Five spring things to get your kids out into the garden

Five spring things to get your kids out into the garden 1. Entrance them. Help them find fairies and trolls and magic everywhere. By making the outdoor experience magical and fun, we can lead children to developing their own sustained interest in the practical side of being outdoors. 2. Give them a regular outdoor project. A veggie patch is a great start. Or a nature journal, rain gauge or even a mushroom kit. 3. Involve them early in your outdoor chores. Weeding, hanging out the washing, washing the dog, pruning or watering the garden will help make it fun! 4. Take their indoor activities outside. Lego, handheld computer games, books; colouring-in can all be done on the deck, or on a rug in the garden. 5. Encourage them to be as wild as they want. Let them learn that outside is a place where they can dance, sing and yell their little lungs out. Source: Unstructured plan expert and author Caroline Webster...

Meeting a sitter goes virtual

Meet-A-Sitter, Australia’s first boutique “speed-dating” service connecting parents with prescreened babysitters and nannies, is taking convenience to a whole new level by going virtual. “We understand how busy parents are, that’s why they seek us out in the first place,’’ Meet-A-Sitter founder Mei Koon said. “The virtual initiative has come about after we received feedback that many parents were in a ‘catch 22’ situation; they needed a carer for their children, but had no one to care for them while they came to our events. Skype virtual attendance seemed like a natural solution.’’ Meet-A-Sitter was originally launched in response to Mei’s need for a more effective and affordable way to find childcare options for her son when she was first looking to return to work. “Like many others, we lacked family support, couldn’t afford high agency fees and were on multiple daycare waiting lists. More importantly, we just didn’t have the time to spend reviewing CVs online and setting up one-on-one interviews,” Ms Koon said. Knowing there had to be a better way, Ms Koon transferred the speed-dating concept to the childcare scenario. Since then, her team has interviewed more than 1400 nanny and babysitter candidates and has helped more than 700 families from across Sydney and Melbourne find carers for their children via live matchmaking events. “Personally meeting the babysitters and nannies face-to-face will always be the most effective option for parents. But for those without that choice, we’ve used a combination of tablets and wifi technology to enable parents to virtually attend our events and fully participate as if they were there. They can interview all the...

Mum PR and Katrina Higham Consulting are Proud to Be Me

MELBOURNE, VIC June 18, 2012 –The collaboration of Mum PR and Katrina Higham Consulting are excited to announce their role as conference managers for the inaugural Proud to Be Me event being held across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in late 2012.   The event, the first of its kind in Australia, will be a celebration of women, focusing on promoting self-acceptance and positive body image.   “My vision for Proud to Be Me is to inspire and celebrate all women, no matter their age, their size, their backgrounds or their lifestyle choices. We are all amazing and deserve a chance to celebrate that,’’ said Mel Caston, Proud to Be Me event director and owner of the successful online clothing store, MissMel.   With guest appearances from internationally acclaimed plus-size model Tess Munster, along with a host of Australian talent including Casey Withoos and Paula Parore from The Voice 2012, the event will offer something for every taste.   “I am thrilled to be working with the team from Mum PR and Katrina Higham Consulting. I know they will help me take this event from dream to reality,” Ms Caston added.   The daytime conference in each state will offer delegates the chance to participate in a range of inspiring workshops and learn from amazing speakers, while the gala dinner each evening will be a wonderful networking opportunity.   “We are proud to be a part of such an inspiring event,” said Katrina Higham director of Katrina Higham Consulting. “The response so far from the public has been overwhelmingly positive”.   “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us,” said Kellie O’Brien,...

