Do you love entertaining? Yes. Do you love Christmas decorations? Yes. Do you love food? Yes. THEN THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU. Combining all things festive and Christmas and food and hosting and entertaining and eating and being merry, today we will be looking […]
Who doesn’t love a decent pun? Or a well-timed pop culture reference? Or the odd insult every now and then (all in good faith, of course)? Greeting cards, more often than not, are so impersonal, each of them similar to the next feigning well wishes […]
Much like my cocktail post, I had planned buying a shitload of wrapping paper and decorative elements and wrapping presents and taking pretty photos but the pregnancy is catching up with me, the hours in the day seem to pass without me realising it and, […]
My mother is many things. She is creative and fun, intelligent and beautiful, entrepreneurial and hilarious. My mother is also Santa. For as long as I can remember, my mum has prepared the most epic Santa scavenger hunts, puzzles and presents for my brothers and […]
I have never found gift-giving particularly difficult. Those that I buy for, I generally know pretty well whether it be a family member, a partner or a friend. I actually love the lead up to Christmas and writing a list of ideas for presents for each person. Usually it is mum, brothers, partner and a friend or two – I have never once had to think of what to buy a pregnant woman though. Sure, I have been to baby showers before but more often than not there is a gift registry that you can look at and choose from, as well as the fact that most of the presents that you receive at a baby shower are for your baby. Choosing a gift for a woman in your life that is pregnant can be a daunting task – do you get them something for the pregnancy, or something for after? Do you still get them something for the baby or will she be offended (because #hormones)?
Being a pregnant woman myself, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to shed some light on gift ideas for expectant mothers. I am going off my own personal experience; I know what I would love to receive this Christmas (besides books and another one-eyed kitten), but maybe more importantly, I know what I would appreciate as a larger-than-life pregnant mama right now.
At work last week, my team and I somehow got onto the subject of robes. I told them that I have never owned a robe nor did I see the point in one, “Just wear your pyjamas?” This remark was met with each and every colleague and dear friend of mine absolutely chastising my opinion – the adjectives glorious and luxurious and comfortable and incredible were thrown around easily as they each told me where, when and why they wear robes. As I thought about it more I realised how desperately I needed a robe, but not for any of the reasons that they were so aggressively pointing out. I am at the point in this pregnancy where most things don’t fit me anymore, even my ‘comfy’ clothes for around the house. I have a pair of shorts that I live in at home, and they are getting far too tight to be considered comfortable anymore. At home, I am comfiest in a crop top and my underwear. I don’t feel comfortable cooking or preparing dinner in only that though and I have never been someone who is comfortable walking around the house naked (or pretty much naked).
A ROBE – THAT IS THE ANSWER. All of a sudden, a lifetime’s worth of not understanding robes faded away and I knew that it was going to be the key for a comfortable and heavily pregnant summer.
Another thing that people should know is that, just because a woman is pregnant, does not mean she wants to give up looking good or feeling desired – it’s true for me at least. Sure, there are comfortable things I could wear like a big baggy t-shirt with no bra, but all that does is make me feel fat, not pregnant, and then I get hormonal and wonder how anyone would ever find me attractive. A robe covers me enough that I feel comfortable cooking in it, or sitting on our deck drinking coffee, or lying on the lounge of a night whilst also making me feel feminine and soft and attractive and even a little bit sexy.
The mecca of all robes and dressing gowns are the impossibly soft and incredibly light kimono robes from Peter Alexander. My personal favourite is the Paisley Blossom Kimono that you can pick up for $109.
From Cotton On Body, I love their Kimono Gown (particularly in the misted bloom and hazel colour) which you can snatch up for a sneaky $10 at the moment or $24.95 normally.
As for Big W, their B Collection Printed Woven Kimonos are where it’s at. Especially this pretty little number, the Black Print. Swoon.
