Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Using PicMonkey To Improve & Lighten Your Photos

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As far as I am concerned, PicMonkey is one of the easiest tools to use when it comes to manipulating your photos. One of the biggest problems I see with product shots and blank backgrounds in photos is that they can look a not so fifty shade of grey if not shot in the correct light.

Research actually shows that photo viewers prefer a white background (also known as white space). WHITE not various shades of grey.

So when it comes to capturing professional looking images, sorry to say folks, but grey is just not going to cut the mustard... especially if you are trying to sell something or show something off in it's best light (pardon the pun).

Luckily, there is a really easy way to lighten and brighten the background in your photos, using PicMonkey, and although I totally suck at giving instructions, I am going to forge ahead and try to show you anyway.

STEP 1

OK, so start by opening PicMonkey on your desktop and click on Edit to upload your photo. Then (hopefully) it is just a matter of following the instructions I have put together for you below.

STEP 2

STEP 3

STEP 4

STEP 5

STEP 6




Give it a go, I would love to hear how it works for you.

If you are interested, here's some other PicMonkey Tutorials I have put together earlier too.



Are you a PicMonkey Fan or your a Die Hard Photoshop User?


Monday, 20 October 2014

Tugging At The Leash

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*Sigh*

So it seems I really and truly have a teenager on my hands. You know - one who no longer bounds out of bed at the prospect of a new day, but one who requires dragging out by his heels or being enticed out by cutting off the WiFi.

One whose mood can go downhill faster than my bank account in a home wares store, and one who now wants to get on buses and go to places with his friends and leave me at home hyperventilating until his safe return.

I think I am suffering from the 1st child separation symptoms.

No really!

It's kind of like the first time your toddler wants to go down the slippery dip my himself and so you stand there hovering and desperately resisting the urge to climb onto the slide and clutch him tight just so you can ensure he gets to the bottom safely.

That!

I'm struggling here people.

I am struggling with the loss of the dependence he once had upon me and the two of us are tugging at the leash. Me holding tightly and him nervously wanting me to let go, and whilst I know it is a perfectly natural path of life, it is one that I just don't know I am all that ready for.

And yet it will happen, ready or not.

I am torn at the moment about this whole freedom thing that comes with brand new teenagers, and my anxiety stems from my own fears of what goes on out there in this big old ever changing world we live in.

My fears tell me that bad stuff can happen to good people, (God forbid kids too) and whilst I know in my head that I cannot allow my own overly anxious concerns to hold him back from living his life, my heart screams at me "Don' let go... Protect him."

I was lying in bed yesterday morning, thinking about how old I was when I first took a 25 minute bus to the movies with friends by myself.... I was thirteen. The same age as my son.

He is a mature kid, sensible and stuff and has been nicknamed Captain Cautious since he was two for the careful way he assess everything. It's not necessarily his choices that I worry about, it is the actions of others and of course the freak random events and accidents that you hear about on the news scares the bejeezus out of me.

I can't help but wonder... has the world changed so much that we need to rethink whether our kids should be allowed the same freedom that we perhaps had at their age, or am I just being completely paranoid?

The fact that he wobbles on the edge of no longer being my little boy, and a kid who is not yet a young man makes it all the harder for me to decide. Heck my heart still does a major thump when I drop him off at school and he blows me a kiss or gives me a big wave and I leave him to disappear into the masses of teens with their too big or too small uniforms.

And there I was thinking that when they got older, it would get easier to let go.

Sweet Baby Cheeses, I was wrong.

Once again my mothering training wheels are back on and I am finding it hard to get my balance.

And so my friends I ask of you;

How do you deal with letting go of the leash, at any age?
Do you think the world has changed so much that we should not grant them the same freedom at the same age that we perhaps did?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

WIN A Queen Size Kip & Co Quilt Cover Set From Adairs

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There is one thing that threatens to rival my obsession with cushions, and that would be my obsession with bedding.

I like our bedroom to be seasonal - a warm and inviting sanctuary to retreat to in the cooler months and a bright and uplifting space to wake up to in the warmer months.

Considering we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, the bedroom seriously needs to be a place I enjoy spending time in.

