from victim to survivor to thriver

Victim: a person hurt, killed, damaged or destroyed
Survivor: a person who manages to live or exist or keep going despite hardship
Thriver: a person who grows or develops well or vigorously

They say everyone has a story to tell. A part of their lives that will help others, touch others and make a difference. I don't know if my story will do that but in my quiet heart I have hidden a story that longs to be told. It is a simple story of overcoming rejection, seeking validation and of thriving under difficult circumstances. This may be one of the hardest things I have ever written but it is a story busting to be told. My heart gently encourages me to tell it. 

My story wants to be set free, to be recorded and remembered. As I type out the words I start to feel the last strands or chains that were holding me back, snap and disappear as I vigorously grow into the future. This is the story of my journey from moving from victim to survivor to thriver. It is a story that continues to be written as I continue to grow and what is most important to me is that I keep moving forward, I keep feeling and living my life in a way that helps me to progress.

Part 1: Victim.

I have been a victim to several unfortunate experiences in my life. There is no need to share exactly what they are or all of the details of what happened. But, to give you a brief picture, it involved me at a young age being hurt, damaged and violated. Now those three words are powerful words and I do not share them lightly. At the time I received no support and my survival technique was to store away those emotions, those memories and that anger. 

As I grew into my youth I came to see more clearly that I was a victim of unfortunate events. The life of a victim is one of sadness and misery and of no self esteem. You know you have been treated unfairly and you start to blame everything that goes wrong in your life on that one event or those events where you were taken advantage of. I felt helpless, over powered, defeated, crushed, trampled on and left an empty shell of a person. My heart was broken, my trust was taken away and I felt lost and alone.

Even though I felt that way I felt comfortable living the life of a victim. The pain and hurt each day was familiar. It was constant, reliable, always there and almost a friend. But after years of suppressing those emotions and memories, I began to grow tired, weary in my mind. It became too hard to lock them away, to push them back and they started to push to the front of my mind. They wanted to consume my thoughts, to be lived in a real way and acknowledged. I began to have trouble seeing past it, it started to consume me and found myself getting angrier and angrier. I started to fear for my own life, my own actions and knew in my heart that living the life of a victim was not the life for me.

I made a decision that would change my life forever.
I decided to be a survivor.

Part 2: Survivor.

The life of a survivor is one of waking up each day, preparing yourself, arming yourself and going into battle. For me, I went into battle each morning against myself, against my own mind and my own thoughts. Some days I won the battle and some days I lost. During this time I struggled, I fought, I wrestled and I gave myself permission to become raw, to become open and to feel pain like I had never felt before. 

I unlocked my mind, I turned the key, I unleashed the fury and hurt and pain that was stored away for years and allowed it all to flow from my mind, my soul and my heart. It is very hard to describe the sorrow, anguish, the frightening details, the anger, the bitterness, the hatred, the absolute terror that was contained therein. Needless to say that I was not in a very stable state during this time as I had strapped myself in to a roller coaster ride with more lows than highs. Being extremely kind to myself was my main focus to survive this ordeal and I went out of my way to do anything that would allow me to feel happy or make me smile.

Unlocking my heart and mind has been a precious gift that I have given myself. I was so scared to turn that key. I remember physically shaking the moment I made that decision. I feared what was stored away, what I had tried to protect myself from and if I was strong enough to deal with what lay hidden, protected in the dark of my mind. I also remember knowing in my heart that this was the right decision to make and I knew that the only way to progress and to move forward was to do so. 

I can see why some people chose to remain living a victim mentality. In some ways it is easier to live with the sorrow and pain each day. Sure it hurts but fighting against it to get better, to be healthier, to be happy takes effort, hard work and is beyond exhausting. It means standing up each day and deciding to be strong, to face reality and to let yourself really feel the emotions that life throws your way. 

During this time I continued to function with my life. I pushed myself to keep going, to try my best to live a normal life all the while fighting the demons in my own mind. I moved through different stages as I worked through my emotions. I worked on anger issues, I worked through depression, I planned ways to take revenge, I fought to stay alive, I clung to any reason to live, I worked hard to forgive, I sought validation, I sought acceptance and I sought peace of heart and mind. 

Seeking validation for the pain and suffering during my short lifetime took up a great deal of my thoughts. I wanted to push, search and seek for validation to come my way. I wasted precious moments of my life letting myself be consumed and depressed that validation was not to be mine. I really believed that I needed to have that acceptance of truth from others to heal me. What a glorious day it was when I realised that I could move forward with only self validation. I reached a stage where I did not need the acceptance from anyone else to heal myself. I knew the details, I knew the pain and I gave myself validation for those feelings and events. It was a wonderful gift I gave myself to move forward to the next stage of my life.

