Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I have loved Kazuri beads from the moment I found them in a small bead shop in Dubai about 4 years ago.  I payed a small fortune for a few beads and was determined to find them at a more affordable price.  Especially back then when I was making and selling my own jewellery.  I needed to be able to sell my jewellery at prices people wanted to pay and make some money for myself!

It was not easy - there are not many shops that sell online to overseas buyers.  Finally I found a great bead store that not only has Kazuri, but lots of other wonderful goodies too!  AND every so often they have GREAT SALES!  Recently they had a 50% off sale and I went a little crazy!

PLEASE NOTE - If you intend on buying Kazuri beads - please buy from an authorized seller and not from a shop that resells these beads at high prices, that do not see the profits returned to the factory!

Here are some of my last lot of great bargains!



AND here is my first creation using some of the beads!  By the way I LOVE PURPLE - if you hadn't already noticed!

Here is a little excerpt about the inspirational story of Kazuri and how they came about!  Please take a moment to read this amazing story and check out the website.  It truly is an amazing organisation.

My dream one day is to visit the Kazuri Factory in Kenya!

Summarized from

Lady Susan Wood, a daughter of English missionaries, who returned to Kenya in her adulthood, founded Kazuri in 1975. She and her husband, surgeon Michael Wood, formed the East African Flying Doctor Service, which expanded into the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF).

Out of similar concern for the well-being of those living around her, Lady Susan initially hired two disadvantaged women to create sellable beads in a shed on her property in Karen, Nairobi, Kenya. Here, on acreage formerly owned by Karen Blixen (whose pen name, Isak Dinesen, is memorable to many from Out of Africa fame), Lady Susan quickly realized a greater potential. So many women, most of them single mothers, needed steady work and a productive outlet to support their children with basic needs, such as money for food and fees for school supplies. The business was opened to many more women, who used clay from the area to produce these unique and beautiful beads.

In 1988, Kazuri became a factory and expanded to employ over 120 women and men. With local unemployment at rates of up to 90 percent at times, one jobholder often provides for 15 or more other “extended family” members. Currently, the business supports around 400 employees.
Kazuri is a member of the Fair Trade Act.

Monday, January 16, 2012


These are some of the things that I JUST LOVE!  Some I have had since the birth of my first nearly 7 years ago and are still just as popular and useful today!  I will definitely be using them for the new baby too!

1. Snuggle Nest -  0 to 4+ months approx.

I am soo glad we bought this when we had our first!  It has been a sleep saver with both of our children!  Yes it prevented us from rolling on them but the best thing was that often I hardly remembered waking up to feed in the night because I didn't have to get out of bed!  And both of our children, when they were ready, transitioned themselves into their own beds.  PLUS because we do a lot of traveling it meant that they went straight to sleep in a familiar environment.

2. Sophie the Giraffe - Any Age

I have just bought this so will have to wait to test it out on our 3rd child.  It is supposed to be one of the best toy/teethers on the market!

3. Buggy board -  2 to 5 Years approx.

We bought this when we had our second child.  As we were living in Oman at the time I couldn't get it and had to wait for one of our trips to Dubai.  So first child was a little older when we finally got it.  Should have bought it earlier but still was much easier when shopping by myself with 2 kids.  The biggest plus was that it fit on either of our strollers!

4.  Amby Baby Hammock - 0 to 9 months or beyond and Jumper up to 2.5 Years approx.

My mum bought this for us when we had our first baby.  She bought it in Australia and brought it over on the plane with her to Germany.  My first was not that keen on it - but we did make a few "first time parent mistakes".  He did sleep in it during the day though and he enjoyed lying in it while awake too.  With our second we had bought the stokke sleepi (see below) but I still used it for daytime sleeping.  With the 3rd well we'll just have to wait and see!

5. Stokke Sleepi and Tripp Trapp 0 to 8-10 years +

The Sleepi we bought when I was pregnant with our second.  I had wanted it since our first but was a little out of our price range when we had our first.  I love that it goes from birth to 8 even 10 years of age!  We bought it in Dubai and luckily had a big enough car to fit it in to take it back with us to Muscat.  The Tripp Trapp I had also wanted for a very long time and did without it for first two.  However when 2nd was about 2.5 or so I was selling my jewellery at a fundraiser and they happened to have a second hand one in the silent auction!  I JUST HAD TO HAVE IT!  And we got it for a great price.  They are almost impossible to come by second hand I was soo pleased.  Lucky we bought it to because not to long after that I was pregnant with no. 3. 

