Last year I made a letter from Santa for my six-year-old son to capture the magic and joy of Christmas. It was this idea that led me to create North Pole Post, magical and personalised letters from Santa Claus.
This Christmas you can find letters from Father Christmas, Santa or Papa Noël on the North Pole Post website, or here on mine too! Each letter is unique to your child and includes details like a present they would like or an achievement Santa is proud of that year. Also I love adding the number of biscuits or cookies Santa ate while writing the letter too!
I’m also excited to share a new letter this year. It’s the Christmas morning letter, which can be discovered on Christmas Day under the tree or by the biscuits and cup of milk. This letter is handwritten by Santa and includes details like a special location he flew over in his sleigh.
I know Christmas this year is going to look different for many of us. These letters are my way of bringing the magic of Santa into your home, without having to go to shopping centres to see him. Creating these letters brings me so much joy and I can’t wait to share them with you this Christmas!
What is your wish this Christmas? I would love to hear, comment below!
As I type Harry is flying his latest LEGO creation around the house, it’s chilly outside and I’m on my second pot of peppermint tea. 2020 has invited me to slow down and embrace the ebb and flow of life. So for these winter holidays we are intentionally spending more time at home and using what we have.
1. Happiful Club
I created Happiful Club in April and Harry loved it. So we are bringing out the free 12-page activity and gratitude ebook again for the winter holidays! Already Harry has been doing the daily gratitude journal page and has collected the merit badges for cloud watching and stargazing. I find the book gives me ideas of things to do when the inevitable ‘I’m bored’ is said, I can now say ‘well let’s look at Happiful Club for some ideas’.
2. Nature Walks
While it may be cold outside, I like to rug up in our winter woollies and go on a nature walk. My favourite places to go are the Botanic Garden and our local forests. I like to make the walk fun by turning it into a nature hunt. We can spot different seasonal things like mushrooms, a flowing creek, puddles or even red autumn leaves.
“I find doing this brings my attention back to the present moment and awakens my wonder and curiosity.”
3. Home Movie Night
We like to cook a big batch of popcorn and eat it warm while snuggled up under a blanket. We usually take turns picking a movie from Disney+ and at the moment Harry likes to watch documentaries about space. The next movie on our watch list is WALL-E!
Stargazing is a favourite activity in our house. We use an app SkyChart which you can point to the night sky and it shares the constellation and planets you are looking at. I find being out under the stars with a fire feels ancestral – like coming home – and I like to read aloud the mythological story behind the constellation name. Storytelling is a such a beautiful way we can pass on knowledge and history to our children.
What winter holiday activities do you enjoy or remember fondly from when you were a child? I would love to hear, comment below!
It’s a Wednesday in late June and it seems like as good a day as any to take you along on a day in the life of an illustrator, me!
After the morning rush and school drop off, I’m home. Time to make a pot of peppermint tea, check my Etsy and online shop for orders or inquiries. I’m going to spend a little bit of time this morning finishing off a new illustration to share on Instagram. It’s about ‘hope’ and where you can see it.
I decided to draw and have tea snuggled up in my green armchair, so now I’m off to the studio. My studio is a space we built in our backyard. My hubby also works from home. Today I am printing off orders, stamping envelopes and creating custom cards. Then a spot of hand lettering names for custom star map prints, using astronomy software for plotting the stars to the date and time the little ones were born.
Creating and sending digital mock ups of custom prints and cards to customers. I export a jpg of the illustrator file and then place this into a photo in photoshop. Then a bit more drawing on the iPad as I had an idea!
Now I’m writing a letter to my subscribers. I send this out roughly every month. Though I have been a bit slack so this one is a bit late! Also uploading my free printable monthly calendar to my website to include in my letter.
Time for lunch and another pot of tea. I’m an avid tea drinker and only have one coffee a day, which is decaf. If the weather is nice I like to sit in the garden to eat lunch and then check on the veggie patch to see if there are any pests. We’ve struggled with caterpillars and rats eating our produce this winter.
Printing and packing orders! Today I have a few custom cards going out in the post. So I print, cut, hand crease, fold and then package cards in tissue paper. I also like to include a handwritten note with the order and a copy of my latest monthly calendar too!
Orders are all ready for the post office run and now off to pick up Harry from school. I like to listen to a podcast on the drive to pick him up, it makes the daily routine of school pick up more interesting. I’m loving Nova Reid’s podcast at the moment.
All the daily things like dinner prep, unpacking school bags and reading. In winter I like to close all the shutters and turn on our lamps to make the house cosy! We like to eat dinner together as this is a way to chat about our day and share stories.
Bedtime for Harry! We usually journal together using my Happiful Journal so he can pick a daily page or an activity to relax before bed. Sometimes if he doesn’t want to journal we read a book and then when snuggled up in bed, I ask him some of the journal prompts and then make up an activity idea or share a quote. We like to call this our verbal Happiful Journal!
Now I like to make a cup of Chamomile tea with a bit of fresh ginger. I’m going to snuggle up on the couch with my iPad and do some drawing. I don’t do this every night, sometimes I just like to watch Netflix or do some yoga.
Bedtime. I like to do a guided meditation on the Calm app for 10 minutes before bed. Then reading my book and sometimes if my brain is really active I like to journal my thoughts. Then off to sleep!
I hope you enjoyed a look into my daily life as an illustrator and mum. If you have any questions for me, include them below and I’ll answer them!
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!
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.
A couple of weekends ago I went apple picking in Lenswood at Harrisville Orchards. I love finding everyday adventures that allow us to explore our local area, and are fun and affordable. After arriving at the orchard and collecting our bag, we set off to pick the juiciest Pink Lady apples.
With Harry holding my hand, we wandered through the trees and took our time looking for the perfect apples. I like finding the reddest apples and Harry favoured the small ‘baby apples’ as he called them. At one point Harry even sat down in between the trees and munched on an apple, with the skin on which he has never done before.
“It was a wonderful morning in the orchard and showed Harry and us grown-ups where the produce we buy from the farmer’s market comes from, and how important it is to eat seasonally.”
An interesting fact I learnt was some of the little apples had bumps on them, these weren’t a disease but from a hail storm in October that left small scars on the young fruit which healed into bumps as they grew. The apples were called ‘hail heroes’ and this made me think how we all have bumps and scars from life but are still whole and worth picking.
So why not plan a weekend adventure fruit picking in your local area, like straweberry picking in summer or apple picking in autumn.