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Working Mum’s eZine


by Working Mum’s Masterclass there’s an app for that! festive apps for kids

make your own decorations & gifts

4 fabulous mums tell MY CHRISTMAS

A blended family


megan morton: #thingsilove about Christmas


note So that came around quickly, no? You are not the only one wondering where on earth 2012 went. How did we get to staring down the barrel of Christmas and the summer school holidays ? If you’re like me, Christmas has crept up on you quietly this year.

So this is the Working Mums MASTERCLASS My Christmas issue giving you help, hope and hallelujahs this fine festive season. Check out our DIY pages. Make your own gifts and decorations. Save money and have a little fun along the way. Meet Megan Morton, stylist extraordinaire and author of the must have gift this Christmas, Things I Love’ Find out what Megan loves about Christmas and check out our review of her gloriously beautiful book. You can win a copy yourself but be quick. Entries close on 15 December. Are you one of the thousands of blended families who find Christmas a little tricky? Writer and researcher, Sarah Wayland, is in that situation and has some tips for you. And there’s plenty of more for you to flick through while you have a cup of tea, or wine, or egg nog if it’s got to that! Or perhaps you’re on the bus or train on the way into work reading it on your tablet. Either way, we hope you get some tips to help you get throught the silly season with your sanity and your sense of humour in tact. Merry Christmas to all of our wonderful supporters in 2012. If you’re not on our subscribe list, you can sign up right here. Remember, it’s free! Penny Editor

Editor Image: Angela Cushway WILLOW BELLE

top tips for christmas from working mums




“I keep a shelf in the cupboard of

“I have simply had to say no to some

“The kids always end up with lots of new

generic christmas gifts that I have

invites. We have so much on with the kids

stuff so a couple of weeks before, we have

on hand if someone pops over with

end of school stuff, dance concerts, work

a big toy clearout. We give ones in good

a surprise gift for us. It’s got me out

xmas parties. It’s already crazy. Adding

condition to charities and chuck the rest.

of an embarrassing situation many a

more into the mix makes it worse.” SONIA

This makes room for the new toys. Lucky

time!” JESS


by Sarah Wayland

A BLENDED CHRISTMAS Blended families are the fastest growing family type in Australia. One in every five families is a stepfamily meaning that each week couples are negotiating one child for some of the time, double that for others and then drop to being childfree. Its enough to make your head spin. There is no art to living in a blended family, its just the same as normal ones. You just get by. My husband and I have four kids between us – two from him, one from me, and a little boy that has no choice but to hang with his mum and dada (and hide from his three big sisters).

blended chaos is not without its challenges but it doesn’t vary too far from the typical family types we see paraded across our TV screens. Christmas time brings it;s own challenges, but its all do-able. Blended families create a multitude of good times, stress, enjoyment and exhaustion. For me I don’t try to look too far ahead, some days it feels like a really long race but its one I’m willing to give a go. Here are some tips to manage the blended menagerie of this emerging family type.

The decision to bring another child into the mix of Sarah Wayland is a mum of 2 and a step mum of 2 more. She studies full time, runs a counseling practice in Sydney and freelance writes about life and loss. Visit her at


Accept that it’s impossible to foresee all the challenges that might lie ahead when you start a relationship. Be open and honest with your partner as things change so that you have a chance to resolve issues before they explode.


Don’t rely on the kids to remember everything they need in each house – a few extra shopping trips for socks and undies will avert any before school crises that may crop up.


Be honest about what it means to live in your home – the Brady Bunch did a great disservice to the step mums and stepdads of the world. Peace cannot always be guaranteed at the end of the half hour


You will love your step kids but in a different way to the ones that you birthed.


Its entirely appropriate to ask for what you want – you have to live in your home too so remember to ask for respect and civility and a few kind smiles.


