North Pole Post

Christmas is such a magical time of year. As a mama I love experiencing the festive season with my son. We enjoy slowing down in December, baking gingerbread, singing Jingle Bells and reading Tosca’s Christmas for the 100th time! I’m sharing the magic of receiving a personalised letter from Santa with my new product, North Pole Post.

The North Pole Post elves (aka me!) work with Santa to type a personalised letter, on official letterhead of course. Printed on heavyweight parchment paper, each letter is individually packed by a Post Elf whose name is included on the letter. Also Santa gets quite hungry writing letters, so the number of biscuits he’s eaten while writing the letter is also included!

Each letter is personalised with Santa mentioning how proud he is of your child’s achievement that year, like learning the guitar. It’s then packed inside a cream envelope and stamped with the North Pole Post seal. Two festive stamps are printed on the envelope and it’s finished with a real or make believe address. In addition, you can choose your letter to be from Santa Claus, Papa Noël or Father Christmas.

Harry is writing his letter to Santa this week and I can’t wait to create his personalised letter! My hope is that North Pole Post will add a little magic and wonder to your child’s festive season.

You can find out more about North Pole Post and your personalised letter from Santa here.

Jolly Mail

At the last market I overheard lots of people say ‘I don’t send Christmas cards anymore’ because: ‘they are too expensive’, ‘postage costs too much’ and ‘I just don’t have time’ to name a few of the reasons why. And this just made me sad. There is so much joy to be found writing a card to a loved one and receiving an unexpected letter – that isn’t a bill – in the post can brighten your day.

I decided to take action and the idea of a free printable Christmas card came to mind. So I’ve created Jolly Mail, which is a collection of free Christmas cards on my website. You simply download the card, print it at home, write a lovely message and pop it in the post. And as a bonus the cards are black and white so perfect for colouring-in, which I thought would be a fun activity to do with little ones!

My hope through Jolly Mail is simple, to spread Christmas cheer. The festive season can be so busy with gift buying and end-of-year activities that we forget to stop and reflect on who we are thankful for that year. Spending a few minutes writing a card to say thank you to your child’s teacher, your mum or the lovely barista who makes your coffee can be such a powerful act of kindness.

You can start sending Jolly Mail now, with two cute Christmas cards available. I would so love it if you would share Jolly Mail with your friends and family, and tag me I’m @wordfindersclub on Instagram.

Three Happiful Moments

I’m a mother who journals with her child. I never thought I would be. But what I’ve found this year with Harry starting school is time is such a precious gift and we needed to ‘make’ time in the day to spend together.

By time I don’t mean the morning rush or driving home after school, but slow and intentional time where we can really connect. It was this need for connection in our busy day that became my purpose to create the Happiful Journal.

I thought I would share three happy moments we’ve had over the past few months using the Happiful Journal.

One of the activity ideas in the journal is stargazing, so one night we journaled by starlight. We set up a picnic rug in the backyard, filled in the daily journal page and lay back looking at the stars. Harry shared how he felt proud about swimming under water at his lesson that day.

After journaling one night Harry said to me ‘you make me so happy, Mama’. So sweet! I’ve noticed over the past few months of regular journal time, Harry can express and identify his emotions more freely.

Another night, the daily prompt was ‘I was brave today when I’ and Harry said ‘I rode my bike down the hill’. This got us chatting about how bravery isn’t always climbing Mount Everest or jumping out of a plane. But can be those simple, everyday moments that can nudge you outside your comfort zone.

What I’ve come to realise having a now six-year-old is the days are short with our little ones. The time will whiz past in a blur of school drop offs, birthday parties and bedtimes. So I decided to slow down and take 10 to 15 minutes each day with the Happiful Journal, and it has so enriched our days.

What special rituals or routines do you have with your little ones? I would love to hear. Also you can find out more about my Happiful Journal here.

