Spending cash is something we all do in the months before Christmas.  We put a whole lot of time and energy (not to mention money) into buying gifts that will bring joy to the people we love on Christmas day.  It’s a tradition, and let’s be honest, most of us love it.     But how much thought goes into where the money from our gift purchases ends up?  For most of us, that answer is simple.  Not much.  So this year the team from Ballarat For Families has decided we want to make it easy for you to support local small businesses while you’re ticking off your Christmas shopping list.   Below you’ll find a growing list of Ballarat’s best boutique, handcrafted, family run or farmers-gate inspired small businesses that make products you’ll be proud to give this Christmas. 

If you have the time to look (which most of us don’t) this town is filled with creative, kind-hearted, energetic individuals and families who work hard to bring Ballarat to life every day.  So this year let’s consider keeping things local by putting our money in the hands of Ballarat’s businesses.   Wouldn’t you like your hard earned dollar to help support the people you pass every day down the street?   We would.  And we think that given the opportunity you probably would too.    


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Ballarat Local Gift Inspiration for Adults

The Gift of An Experience

  • Eat Drink Share are Ballarat’s home of gourmet walking tours through local cafes and eateries.  A great gift to share with a friend.
  • Lost Ones Gallery in Camp Street offers interesting courses and workshops focused on skills that have been lost over the years.   A fabulous gift for someone who enjoys things a little outside the box.
  • ClayMotions  is a local pottery place that offers gift voucher for classes.  There are adult, kids and special Mum’s Time Out sessions.
  • MelTPhotography is a Ballarat based boutique studio specialising in pregnancy, newborn, baby & beyond!  If you’d like to get some  photos organised now to include with gifts they have pre-Christmas  gift vouchers with a 10% discount and offer pre-Christmas mini sessions in November and December.

The Gift of Gorgeous Jewellery

  • Bok Bok B’Gerk is developing a reputation around town for their quirky hand painted, laser cut jewellery.  Made from the ecofriendly wood of the alder tree their pieces are colourful, stylish and have just enough whimsy to spread joy wherever they go. 
  • Fifth Avenue Collection.  If you’re looking for something delightful but with bucket loads of heart this might be the perfect gift idea for you.    With range of high-quality fashion jewellery for women, men and children this business is run by the owner of Wala Animal Sanctuary in Ballarat.  Wala is  a volunteer based animal rescue centre and all proceeds from sales go directly to caring for injured wildlife!
  • Billy G is the home of Ballarat’s favourite jewellery & accessories! Billy G creations are handmade with wood & clay (and of course with love) by Sarah, a local art teacher & Mum. Necklaces, ear rings & key rings for ladies & minis can be purchased locally at Crawford’s Pharmacy & Rubilicious Wax & Beauty Bar  or through their Instagram or Facebook.
  • For something a little different and engagingly beautiful how about checking out the Jewellery from Ballarat Placentas.  Owned and operated by Victoria’s only DNA artist this is really something special you can find right here in Ballarat.
  • You might like to think about something unique from DeeDeeDeesigns Etsy  store.   A local Ballarat creatives store  stocking handmade Jewellery and ceramic tableware. 
  • Local to Buninyong, Little Poppy Designs creates thoughtfully designed, unique, handcrafted clay jewellery and accessories. Each item is individually made, rolled and shaped by hand so no two are identical. 
  • Colourful Tastes  makes gorgeous dream-catchers along with lovely wood and clay necklaces, earrings, key chains and silicone necklaces.