Remember a dressing gown when you have a shower – it might not scare your own kids as you do the dash to your bedroom but it might scare someone else’s. For support please visit: Relationships Australia Stepfamily Association


Stylist Megan Morton has launched a beautiful new book, Things I Love, that is literally a feast for the eyes. The mother of three is speaking at our My Christmas event on 1st December and gave us an insight into what she loves about Christmas. WARMTH That beautiful fuzzy tummy feeling! KITSCH Wearing bad Christmas earrings (I actually have chic cherry strands from Paris but they are totally kitsch and a little bad! WHITE LIES The bigger kids pretending they still believe for the baby in our house - I think that is so beautiful FOOD COMAS That delicious stolen sleep in the afternoon that has you waking up only to eat more

CHARITY Christmas only means something when you also in your own way try and balance it for others. I find Christmas to be double edged like that. This year we are taking gift donations at our giving tree (actually a very beautiful polish paper chandelier) for the Salvation Army. They really struggle with gifts for males 13-18 as well as food and the other mandatories. I find it hard to believe people give old CDs and inappropriate things. Disadvantaged kids want the same things our own kids do. If you’re in the Rosebery area around December please drop anything by! A: The Studio, unit 2 / 85 dunning avenue, Rosebery NSW

Watch me

the best christmas apps for kids DR KRISTY GOODWIN

Today’s children are experiencing ‘technologised childhoods’, with access to an array of touch technologies, like iPads, and iPhones. In a new phenomenon called the ‘pass-back’ effect, parents are increasingly handing over their touch devices to children to educate, entertain (and sometimes even pacify). So as parents how can we harness touch technologies in ways that are developmentallyappropriate for young children? With over 700 000 apps in the iTunes App Store, parents are often overwhelmed as to how to locate quality apps for children. This guide provides you with some of the best apps that capture the excitement of Christmas And we haven’t forgotten busy mums and dads. Check out the Christmas List app. With a built-in

POP OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS This is a digital rendition of a childhood Christmas classic. Tip-Set the volume to its lowest setting in the main menu to reduce possible distraction. Suitable for 3 - 8 years

RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER This is an interactive book app. Record your own narration and share your creation with family and friends. Also available for Android users. Tip- Discuss the story as you progress to ensure that your child comprehends the story. Suitable for 3 - 8 years RUDOLPH CAMERA Create personalised Christmas-themed cards, using your built-in camera. Tip- Share your finished products with friends and family via SMS or email as an alternative to sending traditional cards. Suitable for 3 - 8 years DR SEUSS CAMERA: THE GRINCH EDITION This app allows children (and parents) to create digital Christmas cards using the built-in camera or images from your Photo Library. Include borders and stamps to your cards and email to family and friends. Suitable for 3 - 8 years TOCA HAIR SALON: CHRISTMAS GIFT This is a play-based app where children decorate Santa or a Christmas tree using digital tools. Tip- apps can be a great way to foster children’s language. Encourage them to use touch devices with a sibling or a friend or even better, with Mum or Dad.Suitable for 3 - 8 years TYPIC This app allows you to personalise your Christmas and holiday photos by adding text or borders. You can then share these photos with family and friends via SMS or social media. These are great apps to use with older children who are reluctant writers. Have them take some holiday snaps and then write a quick sentence to summarise the events or their favourite memory related to the photo. Suitable for 6 - 12 years and adults. budget tracker, this app allows users to create and share shopping lists and keep a tally of items shipped, received and wrapped. Perfect.

About the writer: Dr Kristy Goodwin is the Director of Every Chance to Learn and a Lecturer at Macquarie University. She delivers Teacher Professional Learning Workshops and Parent Seminars related to digital technologies and early learning and brain development.

webinars for mums on your computer

in your pyjamas

HOW TO KICK PRESENT WRAPPING BUTT Sometimes the best part of getting presents is getting all creative with how you wrap them. But you’re not sure where to start, or where to get the materials or you end up with lumpy sticky-tape bumps. Sounds like you? We’re here to help. Gemma Klamer from MY BIG NUTSHELL is a whizz at whapping. Register FREE for the second webinar in the My Christmas Webinar series.

GETTING THE HOUSE ORGANISED FOR CHRISTMAS Yep! It’s that time of year again. A crazy schedule, routines out the window, people dropping in and out, relatives staying overnight, pantries and fridges overflowing. And the house looks like a bomb has hit it. Right? Not this year! Super organiser, Marissa Roberts of Beautifully Organised is ready to talk you through getting the house sorted, de-cluttered and stress free for Christmas.