Memory match and making memories

I’ve been a long term fan of My Little Set so when Jasmine asked if I would like to collaborate on a memory match set, I jumped at the chance! I’m so excited to share our launch range with you, which includes two sets – Plant Pals and Space Friends.

The sets started with me drawing the plants and space characters on my iPad. Then each of my illustrations were hand transferred (not stamped!) by Jasmine onto timber discs to make the memory match set. And they come packaged in the cutest cotton drawstring bag.

We played memory match with both sets on the weekend and Harry loved it, though he did like to cheat and turn over more than two discs! There was some friendly competition and Harry declared himself the winner. After we finished playing, Harry loaded the discs onto his toy truck to pack up.

“It really was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and brought back childhood memories of playing board games.”

The afternoon playing memory match reminded me how important it is to create memories with Harry. It’s these everyday, in between moments at home that are so special, but can be easily overlooked. So we are planning to have regular family board game nights/afternoons, and hopefully I’ll be the winner next time!

What was the last board game you played?  I would love to hear!

Do you journal with your kids?

A few weeks ago, I started journaling with Harry, where each night before bed we snuggle under the covers and I ask him about his day, what emotions he felt and what the weather was like. As a mama who experienced post-natal depression, it’s important for me to share with Harry ways to cultivate a positive mindset, understand his feelings and find gratitude in everyday moments. So, when I went looking for a journal and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I decided to make it!

Journal time has now become a special moment in our daily routine, where we can wind down and check in with each other. Each day the journal includes the prompt ‘I felt’ and Harry can circle his emotion that day or draw his own. One night he circled angry, so I asked ‘what made you feel angry today?’ Harry responded with ‘an imaginary duck, ate one of my imaginary chicks.’

I continued to ask Harry why this made him angry and it was such a funny conversation that unearthed a small moment in his day that I might never have heard about if not for journaling with him. My hope through our journal time is to create a safe and comforting space for Harry to share his day, whether it be excitement and happiness or wobbly moments of sadness or feeling lonely.

“And after a long day of five-year-old tantrums and picky eating, when Harry asks’ Mama, is it journal time?’ my heart fills with joy. His journal is a safe port to come home to in calm or stormy seas and it’s a privilege as his mother to be guiding him on his journey.”

I’ve had inquiries from people wanting to use this journal with their kiddos, so I’ve made the Happiful Journal, a print-at-home gratitude journal! Through using the journal with Harry I’ve tested and changed things. I’ve made each journal page a consistent layout but unique with different emotions, questions and illustrations.

My 98 page ebook Happiful Journal is now in shop and is available in colour and monochrome. 10% of the sale is donated to Kids Helpline.

What are your small joys?

When I’m feeling out of sorts I write down or draw my small joys, the little everyday things that bring me happiness.  I often add to my list and read through it when I need a pick me up. They remind me of all the wonderful things that fill me with joy. 

After sharing my small joys illustration on Instagram people commented and theirs included “eating popcorn”, “a hug from my boys”, “listening to a podcast”, “the first cup of coffee in the morning” and “a warm bath”. How beautiful are these!

A few of mine are:

  • crunchy Autumn leaves
  • my grandma’s umbrella, it reminds of spending the day with her as a child and walking in the rain with her holding the umbrella so I didn’t get wet
  • putting on a cosy jumper in winter
  • reading your favourite childhood book with Harry snuggled on my lap
  • homemade biscuits
  • a letter from a friend in the post
  • a fresh page in a journal or sketchbook to be filled with ideas and drawings
  • Harry’s laugh
  • rain on the roof when I’m snuggled up in bed
  • a bath that is just a bit too hot
  • a pot of peppermint tea
  • fresh sheets on my bed

What are yours? I would love to hear! Also going eating fresh strawberries in summer!

Three tips for making time to fill your cup

Making time to fill your cup. I’m sharing a few ways I’ve prioritised my creativity by making drawing a daily habit.

Allocating a set time each day and making it a habit

For me, drawing fills my cup and makes me feel like me. This year I’ve allocated 20 minutes a day to just draw for fun. This drawing time it isn’t for a commission or to make a product for my shop, it’s just for me.