6. Exersaucer4 months until walking

We were living in Germany at the time and friends of ours bought one for their little girl.  Our first was I think from memory a few months old and they very kindly offered to bring one back with them from the US (couldn't buy them in Germany at that stage) for us!  I was so thrilled and grateful - it has been a huge bonus to have - has given me a break on many occasions for those times when you just need to have a few minutes to yourself!  I was quite surprised to find our exact one (pic below) online still!

7. Baby Bjorn Carrier -  0 months +

We were given this as a gift for our first son from my husbands class parents.  I was soo overwhelmed by their generosity.  This was another item I am very glad to have had.  Both my first and second were cuddly babies.  They loved to be held and this gave me the freedom to use my arms to get things done!

8. Kidco Peapod - Pop Up Travel Bed0 - 6 Years approx.

When my 2nd was just over 2 years old we went to Cambodia and I looked for an option that would protect him from mosquitoes while sleeping.  Even though the tent was not cheap I do not regret buying it at all.  Not only did it protect him from mosquitoes, but it has been used on numerous trips since then.  It is so easy to fit in our suitcase!  We haven't used our porta-cot since and I don't think I will use it again now that I have the tent!  It was perfect for our yearly 7 week trip home to Australia too!  He loved sleeping in there while we were on holidays!

9. Medela Portable Breast Pump 0 months +

For my first I bought a cheap hand pump and while it did work it was more effort and painful!  I didn't really need a pump except that I produced too much milk and it was handy to have extra milk.  With my second I bought the little Medela Electric and it worked really well.  Living in the Middle East meant that when we were out it was a lot easier to bottle feed (although I do have a few funny breastfeeding in public moments!)  Then because I did a bit of work here and there and I had a second child who decided he wasn't going to give up feeding and wasn't that keen on food at 8 months, (I breastfed in the end until he was 2! YIKES) I was glad to have this little discreet pump which I could use at work! Note:  I don't think Medela make this model pump anymore!

10. Tether strap for pacifier or toys - 

 I'm going to make my own this time!  My boys did not take to a pacifier (I was glad).  But for the short time that they both did use it I couldn't have done without the pacifier strap.  Walking through the dirty back streets of the souk (middle eastern market) with cats scampering about and the smell of urine in the air, the sandy desert or even the local supermarket did not need see one pacifier fall to a horrible fate!

And a couple of other things I love to have.  There are probably lots more that I will think of but for now I think this is enough!

Australian Bonds singlets - great for warm days!
Bright Bots clothing australia

This Singapore online store seems to stock some Bonds and Bright bots stuff, along with other aussie brands!

Monday, January 9, 2012


I love to browse through and came across this great recipe for hand made liquid soap or body wash.  Well yesterday with hubby and kids help (I'm only allowed out of bed for short amounts of time), we made the recipe.  Then all I had to do today was give it a quick blend up with a hand blender and pour into empty dispensers that we already had!

Here is the recipe I based ours on -

Here is the way I did it
2 bars of dettol soap (grated using a hand grater)
2 tablespoons of glycerine
1 US gallon (3.78 Litres) of water

Add the soap and glycerine to a big pot on the stove and heat up until melted.  You don't need to boil.
I then left it for a day (although you only need to leave it for 10-12 hours).
Then used a hand mixer to blend it all up and poured it into containers.

There seems to be a little bit of controversy online over the "shelf life" of this type of soap - however I think if you store it correctly and use it within a few weeks there should not be any problem!

BIGGEST BONUS - is this is soo easy to make and it only cost a couple of dollars - great when you have two small boys who think there is an endless supply of liquid soap in the bottles!  Next time I think I will only make half a batch as it does make up a huge amount!

You can use any type of soap - although you may need to experiment with consistency and amount of water added!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Maid / Helper Courses Singapore

While we are very lucky to have a live-in helper here in Singapore, it is by no means the "glamorous" life that some perceive it to be.  While YES we would not have survived the last few months particularly, (with me on complete bed rest) without her - it is also not as easy as you think!

There are many frustrations that employers of FDW (foreign domestic workers) experience.  For us at the moment it is consistency!  We employed our helper with focus on her ability to care for our children while at work, rather than her cooking ability.  However, we do have high expectations on hygiene and this has extended to the kitchen.  SO this being our second helper here in Singapore and not wanting to just "give up" on her we have tried our hardest to help her understand our expectations.  However, sometimes it just takes that different experience to reinforce and well ultimately we want to give her a better understanding.  So I went in search of some courses that she could attend while Master 6 year old is at school at Master 3 year old is at Kindergarten.

It was NOT as easy as I thought.  While there appear to be lots of options available to the Singaporean/Chinese employer, there were not so many for us!  However I thought for those other mums out there a list in 1 place would be handy.