Something that I have really come to appreciate as a result of this pregnancy is just how important it is to take care of my skin. In the first trimester and right through my second, the skin around my mouth and on my cheeks was dry, red and irritable. Then, of course, there is the most obvious factor when caring for pregnant skin which is your skin’s elasticity when it comes to your growing bump. Looking down at my belly I am in complete shock and awe that it has been able to stretch to the size that it currently is, and completely dumbfounded by the fact that according to my mother, I will still double in size in these last few months. Stretch marks are a real possibility, and though I don’t mind getting stretch marks whatsoever (I have had stretch marks for all of my adult life anyway), I do care about what my skin is going to do post-partum as well as wanting to keep my tattoos as fresh-looking and non-droopy as possible!
Also, if you (or the pregnant woman in your life) is anything like me and have never really been that big into pampering or skincare, what I have also discovered is how vital it is to take time out for yourself, to devote time to yourself and to look after yourself in any way you can. It is also a really beautiful way to remain connected and aware of your body and the beautiful changes that it is going through; there have been times where I have felt so out of my body that I didn’t recognise myself, but taking some time every morning and every night to moisturise has been so important when it comes to me appreciating and loving how I look and how I feel.
If you are after skincare that is specifically for pregnancy and stretch marks then I can wholeheartedly and confidently suggest anything Palmer’s. If you are looking for a simple gift, then the Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks at $15.99 is a sure thing.
Or, if you are feeling more generous of have a bit more cash to play with, may I suggest putting together a pack for the special mama-to-be with a few of the Palmer’s product range? Grab a gift box or a gift bag and fill it with Massage Cream for Stretch Marks ($15.99), Skin Perfecting Ultra Hydrating Serum ($24.99), Coconut Oil for Hair Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner ($14.99 each) and Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks ($15.99). I would be over the freaking moon if I got a goodie bag with all of that in it.
And now, you’re going to have to indulge me a little bit here. The (Oblivious) New Mama skincare range that I designed with Gina from Behind the Pages was created specifically for pregnant mamas-to-be. A beautifully wrapped gift pack is only $25 and includes the Goats Milk Soap Bar, Bath Milk and Body Lotion. The range is all natural and uses all organic products. Not only are they impossibly pretty and feminine, but they smell incredible whilst maintaining a very subtle aroma. I can send them anywhere, to anyone and promise that they will come STUNNINGLY wrapped. Promise.
I am also SO EXCITED to offer one lucky winner a T(O)NM Skincare Pack! Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on instagram at @theobliviousnewmama and tell me your ideal, most perfect, wonderful, AMAZING way to relax! Simple!
Pregnancy Massage Voucher
This gift will mean EVERYTHING to the pregnant woman in your life. EVERYTHING. I cannot tell you all the ways that my body aches. I ache and am exhausted in parts of my body that I didn’t know I had. During the first trimester, you are a kind of tired that cannot be expressed in words, you are exhausted on a cellular level and nothing seems real anymore. Then, in the third trimester, you start to feel the tiredness in a much more physical way. My muscles are always tight and cramp constantly, my shoulders are tired from carrying my enormous breasts around all day every day, and I feel exhausted in my bones. What no one told me was that when you get to the 25 week mark and beyond, when your bub is not so little anymore and getting stronger by the day, their constant movements and kicking completely drains you of ALL of your energy. All of it. Gone. Poof. Bye.
The Yummy Mummy Package from Yummy Mummy Day Spa located in Clovelly, Sydney is everything that I could ever hope, dream, wish, yearn and pine for right now. The Yummy Mummy Package is their most popular package and includes an hour long full body aroma massage followed by an organic spa facial. The package is priced at $300 but I cannot stress to you enough (CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH) at what gifting this would mean to your beautiful goddess of a partner/wife/sister/friend. I completely melt when Pete simply squeezes my feet or tickles my back, having someone dedicate a whole hour to rubbing out my kinks and aches and pains makes me weep in gratitude.
Not only is the Yummy Mummy Day Spa Sydney’s most exclusive days spa for mums and mums to be, but there are also a wide range of products that they have available as well. If the pampering packages are a bit out of your price range there are a number of beautifully packaged, all natural gift packs that you can purchase as well as natural wraps for newborns, skin products and journals.