Criticism around subsidising nannies unfounded

Criticism around subsidising nannies unfounded SYDNEY, NSW, April 17, 2012 – CRITICISM around Tony Abbott’s proposed taxpayer-funded subsidies for nannies causing the childcare industry to become less professional were unfounded, according to Australia and New Zealand nanny support body Cafe Nanny. Cafe Nanny founder and KiwiOz Nannies director, Rachel Lewis, said Early Childhood and Childcare Minister Kate Ellis’ concerns around nannies’ minimum level of qualifications and regulations being non-existent should not be used as a road block. “I understand Kate Ellis saying there isn’t a minimum level of qualifications, but how about the government coming to us – like they have in New Zealand and the UK – and providing funding in order to meet what’s required,’’ the Sydney woman said. She said Cafe Nanny’s study last week of more than 100 Australian nannies showed they agreed to ongoing qualifications and development to be eligible for the rebate. “The problem is, the support is not there for the in-home care at the moment – and they want it to be there. In New Zealand and the UK the government is offering that funding and offering support,’’ Rachel said. She said there were many nannies not paid tax, not receiving super, whose contracts weren’t upheld and who were unqualified. “In turn, if qualified nannies were getting the rebate then the parents would be following the correct tax and legal requirements, because a lot of the time they don’t.’’ She also disagreed with Ms Ellis’ comments on most families not wanting to take funding away from existing childcare funding. “Careforkids.com just did a survey of over 1500 parents, 76% of whom...

Stay stylishly organised with the Inner-B Mum Organiser

Stay stylishly organised with the Inner-B Mum Organiser Sydney, NSW – Modern day, busy mums looking for a stylish alternative to better balance their daily schedule of family, work and home life are increasingly looking to the Inner-B Mum Organiser ($44.95). The chic, but practical compendium is based on the concept a routine and organised life is not a boring life. Designed by Inner-B director, organising educator and Sydney mum Valerie Petersen, it has become a popular product for real mums seeking to declutter, organise and simplify their busy lives. The Organiser also adds a little colour to a mum’s day through three gorgeous colour options – fuschia, lime green and turquoise blue. “I understand how the language of colour can make a mum feel certain emotions, such as striking a chord to achieve goals or feel inspired,’’ Valerie said. Appealing to mums needing to stay on top of all elements of their life – including finding time for themselves –  the week-to-a-view planner provides space to write appointments, to-do lists, birthdays, anniversaries, children’s activities or planning for family dinners and outings. The bonus 50-page lifestyle resource is full of useful tools and information, including health and fitness, entertaining, travel, family medical information, passwords, My Brilliant Ideas and the favourite My Dilemmas. New mums also benefit by being able to keep track and manage their baby’s routine. “It doesn’t take long to realise that you’re not just a mum, but your baby’s PA too,’’ Valerie said. The organiser allows mums to stay on top of every single medical appointment, check-up and social outing. It even includes an immunisation schedule....

Organics back on top for everyday families

February 1, 2012 Organics back on top for everyday families Sydney, NSW February 1, 2012 – FAMILIES priced out of the usually expensive organic cotton clothing market have been handed an affordable alternative.  Sydney women Natasha Stewart and Sharni Potter launched baby organic clothing business Little Bean Organics in a bid to make the sustainable material affordable for everyday families. The seed of the business was sown during challenging circumstances for Natasha at age 21. A melanoma sparked anxiety issues, which only increased after giving birth to her daughter two years ago. “It wasn’t just about my own health and wellbeing anymore,’’ she said. When it began to spiral out of control, she started researching organic products, leading her to an organic lifestyle – and a healthier life. While she’s yet to discover any scientific evidence, she believes her anxiety disappeared due to a mix of physically eliminating toxins and her mindset of being healthier through the use of organic products. Then, in a bitter twist, her husband was made redundant. “ We had to reassess our whole budget and, obviously, because organics are so expensive this was one of the first things we had to sacrifice.’’  She said it heralded the return of her anxiety. With a desire to continue using organics and passion for small business, the two friends joined to launch Little Bean Organics. It was a chance to create affordable organic baby garments without compromising on quality for families in similar situations. Sharni said the usual high price of organic clothing stemmed from the cotton being more expensive to grow than conventional cotton. Not to...