Textile designers totally inspire me with the way that they come up with funky designs to suit the latest trends and I adore the fact that you can easily give your bedroom a mini makeover by simply changing the bedding.

Adairs have just announced an exciting collaboration between their contemporary lifestyle label, Home Republic, and cult boutique bedding label, Kip & Co.

Together they have created a limited edition colourful range of bedding, cushions and towels for both adults and the little people.


There are five reversible designs available in SB, DB, QB & KB sizing, along with cushions and towels to match.

The adult range highlights Kip & Co's distinctive signature style and prints, and features bold pops of colour, all perfectly aligned with this season's trends.

For the munchkins, it's all about bringing colour and fun to their space.


The range is available exclusively at Adairs and Urban Home Republic stores nationwide or you can get them sent straight to your door with just a few clicks online at adairs.com.au

Now for those of you who are keen to throw your hat into the ring for a chance to win some, Adairs have given me a Queen Size Kip & Co Croc design Quilt set for one of you lucky people to win.


To enter to win a Queen size Quilt Pip & Co Quilt Set from Adairs, leave me a comment telling me in 25 words or less; 

What's your number one tip for a good night's sleep?

Then follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget below and BAM you are in with a chance.

The competition is open now and closes Friday 31/10/14 at 8.00 pm AEST
Australian Residents only sorry!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

GOOD LUCK!

**DISCLOSURE: I was some product from Adairs to review and some to give away. 


Friday, 17 October 2014

Weekend Rewind - A Pimple on An Elephant's Butt

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Ahhh Friday, how sweet though art!

I have officially started my Christmas shopping today. Yup three whole gifts are officially ticked off my half written list.

Oh OK so my achievement is kinda like a pimple on an elephant's butt compared to how organised many of you are, but hey, it's a start... and I do apologise if you now have nightmares about a pimply mammoth's bum.

I spoke to someone today that is done and dusted with her Christmas shopping. Already! Mid October and all her gifts are purchased and wrapped and she's now up to planning the Christmas menu and is debating between turkey or crab.

Holy Christmas nuts! How can anyone possibly be THAT organised.

I headed into town today to the Myer store on George Street to check out their fantabulous Christmas Giftorium. It's like being in Santa's offshore workshop with every possible gift imaginable on display to solve your gift dilemmas for even the fussiest of family members including; Glamour Gran & Perfect PopTrendy Young ThingsTechno Freaks, Food Fanatics and even Paws Corner for our fur babies, and loads more.

This year at Myer, you can even make an appointment to meet with Santa, so no more long lines and cranky kids. 


I was stoked to see so many of the good old fashioned kids toys are back in fashion. Games, and DIY & craft stuff and magic kits.

It was also an awesome chance to catch up with some gorgeous bloggy pals, some of who I have the pleasure of knowing already and others who I was thrilled to meet in person for the first time.




You know what I seriously love about bloggers? There is none of this getting to know you crap  that you normally get when you meet someone for the first time. You feel like you know each other already, which you kind of do, especially if you have done your stalking properly.

But all jokes aside, get yourself along to the Grand Opening of your local Myer Giftorium and nail your Christmas shopping.


Oh by the way, in case you are wondering what the hell the relevance is of the succulence in my post header... there isn't any.

My 9 year old son has recently discovered the joy of photography and he asked if he could become my official blog photographer. I said "perhaps we'll work our way up to that" but in the meantime he made me promise I would share one of his photos with you - so consider it shared my little dude!

Have an awesome weekend you guys. I am planning on catching up on some serious zzzzs after one crazy work week.

Later lovelies!

Have you started or even completed your Christmas Shopping yet?
What would you choose - Turkey or Crab? 




Link up your favourite post from the past week and then if you get a chance, pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Maxabella)Sonia's blog (Sonia Styling) or Kelly's at A Life Less Frantic
It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Join Us For Dinner At My Place And WIN!

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This post is brought to you by Coles

For far too long, Carl and I have put weeknight entertaining into the too hard basket.

I mean, most of us are knackered once we get home from work and all the after school activities
right?

