Staycation Tips

We rarely go away during the holidays in December / January as Pete works between Christmas and New Year (the joys of owning your own hospitality business), but I always have a week or so time off work and I choose to spend it on catching up on stuff around the house and hanging out with the kids.

This time is somewhat of a challenge for me though, keeping the kids occupied day and night by myself, and getting them motivated to do and play something other than iPhones, iPads, Netflix or PlayStation – so I try and keep them busy and get them out of the house for some part of the day.

I also like to keep things very simple, after a thumper year of work (literally crawled to the finish line) apart from socialising at Christmas or New Year’s Eve with family and friends, I don’t travel much more than a few km’s during this time and I also love a bit of me or “loner” time, so I do keep to myself a bit and chill out with lots of exercise and yoga, sometimes a few pages of reading, and lots of online (shopping) browsing/purchasing, a little bit of Netflix if I get a go at the TV (ahh) and this time I also managed to do a massive amount of decluttering (I got rid of according to the skip guy who is amazing I can provide the details of you need them – 2.5 cubic metres of rubbish that I had somehow shoved into my cupboards for many years)!  I have always complained of not having much storage space in our house…mmm now I know why!  This mess was staring at me for literally 6 months, so I approached the monstrous task super motivated to see the back of it and I did just that.

Here are just some of the things we have done during our staycation!  I try and do at least one of these things a day with the kids for a good few hours at a time.  I never try and do any more than one, otherwise I end up getting too tired and so do the kids.  As I don’t cook or bake much during the working year, I like to fit this in also as I actually quite enjoy it, just don’t get the chance to do it much.  We also managed a few play dates during this time and hangouts with cousins.

The Movies

I got the kids to choose a movie each and we went and saw them both one during the day and one in the early evening. Whilst my kids are close in age they both like completely different things, so by giving each of them the opportunity to choose makes things fair and very peaceful to say the least. Kristina’s choice was Ralph breaks the internet. James’s choice was Spider-Man! There was soft drink, pop corn and ice cream involved.

Movies nights at home

I usually finish the day with movie night, lights dim and movie on with popcorn of course. This year the kids have loved Christmas movies with the standout being Christmas Chronicles. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must for young and old.  Mr Bean is always a winner and Paddington 2.


We don’t have many board games, but given the kids are obsessed with money at the moment (thank you very much to the school canteen) I find this game useful in reminding them that you can’t just buy what you want, you need to make or have the money first!  Lots of competitiveness comes out too which is fabulous, especially from me!


I can’t say I have much patience for LEGO, but the kids just love it when we build things together.  When friends or family ask me what the kids want for birthdays or christmas and when they already have everything, I always say LEGO.  You can never have too much, and its at times like this that it comes in handy.  One day James and I spent over 2 hours building LEGO City, and Kristina’s favourite is LEGO Friends.


We managed 2 visits to Bounce these holidays (already) where the kids bounced for nearly 2 hours each time.  We are lucky to have a centre about 5 minutes from our place, and the kids usually meet other kids there or see kids from their school.  We finished both sessions with a iced drink as they literally came off the trampolines dripping with sweat!  Such good exercise for them too.

Overnight Stay in the City

I like to stay at a hotel in the city a few times a year, this time we stayed at our choice of hotels – the beautiful Langham in Southbank, with the kids on the day before NYE.  Even though I told them both (after countless amount of times to stop running and screaming in the corridors) that they would never be allowed to come back with us ahhhh – the rooms are spacious, there are two queen size beds in the twin share option and the buffet brekkie is amazing!!!!!  We went for dinner, a long walk down Southbank and into Crown, and sat and watched buskers for hours.  Kristina even asked me a couple of times, “are we in Australia?”.  We stayed the next day and swam in the indoor pool and enjoyed the facilities (the Chuan Spa is incredible we didn’t book in for a treatment this time though) as they were setting up for NYE.  It was a great 24 hours.

Swimming Pools

The local pools are about 3km from our house and the kids just love the diving board and two large pools to choose from.  The facilities are next to brand new, there is lots of shade, and while there is a great canteen with icecreams, drinks and hot food, I always pack a picnic lunch.  We could spend up to 5-6 hours at any given time here, and even mummy gets some tanning and free time!

Corporate Outfits – Last 6 weeks

I am in a much better mood when I like what I am wearing!

