts you in physical danger or causes school failure
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  • Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Drastic changes in your behavior or personality

mental health problems for kids

When to Seek Help

As a parent you aren’t trained in mental health, so knowing exactly when to seek help for your child maybe hard to navigate as this is new to you. However, there are few things to consider when you start to consider seeking support or advice.

  1. Trust your gut. A mothers gut is hardly ever wrong. I know this is scientific, but I can’t emphasis enough that you need to follow your gut. This is what I had to do with my son Finlee and you can learn exactly how I followed my gut in my blog article When you know something isn’t quite right with your child.
  2. 3 other important factors that are summed up beautifully from Kids Matter include:
    1. Frequency – How often does the behaviour happen?
    2. Severity – How does the child’s behaviour compare to other children’s behaviours within the same age group? Does it interfere with everyday functioning?
    3. Persistence – When did the behaviour start and how long has it been going on? Does the behaviour only occur in certain situations, or across multiple situations?

When behaviours happen on a regular basis, are distressing to the child and those around him or her, persist over a period of time (e.g. a month or longer) or across situations (e.g. at home and at child care) then it is time to get support or advice.

Where to Get Help

Trying to get your child help for a mental illness can be scary while at the same time overwhelming because it’s a new process you need to go through.

I want to keep this step super simple and therefore you really only need to think of two things:

  1. Call ambulance or take directly to emergency department – if your child is a threat to self or others call 000 for an ambulance.
  2. Book an appointment with your GP – your GP is the first point of contact and they will help you to navigate where to from here. From your appointment with your GP they may decide to refer you to see a pediatrician, a psychiatrist or psychologist depending on the needs of your child.

Additional Resource – 13 Reasons Why

netflix australia 13 reasons why

As parents, it’s hard for us to relate to our adolescents kids. We get frustrated with them, mad at them and at times are connection with our children is fractured due to the fact us grown-ups don’t get their world.

This is where I strongly encourage you and your partner to watch the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Why you might ask? Let me explain.

13 Reasons Why is about a story of girl named Hannah Baker who decided to committee suicide for 13 different reasons.

One day after returning home from school, Clay Jensen finds a plain covered package on his bed. When he opens the package, he finds seven cassette tapes and quickly realises when he plays the first one they are from Hannah Baker.

Hannah has left instructions and makes it very clear that that for every person who receives these tapes is because they are one reason why she killed herself. They are to listen to each tape and when completed pass the package of tapes on to the next person.

This series took me back to my adolescent years where I could almost feel the craziness and drama that we all went through during the years. It took me back to how we would strive to be perfect from our hair, weight and even to what we said. And though we may have left the craziness and drama behind, watching 13 Reasons Why, reminded me of how hard my adolescent years were and made gain perspective of how kids these day might just feel.

Netflix Australia researched Australian parents and found that: “Aussie parents admit (74%) they are already watching shows like Arrow, Pretty Little Liars and Stranger Things to feel closer to their teenager. 63% of teens are on board, saying they’d be interested in talking to parents about the shows they watch, with both sides (90% of parents; 68% of teens) seeing it as a strong way to bond.”

Therefore, if you’re wanting to connect with your child, understand what they might be going through, know how to pick up on warning signs of deterioration of your child’s mental health please put some time aside and watch 13 Reasons Why; you’ll thank me later.

***Please note that due to the graphic nature of this series, I can do not recommend it for any child and this decision will need to be made by the parents. PLEASE consider if your child is emotionally and cognitively ready to watch a movie like this because each child is different. If you choose to allow your child to watch this show, please speak with your child about their feelings, if they’ve ever gone through anything like that, what they are feeling etc because it may be heavy for your child or could trigger your child.***

Where to From Here

Keep being the great parent that you are. Continue to love your kids even on the hard days. Tell them you love them. Hug them. Have conversations and when they don’t want to, keep pushing. Stay connected. And remember if the time comes you need to seek don’t wait, book an appointment with your GP and get the support needed.

From one parent to the next, you’ve got this.

Love,

Angela xx

This was a collaboration between Finlee and Me and Netflix Australia.

Angela is an author, entrepreneur, business consultant, blogger, mental health clinician and most importantly a mother. She explores various topics related to parenting/children on her blog and also in her three books: 30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves, 30 Days, 30 Ways for Connecting with Your Child and Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids.

Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and her website Finlee and Me.

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11 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a New Mum https://www.finleeandme.com.au/11-things-you-shouldnt-say-to-a-new-mum/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/11-things-you-shouldnt-say-to-a-new-mum/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 10:30:17 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=16087 We are all ecstatic when we get to welcome a new family member or a friend’s new baby into the world. We are joyous and

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Things You Shouldn’t Say to a New MumWe are all ecstatic when we get to welcome a new family member or a friend’s new baby into the world. We are joyous and want to celebrate with them on this momentous occasion. So we offer to visit, bringing gifts for the new bub and meals for the new parents. Then we sit down for a chat. All well meaning comments and advice – of course – but there are so many controversial parts of motherhood these days (bottle vs. breastfeeding; self-settling vs. hands-on soothing; dummy vs. no-dummy; baby-led weaning vs. traditional feeding). There are just some things you shouldn’t say to a new Mum these things are a pure ‘no-no’ when it comes to conversations with mums.

11 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a New Mum

Here is a list of 11 things you shouldn’t say to a new mum from my experience:

1. “You look tired!” or better yet, “I’m exhausted!” Firstly, thank you for stating the plain old obvious. Of course I am tired! After I just pushed out a tiny human through my wa-hoo who is new to the world and doesn’t understand the concept of sleep, I slept approximately 6 hours over 4.5 days in the hospital. You don’t need to tell me I’m exhausted. Also, if you ever feel that you are exhausted – while I’m sure that is true for your current situation – please do not mention it to me, because I will give you the crazy, sleep-deprived death stare of a new mum.

2. “I wish I could stay at home all day (with the baby)”. This statement is obviously made by those who do not have children. While there may be ‘perks’ to staying at home all day, there are many drawbacks. Early in my new mum days, I missed the freedom to leave the house whenever I wanted (breastfeeding meant I was basically “on tap”), hanging out with adults and sleeping in. While I enjoy being at home with my son, it can get pretty freakin’ tiring a lot of days.

3. “Just ask the dad to babysit.” This irks me – and many mums I know – something fierce. I’ll be honest, I’ve even been guilty of saying it once or twice. But do you ask mums to ‘babysit’ their own kids? No. Well the same applies for dads – so just don’t say dad and babysit in the same sentence (unless it is “Dad is going to organise someone to babysit!”).