And lets not even talk about the homework that needs to be done, the fact that the house could use a really good magician to tidy it up and Mt Washmore is looming insidiously in the corner threatening to swallow a whole room.

I couldn't possibly invite anyone around on a weeknight could I?

Problem is, when there are kids in the family, weekends can be just as busy as the week days, and if you wait for the right time to invite friends or family to join you for a meal, you could be waiting as long as it takes for the stars and planets to align or my kids to tidy their bedrooms.

Ummmm that would be like forever!

Dinner is a daily battle in many households, and ours is no exception. As if finding meal solutions that the kids will eat and meals that fit within my weekly grocery budget isnt enough, throw a couple of extra dinner guests into the mix, kids with questionable table manners (that would be MY kids), and my stress levels would be starting to rise and Id have that really obnoxious twitch I get in my left eye going on.

But it doesn't need to be that hard. In fact, it doesn't need to be hard at all.

Surely I jest?

Honestly, I love it when we are invited to familys home for dinner on a weeknight, especially if it is a casual and relaxed affair. I truly enjoy seeing how other families do their evenings and I love soaking up the atmosphere and feeling like I am a part of their family, for just a night.


I don't care if their house is messy and noisy, that the toilet hasn't been cleaned or that the meal is super simple. It makes me feel ... more normal and I enjoy being a part of someone else's chaos for a while.







I have a thing for communal meals. You know, plates of food passed from one person to the next and the lively chatter as everyone speaks over the top of each other. It always looked so appealing on the Brady Bunch and in the pages of Kinfolk magazine.

OK, so if it doesn't have to be perfect at anyone else's house, then why the hell have I wasted so long thinking that my friends and family wouldn't feel the same way about joining the chaos at our house for a weeknight meal?

Dinner neednt be fussy and time consuming.  haha I hear you laugh. The truth is the toughest critics are usually the kids, so focusing on making something easy that they will actually makes a whole load of sense to me.

Whilst we are on the subject of easy, in my humble opinion, there is nothing better than an all hands on deck kind of approach to making dinner, where friends and family feel right at home and work side by side with you in the kitchen, having a laugh and preparing the meal together.

There I go with the romanticism again!

Anyway, I was cooking with my Dad yesterday so come and join my family (all be it virtually) for an easy week day meal at our house. Were having Roasted Pork Belly, Peri Peri Chicken portions and our fave Karen Martini Cous Cous Salad.

And whilst you are at it - enter at the end of this post to win a $50 Coles voucher so that you can invite some friends around to your joint for dinner!




Coles are all about making weekday meals easy and affordable and with their Down Down pricing on your every day meat cuts like Chicken Thighs, Chicken Breast, Beef mince and Sausages, and their new Grill range like Moroccan Spiced Butterflied Chicken - shopping for your family and sticking to your budget has never been easier.

Chicken that is pre cut and marinated, pork that you can basically whack in a pan and roast - Hell Yes! I will ALWAYS take the easy option.

There is no need to shop for meat at your local Coles just for convenience sake, because Coles are all about quality, pricing and convenience. Did you know that at Coles, the quality is guaranteed or you get your money back? Yep, it’s all about better quality, better value and better availability.

Coles is still the only National Australian Supermarket that provides the highest standards on it own brand meat including no added hormones beef, RSPCA Approved chicken and Sow stall free pork.



Over at the Coles website and taste.com there are literally thousands of recipes to help you take advantage of the weekly meat and veg specials, and plan meals that come with a clean plate stamp of approval from your whole family.

Take advantage of some of these popular products this October;
Coles Finest Sausages (Angus Beef Parsley), RSPCA Approved Chicken, Scotch Fillet Steak, Pork and the New Cole Grill Products.

Heres five meals I have bookmarked for next time I have guests on a weeknight for dinner.. because I am you know. Im not wasting any more time when it comes to catching up with friends and family.


 Want to win a $50 voucher so you can invite some friends around to dinner at your house?


All you need to do is leave me a comment and tell me about what kind of chaos and craziness goes on at your house at dinner time?

Competition is open now and closes 26/10/14 at 7pm AEST

Australian residents only sorry.

Winner will be chosen on their skill and creativity and ability to make me appreciate my own chaos!