The Last Post (and some exciting news!)

Hey everyone! The last time I wrote here I explained that I would soon be shutting this blog down in order to focus on launching my new business. Well the time has come! Whilst I’m going to miss blogging here I am also really excited to be finally following my dream of having my own business (and I’m pretty sure that blogging will make a reappearance for me sometime in the future anyway). If you haven’t already seen on instagram or facebook here’s a bit about my new adventure…

www.thecuriousfox.com.au

The Curious Fox offers a wide range of play kits which inspire children to use their imagination to create and play. The kits provide all the ideas and resources needed to keep the kids entertained for hours, in one box! They are themed around a variety of children’s interests; from dinosaurs to fairies and more. There are also large kits for groups and parties and travel kits for when you’re on the go. Here’s an example of just one of the kits, this one is the Pirate Play Kit and retails for just $30.

playkit, www.thecuriousfox.com.au

The inspiration for The Curious Fox really came from searching for something similar for my son and finding there was nothing really like this out there. The Curious Fox officially launched this week and the response has been really positive but who knows, it’s only early days yet, but even if the idea falls flat on it’s face at least I can say I tried and I won’t have any regrets!

So thankyou for supporting and reading The Routine Queen. I hope you’ll continue to follow me along this journey and head over to facebook to keep updated on The Curious Fox or stay in touch by following me as Sarahdipity on Instagram.

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Change

Well hello there, long time no blog. It’s been 24 day since my last post so let’s catch up shall we?

We had a wonderful Christmas. The day itself was relaxed, spent with immediate family. Of course the lil man got spoilt and loved every second of it.

Check out that grin

Check out that grin

Christmas night we headed to our caravan up the coast. The next two weeks was filled with lazy mornings, sunny days, catch ups with good friends, lots of reading, relaxing and playing.

Kyaking with Dad

Kyaking with Dad

family

I even managed to squeeze in attending two beautiful weddings nearby.

Wedding Number One

Wedding Number One

Wedding number 2

Wedding number 2

As always happens when on holidays I had lots of time to think, reflect and make some plans for the new year.  Having decided to take the year off work and start a new business I already knew big changes were coming. What I wasn’t entirely sure about was how this blog was going to fit into all of that. Towards the end of last year I found my blogging mojo seriously lacking. When I first started this blog it was because a) I love to write and b) I felt I had something to say. But I got a little lost along the way. I feel into the trap of comparison; comparing myself to other bloggers which led to thinking I had to be like other bloggers. Spending too much time worrying about building an audience, raising stats and views and grabbing the attention of brands…it all just became a bit…not fun.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss blogging over the past few weeks. I did. I miss writing, sharing, connecting. So I’ve decided to go back to basics. For now, my attention needs to be focused on launching and building my new business (coming in the next few weeks so stay tuned!). The Routine Queen blog will cease. I will be carving out my own creative space; journalling, taking photos, reading, writing…like I said, going back to basics. I’ll be hanging out on Instagram (it’s my favourite creative space) under my old blog name Sarahdipity. My best friend gave me that name; I loved it the second she said it and I still love it now. In time I might return to blogging, who knows, I will just see where my heart leads me.

I’ll pop back here to let you know when my new business launches…I’d love to hear what you all think. I feel like I should say goodbye but I really don’t think it is goodbye, it’s more like see you later.

Thanks for reading

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P.S- Want to stay in touch? Don’t forget to follow me on instagram, I’m currently still posting under The_Routine_Queen and will make the switch to Sarahdipity in the coming weeks. Not on instagram? You seriously need to get onto that!

Christmas in Melbourne

One of the things I love the most about Christmas is all of the traditions. Since our son was born we’ve started a few Christmas traditions which I hope we will carry on for many years to come. One of my favourites is our family day in the city. We set aside one day in our busy Christmas calendar every year to head into the city, just the three of us, and spend the day wandering around checking out all the Christmas fun.

