Monday, September 27, 2010

My kids want to be on Junior MasterChef

I've been busy, but still have some time to write a little. I had a Heckler column published in the Sydney Morning Herald recently, about MasterChef, reality TV and celebrity culture. Check it out here.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Lavender oil spray giveaway

                                                                         Image by Aussiegal

"Beauty is truth; truth beauty. That is all you know and all you need to know." Keats' Ode to Beauty

I don't know if that quote tells the whole truth, but I do believe that part of my job as a parent is to facilitate experiences of beauty for my children, and part of that is making our home a beautiful place.

We don't have an easy house to work with - it's small, dark and draughty - but I find there is still a lot I can do to make sure each room has a calm and beautiful feel to it; keeping the blinds open for maximum sunlight, keeping the place reasonably clean and clutter free, nurturing a garden, using fresh flowers for their beauty and scent.

I remember reading in one of those Spotless/cleaning/home beautiful type books that you could use essential oils in beautifying your home by dabbing some on cotton balls and leaving them behind books on the bookshelves and in other nooks and crannies for a gorgeous subtle scent, replacing them every week.

I liked the idea, but I couldn't be bothered doing it myself.

Instead I have a little ritual of my own. After cleaning the house, when it is all neat and sparkly and dust-free I burn a stick of lavender incense for its lovely fragrance and sense of calm it gives me. Then I enjoy my lovely house for a few hours until everyone comes home again.

Recently I was sent some of Bosisto's Lavender Spray to try, and it basically does the same job as the incense. It uses pure essential oil, so it leaves a lovely lingering fragrance. Bosisto says the spray has other uses as well, including:
  • As an antiseptic
  • For insect bites
  • Deodouriser in the bathroom
  • For rubbish bins, nappy bins
  • For soothing and relaxing - spray in bedroom before sleep

It's meant to be good for helping babies to sleep, but this fourth baby of mine so far seems to be a really sleepy one, so I can't really vouch for that!

You can find Bosisto's Lavender Spray in the medicinal aisle in Coles, and in pharmacies. It retails for $12.95.

To give you an idea of how long it lasts I've had mine for a couple of weeks and find I only need a very short burst of spray per room, so it's long-lasting for me.

If you'd like to try it and you live in Australia I have five cans to give away.

Just drop me a line in the comments section to tell me your favourite way to add beauty to your day. I'll post a can to the first five Aussie commenters (who let me know they're from Aus) but I'd love to know any tips from OS readers too.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Giving birth boosts your creativity

At least that's been my experience.

While I was pregnant I wrote about giving up my lifelong dream of being a published book author. I didn't have the time, the energy, or the ability to work towards it.

This time of my life was for building a family. Other things would have to wait indefinitely. I was resigned to the fact, and although God knows I love this family raising business I did feel a sense of loss.

"I'm not going to write a book this year," I wrote. "I may never write one."

Then I had my baby, my fourth one, and realised I was wrong.

After those tricky final months of pregnancy it felt exhilarating to suddenly have my body back to myself, and my mind freed of anxiety about the birth.

I was full of energy - physical and creative. I used the middle of the night feeding times to come up with story ideas and research publishers' websites on my Blackberry. Within a couple of weeks I had made up a dummy of my first children's book!

And I started baking again - orange semolina syrup cake, chocolate chip biscuits, pancakes.

Basically I felt like myself again and my mind was brimming with ideas, plans and projects.

Of course now that our little one is almost five weeks old I'm now slowing down a little as chronic sleep deprivation sets in. I now find myself dozing off during night time feeds, not inventing grandiose plans!

Still, it's given me great hope to realise that I've still got that old creative and ambitious 'spark', it was only being rested for a while.

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