DIY Rocky Road in a Jar It’s easy to get creative and make your own thank you Christmas gifts for carers, teachers, anyone that has helped you get through the year. Here is a simple idea for you to make your own and all for less than $5 per gift.


These mini apothecary jars came from the online store Sweet Style for $3 each. So did the tags. $4.99 for a pack of 12.


Mini marshmallows can be picked up at any supermarket in the cake decorating aisle. Use mini marshmallows for this size jar. The regular sized marshmallows are too big. If you’re making BIG Rocky Road in a Jar gifts then use the regular marshmallows.


The chocolate layer you can play around with. I used choc coated almonds, but if a golden rough or a mini wagon wheel slots nicely into a medium sized apothercary jar.


You can use different nuts for this layer but I used macadamia because they’re larger which means they sit nicely on top of the chocolate layer instead of falling through.


Nothing says Merry Christmas like fresh cherries. This is probably the most expensive part of the whole gift but it’s worth it.


It’s up to you hopw you layer all the ingredients. Put them all together and what have you got? Rocky Road in a Jar!

Follow the #sweetstyle hastag on Instagram for more christmas favour ideas.

“I.Love.This. !!”--luluisthatyou on Instagram.

DIY Christmas Tree Ribbon If you’re a little tired of the standard baubles with in their standard colours. Or if you feel tinsel is so 1987, you can make your own Christmas Tree decorations. And that’s what Kelly from Be a Fun Mum did. Here ‘s how you do it. Thank you to Kelly for giving us the permission to print this. MATERIALS 8 – 15 Beads (largish) 30 – 40 cm of ribbon (at least 1.5 cm wide) Needle Thread

STEP ONE Cut a length of cotton and thread on a bead. I used a larger bead for the base. Secure the bead using beading methods, or for not-so-crafty people like me, thread the cotton through the bead a few times and complete with a knot.

STEP TWO Start with about 6 cm of ribbon, and fold over. Push the needle up through the centre.

STEP THREE Add a bead.

STEP FOUR Fold the ribbon back, making it sit just a little in from the last layer.

STEP FIVE Thread the needle in the centre.

STEP SIX Repeat steps 3 to 5 until you have a Christmas tree shape! Finish off with a bead at the top, and secure it with a knot.

“These are fantastic, can’t wait to try them with my vacation care group!.”--kim.

“Very cute. We will give them a go.”--meegan.

four fabulous mums tell...... MY CHRISTMAS Jo Cilia THE VINTAGE KITCHEN My planning and preparation: On Christmas Eve we have a beautiful traditional English dinner with my family, who sleep over and we open presents under the tree in the morning. My Mum, Sister & I plan it a month before and start wish lists even earlier – it’s our one big event of the year! My food and drinks:

My design and décor:

My presents and paper:

The menu is based around some new cheese finds, seafood and Pimms with lemonade in a beautiful crystal drink dispenser. Dinner is always Mum turkey stuffed with sausage and all the trimmings, but we’ll suggest new accompaniments each year. My new favourite Christmas dessert is based on the classic English Foole - folded whipped cream, broken meringue, Turkish delight & pomegranate.

We now do a big green fluffy tree laden with mismatched ornaments and a few sentimental pieces. This year there are small trees in other rooms too, so Christmas isn’t only happening in the formal lounge! I’ll go all out on the dinner table, perhaps too far – it’s my one extravagance each year. I have a showroom full of amazing vintage & elegant tableware, so why not!

My family starts collaborating on presents very early – we love spoiling and ensuring everyone gets what they’d like (Santa lists get emailed back and forth). I love spending a couple of late evenings wrapping presents with all the frou frou – special paper, ribbons. My son and I make initials or Christmas themed shapes from white air dry clay to attach to presents, which can become tree ornaments next year.

Jodie Benveniste PARENT WELLBEING My planning and preparation: Our Xmas celebrations are pretty low-key. We focus mostly on getting family together and eating delicious food! A few weeks out we’ll plan a menu and allocate everyone to bring something, and I normally start my present shopping by the end of November. Increasingly, I’m doing all my shopping online.“

My food and drinks:

My design and decor:

My presents and paper:

We normally have bbq prawns and calamari, roast lamb or grilled snapper, fresh salads, a Xmas cake, too much chocolate, and lots of champagne!