On Sunday, we drove in at lunchtime, parked the car at Crown (all day parking is $16) and started by filling our bellies with the best burgers in town at The Merrywell.

The Merrywell, www.theroutinequeen.net

We went back inside Crown for the free Christmas Spectacular light show. With Christmas songs and sparkly lights it’s guranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit! The show runs every half hour in The Atrium. A little tip- the best spot to view the show this year is to sit on the steps so get there early for a good spot because it does get super busy!

Crown, www.theroutinequeen.net

Crown Atrium, www.theroutinequeen.net

You can get your photo with Santa for free after the light show- just make sure you head straight over because the line can get long. We were first in (yay!) Is this not the cutest smile you ever did see?

santa, www.theroutinequeen.net

Back outside we walked along the yarra to Federation Square where we found the giant Lego Christmas Tree.

Lego Tree, www.theroutinequeen.net

Lego tree, www.theroutinequeen.net

If you get there before 3pm you can make a lego christmas tree ornament for free.

Just a block down from Fed Square is Christmas Square, a pop up Christmas garden with a giant Christmas tree, a few bits and pieces to look at and (another) Santa.

Melbourne, www.theroutinequeen.net

If you sneak around the back of the square you’ll find our favourite little hidden spot in the city with a little water wading area for the kids to have a splash and cool off. The Little man whipped his shorts off and was straight in!

Melbourne, www.theroutinequeen.net

Next up was Myer. Honestly the line to see the Myer windows was so ridiculously long that we decided to give it a miss and just walked around the back of the crowd for a sneaky look. We headed inside Myer up to The Giftorium on level 6.  There’s lots to look at at do, including a Christmas train ride, craft activities and (yet another) Santa. Two very happy boys scored their own personalised jars of nutella (you can make your own jar for $12)

nutella, www.theroutinequeen.net

A few hours down, lots of km’s walked and we were well and truly exhausted and ready to head home! We all slept very well that night.

Have you headed into Melbourne or your local city to check out the Christmas sites? Tell me you top spots!

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Life’s Funny Like That

Lately I’ve been lacking a bit of motivation when it comes to blogging. I’m pretty sure most bloggers go through it, where you start to wonder what you’re doing it all for, if it’s really worth all the hard work and time… where’s it all going anyway? So I was thinking all of this the past few weeks and then all of sudden these little things started to happen. I got a message from a friend telling me how a blog post I had written had a profound impact and inspired someone to seek the help they needed. I received an invite to a special event, an offer of a ongoing paid writing gig with an international website and a couple of invites to work with some different brands. None of this is life changing sure and in fact I ended up saying no to quite a lot of it but still, that’s not really the point. The point is there are people out there that actually think my writing and this little blog are worthy. Just when I was about to give up it’s like the universe has sent me a little sign saying ‘not just yet’. Life’s funny like that.

I think it’s really easy as a blogger to fall into the trap of saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way because you want the money, the experience, the freebie…whatever it might be. I’ve had to stop and really think about it. Saying no doesn’t come easy to me. I’m a people pleaser, I want people to like me and so I find it really hard to say no, but sometimes the things you say no to can be just as important as the things you say yes to. So I’ve said no to many of the offers that have come my way these past few weeks in the hopes that one day that opportunity I’m hoping for will come along and I’ll be free to say a big fat yes!

But for now I’ll keep plugging away and take the sign from the universe that it’s not quite time yet to give up on this little thing I love.

Have you had any signs from the universe lately?

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Santa Fail!

Santa Fail www.theroutinequeen.net

Christmas becomes so much more fun when you have your own kids. Getting to play Santa is pretty awesome but it also comes with much responsibility and as I’ve discovered it’s a role that needs to be taken seriously or it can easily be stuffed up!