I then made another decision that would change my life forever.
I decided to be a thriver.

Part 3: Thriver.

I am a little passionate about living life as a thriver. To me a thriver is not someone who is happy all the time, I really don't think that is possible, but more someone who is always working on moving forward and who makes it a priority to grow and develop. You may have noticed I am big on taking time out for yourself and of encouraging other women to take care of themselves. Taking care of myself has taken up so much of my life and is a big personal goal of mine. My ultimate goal through all of this has been to stay mentally sane, to keep it real and to respect and acknowledge how I feel each and every day. I have worked really hard to earn every ounce of self esteem that I possess, every ounce self respect and every ounce of happiness. 

I no longer live a life where I am always seeking the approval, the acceptance and the validation of my  actions or thoughts from others. I get up each day and count my blessings. I plan my life so that I move forward and I fill my life with love and light. I still have days where I feel low and I allow myself to feel that. I know that after feeling depressed and having post natal depression that I am more likely to have bouts of depression in my life and I prepare and plan for how to deal with those moments.

In my quiet heart I no longer have hidden boxes of sorrow and hurt and anger that the eye can't see, I have a heart full of love for my family and for life. I have replaced those boxes of sorrow, hurt and anger with fun family moments, of heart bursting joyful moments that are a treasure to me and with the every day moments of life. My life is still not easy and on some days it can be a battle but I am no longer a victim or a survivor, I am a thriver and a thriver knows how to take a stand for what will bring her happiness and for what she wants in life. A thriver spends her time growing vigorously and that is what I plan to do for the rest of my life.

10 Children's books my family are loving right now

We are a little book mad in the Seven Cherubs house. Alright, in reality, I am book mad and my children have no choice but to join in with me as I am pretty enthusiastic about books and especially children's books. I love reading them stories and I believe reading to your children makes a huge difference to their lives. So I thought I would share with you 10 Children's book our family is loving right now.

My younger kids love the series from Sally Rippin, Hey Jack and also Billie B Brown. These books are easy for my kids to read who are starting out as new readers and they have fun stories for them to enjoy. The book has chapters so it helps them feel like they are reading a big book like Mum and the print is really large for them to easily read the words. In this book we own, Jack is in the mood for laying around and not for playing with his annoying cousins. For what starts out as a bad day for Jack turns into the best afternoon's ever.

We have had this book in our home for years. It was a gift to our family and it has been read so many times it is falling to pieces. I love Jez Alborough as an author and illustrator. I love the way he writes and the way his stories rhyme. So much fun to read together. My children love that there is a giant teddy bear in the story and in this story Eddie's (the main character) is in for the surprise of his life when he discovers that his teddy bear has grown much too big to cuddle! But there's fun in store when Eddie meets up with a real bear who's got just the opposite problem—his lost teddy bear has shrunk to a size that's much too small for such an enormous bear to cuddle.

Nathan and I have had a wonderful time reading all the books from Rick Riordan in the Percy Jackson series. We have enjoyed letting our imaginations run wild reading about The gods of Olympus and how they are alive in the 21st Century. Rick has done a great job at using familiar details that people know in relation to the Gods of Olympus and has made it interesting by adding a great story line that keeps you entertained. Basically, the Percy Jackson stories are about how the Gods fall in love with mortals and have children who might become great heroes, but most of these children meet horrible fates at the hands of monsters by the age of twelve. Only a few learn the truth of their identity and make it to Half Blood Hill, a Long Island summer camp dedicated to training young demigods. Such is the revelation that launches young Percy Jackson on a quest to help his real father, Poseidon, avert a war among the gods. 

Lauren Child is brilliant and my children love the Charlie and Lola books. This book, I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, is one of our absolute favourites. Charlie's little sister Lola does not eat a lot of things and she absolutely will not never ever eat a tomato, until one day Charlie plays a good trick on her. We love the bright colours in the book and the characters are so loveable and so easy for children to relate to. A great book if you have a child who will not try new foods as this book makes trying food fun.

We love a princess story and especially a cheeky princess story. Now the title of this book is The Worst Princess and that is because she has a slightly naughty way of speaking that is exactly what my children love to read. Once upon a time, in a tower near you, lived a sad princess; the Princess Sue. "Some day," she sighed, "my prince will come, But I wish he'd move his royal bum." See what I mean! But when Princess Sue's prince finally does arrive, he's not quite what she had in mind. The story is how the feisty princess escapes the clutches of her twit of a prince in this funny twist on the traditional princess tale.

