Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Ask Allison Anything: Non Chocolate Easter Gift Ideas from Cotton On Kids

Every Easter, the Easter Bunny brings our kiddos some cute Bunny themed essentials for the Winter ahead. These are usually in the form of PJ's, slippers or gumboots and a dressing gown.
 
As I have both boys and a girl in my family, I know just how frustrating it can be when you can find all the cute goodies in the girls section, but none in the boys. That is why I was SO excited when I saw all the gorgeous Bunny themed goodies - for both boys and girls - hitting Cotton On stores and website. Every year I always get asked for non chocolate gift ideas, so I hope this helps you out...
 

Pyjamas:

 
Alicia LS Girls PJ Set: $29.95
Shop it Here

Harry LS Boys PJ Set: $29.95
Shop it Here
 

Dressing Gown:

Boys Hooded Gown: $29.95
Shop It Here

Girls Hooded Gown: $29.95
Shop It Here
 
 

Slippers:

Novelty Homeboot: $24.95
Shop It Here
 
Novelty Homeboot: $24.95
Shop It Here

 
 

For Baby:

Mini Long Sleeve Bubby: $16.95
Shop It Here

Babies Bib: $12.95
Shop It Here

Cotton Baby Blanket: $22.95
Shop It Here
 
 

Easter Basket Fillers:

Knot Messy Hair Brush:$4.95
Shop It Here

Rain Poncho: $10 (online only)
Shop It Here
Spring Drink Bottle: $5.00
Shop It Here
 
 
Honestly Cotton On Kids - HUGE pat on the back! I love seeing that there is finally an equality of cute Easter stuff out this year for both boys and girls.
 
There are loads more cute bunny items over at Cotton On (tops, nighties, leggings, bags, headbands), you can check out the rest here
 
NB: Post contains affiliate links in conjunction with my disclosure policy


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Organising and Storing my Digital Photographs

 
A few weeks ago I shared over on my Facebook page that one of my biggest resolutions for the year was to try and get on top of the mounting pile of digital photographs that I have accumulated since having kids. So many of you came up with brilliant ideas and so many of you sounded like you were in the same boat as me (drowning in photos), so I thought that I would share where I am at with it all.
 

Step One: Sort

 
The first thing that I did was to take all of the photos for the past few years off every phone and camera and save into folders onto my laptop.
 
I now have all photos saved by year and then under each year there is a folder for each month. Sounds simple enough, but boy it was a pretty mammoth task! However moving forward every single month I will simply just save the photos for the month into the folders set up.
 
I have also purchased an external hard drive to back up the folders should anything happen to my laptop or phone.
 
 

Step Two: Printing

 
The next thing I had to do was to try and work out what the heck to do with all of these photos?! I am the type of person who loves having photos around the house, but have avoided making albums and the like.
 
 
The kids each have a baby album that shares the first year of their life (these have been done through Mixbook). I decided to do a similar thing with the family memories for the year. So every year I will pick the top highlights for the year and produce a photo book.
 
 
As for the rest of the photos...I have purchased some basic photo albums from Kmart for these.
 
 
 
The lovely Kristy from the Sprinkle Studio created labels for the spines (by year) and each album contains all of the photos for the year. These albums the kids can flick through, help me add to etc during the year. Yes I definitely feel like I have gone all retro with these albums, but the kids adore photos just as much as me!
 
 

Step Three: Routine

 
This is absolutely the critical part, because I really need to stick to a routine throughout the year so I stay on top of everything.
 
The plan is to:
 
- Save photos off the phone/camera once a month into the folders
- Once photos are saved, pop on a USB to print at Kmart (we all know that I am there nearly every day anyway!).
- Pop photos into the small album once they are printed
 
If I stick to this, by the time the year is up I will have an album full of photos, photos organised and sorted on my computer (and backed up) and a family photo book done.
 
 
Like I said, I know that this is pretty basic. I absolutely LOVE the idea of Project Life and scrap books etc, but I just don't think that I would ever stay on top of it. So for now, this is going to be a manageable way for me to capture and stay on top of the family memories.
 
If you would like to get into the habit of doing something similar, I will issue a little reminder once a month on my Facebook and Instagram pages that it is time to save photos (and print) how does that sound?!
 
 


 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Deciding on a Lunch Box and Bag Combo: Fridge to Go and Yumbox Review

One of the hardest things to try and work out as a new school Mum has to be this whole lunchbox/bag combo business. I recently read that picking a combo that works involves as much strategy as a game of Tetris - so true! I know quite a few of you are also new school or new kindy Mums this year, so I thought that this little post (and a discount) may help you out.
 

The Lunch Box: Yumbox

 
For the past two years at kinder we have used the Yumbox lunchbox (original size) and I have to say I could not fault it one bit. At age 3 and 4, Mr B loved the bento style box and the variety that this size enabled me to pack. As his appetite increased late last year in his final term of kinder, I simply popped in a sandwich container along with the Yumbox and it was absolutely perfect to keep him going.