Rewind a few weeks and Hubby and I were pretty chuffed with ourselves when we managed to do the full Santa shop in one go whilst the lil man was at Grandma’s. We walked out of the shops high fiving ourselves for being so organised. Fast forward to last week and we sat down with the lil man to write his letter and list of wanted goods to Santa. He started reeling off a bunch of stuff…none of which we had actually brought. Note to self: get child to do list BEFORE doing the Christmas shop. Santa Fail number one. Hubby saved the day by making a few suggestions “what about that cool bike you saw in the shop that time? and that dinosaur you want…” “Oh yeah, yeah that too!” A quick letter back from Santa explaining you don’t always get EVERYTHING you want and a few last minute purchases and I think we’re covered. Phew.

Then came time to wrap the pressies. I thought ahead and brought different wrapping paper for the ‘Santa presents’ than what I’d wrapped all the others presents in. I waited until the lil man was at kinder then wrapped everything up and hid it in my super awesome hiding spot; in a secret storage compartment under the couch. Smart hey? Yeah I thought so too, until the lil man comes home from kinder and is on the floor playing with his cars when I hear him scream out excitedly “Hey look Mum, there’s presents under there!” pointing to the couch. Of course from his eye level there was a teeny tiny gap where he could see through to the wrapping paper. Crap! Santa fail number two. Think quick. I sat down on the couch and said “Oh no that’s just the wrapping paper Mummy has to send to Santa to wrap your presents in”. A word to Hubby to keep him distracted outside while I moved all the presents an alternative hiding location and again the day was saved.

Then came last night when I decided I better get ‘Alife’ (aka- our Elf on the Shelf) out from his hiding spot to make his appearance on 1st December. I’d hid him away in a really good spot. I even remember thinking not to hide him in the Christmas decorations because we might forget and pull everything out in front on the lil man. Trouble is apparently the hiding spot I chose was so good that I can’t actually find it myself! Seriously! I spent hours turning the house upside down looking in ever conceivable hiding place possible and nothing; Alfie is missing in action. Shit! Santa fail number three. I sent out a distress call on facebook. Where was I supposed to find a new elf by tomorrow?! Two hours later and many leads chased I finally got onto a lady nearby who sells them and actually had one left! Hubby’s been sent to collect him today. I’m awaiting his call to say the package has been secured and then I can breathe.

So, needless to say I’m failing pretty dismally at the Santa gig this year. I’ve definitely learnt some lessons. This year when I hid Alfie I’ll be telling you all where he is so you can remind me next year!

Have you had any Santa fails? Please tell me I’m not alone.

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Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you all my Christmas Gift Planner. I hope it’s helped some of you make a start on your Christmas shopping but if you’re struggling to come up with ideas of what to actually buy I’ve got you sorted. Much like ‘Oprah’s Favourite Things’ I give you my top 20 christmas gift ideas (unlike Oprah though I don’t have a car to give you, sorry!) and where you can get  them. The best part is you can buy all these items online so there’s no need to even leave the house!

Happy shopping!!

Top 20 Christmas Gifts 2015 www.theroutinequeen.net

1 Baby: Down that Little Lane is the place to go for goregous bespoke baby gifts like this cute baby bird rattle.

2 Kids: If you’re after something that’s not plastic fantastic head to Not in the Shops for some great kids gift ideas. Our favourite is the Woodland Friends Memory Game which we take with us everywhere!

3 Teenage Girl: Jamberrys are the latest craze. I tried them recently and have to say I’m in love.

4 Teenage Boy: Is it just me or are teenage boys really hard to buy for? I always go for a voucher of some kind, itunes is always a good one.

5 Mum: I live for the day I get to own a piece of Uberkate jewellery. This personalised family neklace is my absolute favourite and I think any Mum would love it!

6 Dad: If Dad enjoys a bit of competition he’ll love Finksa . If you’ve never played it before be warned, it’s addictive!

7 Family: For the past few years we have received a Zoo Membership as a gift from my sister’s family and it’s honestly the best gift ever! It gives you unlimited entry to Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary for the whole year.