This book is hilarious. I just had to buy it when I had a quick look through it at the book store. It is the story of a mole who one day when he is getting out of his hole, gets pooped on his head by an unidentified animal. He is certain that it doesn't belong to him and sets out on a mission to discover whom it does belong to. The animals he runs into all poop to show what theirs looks like, and finally the mole receives some assistance from some flies who help him identify who actually did the poo; the butcher's dog. The mole exacts his revenge by pooping on the dog's head, and returns to his hole happily. Such a weird children's book, but very funny if you have children at that age where they find talking about poo funny!

As we are big fans of the Sound of Music in this house, I decided to pick up this book to check out for my children. Written by the Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music we just had to check it out. It is a cute princess story and my children enjoy reading it. It is a great book to add to our collection. While her friends and family may not believe in fairies, Geraldine knows, deep down, that she is a VERY fairy princess. From morning to night, Gerry does everything that fairy princesses do: she dresses in her royal attire, practices her flying skills, and she is always on the lookout for problems to solve. But it isn't all twirls and tiaras - as every fairy princess knows, dirty fingernails and scabby knees are just the price you pay for a perfect day!

My younger kids love this book, The Yoga Ogre. It is bright, it is fun and it is the story of Ogden the Ogre who was worried one night. "My jim-jams have grown far too short and too tight! How has my tum got so terribly wide? I only eat twelve meals a day," Ogden sighed. The people said, "Jim-jams too tight and too short? Overweight ogres should take up a sport!" So the story follows the journey Ogden takes as he takes up a variety of sport - and he does it with gusto! But finding the perfect sport for a big, bumbling ogre isn't quite as simple as it may seem. One of those books my kids love me to read and they sit there with big eyes as they follow the story line. 

Our family loves The 39 Clues series. Matt, Chelsea, Nathan and I have read all of the books available. They are a great adventure series for young teens or even 8-10 years old children to read. One of my daughters just can't get enough of them and reads the books over and over and over again. The books are about a young brother and sister who go on adventures around the world looking for clues to help save their family. They discover that they belong to the Cahill family, the most influential family in history. The two of them are on a quest to find the 39 Clues which are ingredients to a serum that can create the most powerful person on Earth. Of course they encounter great opposition in this quest and the interesting thing about the 39 Clues series is that they are all written by different authors. This makes for a more interesting read and they are a great adventure series to have in our book collection.

Tashi, what a cute character! My younger children adore the Tashi books. We have several of the larger big books of Tashi in our home and my children lug them around the house and love to sit down and flick through the pages. Tashi books are great for kids because they have pictures through out the books that they can look at whist you are reading them the story. Tashi is a very loveable character for children, he is daring and bold, he goes on great adventures and he tells great stories. Most of his stories involves some kind of giant or dragon or bad guy and my children love to listen to how he overcomes the challenges in his path. A guaranteed great book for children. 

What books are your children loving right now?

children's craft: easy rainbow frames

Last week Liberty informed me she needed something new on her bedroom wall, on her side of the room, that she could look at when she is lying down in bed. So I thought about it for a few minutes and came up with an easy, quick children's craft activity that we could do together; making rainbow frames.

I had these spare wooden frames and a bunch of fuzzy coloured balls in my craft cupboard and thought that if we added the two together with glue, we could have some fun decorating. I wanted what we created to be colourful and something that Liberty would enjoy doing and I think her smile tells you she was happy with what I came up with.

Sam was home sick from school on that day, so I set them both up to do some crafting. We applied a generous amount of glue to the wooden frame and I then left the two of them to stick the coloured balls to the frames. They had fun chatting away and talking about the colours they were using. It was fun to watch and listen to.

The finished rainbow look for each frame. We then left them to dry for about 10 minutes and I have to add that in this time Liberty was having so much trouble waiting for them to be ready to go on her wall that I knew I had to come up with a quick idea to finish them off. Of course I have no idea where she gets her lack of patience in waiting for something to happen from! Eeek!

So to speed things along a little I took a roll of double sided tape and ran it around the outside of the frames twice and then simply stuck thick ribbon to it. So the outside of the frames has a ribbon as decoration instead of painting them. Fast and easy. Then I quickly printed out two pictures on paper and stuck them to the back of the frames and hung them on the wall. 

This is the finished product. As Liberty shares a room with Harmony and they are currently best friends, as they keep telling me, we used two recent pictures of them to hang on the wall. Liberty is very excited with the craft and artwork that she made herself with a little help from her brother. Of course Sam is now telling me he needs something new for his room! 

the great four leaf clover hunt

Harmony has been on the search for a four leaf clover for a while now. It has been her goal to find one all by herself and to have fun feeling some extra luck come her way.  After searching in our garden and the garden at school she was not having any luck in finding one. 