4. “Your baby looks like the mum/dad.” I never thought this would be a big deal, and quite often I ask people what they think, but I know that this can offend lots of mums. Especially when comments such as, “they look so much like the dad, are they even yours?” are thrown around in jest. You may think you’re hilarious, but I can assure you, this mumma does not. She is probably thinking of things she can throw at you in her crazy, sleep-deprived state (which makes you say, “You look tired”).

5. “Just wait for the next 5/10/15 years…” This one I came across when I was racing through a grocery store with my screaming 6 week-old son. An older gentleman mentioned something along the lines of, “they don’t grow out of it for another 10 years”. I did a quick little chuckle and motored past. But as I thought about it (after my massive cry in the car), I realised that this was anything but encouraging. I am clearly having a bad day, and your way of providing a pick-me-up is to remind me that it’ll be like this for many years to come? Next time you think that is a good idea, don’t.

6. “You’re breastfeeding, right?”  Breastfeeding is promoted as best feeding practice for babies, however many mums don’t – or can’t – breastfeed for a number of reasons. I know many mums who had to give up breastfeeding not by choice, and it upsets them to think that they can’t. Making a matter-of-fact statement about breastfeeding can be upsetting, especially in the early days and weeks when sleep deprivation and crazy post-pregnancy/postpartum hormones are running amuck. Whatever you do – do NOT follow up this statement (if the new mum is not breastfeeding) with a summary of why breastfeeding is best. It is more likely than not that the new mum doesn’t need to be reminded of this.

7. “Are they sleeping through the night yet?” (or basically, anything to do with sleep – just don’t). Just because your cousin’s brother-in-law’s best friend’s third child slept through the night from day one doesn’t mean all babies do. In fact, it can take anywhere from 6 months onwards for a baby to learn to settle themselves when they wake up. Most new mums don’t want to think about how their baby isn’t sleeping through, because they are still struggling to survive the sleep-deprivation and are unsure how long it will last. They don’t need false hope or discouragement at this stage.

8. “Here, I’ll help him/her stop crying.” While this can be helpful if the mum is flustered, exhausted, and wanting a break, I am a perfectionist and sensitive mum flooded with all kinds of (crazy) hormones. This type of comment really gets to me, because I am already worried about being a ‘good’ mum. I don’t like people assuming they can parent my child better than I can. I will usually ask for assistance when it is needed, or you can possibly word your sentence better, such as (“Would you like me to hold him/her for a bit?” Or, “Would you like a break?”). These options do not imply that you will solve the crying issue, and I will respond better to that.

 9. “Your baby is so big! Small! Otheriwse!” Why do people feel the need to comment on the size of the baby? Unless I make a comment first (which I often do), some mums don’t like to hear that their child is too big or too small for their age (this is also true for pregnant women – there is no need to comment on the size of their bump!).

10. “You really should get out more!” My husband and I copped this early on after our son was born – before his 6-week vaccinations. Why do we need to get out more? Can’t we just continue battling for survival in the comfort of our house while our small son screams loudly and we all attempt to scrounge for sleep when we can?

11. Any comment about a new mums weight/figure. I’m sure this doesn’t need clarification, but most women are unhappy with their weight/shape, so just don’t make any comments.

Does this cancel out a large range of your options? Here are some you may like to use instead:

  • How are you and the baby doing?
  • Is there anything I can help you guys with?
  • What is it like having a baby?
  • What is your favourite thing about being a new mum?

What other thing have you heard since being a mum and thought these things you shouldn’t say to a new Mum?

Do you have any suggestions when it comes to what you’d like to hear as a new mum?

Wishing you all a wonderful day and if you’re struggling with your own motherhood expectations or looking for arts and craft ideas for your kids head over to the Finlee and Me blog as it’s filled with a variety of craft ideas, recipes, mental health related articles and more.

About the Author

Fi Morrison is a first-time mum to her beautiful, 5-month old baby boy. She is a trained primary school teacher and a (new) small-business owner. Fi blogs over at Mumma Morrison about all things motherhood-related, particularly life as a new mum, with recipes and activities for babies and kids coming soon to her (newly updated) blog.

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Unstructured Play is What Your Child Needs https://www.finleeandme.com.au/unstructured-play-is-what-your-child-needs/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/unstructured-play-is-what-your-child-needs/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 09:29:06 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=15935 Unstructured Play is What Your Child Needs Unstructured Play. We hear those words but do we really know what that means? And, how do we

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unstructured play for kids

Unstructured Play is What Your Child Needs

Unstructured Play. We hear those words but do we really know what that means? And, how do we go about incorporating this type of play into our homes and other settings?

Unstructured play is when children engage in play that is open-ended.

There is no specific purpose, agenda, or learning goals to be achieved while engaged in play.  You can call it unstructured play, or what I prefer, play with NO purpose or outcome. Just good old-fashioned play!

Over the years, it seems “educational products” have become a popular market. Products for “teaching” our children from more of an academic approach. These products are not the essential tools our children need for their development. Though they might enhance their academic learning, they generally do not equip our children with the foundational skills of “play” that they need.

Research clearly indicates that unstructured play is THE BEST type of play for your child’s development.

unstructured play

unstructured play idea for kids

Unstructured play fulfills a child’s developmental needs

With open-ended, unstructured play we invite the brilliance and creativity of open-ended learning! There is no pressure to perform or get things the “correct” or “right way”.

It invites opportunities for children to make decisions, develop problem- solving skills, enhance and practice communication and social skills, and develop their sense of self by exploring their own personal preferences.

Children get to learn about themselves. How to use their bodies and the world around them – all while supporting brain development and neural connections that are so crucially important in the early years.

Unstructured play gives children the freedom of unlimited learning. I have no doubt they will amaze you with their learning, growth, and progress through unstructured play.

unstructured play idea for kids

How to Create Unstructured Play for Your Kids

So, the How?

Set up an invitation to play. (You can even get your child to help or initiate this!)

Allow time for your child to engage in unstructured play.  Have no set purpose or outcomes for the play – just present the invitation and see what happens!

Don’t be tempted (as we all are at times) to guide the play in any way. You can certainly play along, but guiding or “fixing” things to be a specific way can imply there is a correct or right way to play.

So …. ready to play? Pick the materials that are age appropriate and safe for your child and their developmental ability.

You can mix and match any type of resource or material. Try and think outside of the box. (And yes, only select those materials that are developmentally and age appropriate for your child).

Ready….Set…..Play!