8 Best Friend/Sister: Adult colouring books are everywhere at the moment and The Secret Garden is one of the originals and the best. Pair with some quality pencils and you’ve got yourself an awesome pressie for your bestie or sister!

9 Teacher: I’m pretty sure teachers get a mountain of candles and soaps and other things they don’t want or need from students but seriously I don’t think there’s any teacher who wouldn’t appreciate some yummy Lush products.

10 Personalised: Sarah and Abraham have the cutest range of personalised gifts I ever did see! My favourite is the kids dinner set.

Top Christmas Gifts 2015 www.theroutinequeen.net

11 Organisation lover: When it comes to organisation you can’t go past Kikki K I need this planner in my life.

12 Stationary lover: Head to Typo buy all the things!

13 Interior Design lover: Adairs is my favourite place to shop for homewares and their new Rebecca Judd Loves range has lots of pretty things!

14 Animal/Chairty lover: After a meaningful gift with a difference? At Oxfam Unwrapped Gifts you can buy anthing from a chicken to a water well for a community in need in the name of your gift recepient.

15 Book lover: Number one on the Bestseller’s List at the moment is John Grisham’s latest offering ‘The Rogue Lawyer’ I’ve added it to my summer reading list.

16 Craft Lover: Craft for the Soul by the fabulous Pip Lincolne is the must own book for every crafter out there!

17 Adventure lover: Red Balloon have loads of awesome experiences for the adventure lover or you can just get a voucher so they can choose their own!

18 Fitness/Tech lover: You can’t go past a Fitbit.

19 The Foodie: Everybody know’s Jamie Oliver is the go to guy when it comes to cooking and the kitchen. He’s got a great range of recipes books and affordable kitchen ware.

20 Fashion Lover: At the moment I’m lusting over everything Feather and Noise and the fact that it’s all designed by an aussie mum just makes it even more awesome!

So there you have it, my top 20 Christmas gift ideas. Do you have any to add to the list?

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When I grow up I want to be…

When I grow up I want to be...(www.theroutinequeen.net)

At this moment students all across Victoria are sitting their final year twelve exams. The pressure is on; not only to get good marks but also to decided what they want to do, for the rest of their lives. When I finished school at the age of 17 years old I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I mean seriously, what 17 year old does? I think it’s a pretty big call to make at such a young age and I know I’ve changed a lot since I was 17.

My first year out of high school I went to University, because you know, that’s just what you do. I was studying a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting and Human Resources. I was good at it but man was I bored! At the beginning of the second year I found myself feeling very uninspired and suddenly the thought of doing this for the rest of my life terrified me. I could think of nothing worse. I was good at it but I really didn’t love it and I wanted to do something I loved. I remember I had a maths exam one day. I caught two trains (which was how I got to uni everyday) walked 10 mins, went up two escalators to the exam room door then promptly turned back around, went down the escalators, out the door and never went back. For the next year I tried to figure out what it was that I wanted to do with my life.

I worked in a bakery for a while and then got an apprenticeship as a florist. Playing with flowers and making pretty arrangements sounded lovely…turns out I have no interest whatsoever in horticulture so that idea died quickly. I ended up deciding I wanted to work with children. The thought of signing up for another four year degree did not sound appealing so I enrolled in a two year Early Childhood Education diploma course. I had some great fun in that course and ended up making some great friends. During that time I started working with primary school aged children at an out of school hours and school holiday program and loved it. At the end of my course I was offered a full time position and I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve now been with that same employee for twelve years in a variety of positions and have worked my way up to a project and event management role within Children’s Services. I love my job but if I’m honest I have always felt like there is something more out there for me…