The Yumbox Original Size
So heading in to the big bad world of school this year this year I knew that I wanted to use another Yumbox, but we have decided to  try out the panino and the snack box size instead. Our new school (like I think most) has implemented brainfood, whereby the children can graze on healthy options at their desk. The Yumbox snack box size is going to be perfect for this. I plan to then use the panino Yumbox for lunch with some fruit and yoghurt individually packed for recess.

The 3 sizes in the Yumbox range
If you are yet to see the yumbox in action, I have popped this picture in for you to see the difference between the three different variants - the original, the panino and the snack box size.
 
The main points of difference is that the panino size allows you to pack a full sandwich or roll in the box with still plenty of room for snacks on the side. The original size, with many compartments, is fantastic for younger kids who like to graze and like the variety.

The other thing I absolutely LOVE about the Yumbox are all the gorgeous colours in the range. Not so good when they keep releasing more colours that you cannot resist and your collection keeps growing... and growing!

Buy It:

The Yumbox Panino and the Original size retail for $40.00 from Little Toot's Lunchbox.

The Yumbox Snack Box retails for $26.95 from Little Toot's Lunchbox. There are SO many colours to choose from!  
 
 

The Lunch Bag: Fridge To Go

 
Lunchbox decided (big tick), it was time to try and tackle the lunch bag side of things. Because I knew things were going to be pretty full with the two Yumbox containers, I didn't want a bag that I was going to have to pop a bulky ice block in to taking up more room. After a bit of research (seriously what did we do before Google?!), I decided on the Fridge to Go in the medium size.

Some of the amazing prints available in the Fridge To Go range

The Fridge To Go boasts the longest cooling time of all the lunch bags that I researched. Using a removable (and slim) cooling panel and patented surround cooling technology, the bag can stay cool for up to 8 hours.



The cooling panel itself zips away into a little pocket, therefore eliminating messy condensation and soggy food. You can even purchase a spare cooling panel - a fantastic idea so that you can stay organised by always having one ready to go in the freezer.
 
In addition to the large inside space, I love that the bag has oodles of additional storage around the outside of the bag.




At the rear there is a generous sized velcro pocket, the front has a zipped pocket and the side has space for a drink bottle. These bags also have the ability to be collapsed to flat, making them super easy to stash away when not in use. The bags are BPA free, PVC and lead safe too.

And did it fit everything in?!
 
It sure did!
 
 
 
I packed the two Yumboxes and still had plenty of room for fruit and yoghurt (and could zip it up with ease) as these images show.
 
Buy It:
 
The Fridge To Go retails for $35.95 for plain colours and $39.95 for prints from Little Toot's Lunchbox. Spare ice panels are available for $9.95.
 

Want a Discount?!

 
Let's face it, starting school is expensive enough! So Little Toot's Lunchbox have very kindly offered all Utterly Organised readers the chance to save 15% off their orders. If the Yumbox or the Fridge To Go isn't what you are after, they also stock plenty more items in their range.
 
Simply enter the code ORGANISEDLUNCH in at the checkout to save the discount. This offer is valid until Tuesday 28 February 2017.

Love to hear what lunchbox/bag combo you will be giving a shot this year.
 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Whirlpool Crisp N Grill Microwave Review GT286

So it seems the microwave has come a long way since I last invested in one way back in 2007 - sounds ancient doesn't it?! Whirlpool has completely revolutionised the humble microwave with their new Crisp N Grill model (GT286) that I was recently sent out to try.

No longer just to re-heat (poorly at that), Whirlpool have come up with a microwave that is the ultimate kitchen appliance. This thing can reheat, defrost, bake, grill and steam too - yup you read that correctly. Gone are the days of soggy, unevenly cooked food - crisp, baked items in a microwave are now a reality!
 

What I loved...

Evenness of cooking: Porridge is a daily staple at our place. In a standard microwave this is prone to hot spots, uneven cooking and making you stir it item 1,000 times in 2 minutes of cook time. The Crisp N Grill has a 3D Microwave Distribution System which ensures food always cooks both evenly and thoroughly.
 
 
I am also a sucker for a frozen meal for myself (well it is better than not eating... or chocolate!) when I am in a mad rush to eat. We all know how hard these can be to cook (hot on top and frozen on the bottom) and the Crisp N Grill does these to perfection.
 
 
Crisp pastry: The thought of cooking pizza, sausage rolls and pies in a microwave is practically criminal isn't it?! I mean who likes soggy pastry?
 