In February our helper will start the basic cooking (including hygiene) course at -

and I hope to get her into a course on Safety / First Aid / Hygiene / Play for babies before our bub arrives in March at -

While these are not cheap - they definitely offer the quality that we are looking for and when it comes to our kids, spending a little extra on their care is more important!

Here are some other courses of interest -

I found this post on singaporeexpats with a list of different organisations (I don't know how up to date this is or how reliable it is)!  I tried searching for some of them with no luck.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

DIY Ikea Hacked Trofast Kids Lego/Train Table - Part 2

Day 4 - It really shouldn't have taken this long to make - however because we needed to use oil based paint on the ikea shelves you have to wait around 24 hours between coats.  So most of Day 4 was spent waiting for paint to dry.

The MDF was a different story - water based paint only required a couple of hours between coats.  In retrospect we shouldn't have bothered painting the ikea shelves at all and only painted the MDF.  But it does look good red!

 Day 5 - Nail and screw all the pieces together and touch ups on paint.

THE FINISHED PRODUCT - now to buy more ikea storage containers.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adorable Amigurumi - Dragonfly

When I first started bedrest more than 12 weeks ago I said that if I took up knitting I was definitely crazy.  I love all things craft but could just never bring myself to keep going with any knitting!

Well it's happened - I MUST BE CRAZY!  I have taken up knitting and finished a number of items and NOW I have started on my first crotchet project (a dragonfly), thanks to my husband who bought me Voodoo Maggie's Adorable Amigurumi Book for Christmas.  I will say I wasn't that impressed at the beginning when I faced the prospect of learning how to Crotchet.  AND I spent more than a day crocheting and undoing my work, starting over and over again!

However I have now progressed and I am actually starting to see something start to take shape!  The animals are just too cute to resist and the dragonfly will make a great babby rattle!  Next on my list will be the cute little monkey!

The book features easy to follow instructions (and they must be easy if I can pick up the book and learn how to crotchet in a day!) along with bright, vibrant, easy to see pictures of steps involved.

Here is the NEW book by Voodoo Maggie

You can also read her blog here:-

Or find her patterns here:-

DIY Ikea Hacked Trofast Kids Lego/Train Table - Part 1

Idea from

For sometime now my husband and I have eyed off those great kids train / play tables.  Well our 3 year old and 6 year old are completely into Lego at the moment and this is a great way of storing and playing with their Lego at eyesight level for them (if they sit on a chair).

This is the one from Ikeahackers.

So after finding the ikeahackers website by chance, inspiration was found to create our own table and that exact night (DAY 1) at about 8:30pm my husband went in search of the shelves from Ikea!!  In Singapore there are 2 Ikea stores and 1 happens to be 5 mins away from our house!  (That might be a bad thing).  Even though the website said they had them in stock unfortunately there were NONE!  So back home to wait until next shipment (or so we thought).  However next day (DAY 2) on checking with the other store (which happens to be all the way over the other side of Singapore) we found they were in stock - so off he went for shelves and paint!

BUT as usual the adventure did not end there.  LESSON LEARNT - Even if 4 staff in a store say that a type of paint is suitable for a certain job doesn't mean that IT IS!  My husband and kids were almost finished painting the shelves when I ventured out of bed for a few mins to take some photos!  Only to discover that as the paint was drying it did NOT stay on the shelves!  So an hour of painting meant 4 hours plus of removing paint and sanding!  AND not to forget that it meant 2 new tins of paint and not able to return the unopened paint tins either (but they can be used for MDF anyway and another project I will update on later).

Yes I am covered in paint!  But I'm having fun!  Actually they were both really careful about wiping their brushes and not spilling the paint everywhere.  They did a great job!

DAY 3 (today) began with a hunt for MDF.  My husband and 3 year old set off for a street (area) that apparently has MDF and will cut to size for you!  First quote $180 - NO WAY!  Keep looking please!  Finally hubby found little shop willing to do it for $1.50 per cut and approx $21 for MDF!!  WOW - So top and bottom of table and 4 edges for less than $40 all cut to size and ready to paint!!

So afternoon will be spent repainting the storage shelves and painting the MDF.


Trofast wall storage shelves pine x2 = $120
Rill Braked Castor x2 = $24

Paint = $24 a tin (primer & 2 colours) = $72 (we will have leftover to use on another project)
MDF = $35 approx

Extras = Nails, Screws, Sandpaper, Paintbrushes

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Frozen HOT Chocolate!

When I first read this I had to take a second glance - how can you have frozen hot chocolate? But it sure did look good!

It didn't take long to convince hubby to make it for me (seeings I can't get out of bed) and now I am enjoying the most delicious chocolate drink. IT is quite rich and a little is enough to send you into a chocolate daze but this will certainly be made again in our house!

Here is the recipe -