If you are set on gifting a massage voucher but are looking for a cheaper alternative, Sydney Mobile Therapies offer a wide range of treatments for pregnant women that range from $95 through to $139. This is also a brilliant option as the massage therapists come to you which is ideal if you are already a mum with young children and can’t get out of the house, or if you are at the stage of your pregnancy where the idea of driving somewhere (anywhere) is too much to even consider. Sydney Mobile Therapies service most of the Sydney region.
Personally, I would go for the Beauty and the Bump 90 minute treatment. It is a specialised pregnancy pamper package that focuses on every part of the body and face to ensure total body wellness that will leave you looking and feeling fantastic. Mamas to be will receive a stimulating and soothing full-body exfoliation, followed by a gentle and relaxing pregnancy massage and then a mini Fresh Start facial to end the treatment. Sign me up, immediately.
If you are looking for a gift for a friend or simply need to budget just that little bit further, the Happy Feet 30 minute treatment will be the best $45 you have ever spent on a grateful expectant mother. Carrying extra weight that you aren’t used to takes its toll on your feet, and you only realise just how much of a toll when someone touches them. Seriously, most days I think I am fine and then Pete will squeeze my foot and I am almost immediately in a coma. The treatment focuses on pain relief and involves a foot bath, a gentle exfoliation and a massage. Yep. I’ll take one of these as well thanks.
Ahead of our baby shower last Saturday, I took myself for a pedicure which is something that I haven’t done in years. I never have my finger nails painted and am rarely able to justify spending money on something like my feet.. I have never been comfortable with treating myself or doing nice, selfish things for myself but I thought, well it is a special occasion after all, so why not?! My god. I forgot how much I love pedicures.
More often than not, the chairs at nail salons will be massage chairs which is already a big tick for me. What follows – if you aren’t aware – is forty minutes of bliss. First, your feet soak in hot water. Then, your feet and toenails are cleaned and trimmed and exfoliated. Then your legs are massaged (and then where I go, they get these hot stones out from some kind of oven and wet them and rub them all over your legs and feet and it is heaven) and moisturised. And then finally, your toe nails are painted (all the while you are in this huge chair that is massaging you). When I got home and told Pete how relaxed I was he told me that I should take time out to do that for myself more often. I started to come up with excuses as to why not when he interrupted me, “Leah, how much does it cost?”. When I told him that it cost $30, he shook his head, laughed at me and informed me that I am to go and get a pedicure every week. He said, “if something that inexpensive can make you feel this good, then why wouldn’t you do it?” And by god, the man is right.
Even if you or the woman you are buying this for isn’t really into beauty stuff (like me), I promise you that she will appreciate this even if she doesn’t know it at the time. I have no specific suggestions as to where you should buy a gift voucher from, however I suggest that if this is a gift you are interested in, research local nail salons, read reviews and compare prices – the treatments are all very similar so find somewhere that you think will suit you, or whoever you are buying this for!
If you have a work colleague or a cousin or a friend, or if the woman you are buying for has a good sense of humour, then a novelty mug is something that I would highly recommend. My ritual of making coffee on a weekend morning and hopping back into bed for an hour or two of reading has quickly become one of my favourite things during pregnancy. You will find that a lot of herbal tea will be consumed during pregnancy to counter nausea, morning sickness and to substitute coffee, and everyone needs a mug (and a laugh).
Ranging from $12 to $25, these handmade mugs from various Etsy creatives are the perfect stocking fillers, secret Santa gifts or last-minute presents for any expectant mother who is a little bit crass. Click on each image for further information and purchase!
Also – something a bit exciting.. I am so happy to offer the following two mugs as a giveaway to one lucky reader! From Amanda at SheThatLaughs, these mugs are crafted from high-quality ceramic and microwave/dishwasher safe. They are also incredibly, incredibly true. For your chance to win a set of these mugs simply email me at email@example.com or message me on instagram at @theobliviousnewmama and tell me who you are buying these for and why! And feel free to enter if YOU are the pregnant one. Do it, do it now!
Lil Soph + Co. Products
Some of you may remember me mentioning Lil Soph + Co. in my post about the One Fine Baby Expo where Pete and I bought one of their beautiful burping cloths. Well, little did I know but this Australian company offers absolutely STUNNING gift packs. Now, I know that this present focuses on bub and not the mama herself but let me tell you, the products that Lil Soph + Co. offer are of the highest quality, are unique in their design and are quite simply the most beautiful baby products I have come across yet..