Working in corporate where I travel a little, interact with customers and also internal stakeholders – staff, my peers, the executives, I always try and look my best but at the same time not be too over the top and uncomfortable.  We have many internal stairs in our office, and some of my catch-up with staff/peers involve walks around the block, so I need to make sure my outfits (and shoes) are adaptive to any type of meeting or situation.

When I first started working in corporate 16 years ago, I used to spend a lot of money on suits and corporate shirts.  I still have most of them taking up an enormous part of my wardrobe!  The organisation I worked for at the time was also very corporate and so were its customers – so suiting up suited the environment and I totally think that should be the case, you have to be comfortable but also relatable.  I must say I loved wearing suits and I still love wearing shirts!

Today working in a semi corporate environment, a very large and grown up tech business, most people dress in jeans or very casual / flats, runners and I have seen thongs (not often though).  Whilst I could dress the same as most, I do not, this is my choice and it totally is a representation of who I am.  Although I do find myself wearing more pant outfits these days, and less skirts.  This too, also comes and goes in phases.

I love clothes, fashion, and looking a bit different to what I look like on the weekends / casual environments, makes me feel like I am in a work mode, not to mention it makes me feel good.

I spend time the night before choosing my outfit for the next day, I have everything laid out, and so there is no thinking in the morning regarding what I am wearing.  I do the same with the kid’s clothes and always have.  Mornings are so hectic in our household and I find this can limit some of the stress for all of us and allow us to focus on breakfast and getting out the door on time.

I do not have a huge number of pieces but I like to mix and match a lot, and also splash my wardrobe with something new every couple of weeks, whether it is a pair of pants, skirt, top, shoes or jacket.  I also change the look with a staple belt and sometimes some different earrings.  I am also fortunate enough to share a wardrobe with my twin sister, so if I am feeling a bit bored, this helps mix it up a bit too.  My favourite places to shop for work are Witchery, Cue, Bonnie Park (local in Balwyn) and Zara, and all my shopping is done online using shopbop and the iconic.

These are some of my favourites from the last 6 weeks.

Petra xxx

Some 1%-ers for first time mummy’s!

Being a first time mummy is not only daunting because it doesn’t come with a manual but it’s overwhelming with what people tell you, what you read, what you take in and choose to do, and then ultimately how your baby reacts or responds.  Every newborn baby is different and what works for one doesn’t work for another. There is that thing called mother instinct and the mother knows best, which is FACT, so you must do as you think and feel is best and right, but there are also those little things you learn along the way that you wish you knew from the beginning! So..whilst its been nearly 6 years since I’ve had a newborn, here are some of my 1%-ers that made a big difference for me.

  • Wrapping your newborn baby

Wrapped babies sleep better.  Newborns have what’s called a moro reflex for the first 3 or so months from birth, which makes them have random hand movements which can disturb their sleep.  Even though it may appear that they don’t like it at the beginning, there are many benefits of doing it, in particular better sleep patterns.  I have seen and heard many mothers being totally against this for their newborns because their newborns cry when they are wrapped, but at least you can hug them and comfort them until they are asleep, and they largely remain asleep.  Speak to the nurses in hospital about this and get their views, but it was definitely a winner for me, for both children, although with Kristina (baby #2) she was stubborn at times and I allowed her to have one arm out around week 3-4.

  • Hold and cuddle your baby as much as you want

Don’t listen to anyone, you can hold and cuddle your baby has much as you want.  Some babies need more cuddles than others, James was far less reliant on me for cuddles than Kristina.  Whilst routines are important, you shouldn’t get caught up on these straight away.  I had a routine for my babies from a sleep and bath perspective as best as I could but it wasn’t until 6 months that anything really worked.   Cuddling doesn’t mean your baby is awake (as refer to my next point) they could be sleeping on you during this time, especially in the first 6 weeks or so.

  • Awake time between 1-2 hours 

Newborns up to the age of 6 even 12 weeks shouldn’t be awake longer than 1-2 hours which includes feed time! OMG I know that means totally no rest of mummy right.  The reason for this is because if your baby becomes overtired due to being awake for too long (and it will happen), you will struggle to get them to sleep – sometimes for hours.  So I know you may get excited especially when you have friends and family over because they will want to hold and see the baby, remember the baby’s priority is sleep and milk in the first 6 weeks, not socialising.  Every baby is different though so give take either side.  James would last 2 hours maximum, Kristina struggled with 1-1.5 hours.  This is totally the hardest part to master.