A couple of weeks ago she came home from school and I could tell she was feeling a little upset about something. I waited for her to come and talk to me and when I was preparing dinner she came over, tapped me on the shoulder and shared that she was feeling sad at school that day.

When I asked her why she was feeling sad, she shared that one of her friends had come to school that day with a four leaf clover that she had found. Harmony shared that she felt jealous and sad that she did not have one yet. I gave her a hug, shared some kind words and was surprised when she even shed a few tears over it. 

Her tears told me that finding a four leaf clover was really important to her right now. Even though she feels that it really won't bring her lots of luck, it was the goal of finding one for herself that was really important. So we had a chat, talked about being patient and sticking to her goal and worked out a plan to spend some more time searching for one.

A couple of days later we casually went out the front of our house, sat down on the grass and Harmony noticed a large patch of clover right next to us. She decided to have a quick look. Almost immediately I heard a scream come from Harmony! I looked up at Harmony who had a huge smile on her face and in her hand was a four leaf clover!! She had found one all by herself and was beyond excited.

That excited spurred on Liahona who took off into the back yard with Harmony and a short time later they both came inside with another two, four leaf clovers!  Who knew that in our own yard we had so many four leaf clovers. No wonder we feel so blessed and lucky as a family each day!

riding out the mother guilt

We feel guilt for a variety of reasons. As a mother, one of the times I feel guilt the most is when I take time out to do something for myself. If I sit down at home and try to read or participate in some other relaxing activity I find myself looking towards the kitchen reminding myself I have dishes to put away or my mind starts to wander towards the washing that needs to be done. If I entertain these thoughts they start to escalate into a full blown guilt attack for actually taking time for myself.

Once upon a time, I let the guilt get the better of me. I would stop what I was doing and get up to finsh off those tasks. Now that I have had more experience with mother guilt, I ignore them. I push them from my mind and ride out the mother guilt. I let it come, I acknowledge it, I accept that is how I am feeling and then decide not to listen and to act. I keep myself firmly rooted in place and continue enjoying my time out and activity I am involved in.

It has taken me a while to get to this stage. Riding out the mother guilt took time, took practice and it took determination. For me, the guilt would come strongly, powerfully and it was hard to resist. It took me time to accept that this time out was worthwhile, that I was worthy of it and that it would be of benefit to my family. I am a big believer in taking time out to feel happier as a person, woman and mother. I love to encourage others to do so as well.  

Taking a break from your normal routine is refreshing and needed. Overcoming guilt is also worth the time and effort to nourish and restore yourself. I find the older I get, the smarter I am at snatching little moments for myself and the more comfortable I am with spending time out on myself. 

Although it has not been a easy journey to get to this stage it has taught me to be more aware of how I am feeling and what my needs are. Here is to happy mum's with guilt free time out!

Cherish Your Cherubs Interview: Carissa from Putting on a Party

Carissa is one funny lady and one inspiring Mum. She has had an emotional journey to achieve her goal as a mother and also is very talented at putting together an awesome party. She started Putting on a Party from her love for all things party related and as a way to have a flexible work schedule. At the beginning of this year she found out one of her cherubs was Autistic and as a family it has changed their schedule. This is how Carissa cherishes her cherubs....

1.Tell us a little about yourself as a mother.
From my earliest recollection that is all I have wanted to be, a mother. I am so blessed to have three beautiful children, Izaak 11, Grace 9 and Noah 3. I was 27 years old when I had my son Izaak, I would have had a baby at 18 if I had the opportunity to be married and could afford a baby at that age. I am glad that I didn’t now in hind sight as I feel the maturity you have as an older mother is crucial to the type of mother you are. I sadly had 5 miscarriages before having any children and I was very anxious that I might not be able to have children. With a lot of TLC we managed to get Izaak. Then with no TLC really, ready or not we were having Grace. Several years later and two more miscarriages saw our family blessed with our little man Noah. I don’t have any war stories for births, although I think they were bad, no one else seems to. Izaak was 5 hours 5 mins of pushing, Grace was two hours from when we left home to when we were holding her, two pushes and noah was two hours and maybe three pushes.. I know yours was worse, but everything is relative right.

2. What is your favourite part about being a mother? 
I really had to think about this for a while, but I would have to say, I think it is the intimacy of this relationship, how it can go from feelings of pride when you watch them strive and achieve their dreams, to cuddles in bed in pj’s on a weekend sleep in to wiping up all the snot poo and spew along the way to when they are not well, or hurt or worried and you see that searching, looking for you because just you, your presence will make it feel or at least seem better.

3. Who inspires you as a mother? 
My mother, and My sister Joanne and my friend Margaret would be my biggest Inspirations

4. Why do you think it is important to cherish your children? 
I truly believe that love and acceptance are the most important things you can give a child. It fuels their self esteem and self respect, these are the most important things you can give your child.