Making drawing part of my daily routine has freed me up creatively, taken the pressure off and loosened my grip on perfectionism. However, where the real magic has happened is that by giving myself this allocated space I’ve leaned into my thoughts and feeling, and been able to draw new illustrations.

“I honestly don’t think this creativity would have surfaced if I didn’t show up every day, pencil in hand and just draw what was on my mind. “

Some days I can fit in 20 minutes while other days its 2 hours. Some days I don’t feel like it and think everything I draw is terrible, but it’s funny the next day when I look at these sketches I find a thread of an idea that inspires me.

How did I find the time?

I made the conscious decision to allocate time in the evening after Harry is in bed to draw. I traded scrolling through Instagram, watching TV, folding laundry, reading or working on my shop for drawing. I started small with 20 minutes, but it has grown. I actually now find that if I’ve got caught up doing other things in the evening, that I crave my time to draw.

What I’ve realised is that when I’m drawing I’m totally present and not thinking about anything else and that its my downtime. Drawing fills my cup and gives me so much joy that I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not binge watching the latest TV show or missing out on that Instagram post. Though side not, I still make time for a bit of Netflix each week, hello Queer Eye!

How to find your creativity

What I would like to say is this. Make your creativity a priority in your self-care tool box. While drawing is how I like to create,  yours could be cooking, writing, photography, knitting or even dancing. And if you’re not sure what sparks your creativity think about what you liked to do as a child. It was asking myself this question three years ago that opened the door to me drawing again.

Follow me on Instagram and stories to see behind the scenes and inside my sketchbook. And if you sign up to my newsletter I’ll send you my ‘finding your creativity’ worksheet.

Free Printable Calendar and Weekly Planner

One of my goals for 2019 is to be organised and to find joy in the everyday. So I set myself the goal of creating a monthly calendar and weekly planner, which are available as free printables here for you to print at home. Each month includes an illustration, for February its my ‘Fresh Starts’ drawing and I release the new calendar in my monthly newsletter and on Instagram.

“I include fun weekly prompts to find the small joys in everyday like sitting outside at lunchtime, or adventures like visiting your local Farmers Market.”

I also created a free weekly planner as I just couldn’t find one I liked. I’ve divided each day into morning, afternoon and evening I wanted this structure is to help me with time blocking my tasks. Additionally, each week there is space to write things you want to let go of, would like to try, explore or nurture  and to do’s. You can include priorities like letting go of mum guilt and self doubt, to trying a new pasta dish, exploring an art gallery and nurturing your love of drawing by carving out 5 minutes a day to draw.

These free printables are available in formatted to A4 and US Legal sized paper here. I love using my calendar and weekly planner and I hope you do to! So head across to grab yours and remember to tag me on social in photos you take, I would love to them in homes!

To receive updates on next months free printable calendar and new resources I create, sign up to my monthly newsletter.

Drawing is my therapy

Drawing is my therapy. I find when I put pencil to paper (or Apple Pen to iPad) my mind quiets and I can focus just on the blank page in front of me. There is a feeling of calm that washes over me as my ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions are turned into illustrations and words.

Over the past month I’ve felt a strong pull to draw and get my ideas and thoughts ‘out of my head’ and onto the page. It’s hard to describe in words, but once they are on the page I can look objectively at the feelings and gain new insights. I thought I would share a few of my recent illustrations from my sketchbook and the story behind them.

The idea for this illustration began with my feelings around being my own cheerleader and not searching for external validation on social media for my art. I thought to help me visualise my cheerleaders and make them more real in my mind I would draw them. I’m actually going to print my cheerleader illustration out to have in my office as a daily reminder that I can cheer myself on!

My heart
An illustration about how my heart is feeling over the past few weeks. My son is starting school for the first time and this time of transition has brought out mixed feelings and emotions for me. So I drew what I was experiencing, that way I could look at my feelings as an observer rather than being swept away by them. I found after drawing my feelings a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.