I’ve dabbled here and there… photography, making and selling jewellery, doing other courses… I’ve discovered I don’t want to be a counsellor or a teacher (yes I studied both). All of this may make me sound fickle but really I’m not, like I said I’ve worked for the same employee for twelve years. I like to be creative and learn new things. I also don’t believe in settling, I believe you need to keep looking until you find that something that you love. I also believe that thing can change over the years and that’s ok. Seriously, why do we have to pick one thing and do it for the rest of our lives? For most of us we have at least fifty years of working life; that’s a long time to do just one thing. Of course maybe for some people there has always been a thing, just one thing that they’ve always wanted to do and they’ve found it and that’s so awesome! I guess what I’m saying is for some people it’s just not that simple and that’s ok. We need to take the pressure off these kids to decide so young just exactly what it is they want to do. Sometimes you just need to make a start and see where it leads you. I’m thirty two years old and I still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up and I think that’s ok.

How about you? Did you always know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Or are you still searching for your something?

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Christmas Gift Planner (free printable)

Yes people, it’s that time of the year again, time to start planning for Christmas. When it comes to Christmas gift shopping I take a ninja-like approach. I like to be organised and get my shopping done ahead of time so I can avoid the Christmas shopping rush and stress.

Each year I start by making a list. I write down all the names of people I need to buy for then I come up with gift ideas for each person. Usually I do a bit of research online to help decide what I want to get. I also write down what store or website I can buy the item from and how much it costs. This might seem like a bit of overkill but all this planning really helps. It means when I do eventually head to the shops I won’t be wandering around aimlessly, I know exactly where I need to go and what I need to buy. Writing down the cost of each thing I buy helps me to keep track of what I’ve spent. Once I’ve purchased the gift I put a big tick in the purchased column on my list which looks a little like this:

Christmas gift planner, free printable, www.theroutinequeen.netIf you could use a little help with your Christmas gift shopping you can print off your free copy of the Christmas Gift List planner pictured above here.

Happy Shopping!

And speaking of presents, I have a giveaway happening on The Routine Queen Facebook page at the moment. You can win a copy of ‘Daring and Disruptive’ and the ‘Daring and Disruptive Playbook’ valued at $60. Head here to enter. Good luck!

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Big decisions, big changes

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A couple of weeks ago hubby and I sat down to make plans for next year. The little man is off to four year old kinder and we were trying to figure out how we could manage this around our work hours. Hubby works full time and currently I work part time, three days a week and the lil man goes to family day care when I’m there. It all works well but kinder hours were going to change it all.

Any working parent knows kinder hours are kinda tricky. Five hour sessions, three days per week. For it to work we had two options: I would have to spread my work hours across five days meaning the little man would be at kinder three days and care two days OR we needed someone else to drop him off/pick him on kinder days. Neither option was ideal.

Then came the third option. I have earnt six months long service leave at work; could I possibly take this at half pay and have the year off? This would mean I’d be free to do the kinder drop up/pick up and also spend some real quality time before the little man heads off to school the following year. Perfect, but could I actually do it? Financially things would be tight, but with a few adjustments we could manage. Would my work agree to it? A quick meeting with my manager and it was confirmed; yes they would support it. Shit just got real.

If I’m totally honest I have to admit I’m a little scared. I love my job and my colleagues and walking away from it all for 12 months is going to be hard. I told them I hope they find someone who is good enough at the job that I don’t come back to a shambles but not so good that they don’t want me to come back…that’s not too much to ask is it? Ha! At the end of the day though I figure there will always be job opportunities but my son will never be this young again. I have at least thirty five years of working life ahead of me and only one year left before the little man goes to school. Money might be a bit tighter but it’s only for a year. It’s a no brainer really.

So yeah, I’m a little scared but I’m also really excited. Excited that I get to spend this precious time with my son, excited that I get to be the one to see his happy face when I pick him up from kinder and excited that because I will have the time I may even get to see a little business idea that has been bubbling away in my brain for a while now finally come to fruition (stay tuned for that!)

A big decision has been made, big changes are coming. Bring it on!

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