 
The Crisp N Grill comes with a separate crisping plate that is specially designed to reach the high temperatures needed to cook these items to crispy perfection (in mere minutes). I guarantee you will be amazed when you see how crispy your chips and baked goods are - oven baked quality in a fraction of the time. This is perfect when it comes to feeding the munchkins who don't really have much patience when it comes to waiting out 25 minutes for oven baked chicken nuggets!
 
 
Healthy meals - FAST! We love pitta bread pizzas here and I absolutely love the convenience of preparing these the night before, and microwaving these in a few minutes ready for lunch.
 
 
The above is my creamy bean/ricotta topped pizza (must share this recipe soon) and as you can see it is browned on top and crispy on the edges and bottom, just like pizza is meant to be! Hard to believe that a microwave can now produce the same results as an oven.
 
Super easy peasy to use: There are so many pre-programmed settings on this thing, so you don't need to guess how long things will take to cook or defrost - it does it for you.
 

For example, to defrost hit the Jet Defrost button, select food type, set the weight and start - that's all that needs to be done! I love how this thing defrosts so fast and manages to keep the food in tact. I am forever forgetting to get meat out the night before and this is an absolutely life saver.

Practical recipes: The unit comes with recipe books that are full of staples for you to try out. 

 

I have also found several books available to purchase (and loads more to be found on Google) as well as a Facebook Fan page too. You really can treat this like an everyday appliance, rather than a simple reheating machine.
 

Any cons?

 
The beep! I have a habit of trying to do a million things while the microwave is going and once the time is up, the unit keeps turning and beeping until you attend to it. In a way this could almost be a positive as I have been known to set and forget....
 
The Crisp N Grill is available to purchase in Australia at Good Guys stores for an RRP of $499. Keep your eyes peeled for some pre and post Christmas bargains as these guys have some amazing sales year round!

 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Designs by Emma: Christmas Giveaway & Reader Offer!

 
If you are after the perfect, practical and pretty gift for a loved one (or yourself) this Christmas then look no further! Designs by Emma make the most stunning range of plastic coated bags. These can be customised to suit your, or your recipients, tastes by selecting from the most gorgeous (and extensive) range of fabrics you have laid your eyes on!
 
 
 
 
If you don't quite see a fabric you love (which would shock me), let Emma know what you might have in mind and she is more than happy to suggest or source something to suit.

I was so lucky to be on the receiving end of one of Emma's divine creations and I have to say this bag has seen it all!
 

From playdates and park dates, to swimming lessons, the gym and as a nappy bag - this bag is perfect for the busy Mum always on the go!
 
 
 
I was sent the large size bag which retails at $65.00. It has two interior pockets sewn in, which are SO handy for finding keys wallets and phones in a hurry. The above pic shows the bag loaded up with 3 regular sized beach towels just to show you just how much room is left - oodles of space!
 
 
And that fabric... I'd say with mint, pink and gold glitter polka dots, Emma nailed my bag in one wouldn't you?!

 
It is so pretty.
 
This sized bag really is a great all rounder, however if you are after something smaller (or bigger), Emma has so many different sizes in the range. You can also grab a small kids sized bag, a makeup bag and even a nappy bag with change mat in her range too. There really is a size and fabric to suit absolutely everyone!

Reader Offer

Emma has very kindly offered the first 5 Utterly Organised readers to place an order with her a 10% discount off their order. There is no expiry date for this, but it is limited to the first 5 readers only so don't delay in placing your custom order!
 
To place an order, check out the range or to follow Emma's gorgeous page, simply head over to her Facebook page here.
 
 

Giveaway

One lucky reader is going to LOVE designing their very own medium sized bag. This amazing prize is valued at $50 and will be made up in a fabric from Emma's range of your choice - how good is that?!

To enter simply follow the Rafflecopter prompts below.

Please ensure that you follow the important terms and conditions outlined below. This includes ensuring that you comment on what you would use your gorgeous new Designs by Emma bag for! Maybe a trip to the beach, a seaside holiday or for a new job in 2017.

Please also ensure that your comment includes your full name too.
 

Enter Here

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Terms and Conditions

- The giveaway will be hosted by Rafflecopter and is open to Australian residents only
- There will be one lucky winner of this prize
- Prize includes 1 x Medium Sized bag in the winners choice of fabrics (from available range)
- Readers MUST leave a comment below this post as to what they would use their gorgeous new bag for!
- Please ensure that your entry contains a comment and a full name (first and last), so that entries can be verified.
- The announcement of the lucky winner will be made on the Utterly Organised Facebook Page and displayed on the Rafflecopter widget above
- The lucky winner will have 3 days to contact Utterly Organised and claim their prize
- Failure to claim prize within designated period will result in another winner being drawn
- Entrants must like the Utterly Organised Facebook Page
- Any questions on the competition can be directed to utterlyorganised@gmail.com

Thank you SO much Emma for the gorgeous bag, cannot wait to hit the beach with it next!