  • Playfoam, playdoh, magiclay, shaving cream, kinetic sand
  • Sandwich cutters, tongs, wooden rolling pins
  • Rainbow spaghetti, string,  rainbow rice, tubs, cookie or muffin trays
  • Basket of rocks, sticks, leaves, dirt, wood offcuts, chalk
  • Containers, water, food colouring, cups, tongs, bath toys.
  • Craft box items: glue, scissors, paper, colouring pencils, stickers, foam, bubble wrap, rocks, blue tac, baking paper
  • Sewing Box Items: Cotton thread, velcro, knitting needles, buttons, needles, clasps or other connectors
  • Raid the toy cupboard and get all those loose parts: little rocks, miniature toys, fast food toys, puzzle pieces, all the little odds and ends toys
  • Boxes and recycling materials. Kids can’t resist boxes and other items in the recyclable bin
  • Cushions, blankets and pillows
  • Blocks, lego, duplo.
  • Old and/bathroom items: cotton balls/buds, toothbrushes, tweezers, brushes, loofas etc

rainbow-rice

rainbow-rice

There may be some items you know will not suit your time frame, your play environment (inside or outside), or your child,  so do what works for you and your family.

Wishing you all a wonderful day and if you’re looking for wonderful for arts and craft ideas for your kids head over to the Finlee and Me blog as it’s filled with amazing craft ideas, recipes, parenting article and more.

About the Author

Rachelle is passionate about sharing the tips and tools others need for more happy and calm in their lives.  As a Clinical Mental Health Social Worker, she is an advocate for mental health and fights to reducing the stigma around seeking help. She has an online shop called The Happy Me Shop selling therapist recommended products and also runs her own counselling practice in Narre Warren, Victoria. Feel free to connect on Instagram or Facebook.

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Just because I’m depressed, doesn’t mean I can’t smile https://www.finleeandme.com.au/just-because-im-depressed-doesnt-mean-i-cant-smile/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/just-because-im-depressed-doesnt-mean-i-cant-smile/#respond Sun, 14 May 2017 09:10:08 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=16070 Just because I’m depressed, doesn’t mean I can’t smile. In my entire time of blogging, this by far will be one of the toughest blog

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just because I'm depressed doesn't mean I can't smile

Just because I’m depressed, doesn’t mean I can’t smile.

In my entire time of blogging, this by far will be one of the toughest blog posts I write. It’s raw. It’s painful.

But… I need to write this. For myself. For my community. For my recovery.

When someone breaks their leg you can physically see the wound. The cast on the leg, the crutches the person is using to get around. It’s there. Right in front of your face that the person is clearing injured.

However, the person with depression you can’t physically see the wound. You can’t see how much their heart aches. The tears they cry on the inside, or the demons in their head that are constantly moving around. No, you can not see depression, but trust me it’s there.

Society has odd ideas about depression. They think that people who are depressed just lay in the dark, on their couch all day watching re-runs and eating ice-cream, but this is not the case for many people with depression; including myself. And more importantly, this is why depression continues to be completely misunderstood by so many people in society.

postnatal depression

Just because I’m depressed, doesn’t mean I can’t smile

I want society to know that just because I’m depressed, doesn’t mean I can’t smile. Going to the beach with my family and and capturing a beautiful photo of our memories together is part of fighting the depression. It’s in these rare moments, that I win and the depression loses.

Because for the other part of my day depression wins. The part that happens before the beach, where I have to force myself to get out of my pj’s and put my cloths on in order to ensure that my depression doesn’t impact my kids.

There are a million other scenarios I can also talk about: just because I travel doesn’t mean I’m not depressed, just because I do the school pick up doesn’t mean I’m not depressed, just because I go to dinner with my friends doesn’t mean I’m not depressed, it’s bigger than that.

What it does mean is that little by little I’m working towards my recovery. The dark and gloomy days are being replaced with a beautiful and vibrant pink. That I don’t cry at the drop of a hat and that my heart is starting to heal. But recovery is different for everyone. It takes times.

So the next time you see someone smiling, don’t ever assume that they aren’t depressed. As Robin Williams once said:

“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are.”

To all of those that are also suffering from a mental illness, you’ve got this. We’ve got this. Keep getting the help you need and if you’re not getting help but need help please reach out to your loved ones, GP, police etc because you matter to so many people.

And remember, just because I’m depressed, doesn’t mean I can’t smile.

Love,

Angela xx

Angela is an author, entrepreneur, blogger, mental health clinician and most importantly a mother. She explores various topics related to parenting/children on her blog and also in her three books: 30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves, 30 Days, 30 Ways for Connecting with Your Child and Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids.

Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and her website Finlee and Me.

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Top 10 Reasons why Australian Families love P&O Pacific Dawn Cruise Ship https://www.finleeandme.com.au/top-10-reasons-why-australian-families-love-po-pacific-dawn-cruise-ship/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/top-10-reasons-why-australian-families-love-po-pacific-dawn-cruise-ship/#respond Thu, 04 May 2017 10:14:57 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=16005 A Collaboration between Finlee and Me and P&O Cruises The day had come that I could finally let Finlee (my 7 year old) and Chloe

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p&O pacific dawn

A Collaboration between Finlee and Me and P&O Cruises

The day had come that I could finally let Finlee (my 7 year old) and Chloe (my 4 year old) in on a little secret my husband and I had been keeping from them; our cruise we’d be heading on in just a few short hours with P&O Pacific Dawn.  But before I could let them in on the secret they needed to head off to school and day-care and I had to keep reminding myself… patience Angela patience.

You see the last 6 months haven’t been easy on our family. My son and I have had an array of medical investigations that have been going on and this has been impacting on our family in a variety of different ways. So, when P&O Cruises asked my family on board the four-night, newly refurbished Pacific Dawn cruise from Brisbane to the Whitsundays; it was just what my family and I needed to relax and reconnect as a family.

The Surprise

Dale and I picked Chloe up first from day-care and then Finlee from school. We were hit with a million questions especially when they saw the suitcases in the back of the car. Where are we going? Is it on plane? Are we going to the Gold Coast? Are we going for a long time because there are two suitcases Mommy? Tell us! Tell us!

As we drove to the port to board Pacific Dawn, Dale and I played a game filled with clues. The closer we got to the port, we had a clear view of the cruise ship. I started asking questions like: I wonder where that cruise is going? How fun would it be to go on a cruise? And then we finally made the right-hand turn towards the cruise ship. The penny dropped and both Finlee and Chloe started squealing with excitement as they were finally going on their first cruise.

About the Pacific Dawn

We parked our car and started making our way to the ship. As we walked closer to the Pacific Dawn, we were greeted with the epic size of the ship. With its elegant blue and white exterior, staff eagerly preparing our arrival and the view of the wildest and longest waterslides on any Australian cruise ship; we knew our family adventure was going to be filled with an abundance of special moments.