  • Ask for help and let people help

Being a first time mum I wanted to do everything and sometimes I was against it when people wanted to help me (mainly family members / grandparents etc).  Very quickly however I accepted the help, and lifted my shield of “I am the mum so I can do everything” – as ultimately it gave me a chance to rest and do stuff for myself or around the house, after all the baby had me over night – as there was not much offering at that hour of the night 🙂  Looking back though, I did struggle a lot when Kristina came along (19 months apart), James was a very jealous baby and my husband was working many late nights, so I wish I asked for more help.  So if you can, do it, ask for it, motherhood is not supposed to be done alone.

  • Sleep when your baby sleeps (at least try)

At least for one sleep of the day for the three months or so (I chose the first sleep of the day), try to sleep when the baby sleeps.  Don’t over commit yourself in the first month or three, the sleep deprivation can be quite taxing, and you need as much energy as possible to enjoy your little newborn and also try and feel normal despite ridiculous amount of hormones still circulating throughout your body.  At the beginning this was a daily thing for me, then it became an every second day thing for at least the first 6 months.  Oh and regarding over committing, one thing I couldn’t keep up with was cleaning the house, so I got a cleaner to help out once a week which was and still is the best investment ever – despite them not being as good as me, they were definetely more reliable, and it made me feel better that I had a clean house.  And feeling good is so important.

  • Get a Script ready for Antibiotics – Mastitis

If you choose to breastfeed, there is a chance you may get mastitis, which is bloody painful and awful where your milk ducts in your breasts (one or both) get blocked.  If you know the early signs which include pain and lumps in breasts, skin redness, flu-like symptoms, fever – quickly get yourself to a doctor for a prescription for antibiotics, or even better get your obstetrician to pre write you a script, so all you need to do is get to a chemist.  Also keep feeding or expressing, as this will also release the pain and blockage.  Fresh (smelly) cabbage also works  a treat too!! The first time I had it with James I thought I was run down and it was winter so I put it down as a cold, and I got very sick.  The next 20 times I got it, the minute I felt my muscles aching, I knew it was Mastitis coming, and after 2-3 days of the antibiotics and cabbage it was gone, got it early.

  • Maternal & Child Health Line

In Melbourne, Victoria we are so lucky to have access to a Maternal Health line 24 hours where there are qualified maternal and child health nurses on the other end of the phone that can help you diagnose a non severe problem (for example there is a pink spot on my baby’s nose) and put you at ease or recommend you seek professional advice.  You should ring this line daily if you need to, I certainly did, and this resulted in less doctor / hospital visits.   The Maternal and Child Health Line Tel: 132 229 – available 24 hours a day for the cost of a local call throughout Victoria.  Use them!

According to Dunstan, there are five universal words or sound reflexes used by newborn babies – aged between o and 6 weeks.  If you can work these out you will be able to understand what your newborn really wants.  These sounds helped me a lot with baby  number 2, as she suffered from reflux, so I was able to keep on top of her issues (most of the time) by understanding her sounds / crys.

Neh (I’m hungry) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Neh” to communicate its hunger. The sound is produced when the sucking reflex is triggered, and the tongue is pushed up on the roof of the mouth.

Owh (I’m sleepy) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Owh” to communicate that they are tired. The sound is produced much like a yawn.

Heh (I’m experiencing discomfort) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Heh” to communicate stress, discomfort, or perhaps that it needs a fresh nappy. The sound is produced by a response to a skin reflex, such as feeling sweat or itchiness in the bum.

Eairh (I have lower gas) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eairh” to communicate they have an upset stomach. The sound is produced when trapped air from a belch is unable to release and travels to the stomach where the muscles of the intestines tighten to force the air bubble out. Often, this sound will indicate that a bowel movement is in progress, and the infant will bend its knees, bringing the legs toward the torso. This leg movement assists in the ongoing process.

Eh (I need to be burped) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eh” to communicate that it needs to be burped. The sound is produced when a large bubble of trapped air is caught in the chest, and the reflex is trying to release this out of the mouth.