5. What do you do to show your children you cherish them? 
Well, I am a kissaholic… and I have a squeeze fetish, not just cheeks, but hands while I am holding them, cuddles are way ott. A massive smile when they walk into the room to try to show them how they light up my life is my aim always. With our little boy Noah, he is Autistic and as yet doesn’t speak or understand verbal communications, so in this last year especially I have had to work on all the non verbal ways to express my love and emotions to him, and as a beautiful consequence of this my older two children get it too.

6. What do you hope your children feel or learn from you cherishing them? 
To love themselves. To know that who they are, is fabulous. To make choices in their lives with this foundation.

7. What is your favourite activity to do with your children and how does it help you to cherish them?
I love to celebrate their birthdays and make a big fuss over them. But each child has their own favourite thing they like me to do with them. Izaak loves tickles and rough housing play on the bed (it’s a kingsize one), Grace likes to shop for jewelry and pretty girly things, and Noah loves to swim, beach, pool, any sort of water play is brilliant to him.

8. How do you make time for your children in your schedule? 
My schedule pretty much revolves around my children, and just this year when Noah was diagnosed I ended my business and stopped work to do all the things he needed me to do to help him be the best he could be. So my schedule is a lot of therapy appointments, school events and housework! One thing we do in our house as a random sort of thing is we have a tickle add. You know how when the tv station is promoting a new series or whatever promo and they have an ad that they play way tooooooooo much… it usually has a boppy jingle to it.. well whatever we are doing no matter what, we down tools and attack the kids with tickles… just while the add is on.. it is a fun spontaneous thing that just adds a couple of minutes of laughter and fun in our house.

9. How does it make you feel as a mother when you know you are cherishing your children? 
It is so rewarding and uplifting, really validates me.

10. What advice would you give to other Mums about cherishing children? 
Take the time to be what they need you to be. Make them feel special and make time with them as important as all the other time commitments you have.

Thanks Carissa. Such a gorgeous family picture! You can also connect with Carissa on her Website or Blog or Facebook page. I recommend popping by if you are looking for some great party ideas.

my ingredients to live a happy life

I like writing about happiness. Not because I believe I know all the answers to living a happy life but because it reminds me to appreciate what I already have in my life. The more I write about it, the more I know happiness comes from the simple things in life, that are free and are given away from the heart.

Over the years on my travels I have seen people with nothing, no real material possessions, that were truly happy. At first this was a shock to me but as I spent time with them, the more I could see that they truly lived a blessed life. They were free from the pressure to acquire more, to be like others and could focus on what matters most in this life; family, simple living and feeling real love.

Sometimes I get lost in the need to acquire more things, to keep up with everyone else and I start to see that I need to change my ideas on what is going to make me happy. I need to commit myself, once again, to be happy with the things that I already have in my life.

So after all of this thinking about happiness, I thought I would share what ingredients I need in my life to live a happy life. Here is what I came up with so far:

Family and family adventures * My family means everything to me. They are the source of so much happiness in my life. I love hanging out with my family, exploring new places and the time we spend just playing with each other 

Flowers * I love fresh flowers and they do not have to be expensive or from a florist. I am happy with flowers from the garden and any type of greenery will add a smile to my face.

Music * I love listening to different styles of music. Music motivates me and uplifts me. I love to see my children creating music from household items around our home.

Books * I need to read to be happy. I love learning about people's lives, getting lost in an adventure and educating myself. I love to keep my mind active through reading.

Hugs * I love getting them and giving them. I love having that physical contact in my life and feel happy when I have received a lot of hugs during my day.

Dancing around the house * In our house we love putting the music up loud and dancing our little hearts out. I love it when the whole family gets involved and it makes me laugh to see the little ones giving a dance move a good try.

Faith * My belief and religion bring me happiness. It keeps me grounded and helps me focus on nourishing my spirit. It gives me guidance and helps me think outside of myself.

Children * I love spending time with children. They inspire me. Babies make me feel so happy and I love nothing more than holding onto a cute cherub.

Love * I love, love. It fills my heart and motivates me to do so much more than I normally would during my day. I that feeling of feeling so much love that your heart wants to burst. I am blessed to have a heart full of love with seven cherubs and a wonderful husband.

Goals * I need goals in my life to keep me happy. I love to have a focus, a quest and an adventure to work towards to motivate me and to keep my mind and heart active and happy.

Exercise * I don't really love to exercise, but I know it helps me feel happier. I have come to learn that it is necessary to boost my spirits and to help me feel better about myself.