Before I share with you the remarkable experience my family and I had, I want to share some fun facts about the stunning Pacific Dawn:

  1. Built in 1991, but was recently refurbished in March 2017 with over 700 contractors spending more than 100,000 hours transforming the ship
  2. Gross tonnage: 70,285
  3. Length of ship: 345 metres
  4. Width of ship: 32.2 meres
  5. Passenger decks: 11
  6. Speed of ship: 22.5 knots
  7. Passengers: up to 2,000
  8. Rooms on ship: 798
  9. Crew on ship: 730 crew which is more than one crew members per three passengers

pacific dawn

Check-in and Boarding Process with P&O Cruises

I always dread any check in process when I have Finlee and Chloe in tow. Quite honestly, it can be the breaking point to a day depending on the mood of the kids, if the kids are hungry and how long their little souls have to wait. P&O have this process down pat. We literally walked in, was told what line to stand in, we were called up to customer service, provided our ID and literally that was it.  The most painless check in process I’ve ever encountered while travelling with the kids.

Once we checked-in, we headed through security, made our way to the gangway and stepped foot onto the cruise ship. Immediately upon boarding the ship there was an ambiance I’ve never felt before; a sense of calm, balanced with excitement. The staff greeting us with their beautiful smiles and immediately making us feel welcomed. Accompany this with two very excited kids, it was a vibe I’ll never forget. And it was at this moment, I knew that we were in for a fantastic holiday.

Top 10 Reasons why Australian Families love P&O Pacific Dawn Cruise Ship

I have to be honest, there are way more than 10 reasons why I specifically love P&O Pacific Dawn Cruise Ship, but I would be writing for days. As a result, I’ve listed my top 10 that resonated with me the most.

Reason #10 Safety – In the world we live, there is constant daily conflict and with this comes uncertainty. As a result, I am always mindful of my family’s safety when planning a family holiday getaway. P&O Cruises Australia have the safety of all passengers at the forefront of their minds when making all decisions. For example, when we were traveling with P&O Cruises, Cyclone Debbie was in full force. The Captain kept everyone informed through out our entire journey and due to the severity of Cyclone Debbie it was decided that we would not be going to Airlie Beach. This would not have been an easy decision to make, but I really appreciate that he wanted to ensure we all arrived back to Brisbane safe and sound.

pacific dawn

Reason #9 Time Away from Technology – Technology is sucking the life out of so many Australians. In fact, it’s a growing addiction and destroying the life’s of many families not only in Australia, but around the world. In a time, where people are suppose to feel connected, they actually feel disconnected due to lack of face to face human contact. What I loved about being on the Pacific Dawn was that I had an opportunity to really unplug from technology as a whole and was able to truly enjoy spending quality time with my family through engaging in a variety of great activities around the ship.

Reason #8  Simplicity – As a Mother, when I go on holiday I want simplicity. I want to  only unpack once. I want my meals to be cooked for me, my beds to be made and fresh towels to dry myself with; that I didn’t have to wash, dry or put away. When traveling on the Pacific Dawn this became a reality and a reality I could get use to.

When cruising with P&O Cruises, everything is packaged together, making it easy for the entire family. There is no need to do anything else, but book your cruise because everything else will be ready and waiting for your family when you board.

Reason #7 Multi-generational Family Holiday – What I LOVED about being on board P&O Pacific Dawn was that they truly cater to all ages. This was demonstrated by the perfect balance of activities for adults as well as kids, while at the same time providing  designated spaces for adults-only to kid friendly zones and even wonderful spaces where the entire family could be as one. This is a key reason why, cruising is perfect when catering for a multi-generational family.

  • Activities for Kids
    • Meet the Captain
    • Hit Australia’s longest water slides on a cruise ship
    • Laser tag
    • Hit the dedicated Lego Play zone
    • Swim in the pool or splash park
    • Watch a movie together on the deck as a family
    • Engage in the deck games (golf putting, table tennis, quoits and more)
    • Have an ice-cream at the ice-cream shop
    • Watch the TC & Skipper’s Island Adventure production show

pacific dawn

pacific dawn

  • Activities for Adults
    • Book in for a relaxing spa treatment
    • Take in one of the night time shows
    • Sit back and listen to the live music
    • Engage in a trivia or game show
    • Head to the casino
    • Join in on a mixology class
    • Try your hand at a game of BINGO
    • Indulge in some retail therapy
    • Hit the on board gym
    • Grab a book from the library and find the perfect spot on desk

pacific day spa

pacific dawn

pacific dawn cruises australia

pacific dawn casino

Reason #6 – The Amazing Food – Not having to cook for 4 days was legendary! Even better was that I didn’t have to wash the dishes. And added bonus, the food on the Pacific Dawn was delicious and always left me counting down the minutes to my next meal.

What sets P&O Cruises Australia apart from other cruise lines is their commitment to innovative, fresh and fantastic food – otherwise known as P&O’s Food Revolution. On the Pacific Dawn the food options were endless and include:

  • The Pantry – if you’re looking for an all you can eat buffet with a twist then you want to head here. The Pantry is all about providing a one stop shop for multiple eateries in one location. You can choose from:
    • The Curry House – a smorgasbord of classic curry flavours and authentic dishes.
    • Mexicana – Mexican tacos filled with favorites like homemade salsas and pickles, chili, guacamole, fresh lime and cheese.
    • Hook’s Fish and Chips – serving up crispy battered fish and hot chips with the perfect amount of crunch.
    • Stix – stir-fries, sizzling noodles and soups.
    • Kettle and Bun – freshly baked bread, expertly crafted sandwiches, great tasting salads and mouth-watering soups.
    • Sugar Bar – sweet selection of perfectly baked cakes, flaky buttery pastries and delightful individual desserts.
    • Fat Cow – serving up the finest cuts of meat possible and served with daily vegetables.
    • Nic and Toni’s – Mediterranean dining options with fresh seafood and pasta dishes.
    • Mcgregors Garden – serving up a selection of fresh salads that change daily.
  • The Grill – Eat alfresco on top deck where the vibe is casual and the meals are mouth-watering.
  • Waterfront Restaurant – with over 40 à la carte menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this modern Australian restaurant serves up a sophisticated selection of both classic dishes and cutting edge cuisine. Plus you can keep the kids happy with their mini menu.
  • Shell & Bones – the newest Australian seafood dining experience at sea. Enjoy a bounty of sumptuous seafood, featuring crab from Queensland or blue mussels from South Australia. Not into seafood, don’t worry because you can choose from a variety of short ribs, beef, roasted chicken and more.
  • Salt Grill by Luke Mangan – the first Australian celebrity chef restaurant at sea – Salt grill by Luke Mangan. Luke only uses the freshest and finest Australian ingredients and turns this into signature dishes like the crab omelet, enoki mushroom salad with miso broth, and the famous liquorice parfait with lime syrup.
  • Chef’s Table – the most exclusive dinner party on the ship. Join the Executive Chef for a degustation dining experience you won’t forget!
  • Multiple Cafes – needing your daily caffeine fix or sweet treat then head to one of the local cafes.

pacific dawn

pacific dawn

pacific dawn shell and bones

shell and bones pacific dawn

the pantry pacific dawn

Reason #5 P&O Edge Adventure Park – P&O Edge is all about getting you out of your comfort zone, so if you’re up for some adrenalin focused activities then you’ll want to check P&O Edge Adventure Park out.