I hope you find my 1%-ers helpful.  Remember every baby is different and what worked for me may not necessarily work for you, but it may be worth a try! Most importantly, enjoy the precious newborn stage as it goes so quick.


Spring Racing Fashion Cut so far!

Love spring time, not only because it means that summertime is coming and you get to enjoy much longer days, but because the fashion and beauty that surfaces especially around spring racing!

Thought I would share some of my favourite outfits from Derby Day and also Melbourne Cup day this year, makes me now want to change my outfit for Oaks :(( 

This year I especially loved the suit / pants look and also all the colours – lots of yellow, pink and red!

The usuals looked incredible and I thought Cathy McEvoy looked divine in her pink very feminine suit finished off with a dainty Hermes head scarf (I have the same one ☝️).

Whilst there were still a lot of dark colours and blacks, in particular for Derby Day (naturally), I found that those outfits were matched with more whites and colours.

I loved the long look, head pieces were amazing, and shoes and bags were all very high end stylist / designer.

Designers for me who killed it this year included  @effiekats @elliatt @viktoriaandwoods @eliyathelabel @toni_maticevski

Very impressed so far! Let’s see what Oaks day has in store for us.


Why I Started Yoga 🧘‍♀️


Rewind 10 years ago if someone told me that they did yoga as an exercise regime I automatically assumed they had major issues, wanted to practice relaxation and breathing techniques, or were going through a hard time. I would always associate exercise with lots of sweating, high impact, full body training and yoga didn’t fit into that category.

About 18 months ago I hit a point in my life where I nearly lost my shit and the struggles of a husband working 2 jobs, almost single parenting a very demanding and literal 4 and 6 year old and trying to be a good mum too, and then on top of that trying to front up in my very busy corporate full time job, exercise, cook, clean, see friends, kids activities and birthday parties blah blah, all got the better of me. 

Whilst a number of things needed addressing at the time one thing I knew for certain was that I needed to find time to look after my self, quickly! 

My kids, husband, friends, family and work were all suffering because I was trying to be perfect at everything, and too damn proud to reach out for help, say no or tell anyone for fear of being viewed upon as a failure. I could not accept any washing in the dirty laundry basket, any un made beds, unwashed dishes, unread emails in my inbox and a quiet schedule on the weekends. 

But sadly because of this I was failing miserably at everything and starting to hate the person I was becoming especially that person in front of my kids. I was constantly yelling, under pressure, stressed and tired, in fact my whole family was yelling and tired, I wasn’t seeing any of my extended family or friends and seriously disillusioned that any of this could be fixed. 

People would often say to me they don’t know how I cope what I am doing, that I was amazing at what I did; I would just smile, put up that incredibly strong and resilient front, but I was actually crumbling inside. 

I then found yoga. Or a mentor of mine suggested I needed to do something to improve my perception of what’s important “right now” not “later” and she suggested yoga to set my priorities. I am sure I didn’t really understand what she meant, but I listened.  

She recommended that I see a beautiful lady Margaret who happened to practice at her home right around the corner from my work. Without really thinking I committed firstly to a few weekly sessions during my busy working day. One hour to myself, to only think about me seemed too good to be true. 

Over a year later I really haven’t missed a session unless I am away for work or Margaret is travelling or away herself. We practice for an hour, it’s high intensity at times too (I burn 300 calories in any one hour session 😂), we chat a lot, and then she finishes with shavasana session following the theme of the practice and then a card reading (my favourite).

I love yoga and it’s part of who I am now. It gives me clarity, balance and helps me prioritise what’s really important. I am calmer and more attentive especially with the kids, and I don’t care for the little things, I don’t care that the beds are unmade when I get home (lie, I still care about that🤪) and everything can wait. 

I try and be balanced in what I do and how I approach things as best as I can as at now or today, not tomorrow and not for anyone else. I sleep more and I rest more too. This is the constant struggle I think in everyone’s lives, things are busier and we all make them busier.  Don’t get me wrong things are very often hard and a major struggle but I am approaching things far differently now and somehow able to handle the challenges a lot more easily.

One thing I hope you get out of reading this is that if you don’t look after yourself, what ever it is- going for walks, movies, exercise, meditation, and find time for yourself regularly, make it part of your diary, you cannot possibly be 100% to those around you. It’s a bit like the airlines when they demonstrate the emergency proceedure before takeoff; help yourself before you help others.

Namaste 🙏