Of course I have many other things that make me happy such as: sunsets, the ocean, creating craft, coriander, dark chocolate, gardening and bargains. They are just extra's that fill my life and add a dash of happiness to my day. Of course I can do without these things and would still be happy but I am so lucky that I have the opportunity to have these extra's in my life. I truly live a wonderful life.

simply beautiful jewels: handmade goodness

I adore simply beautiful jewels and I love seeing other women creating beautiful jewellery. I also love having gorgeous handmade goodness to wear and to add to my jewellery collection. One of my friends, Christy, is talented at using her hands to create wonderful craft and jewellery. I was thrilled when she sent me the above gift; pegs, decorated with words and magnets stuck on the back to stick up on my fridge. So thoughtful and brilliant! 

Christy also spoilt me by sending me some 'N' scrabble jewellery. Adore it! I can't begin to tell you how many times I have picked up one of these necklaces at markets to purchase and put it down only to walk away regretting it. Now I have one of my own and it is more special to me as it was made with love from a friend. Nothing like have a N is number 1 necklace to wear when you are feeling down!
Also included in the package was some treats for my girls. Strangely enough they are jewellery crazy as well! I have no idea where they get it from :) They were so touched by the gifts they now have to wear and accessorise with. They love the button earrings and hair pins, totally their style!
As we have been so spoilt we decided we needed to share and today have the above items to giveaway to a Seven Cherubs reader. Would be such a cute gift for a sweet girl. Included in the giveaway are the three small hair pins pictured above and one set of pink button earrings also pictured above. This one is going to be a quick giveaway so if you love what you see, enter below:

You can also check out what else Christy has available on her BLOG and SHOP.

Instagram: everyday moments

boys working in the yard
new earrings
cherub love
gorgeous daughter
hair love
more cherub love
another gorgeous daughter
first time getting her hair curled
spinning out at the park
building cubby houses
setting up shop
chopstick hair!
ready to race
enjoying the playground
happy families need pets!
doing absolutely nothing and loving it
necklace love
mum and liberty skateboarding
handsome boys

you can follow me on Instagram as @sevencherubs

Olay celebrates 60 years + Giveaway

Olay Celebrates 60 Years of Skincare Excellence!

This year Olay celebrates 60 years of skincare excellence. Seen as one of the world's most valuable cosmetic brands that caters to all age groups and all skin types, with the various skincare ranges they create, they have over the past 60 years helped many women feel better about their skin and themselves. 

I personally always start my day with Olay. I love Olay, I don't know what else to say! I have been using Olay on my skin since I was a teenager. I am one of those loyal Olay customers that always buys Olay even if I have the chance to try out other products. I always seem to come back to it as I love the feel and the familiar smell of Olay. I also love the current products they have available and that as my skin slowly grows older they have choices available to cater to my skin needs.

To celebrate the 60 years of success we are having an Olay Giveaway here at Seven Cherubs.

Giveaway Details:

1 x Total Effects Day Cream 
1 x  Total Effects Touch of Foundation 
1 x Olay Regenerist Thermal Skin Polisher 
1 x Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex

Total Value: $125.00

Enter Here:

Good luck xx

home inspiration: boys bedroom

Home Inspiration: Boys Bedroom

When planning what I wanted my boys bedroom to look like I wanted it to be bright and fun. I talked with the boys about what they wanted in the bedroom and we set out to make it happen. Lucky for me the boys wanted a bedroom that had a few of their favourite characters featured in it and although it is not exactly how I would design the room the boys are happy with it and that is the most important thing to me.

Most of the living area's in my house are painted in calming colours so I was happy to make the bedroom bright blue for the boys. As you can see they wanted the top of the room filled with posters so there are a whole bunch that line the top wall. Sam and Eli sleep in the bunk beds and the bed and rug on the floor I picked up from Ikea.

View from the top of the bunk. Surrounded by bright characters! I am amazed they still sleep with so much colour in their face. I never hear any complaints though so the posters are here to stay for now.

Moving around to the other side of the room we have Nathan's bed and some more bright posters and some shelves for them to keep items up high, away from the girls. As we are a large family and it is hard to have your own personal place and space I have these shelves for the boys to put stuff they want out of the way. I let the boys decide what they put up there and it changes all the time. 

Nathan also has his own box that has a lock on it to keep things away from Sam and Eli. It is hard for him to share a room with two energetic, inquisitive boys who want to get into everything so I have a special spot for him to store items that are important to him. It seems to work well for now.

Above the window I made a large sign that spells the word Believe. I painted the letters, E, L and I a different colour so that ELI can see that his name is in the word Believe. Having faith is important to our family and I wanted to encourage the boys to believe in themselves, to believe in us as a family and also in our beliefs associated with our religion.