It’s Australia’s largest adventure park at sea and let me tell you, it’s AMAZING! If going for a spin on the flying fox, walking the plank, rock climbing and more tickle your fancy, then you need to check out these action packed activities.

pacific dawn

pacific dawn

p&O pacific dawn

Reason #4 Australian Wildest and Longest Waterslides on a Cruise – when we found out there were waterslides on the Pacific Dawn, we were immediately ready to unleash our inner child and head down one of the waterslides.

What we really liked is that were two waterslides we could go down. The first slide was transparent so that spectators could watch us shoot through its twists and turns, while the other slide was multi-coloured, with music and lights pumping through which gave us a super high impact ride from start to finish.

And while you have your swimmers on, make sure to hit the pool.

P&O pacific dawn

pacific dawn cruise ship

pacific dawn

Reason #3 Free Kids Club – My husband and I don’t get a lot of time to be adults, let alone have some one on one time with each other, so when I found out there was a Kids Club on P&O Cruises I was fist pumping the air with excitement.

P&O Cruises Australia have worked really hard at creating fun kids clubs for different age brackets to ensure that all family members have a great time at sea. The four kids clubs are:

  • Turtle Cove (2-6 years of age)
  • Shark Shack (7-10 years of age)
  • HQ (11-14 years of age)
  • HQ+ (15-17 years of age)

All kids clubs are open until late each day, including port days. In addition, you can pay a nominal fee for a babysitter to watch your kids from 10:30pm-1:00am, which means when cruising with P&O it can be date night, every night.

pacific dawn kids club

pacific dawn kids club

pacific dawn kids club

Reason #2 The Excellent Value/Price – I’ve travelled to a lot of places with our family, but we’ve never been on a cruise together. However, after being on P&O Pacific Dawn it’s easy to see the value you get from not only being in one spot, spending quality time with your family, but also how cost effective it is to go on a Australian family cruise.

With accommodation, meals, activities, childcare and transportation between different destinations all included into one set price, clearly cruising provides bang for your buck. Even better, P&O Cruises have offers through out the year where children under 18 get to travel for free when they share a cabin with two paying adults.

Reason #1 Creating life long memories – I know that in our busy day to day life when we’re not on holiday, it leaves me very little time to truly connect with my family. Between trying to juggle school drop off and pick up, to homework, extracurricular activities, work and running our Finlee and Me business etc it truly is a constant struggle. However, I’ll forever be grateful to P&O Cruises for creating a magical holiday experience providing my family and I an opportunity to create life long childhood memories.

finlee and me

View my short video of P&O Pacific Dawn below:

The Pacific Dawn is a floating resort filled with endless activities for every family member. From water slides, to swimming pools, the flying fox, rock climbing, nightly shows, the day spa and mojitos that flow like the Rio Grande; you can do as much as you want or as little as you want.

If you’re wanting to experience an unforgettable family holiday where memories are created and embedded forever, then check out the wonderful selection of cruises offered by P&O Cruises Australia.

What cruise destination would you like to take your family on, let me know in the comments below?

Angela xx from Finlee and Me

Angela is an author, entrepreneur, blogger, mental health clinician and most importantly a mother. She explores various topics related to parenting/children on her blog and also in her three books: 30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves, 30 Days, 30 Ways for Connecting with Your Child and Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids.

Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and her website Finlee and Me.

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#1 Tip for Getting Kids to Brush Their Teeth https://www.finleeandme.com.au/1-tip-for-getting-kids-to-brush-their-teeth/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/1-tip-for-getting-kids-to-brush-their-teeth/#respond Sun, 23 Apr 2017 07:19:22 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=15815 A collaboration between Finlee and Me & Philips Sonicare When I was growing up, I was not a massive fan of brushing my teeth. In

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getting kids to brush their teeth

A collaboration between Finlee and Me & Philips Sonicare

When I was growing up, I was not a massive fan of brushing my teeth. In fact, I hated it. There was something about the taste of toothpaste that made me gag every single day, to the point I would almost vomit. I clearly remember that I would try and come up with the cleverest ways to get out of brushing my teeth, but nothing ever worked. Now that the shoe is on the other foot and I have two kids (Finlee and Chloe) who also don’t like brushing their teething, it’s a challenge to find something that works consistently and doesn’t end in tears. However, this all changed late last week when I received the Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush to test out.

#1 Tip for Getting Kids to Brush Their Teeth with Philips Sonicare for Kids Toothbrush

As a parent, I am always looking for new parenting strategies that will make my life easier. Not to mention all children are different, so what works for one child doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for all children. So, when I heard that Philips has partnered with leading child psychologist, academic and author Collett Smart to explore how gaming can reinforce positive behaviours and habits in the lives of kids I immediately wanted to know more.

You might be thinking how the heck can gaming lead to positive behaviours and habits… let me explain.

Philips’s Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush is one of Australia’s first Bluetooth Connected Toothbrush for Kids. This super cool toothbrush, uses interactive gaming technology to encourage kids to brush their teeth via their specifically designed app. By using different games via the mobile app your kids will get the chance to enter a magical world with a character called Sparkly. Your kids will help Sparkly to brush his teeth while at the same brushing their own teeth for 2 minutes; once in the morning and once at night.

How to Use Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush

, Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush

Chloe and I were super excited to test out her new toothbrush however, when it comes to having to put things together, connect with Bluetooth I always slightly freak out as I worry I won’t know what the heck I’m doing. However, I can promise you this process is SUPER simple as you’ll see below.

Step 1: Take everything out of the box.

Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush

Step 2: Download the Philips Sonicare for Kids App on your IPAD or mobile device.