We put up the Xmas tree on the first weekend in December, write little messages to go in the pockets of our home-made advent calendar, and string up tinsel and kid’s Xmas decorations around the living room. All very homely and simple.

I’ve got a massive roll of white paper. The kids then normally decorate the presents, and we tie them all up in a green or red ribbon.

Lisa Rowan HERE I AM LOULOU My planning and preparation: I am a last minute shopper but I get the job done and get it done well. I think this gives me no margin for error and I have to think-quick. My planning is usually done in the shower for it! My food and drinks:

My design and decor:

My presents and paper:

We have a delicious lunch of seafood and warm cuts of baked ham and turkey. I make platters of antipasto delights and our lunch tends to be grazed over for the afternoon with lots of conversation. Mum cooks the turkey and makes her own delicious stuffing. Drinks are kept cold in a gorgeous huge silver bucket I have.

I’m a lover of White (yes I’m dreaming of a real white Christmas one day).I use everything white linen with crystal glasses.And it’s my time I can let my “sparkle fairy” loose with soft and pretty glittery Christmas decorations all around the table. We definitely do bonbons – sometimes I make my own .

For the children I normally use inexpensive but pretty Christmas wrapping paper as it is torn off with such gusto to get to the presents. This year, they won’t be getting a great deal – they have had a “pretty good year” and I tell them they don’t need anything and they must learn to be humble & grateful.

Stacey Roberts VEGGIE MAMA My planning and preparation: I love to dig out all the christmas editions of various magazines I’ve saved over the years and look through for inspiration. I always try one new recipe and I ensure a ridiculous supply of sweetened condensed milk is available at all times.

My food and drinks:

My design and décor:

I pick a different cocktail every year from a little book of holiday cocktails I have. There also must be rumballs and cheesy potato bake

super-traditional. Nothing is allowed to be any colour other than red, green and gold.

My presents and paper: Different every year. Sometimes it’s plain tissue paper with accent colours, sometimes it’s red with gold ribbon, but under no circumstances is it to be anything other than traditional colours and definitely no ugly patterns!

review SO I went along to the book launch of Things I Love by Megan Morton last month. Not only was I overwhelmed by the space where Megan holds all her fabulous classes at The School but talk about cool central. Lots of creative types and red lipstick. Loved. And the Kombi van parked out the front was bit gorgeous. too. And then I bought the book. It’s big and beautiful. A hard copy with beautiful thick pages of images and visuals that make you want to move to New York or paint a mural on your lounge room wall. I have not finished book yet. For someone who normally devours books (especially ones with beautiful images), I am making this one last. Think of it as eating your last meal really, really slowly. Making every mouthful count.

INSTAGRAM #thingsilove Notice our Christmas tree made out of instagram pics on the front cover? That’s thanks to Megan’s #thingsilove instagram project that has taken on a life of it’s own. If you’re on instagram check out the #thingsilove hashtag. Beautiful pictures from all walks of life and all types of people of all types of things. And you can add your own.

That’s what I’m doing with Things I Love. Making every mouthful count. Things I Love sits on my bedside table and on particularly busy, bad or boring days, I pick it up and use it as a mood leveller. It’s my visual therapy. Things I Love is available to purchase online here. $49.95. It will make a brilliant Christmas present for the person who loves a little creativity in their world.

COMPETITION You have the opportunity to win a copy of Megan Morton’s Things I Love book just in time for Christmas. It’s simple. Just email competitions@ with the subject line being #thingsilove. And in the body of the email, tell me the something you love. It can be anything. Anything at all. All entries must be in by 15 December, so we can turn it around and post that baby off so it can land under yours or someone else’s Christmas tree.

Have a look at what we do!

Watch me “Thank you to all businesses, organisations, working mums and friends who have helped me create this. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. Or maybe you do and that’s why you’re still here. Thank you.” --Penny Webb, Founder of Working Mums MASTERCLASS

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Working Mum's Masterclass Ezine Issue 2  

Working Mum's Masterclass Ezine Issue 2

Working Mum's Masterclass Ezine Issue 2  

Working Mum's Masterclass Ezine Issue 2