As we have a few great living area's in our home the bedrooms in our house are generally kept free from toys and are mainly just for getting changed, reading and sleeping. The three boys generally get along well together and I send them to bed in different sleeping shifts so there are no fights when it is bed time. One day we might get a bigger home and Nathan might be able to have his own room but for now I am thankful that he is such an awesome big brother and is patient enough to share with two younger brothers. 

Making bedtime fun

Sponsored blog post by Karimums

Making Bedtime Fun! 

Announcing “bedtime” can sometimes be a bit of a disappointment for your playful child, it means it’s time to pack away the toys, the games and the fun. But with the right bedtime routine, you can avoid the pouty lip and sad eyes and put a smile back on those adorable little cherub cheeks.

The key to making bedtime fun is making the time spent getting ready for bed rewarding and special.

Here are some of our favourite tips – we’d love to hear yours!

1. Use positive language – using the words “time for bed” can build a negative sentiment around bedtime. Instead, parents can describe the routine and what the child can look forward to. It can be something along the lines of “it’s time to play with your bath toys” or “let’s change into our comfy PJs and read a story with Mr Bear” or snuggle. Think about what your child responds to. 

2. Give them some warning – give your child some time to prepare but be mindful that “five more minutes” might not really be something that they fully grasp, especially at a younger age. Instead, try to use other signals and cues to signify bedtime. One neat trick is to set the kitchen timer to go off when it’s time for bed, because even young kids know that you can’t argue with a machine!

3. The right snack – giving your child a bedtime snack can help them settle down and stay asleep through the night. Something such as a banana or a small piece of bread make good options. Try to avoid putting a bottle in bed with very young children – if you have to, be sure to fill the bottle only with water to protect their teeth.

4. Bath time play - playing with bath time toys are a great way to get your kids excited about bedtime. A warm bath is a great way to set the mood and if you limit bath time toys only to this time, it can be something special for kids to look forward to. 

5. Storytime – reading aloud is a great way for mum and child to bond together, even during pregnancy so your baby can get used to the sound of your voice. Younger children will want to settle in with the familiarity of their favourite book while older children might want a bit more variety in their stories. You can encourage older kids to read their favourite book aloud. And don’t forget their favourite soft toy for them to snuggle up with. 

6. Say goodnight - once your child’s settled in, give them a kiss good night and leave the room. Try not to get caught up I the ‘one more story’, ‘one more drink’ or ‘one more cuddle’ con!

What are some of your tips for putting your child to sleep?
Have you developed a great bedtime routine?

 {Author Bio: Sarah Paige is a freelance writer based in Sydney. 
She writes lifestyle articles and has a wealth of tips and ideas to share}

it's a love story, baby just say yes!

I love a good love story and thought it was about time I finished off my own.
It is not the most romantic event but it is mine and I treasure it!

It involves me and my handsome, spunky husband, who I adore.
I have already shared Part 1 and Part 2 on my blog and since it was so long ago I have decided to just repost them to make it easier.

Here is Part 1:

I first met Matt when I was 20 years old.
It was at a church dance {not the slow dancing, waltzing type of dance but, the loud pop music shake your booty type of dance} and I said 'hello' and 'goodbye' in my first sentence.

It was the last church dance I was going to before I went away for 18 months. I was leaving to go on a full-time service mission for my church to New Zealand and the Cook Islands. To serve in the community and to talk to people about Jesus Christ.

So we spoke very briefly. We said hello and I told him I was leaving that week.
He wished me good luck and we parted our separate ways.

Matt was 22 years old and I was 20 years old.
He was a full-time student studying to be a teacher.
I was a full-time student studying Literary studies with one subject left to finish my degree.

We did not met again until I was 23 years old and he was 25 years old.
There were no sparks and no fireworks, just conversation.

He really was not my type.
I liked guys with dark hair and brown eyes.
He had blonde hair and blue-grey eyes.

Our conversation was polite and normal.
He seemed like a lovely guy, friendly and nice.
It was hard to tell with a conversation that only lasted 5 minutes.

I had no idea that in the future he was going to be the man of my dreams and sweep me off my feet.
That we would share a union of great love and have seven cherbus together!

Here is Part 2:

When I left off my story I was going overseas for 18 months and Matt was staying behind in Adelaide to continue his study at University to be a teacher.

Upon returning I found some work and settled into a new routine of life. I had left one semester at University to complete and began the schedule of work and study to keep me busy and happy. At this stage of my life I felt ready to get married. I knew clearly what type of guy I was looking for after having dated a lot and having learnt from bad experience what not to look for.

Matt was still studying at University and was at a stage where he too felt ready to get married. He had also dated a lot and was beginning to wonder if he really was going to find the right person for him.