Step 3: Have your little one pick from 1 of 8 interchangeable stickers that help to customise your new toothbrush.

electric toothbrush for kids

Step 4: Take a picture of your cute kid just for the fun of it.

Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush

Step 5: Get brushing with your Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush.

Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush

Not often am I stunned or get the WOW factor, but this toothbrush and app is brilliant. The app talked with Chloe through the entire 2-minute process, while at the same time was visually showing her where she should be brushing her teeth to get rid of the germs. Once the 2 minutes was completed, a magical gift appeared that she had to open for successfully brushing her teeth; she was so excited. And I was fist pumping the air (and have been over the last week) with how easy it’s been getting kids to brush their teeth like Chloe.

Check out my Facebook Live Video where I give you an in-depth view of how this product works and how easy it is getting kids to brush their teeth from start to finish.

As parents, we know how important it is for us to help our kids combat tooth decay, but equally develop positive, life-long habits when it comes to brushing their teeth. So if getting kids to brush their teeth in your home is a struggle I would strongly encourage you to explore purchasing a Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush as it will change the way your kids brush their teeth, while at the same restoring calm to your night time routine because kids are now excited to brush their teeth vs dreading brushing their teeth.

Love to all,

Angela xx from Finlee and Me

Angela is an author, entrepreneur, blogger, mental health clinician and most importantly a mother. She explores various topics related to parenting/children on her blog and also in her three books: 30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves, 30 Days, 30 Ways for Connecting with Your Child and Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids.

Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and her website Finlee and Me.

Philips Sonicare for Kids Connected Toothbrush

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Motherhood: Expectations vs. Reality https://www.finleeandme.com.au/motherhood-expectations-vs-reality/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/motherhood-expectations-vs-reality/#respond Tue, 18 Apr 2017 02:58:20 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=15937 Motherhood Expectations vs. Reality When you become a new mother, a whole new world is thrown upon you. You are immersed in a world of

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motherhood expectations

Motherhood Expectations vs. Reality

When you become a new mother, a whole new world is thrown upon you. You are immersed in a world of dirty nappies, constant feeding and nights of endless sleep deprivation. It is only after you become a new mum that you realise you had all these underlying expectations of what motherhood would be like. Needless to say that, unfortunately, the reality does not quite live up to them.

expectations of motherhood

Examples of New Motherhood Expectations versus Reality

Expectation #1: My birth will go smoothly and I’ll have no recollection of it afterwards.

Reality: You’ll have at least on intervention during the birth (if not more), your birth plan will most likely go out the window, and you’ll basically remember everything (but it’ll be worth it!).

Expectation #2: You will absolutely fall in love with and adore you baby straight away.

Reality: You’ll be too exhausted to know what’s going on and will most likely be wondering who the (very cute) alien-looking tiny human is.

Expectation #3: You’ll be so loved up that the complete life change won’t worry you.

Reality: You’ll be exhausted. Your boobs will hurt. You will cry. All of this is normal, and doesn’t reflect your level of love for baby whatsoever!

Expectation #4: Breastfeeding will be an amazing bonding experience.

Reality: It can be painful, exhausting and very time consuming. Plus everyone will see your boobs.

Expectation #5: The baby will be perfect and I’ll spend every day drinking coffees at cafes while my bub sleeps.

Reality: They will scream and cry the whole time. You will however drink infinite amounts of coffee – that WILL happen!

Expectation #6: My baby will sleep through the night by 6 months and will ALWAYS sleep through the night (every night).

Reality: Even if they DO sleep through the night, every night is NOT guaranteed and there will always be nights where you have to get up.

Expectation #7: Feeding my baby will be simple and easy – they need to feed right?

Reality: Nope. Feeding is not easy. Sometimes baby will reject the food. Sometimes they won’t latch on properly. Sometimes it will hurt. Sometimes baby will cry. Sometimes you will cry. And then when you get to solids, it’s a WHOOOOOOLE other ball game.

Expectation #8: There’ll always be a reason why baby is upset, and I’ll know what it is.

Reality: WHO KNOWS?! They cry when they’re hungry, full, tired, overtired, have a full nappy, when they are hot, cold, feel sick, have a “wonder week” or because they just feel like it.

Coping with the Reality of Motherhood

While these realities are funny in hindsight, at the time they can be stressful, exhausting and upsetting. What was supposed to be a loving, nurturing, monumental occasion can be downright deflating. So how can new mothers cope with these tensions to their new life?

  • Self Care: It is a word you will hear a lot of when becoming a new mum, but it is important. Taking time out for yourself as a mum will help you to relax, re-energise and get ready for what baby will throw at you (literally!). A bath, a walk around the block, or a quick Maccas drive-thru (yes, this was me – the Oreo McFlurry was totally worth it!) can give your mind a break from the endlessness of baby life and remind yourself that you are a person outside of the baby.
  • Mum friends: Connecting with a great group of mum friends can help you to share in the highs and lows of motherhood, and will help you to laugh over the realities of motherhood that none of you were quite expecting. Join your local mother’s group, playgroup, mums + bubs fitness class, local Babes + Picnics group, or library baby session.
  • Extended support network: Having family and friends come over to cuddle baby, bring over meals or wash the dishes (yes I had a lovely friend do this!) can really help as you adjust to this new transition in life. It really makes the realities of motherhood a lot more bearable and, as time goes on, enjoyable!
  • When all else fails… Endless amounts of caffeine (or if you aren’t breastfeeding, Wine!)

motherhood expectations

How did you cope with the realities of motherhood? Where they different to your motherhood expectations?

Grab your free set of positive affirmations below and pop around the house – this constant positive reminder will help fill your cup with happiness and positivity.

Wishing you all a wonderful day and if you’re struggling with your own motherhood expectations or looking for arts and craft ideas for your kids head over to the Finlee and Me blog as it’s filled with a variety of craft ideas, recipes, mental health related articles and more.

About the Author

Fi Morrison is a first-time mum to her beautiful, 5-month old baby boy. She is a trained primary school teacher and a (new) small-business owner. Fi blogs over at Mumma Morrison about all things motherhood-related, particularly life as a new mum, with recipes and activities for babies and kids coming soon to her (newly updated) blog.