With products ranging from $13 through to $90, I am sure that you will find something for ANY mama to be. Offering bandana bibs, cotton blankets, burp cloths, teething rings, nappy clutches, play mats, cushions, organic gauze wraps and gift packs there really is something for everyone and every bub. Whether you know if you or a friend is having a boy or a girl, or whether you are wanting to gift something neutral, there is something from Lil Soph + Co. for you!
The range of bandana bibs are an absolute must for all new mums and newborn bubs, and these are in a league of their own. At $13, these handmade, cotton bandana bibs make for a stunning, thoughtful and affordable gift. And, not only that, but you can be assured that they will be used (and needed) again and again and again.
If you are looking for something a little bit more substantial to gift, the range of printed cotton blankets are a great option. Ranging from $45 to $65, the cotton blankets are made from 100% organic cotton knit backed with a high-grade smooth polyester Minky fabric. As all of the Lil Soph + Co. products are handmade, there is also the option to customise your blanket to fit a cot or a single bed!
The gift packs available take out any guess work you may have on which products to buy! There is a newborn essentials pack that include a bandana bib and burp cloth, or a teething ring and bandana bib! The packs range from $24 to $50 and again, trust me, once you see and feel the quality of these products you will never buy outside of this brand again.
I know that many of you probably don’t buy magazines anymore and instead read their online counterparts. I get it, I do. But all I can think about are those early mornings or warm afternoons where I will be on maternity leave, sitting on my deck nursing an iced tea or a coffee and flicking through a book or a stack of my favourite magazines. I keep getting told that taking time out for myself is something that I need to be really mindful of, and for me there really is nothing more alluring than a quiet pocket of time to flick through a magazine. My favourites are Frankie, Smith Journal, Delicious and the Donna Hay magazine.
Magshop Australia offers subscriptions to all magazines available on the Australian market, offering free delivery as well as the option of gift vouchers if you aren’t sure what title to get! Each magazine subscription comes in at a different price and for some, there is the option to choose how long the subscription is for (a certain amount of issues, six months, one year, etc.). For example, six issues of Frankie (which equates to a one year subscription) comes in at $60.71, while six issues plus one bonus issue of Delicious comes in at $39.95.
What I love about this gift is that it isn’t something you would automatically think to get someone who is pregnant. More often than not, the gifts will revolve around being a new mum or around the baby itself. What this gift does is provide a quiet outlet for the mama to be, it will serve as a reminder to press pause, put her feet up and lose herself in the pages of whatever magazine she delights in. Also, it means she will get a package that she looks forward to every week/month/two months and who doesn’t love that?!
It’s December! It’s Summer! It’s the festive season! Our Christmas tree is up! Our cat has discovered a love of tearing baubles off the tree and waking us up at 5am by chasing them down the hallway! Seriously though, I am so freaking excited that […]
Whether you are going all out and hiring a venue and catering and the whole shebang, or if you are doing something at home with a budget, your baby shower can still ooze fabulousness, instgrammableness and loveliness! I have always loved hand-making as much as I can, mainly because I love doing craft but also because when you make something yourself it is often cheaper and incredibly unique. Of course, not everything can be handmade (that would be the dream!) and heading into parenthood is expensive. Pete and I have managed to cut some corners without skimping on quality goods for us or bub, so I do hope that even SOME of these ideas help for those of you throwing a baby shower on a budget!
Our BUB-beque is this Saturday. We are having it at home and there are about forty people coming over for lunch, drinks, nibbles and frivolity. More often than not, the baby-to-be’s godmother will throw a baby shower for the mama-to-be but that isn’t something that I wanted for myself. Instead, I wanted to be surrounded by friends and family and mot importantly, I wanted Pete by my side. It just so happens that it is Pete’s birthday in mid-December and getting everyone together can be so difficult that it was yet another great excuse to simply throw a party.
That doesn’t mean that our house won’t be all about BABY, though. Oh no.