“My son is starting school for the first time and this time of transition has brought out mixed feelings and emotions for me. So I drew what I was experiencing, that way I could look at the feelings as an observer rather than being swept away by them.

Measure of Success
I found my mind was thinking a lot about what success is and how its measured by society versus my own views of success. So I drew how I currently measure my success in life in this little illustration. While this illustration is still in sketch stage, I’m looking forward to playing around with colours.

Fresh Starts
The start of a new year is a time when I often feel pressured to set big goals and if I don’t have it all done by mid-January I’ve failed. So I decided to lean into this feeling and then turn it on its head, by getting back to what the new year actually is – a fresh start. So I drew different fresh starts that can happen throughout the year, and how these slow moments like the change in seasons or a cup of tea can give you a new beginning. I wanted to communicate to myself and others that it’s okay to start 2019 slowly and really get comfortable in the new year, rather than rushing.

Follow me on Instagram for more illustrations and behind the scenes photos.

Four affordable summer holiday activities

I love finding activities that are fun, affordable and explore our local area. So I thought I would put together a list of four affordable summer holiday activities Harry and I have enjoyed these holidays.

1. Strawberry picking

Eating fresh strawberries reminds me of summer holidays as a child, so with basket in hand we visited Beerenberg in Hahndorf to pick strawberries. Once we arrived, Harry was so excited to see so many strawberry bushes in a row and meet the resident farm bull who greeted us on the walk to the patch. I love looking at the world with child-like eyes and our only task for the morning was simply finding the juiciest strawberry. And Harry loved running up and down the rows, while picking strawberries and sampling the produce!

Cost: $4 per adult and $10.95 per kilo for the strawberries you pick. Harry was free as under 12 years.

2. Veggie patch

Every morning we tend to our veggie patch, we water the plants together and look for new growth, bugs and bees. During spring we bought summer seeds from The Little Veggie Patch Co, made a seedling tray and watched their progress before planting them into our patch. Everyday Harry and I look for new flowers on our zucchinis and spot which is a female or male flower. We watch our sunflowers unfold and bloom and see the visiting bees throughout the day. There is a new activity each day like pulling weeds, spotting a butterfly, picking fruit and then making food with our produce. I can honestly say our veggie patch has been the best investment, Harry just loves tending to our plants and learning about where food comes from. If you don’t have a backyard you can use pots to grow herbs, tomatoes, climbing veggies like cucumbers and flowers too!

Cost: $40 for a summer seed bundle, less than $8 for seed raising soil, your time and love.

“Everyday Harry and I look for new flowers on our zucchinis and spot which is a female or male flower. We watch our sunflowers unfold and bloom see the visiting bees throughout the day.”

3. The Botanic Gardens

We love exploring our local Botanic Gardens in the city or at Mount Lofty. We usually take our picnic basket and enjoy a yummy lunch or afternoon snack, and spend an hour or two wandering through the different areas of the garden. It’s fun to visit the gardens in summer to see the sunflowers blooming and sit under the giant Morten Bay Fig trees, which even on a hot day are surprisingly cool be under!

Cost: Free. Additional cost, the ice-cream you just have to buy from the kiosk.

3. The Beach

It wouldn’t be an Australian summer holidays without a visit to the beach. We often pop down to the beach in the early evening when the UV index is often lower and enjoy a picnic dinner, while watching the sunset. Harry loves to take all his construction vehicles and dig tunnels in the sand. We spend time strolling along the beach, finding the perfect seashells and rocks to take home. We actually have a little jar at home filled with sand from Harry’s first visit to the beach as a baby.

Cost: Free. Added bonus, finding sand in your car for the next week!

Summer holidays are such a special time and I know most of my favourite summer holiday moments are from activities that didn’t cost a lot. I would love to hear about your top summer holiday adventures while growing up or with your little one in the comments below.
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