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Amazing Sydney Beach Accommodation at Novotel Brighton Beach https://www.finleeandme.com.au/amazing-sydney-beach-accommodation-at-novotel-brighton-beach/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/amazing-sydney-beach-accommodation-at-novotel-brighton-beach/#respond Mon, 10 Apr 2017 22:06:53 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=15885 A collaboration between Finlee and Me and Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach It’s not often I get to travel without my family. Come to think about

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novotel sydney brighton beach

A collaboration between Finlee and Me and Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach

It’s not often I get to travel without my family. Come to think about it, it’s not often in the last 7 years of being a mother that I’ve gotten to sleep in my own bed, without kids kicking me and then getting to sleep in past 5am. Needless to say, I was super excited to be traveling to Sydney on my own. Even better, I was looking forward to getting away from the heart of the Sydney CBD and heading to the beachside suburb of Brighton-Le-Sands where I would get to review one of the best Sydney beach accommodation options in the area; Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach.

Sydney Beach Accommodation at Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach

I arrived Sydney and hopped into my Uber to make the 4km trip to the hotel. While I was in the Uber, I quickly text my hubby to check on the kids (even when I’m away from them, they’re constantly on my mind) and put the phone away. I took a second to just be in the moment. No distractions. Just me, the Uber driver and the fresh, salty smell of the ocean; I knew I was getting closer to Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach.

I arrived the hotel, checked in and headed to my room. I’m not going to lie about it, but I quickly ordered room service, got my p.j.’s on, turned on the TV and proceeded to eat my room service uninterrupted; it was AWESOME. I should elaborate, the food, the fact I was eating uninterrupted and my comfy bed was AWESOME! I then snuggled into my soft, cozy king size bed and slept. And slept. And slept.

novotel sydney brighton beach

What I like about the Sydney beach accommodation from Novotel Brighton Beach is that the hotel features 296 hotel rooms, most with stunning views of the Sydney CBD and beautiful Botany Bay.

Accommodation options vary depending on your needs, but they can offer:

  • King, Queen and Twin bedrooms or their most popular option is the Bayview Suite which has a separate lounge, office area and is perfect for the family needing additional living space or the business traveller needing space to work.

In addition, all rooms have access to wireless broadband Internet, flat screen TV’s, balconies and work desks.

novotel sydney brighton beach

Family Accommodation Options at Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach

Even though I wasn’t traveling this time with Finlee and Chloe, I spoke with the staff at Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach to confirm that they too offer the new Family&Novotel initiative that I found out about when I was staying at the Novotel at Surfers Paradise last school holidays. The staff confirmed that all Novotel’s honor the Family&Novotel offer.

The Family&Novotel offer was originally launched in 2016 because Novotel wanted to assure Australian families that traveling in Australia is just as fun, convenient and economical than traveling overseas. Novotel has taken the lead in family friendly hotels with a clear focus by creating your home away from home. They have strategically created a way so that while on holidays families are truly taken care of, some of the benefits are things such as but not limited to:

  1. Two children up to age 16 stay free when sharing their parents’ room
  2. Free breakfast for children under 16
  3. Welcome gift for children
  4. Complimentary cartoon network
  5. Extended check-out till 2pm on Sundays
  6. Special equipment for babies available to parents (bottle warmers, change tables etc) making it easier for them to travel with less luggage
  7. A balanced and nutritious menu designed specifically for children

As a parent who is on a budget; this is a massive win.

Here were our welcome gifts we received for Finlee and Chloe when we arrived the Novotel Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast.

novotel kid friendly hotel surfers paradise

Dining at Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach and Surrounding Areas

One will not go hungry when staying at the Novotel Brighton Beach. The Baygarden Restaurant has the ultimate all you can eat breakfast buffet and if you love coffee they have you covered. With beautiful views of the ocean it was hard to focus on eating when all I wanted to do was get outside.

They also have a great a la carte menu for lunch and dinner that provides a variety of different options and if you happen to be there on the weekend make sure to dig in to their sumptuous seafood buffet.

For those travelling with kids, they even have a special children’s menu, which will keep everyone happy.

novotel brighton beach

novotel sydney brighton beach

When travelling, one of the things I love to do is immerse myself within the local community. Every community in the world has different sights, sounds and food. Oh did I mention I love food?

After walking just 3 short blocks around the community, and smelling the most heavenly smells, I knew why Brighton-Le-Sands is the hub of multicultural cuisine. The different food combinations available within a few minutes from Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach include:

  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Thai
  • French
  • Seafood

This is a photo of my friend and I getting stuck into a Greek buffet of deliciousness!

sydney beach accommodation

Things to Do for Kids in Brighton-Le-Sands and Surrounding Areas

As I mentioned above, I wasn’t travelling with Finlee and Chloe, but as a parenting blogger I wanted to showcase whats on offer in the area, so if you are considering a trip to Sydney you can see why staying away from the busy Sydney CBD is appealing.

My kids love being outdoors and connecting with nature and as a result Brighton-Le-Sands would be the perfect spot for them to do just that. Brighton-Le-Sands is located right on the crystal clear waters of Botany Bay and will provide your family with endless hours of outdoor fun. From bike tracks, sand castle building, swimming in the ocean, playing at the playground and watching the planes take off from the airport, I can promise that you should not hear the words “I’m bored” at anytime.

In addition to Brighton-Le-Sands attractions, the Sydney CBD is only a short drive away or accessible via public transport options. Sydney also has some brilliant attractions for families such as:

  • Taronga Zoo
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Harbour Bridge
  • Sydney Aquarium
  • Moore Park
  • Wild Life Zoo
  • Sydney Tower
  • Chinese Garden of Friendship

Between spending your days at the beach, or heading into Sydney for a day trip you’re bound to have an amazing family holiday.

Conclusion on Sydney Beach Accommodation by Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach

This time travelling to Sydney I was excited to get away from the city and experience something different. I was delighted that I could take my shoes off and dip my toes into the sea, stroll the streets without bumping into a ton of people and enjoy my surroundings without the constant busyness that Sydney has.

The next time I travel to Sydney with my kids, we’ll be staying in the suburb of Brighton-Le-Sands because it’s a community made for children, but we still have the option to go into Sydney for day trips and explore. In addition, we’ll have the best Sydney beach accommodation available from Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach to lay our heads, knowing that it will provide my family with everything we need while travelling away from our home.

Love to all,

Angela xx from Finlee and Me

Angela is an author, entrepreneur, blogger, mental health clinician and most importantly a mother. She explores various topics related to parenting/children on her blog and also in her three books: 30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves, 30 Days, 30 Ways for Connecting with Your Child and Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids.

Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and her website Finlee and Me.

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Simple Chocolate Easter Bark https://www.finleeandme.com.au/simple-chocolate-easter-bark/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/simple-chocolate-easter-bark/#respond Sun, 09 Apr 2017 09:18:32 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=15847 I love everything chocolate and I’ve been wanting to test run making Easter bark for the last few years. So this year, I’ve been on

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easter bark

I love everything chocolate and I’ve been wanting to test run making Easter bark for the last few years. So this year, I’ve been on a mission to figure out to make a simple Easter bark recipe that I could share with my Finlee and Me community. Let me give you the hot tip, I’ve figured it out (after some inspiration from Samantha at Five Heart Home) and you’re going to love it. Why you ask? Because when you combine pretzels and chocolate it equals the most irresistible combo.