Last weekend, Shari and I went shopping for the big day and surprisingly we didn’t spend nearly as much as I thought we would (or could have). Everything that we bought for the BUB-beque (except for alcohol and meat) was bought from Kmart, Aldi, Coles or Big W and for a lot of what we got, you wouldn’t guess it!
A few posts ago, I wrote about how we are turning our dining table into a huge grazing platter for the day. There are cheaper options for food which would include salads, bakes and perhaps some meat however, just because of the size of our house and the amount of people that we are having over, a grazing platter for us was definitely the best option. I also don’t want to be running around trying to make sure that everyone is fed on the day, this option means that all of the food is there and ready to be devoured and I don’t need to think about it again.
Having said that, where I could be frugal, I was.
We went to Coles first to get all of the antipasto elements of our grazing table including cheeses, olives, fruit, nuts, pickles and a myriad of other things in jars with oil (pickles, etc.). For the cheeses, we chose a few really nice ones that were a tad more expensive, however the majority of the cheese we bought (we bought a fair bit because there is no such thing as too much cheese) was the Coles brand! I have bought their brand of cheese before and it is just as delightful and creamy and heavenly as their branded counterpart that is triple the price.
The fruit that we bought wasn’t too expensive, and fresh produce is something that I choose not to skint on anyway. We bought a lot of blueberries and strawberries (they were on special), as well as grape tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and a variety of other fruits and vegetables to freshen up the table. Of course if you want blackberries and figs and the more exotic fruits, then yeah, your costs will go up a fraction, however like I said – fresh produce deserves the best.
The same thing applied when selected our antipasto favourites. We bought Coles brand olives, both kalamata and stuffed green, semi-dried tomatoes and dried fruit such as sultanas and apricots. When then filled in the gaps with some branded goods such as mini gherkins and cheese-stuffed peppers. By way of dips, I can almost 100% guarantee you that one brand or another will be on sale on any given day. Although my favourite dips are the Red Rock Deli variety, the line of Mercer Valley dips were half-price so we loaded up on them instead! The flavours that I wanted were exactly the same, and in that one decision alone I saved over ten dollars. Plus, all dips are delicious anyway..
We went to Aldi to buy all of the crackers and chips and although these elements are cheap in Coles and Woolworths and most shopping chains, that dollar or two that you save at Aldi for these staples add up as well (especially when you are buying in bulk).
We didn’t buy the meat, the bread or the seafood elements last weekend as I want them to be as fresh as possible. So, on Saturday morning I will be heading back to Coles to their bakery and their deli section to pick up the remaining elements of the grazing table. It is only very recently that I discovered the Coles deli section whereas I used to just walk along the refrigerated section for all of my deli meats. Not only do you get to choose the exact quantity you want over the counter of the deli section, but the meats are far higher in quality (the prosciutto is always freshly sliced in front of me) and a hell of a lot cheaper than buying multiple packets. For the bread, I love the Coles brand french bread sticks and their olive sourdough loaf. They are a couple of bucks each and go a long way!
By way of sweets, treats and desserts – I spent all of Sunday baking personalised baby shower cookies! I also went to Big W because their confectionery section is legit – they still have Yupi and Trolli lollies so I was all over that. I also bought wafer biscuits from there because for some reason they are always on special at Big W. I will also be making fairy bread with blue sprinkles because fairy bread is life (and cheap). For our cake, I am lucky enough to have Mum and the incredible team at Unwritten baking our cake. Having said that, if that wasn’t an option, I would have made my own cake. I find that homemade cakes (even when you suck at baking) are far tastier than ones that you have to order weeks in advance. Again, I am a fan of the homemade, but if saving money is what you’re after then spending that little bit of extra time making things will result in a fair amount of savings!
Unfortunately, alcohol is alcohol. Aside from shopping around at different stores and grabbing things while they are on special, alcohol and drinks will always be one of the most pricey elements of a get together. Pete bought all of our alcohol from Dan Murphy’s and I bought some non-alcoholic sparkling wine from Aldi as well as a bottle of Seedlip for those who aren’t drinking alcohol.
I saw this idea on Pinterest and absolutely loved it – a Mum-osa Bar.