Both of us were busy and did not know what the next step should be in trying to find and date others. Then something wonderful happened.

I attended a church fireside and was very impressed by the first speaker. It was Matt.
He spoke very well, he touched my heart and he looked handsome in his blue suit.
Still love it when he wears that suit!

After the meeting I was speaking to a friend and Matt came up and had a quick chat with me.
He asked how my service mission went when I was overseas and then simply said goodbye.

There still were no sparks. Just friendly chit chat.
But my heart had been pricked. I was impressed and I was interested.

During that same week I had promised to call a friend to chat. For the life of me, I could not find the right phone number to contact my friend on. Everyone I tried to call did not have it. Eventually, someone gave me Matt's phone number as they knew he would have it.

I had a difficult choice to make. To call him or not?
You see I am a big believer in guys asking girls out and not the other way around.
I know, very old fashioned but that is the way I am.

I decided to call, to get the number and then get off the phone as quick as possible.
Imagine my delight when he actually was home, answered the phone, had the number and in our brief conversation asked me to go out with him on a date!

I of course said 'Yes' and we organised to meet for a day out at the Zoo.
Can I just say here that if you ever want to go on a first date, that the Zoo is an excellent place. If you have a lull in conversation you just turn to the animals and say 'Look at that monkey, isn't it just gorgeous' etc. So easy and less pressure.

Well, Matt and I did not have that problem. We talked all day, pretty much non-stop.
Having just returned from overseas I had plenty to share and say and we both had a lovely time discussing the different service missions that we both served in different places. We had something in common immediately and it lead to feeling connected, united in helping others and respect and admiration for the experiences we each had.

After our day at the Zoo we made another time to meet.
We continued to do this for four weeks.

At the end of the four weeks I knew this was the guy for me.
He was kind, loving, funny, sweet and everything I was looking for.

Lucky for me, Matt felt the same.
At the end of the four weeks, Matt asked me to marry him.
I said Yes. It was the best decision of my life.

It was a bit of a shock for some people, especially my family. 

Four weeks is not a very long time. For us it was all the time we needed.
When you know, you just know!

Here is Part 3:

So when I left off with Part 2 Matt had just asked me to marry him.
I was happy, I was excited and I felt at peace because I had found the right man for me.

We faced a variety of reactions from different people and family members. Some people were delighted for us and some were too shocked to be happy about it. I did not blame them, it was pretty quick!

But, despite all this we knew. We knew we were right for each other and determined to keep planning and moving forward with our life together and started setting the wheels in motion to get married.

As we were both studying at University we decided to wait until the semester finished to get married. This meant that we had 3 months left until our wedding. Most people who know me, know that when I know and feel that something is right, I don't wait, I act immediately and make it happen.  The same applied to getting married. Why wait? My attitude was, let's make this happen and keep moving forward.

So we started planning our wedding. I wanted simple, I wanted easy and my focus was just going to be on my husband, that was all. As I am a Mormon we were married in a temple. The only temple at the time in Australia was in Sydney so made plans to travel from Adelaide to Sydney to be married.

This was a easy and difficult decision. Easy because I knew that was where I wanted to be married and difficult because I am the only Mormon in my family and it meant that I would have no family at my wedding.

The three months went by quickly and to our shock, Matt and I both passed our semester at University and I finished my degree. With my degree finished I felt ready to start a family and to be a stay at home mum. So we made plans to save some more money and to prepare for children to join us.

During this time Matt and I continued to talk and to plan and to share our hearts on how we wanted to be as husband and wife, as parents and as individuals. We grew closer together, our hearts became one as we shared our desires and we grew to love each other more and more.

By the time the day arrived to be married, our hearts we connected in a way we did not think possible and even though it had only been a few months we knew we were making the right decision and were about to embark on a life of joy and happiness together.

The day was beautiful and simple. I had no bridesmaids, I had no flowers, I did my own hair and I did my own makeup. I had no family there to support me but I was wearing the dress I wanted, I felt completely at ease and I was happy to be with Matt. I was happy with the decision I made and being married in the temple has been a great blessing to us.

As a married couple we have been determined to stick together, to work out whatever challenges came our way and to support each other in whatever we chose to do in life. From the day we were married we felt we were ready to face the world together and to love each other with all our hearts.

I am happy to say that after 14 years we still feel the same way and our love has continued to grow in ways we did not think possible during that time. Whenever challenges have come our way we have clung to each other and worked our way through it. It has not always been easy for us, seven children in nine years will do that to you, but we have worked hard to stick it out.

Now we are loving the opportunity to raise a large family and to work on it together as parents. We support each other in what we want to do in life and our lives are happy, full and fun. I am so thankful that I was blessed to find the right man for me and that we have a union of great love in our lives.