Disclosure – consuming this amazing Easter dessert may contribute to gaining a third ass and I can not be held responsible for this; ha ha.

Ingredients Needed to Make Easter Bark

What I love about making this recipe is that you don’t need to buy a ton of ingredients.

  • 34o grams of milk chocolate chips
  • 200 grams of white chocolate chips
  • 250 grams of Cadbury Mini Eggs (hard shell)
  • Salted pretzels (any kind will work)
  • Sprinkles that work with the Easter theme
  • Mini marshmallows

How to Make Easter Bark

As a mother, I need recipes that are simple and not going to take too much time. This is the perfect recipe for any busy mother because it takes no time at all to make.

chocolate easter bark

Step 1 – Get everything prepared prior to melting chocolate because you’ll need to act fast once; it’s melted. What I’ve found works best is to pour your main ingredients into microwave-safe bowls like above, take the sprinkles lid off, have the marshmallow bag open and line your baking sheet with paper.


Step 2 – Pop the milk chocolate chips into the microwave for 30 seconds; stir well and then microwave for another 30 seconds. Keep doing this until all chocolate is melted.  Then do the same for the white chocolate chips.

PLEASE NOTE – every microwave will vary so this is why I only microwave for 30 seconds at a time in order to avoid burning the chocolate.


Step 3 – First Pour 3/4 of the melted milk chocolate onto your lined backing sheet and spread into a thin layer (making a rectangle). Once your milk chocolate layer is completed, place a spoonfuls of melted white chocolate chips on top of the milk chocolate layer.

chocolate easter bark


Step 4 – Take a toothpick and start to swirl the milk chocolate chips and the white chocolate chips together.   


Step 5 – You’ll need to act fast for this step so that the chocolate doesn’t harden. Arrange your choice of pretzels on top of the swirled chocolate. Next place your Cadbury Mini Eggs where ever you like. Then place your mini marshmallows where there are any left over gaps and last sprinkle your sprinkles all over the chocolate.

easter bark


Step 6 – Place your chocolate into the refrigerator and let set for at least 60 minutes.

Step 7 – Take out of refrigerator and slice into pieces. I personally run my knife under hot water to make it easier to cut.

Step 8 – Due to the nature of chocolate service immediately or you risk the chocolate melting if sitting out for long periods of time. If you don’t eat all the bark at once, then simply store in a sealed container and pop back into the refrigerator.

I hope your family loves this recipes as much as our family now does. We’re so excited to have found a new family tradition that we’ll be doing for years to come.

From my family to yours, Happy Easter.

Love to all,

Angela xx from Finlee and Me

Angela is an author, entrepreneur, blogger, mental health clinician and most importantly a mother. She explores various topics related to parenting/children on her blog and also in her three books: 30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves, 30 Days, 30 Ways for Connecting with Your Child and Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids.

Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and her website Finlee and Me.

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How to Make Homemade Stamps for Kids https://www.finleeandme.com.au/how-to-make-homemade-stamps-for-kids/ https://www.finleeandme.com.au/how-to-make-homemade-stamps-for-kids/#respond Thu, 06 Apr 2017 10:43:53 +0000 https://www.finleeandme.com.au/?p=15821 Making homemade stamps for kids is super easy when you can simply use things you have around the house; making it an awesome fun craft

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Making homemade stamps for kids with apples, Finlee and Me

Making homemade stamps for kids is super easy when you can simply use things you have around the house; making it an awesome fun craft activity. In this instance, Chloe (my 4 year old) and I decided to use an apple and create a pumpkin painting. This would be a great kids activity to do near Halloween or you could just make the stamp again when it is closer and do some Halloween decorating.

Materials Needed to Make Homemade Stamps for Kids

With our apple, Chloe and I decided that when it was cut in half it reminded us of a pumpkin so we chose our paint colours to match that and what better way than to jazz up a pumpkin than with eyes, a smiley face and some glitter.

Materials needed to make homemade stamps for kids with Finlee and Me

  • Apple or your choice of fruit or vegetable
  • Paint brush
  • Acrylic paint – orange and green
  • Paint pallet (optional)
  • Knife
  • Glitter
  • Eyes
  • White paper/butcher paper
  • Paint smock (optional)
  • Glue stick if your eyes don’t have a self-adhesive back
  • Black marker

Instructions to Make Homemade Stamps with Apples

How to make homemade stamps for kids with Finlee and Me

Step 1 –  Cut your apple carefully in half. Depending on your child’s age it may be best if the adult does this. Then using the paint brush and your orange paint apply the paint to the apple.

Making homemade stamps with Finlee and Me

Step 2 – Then press the apple painted side down onto the paper. Depending on how much pressure and paint applied will depend on what sort of finish you get. You should be able to do multiple presses before repainting your apple normally.

Making stamps with fruit and vegetables with Finlee and Me

Step 3 – Using the green paint you can paint the pumpkin stem on. You could either use a paintbrush or your finger. The choice is yours!

Homemade stamps for kids with Finlee and MeStep 4 – Before the paint dries sprinkle some glitter on if you wish and then add your eyes. Once the paint has dried you can draw on your smiley face and your pumpkin paintings are finished.

The Benefits of Making Homemade Stamps for Kids with Fruit and Vegetables

Creating with your kids is a great fun way for them to learn and expand their imagination. This fun craft activity is great for colour recognition as well as their imagination as you discuss the shapes and patterns your pumpkin apple stamps create. You could use the opportunity to talk about different emotions to depending on your child’s age. What does happy look like, sad, angry, etc and how do they make you feel?

Other foods you can also use to make homemade stamps are potatoes, carrots and celery stalks and other things you can make are greeting cards, gift bags, or even decorate fabric bags and t-shirts. If you do decorate fabric items though just make sure you use fabric paint and follow the directions so if you need to wash them it lasts.

So what awesome homemade stamps have you made with your kids? We’d love to hear what fruits and vegetables you used and send us some pictures of what you made or decorated.

Love to all,

Angela xx from Finlee and Me

Angela is an author, entrepreneur, blogger, mental health clinician and most importantly a mother. She explores various topics related to parenting/children on her blog and also in her three books: 30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves, 30 Days, 30 Ways for Connecting with Your Child and Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids.
Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and her website Finlee and Me.

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