Shari and I bought a cheap metal container from Kmart where there will be bottles of champagne sitting in ice, as well as four plastic jars that we will fill with fresh fruit and three glass bottles filled with different kinds of juice. I bought a cheap frame from Kmart and designed and printed a little size to slip inside it, as well as wooden swing tags and twine that I will write on to identify each juice! We also found some stunning champagne glasses (as I didn’t have any) that came in boxes of six. I bought two boxes and then a packet of glittered plastic champagne glasses in case we needed any spares. The disposable ones from Kmart are actually really pretty and photograph really well, so if you didn’t want to spend the extra money on proper glasses, these are a great option!
We also bought boxes of canned soft drink on special from Big W!
Once again, Kmart and Big W provided the goods when it came to Shari and I choosing the theme and buying the decorations for this weekend. Like I have mentioned, we are going for a very rustic and natural colour theme with pops of blue throughout. To start things off, I handmade a Woodland Creature Bunting as well as a cake topper both of which only took about an hour all up (and cost next to nothing!).
At Kmart, they have a wide range of buntings that are insanely cheap! I went for the hessian flag bunting as well as two of the DIY blackboard buntings that come with chalk. I chose these two because it ties in with our theme and the DIY buntings means that I can dedicate one to our baby boy, while the other will be a birthday one for Pete!! I am planning on having the buntings layered throughout the house, rather than just stringing each of them up against a wall!
We ordered the balloons for the baby shower from Big W. I ended up going for two bouquets that will sit on the floor instead of table-top ones. The balloons are in metallic green, pearl white and some really pretty clear latex ones, some that are being filled with rose gold confetti and others that aren’t. I personally didn’t want any balloons that said ‘boy’ or ‘baby’ – however there are a number of cheap options available on eBay that you can purchase and then get filled with helium closer to the day! We also bought some really creepy looking plastic babies that are meant for a baby shower game called “My Water’s Broke” but 1. I don’t do games and 2. I thought that they would be great to dot around the table.
When my mum and I hosted my godmother’s baby shower for her baby girl, we bought a number of toys that we used as a part of the grazing table. Not only did it look great they were also some extra presents for her to take home at the end of it! For our little man I bought some Hot Wheels, some Lego Duplo and a few plush toys. If you are having a baby shower where you don’t know the sex of the baby, there are some great neutral toys you can get including teething rings, fabric books and neutral soft toys all of which are available at Big W and Kmart!
Also for the table, and for around the house and on top of the cake, Mum is going to Sydney Markets on Thursday morning to pick up some Australia native flowers. If you want to include flowers as a part of your decoration for your baby shower, I strongly suggest hitting up the markets. The flowers are always incredibly fresh and SO much cheaper than they are at the florist. It does get hectic at the markets and it can be a pain, so if you can, get there early in the morning! Again, these suggestions are all to save some cash and although it will take that little bit more time and effort, the flowers will be fresh and vibrant and lovely.
Back at Kmart again, Shari and I managed to find some really sweet napkins! I originally wanted simple napkins, however when we saw these three options, we knew that they would work together and play off the theme nicely. We have the pop of blue, the rose gold lettering matches the champagne glasses and the ballon and the black, white and gold ones suit everything! I found it difficult to find nice looking plates.. but we landed on these silver striped zig-zag kinda’ ones. We found them at Big W in the party section and they were also available in rose gold and standard gold. Most of the plates that we came across were really bold colours and flimsy plastic. These are sturdy enough that if we wanted to, we could wash them and use them again – though I doubt that we will do that..
I also bought some hanging decorations from Big W – just those white crepe-papery ones – they come in packets of four or five and you need to pull them out and make them yourself. They are extremely cheap but if you can get creative and intertwine them with a few different types and colours, and maybe some smaller balloons then you will have a really pretty (AND SUPER FANCY) decorative feature goin’ on!
After the weekend has passed and we have celebrated our little man with our family and friends, I will be sure to post photos of everything that I have mentioned here, as well as things that I probably missed! Also, just a little side note, you will have to excuse me if this post seems rambly or doesn’t make sense – I am still adjusting to the third trimester and it is hard and I am big and constantly hot (so much so that I think I may evaporate) and tired and have reflux so my brain is a tad foggy. Apologies.