The Gift of Local Quality

  • Mt Buninyong Winery has a lovely collection of wines.  Pop out and visit and put together a personalised selection. 
  • Debee signature balms is a local business that produces quality bee’s wax lip balms.
  •  Mia and Talbot Soy Candles  produces beautiful soy candles using pure soy wax, fragrance and essential oils. Candles for everyday use, corporate gifts, weddings, baby showers and  all special occasions.
  • Enga Arabic make local, organic and ethically sustainable coffee.  Paired  with a gorgeous set of mugs, or even on its own, this is the perfect gift for the coffee lovers amongst us. 
  • You know what they say ‘you can’t buy happiness but you can buy tea.’   One Little Leaf is a Ballarat Business that blends their own gourmet teas.  Their range includes gift baskets and gift certificates and an exhaustive range of teas with something to suit even the most passionate tea drinker.   
  • Shades of Phoenix  hand blends and mixes top quality nail polish here in Ballarat.  Their product is  3 & 5  free vegan-friendly and animal cruelty-free.   They also stock  jewellery created from their polish including earrings, necklaces, rings, bobbi pins. 
  • Gordon Hat Shoppe is the place to go if you’re looking for a hat that really says something special.  With old world charm and styles for both men and women they just might be the perfect place to find a gift with a difference.  
  • Tegan  Neville is an intuitive artist whose business, ART from SPIRIT, sells original artworks framed and unframed, gift cards and her book Connecting Within – artworks and inspirational messages.
  • Maria’s Alternative Clothes and Artworks at 107 Sturt Street will add some colour to your gift giving!   Bright, bubbly and interesting clothes, jewellery, scarves, hats and more.  Giving a gift from Maria’s is like giving the gift of happiness. 
  • From the gritty to the pretty with just a touch of twang, you’ll love what’s on offer at Ballarat’s own Pinup, Rockabilly and Psychobilly store. Frock this town with Lana-Rose at  14 Lydiard St North.
  • Just Coz Candles   Individually hand poured candles & melts made from all natural Soy Wax. With an expanding range of fragrances, they’ve recently introduced wooden wicks which give off a lovely crackle as they burn – adding to the ambience of burning a candle.

The Gift Of Support for a Small Business

  • When Baby Meets Business. A brand new book by  Ballarat author Rachel Allan.  Available for pre-order on site from 14th of September.  “In an effort to combine the roles of mothering and business owner many are left with the feelings of guilt-guilt for either not giving to their children or not working enough in their business. When Business Meets Baby provides practical tools and tips, giving you permission to create balance in your life.”
  •  Dorothy K – online success coach  provides websites for ballarat small businesses  (and beyond), training in online technology, as well as business coaching for women who want to start their own business.  Dorothy K has a special Christmas offer of a  60 minute “Turn your blog into a business” coaching session for $90.

The Gift of Relaxation & Pampering 

  • Ballarat Salt Rooms have Ultimate Relaxation Packages available as a gift voucher.    The ‘Floatassge’ is a  30 or 60-minute massage followed up with a 60-minute floatation session. It’s relaxing just reading about it!  The ultimate in Relaxation Packages for someone you love.
  • Shimmer Beauty Therapy have a range of gift vouchers available to spoil someone special.  They also stock “pamper packs” made especially from local products and including a voucher to use on Shimmer Beauty’s services as well.   (Shimmer Beauty Therapy is  located at 420 Sturts Street.)
  • Apple Orchard Beauty specialises in helping busy women look and feel their very best by helping them take time out to relax and unwind.   They offer a range of tailored beauty treatments for women including facials, waxing, lash and brow tinting, manicures, pedicures, massage and pamper packages.   Certificates are available for gifting.  Apple Orchard Beauty is located in Brown Hill. 
  • Buninyong Beauty Therapy specialises in hydrabrasion facials, electrolysis massage, manicures, pedicures, waxing and professional makeup.  Offering gift vouchers and specialised individual treatment packages they pride themselves on being a Ballarat small business. 


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Ballarat Local Gift Inspiration for Children

The Gift of An Experience

  • It’s a fact. Kids love getting their hands on clay!  ClayMotions pottery offers gift vouchers for classes designed especially for kids. 
  • We all know kids love painting and making things.  Funky Plaster Fun For the Whole Family have  a range of gift baskets filled with plasters for great prices ~ with or without paints.  Loads of fun for hours to come. 
  • Or if you prefer your art sessions ‘out of home’  Addictive Art offers gift vouchers for 2D and 3D plaster moulds, canvas art, door hangers, gift boxes & mirrors along with a playroom for the early finishers and complimentary tea of coffee for the big people. 
  • For those starting to think about school in 2018 or 2019 a voucher for a term of classes at  Little Learners Club Ballarat.  Learning the basics of learning so they’re ready fly.
  • Make Art School offer classes for preschool, primary and secondary students, as well as workshops for adults. They also stock a selection ‘art kits’ that will be available on the Make Art school website. A perfect stocking filler. 

Gifts for Babes in Arms

  • Chill Mumma are a local ‘mum & pop’ team who makes rad furniture for toddlers. Scandinavian inspired design with simple clean lines. Locally handmade and priced so that everyone can have some beautifully designed baby/toddler goodies!
  • Cushie Tushies Ballarat offers a range of delicious natural skincare products for mums and bubs, along with organic cotton comforters and naturopath blended herbal infusions. Of course, quality cloth nappies and accessories are always available too!
  • Arabella + Autumn make stylish timber play gyms, play gym toys, teething toys, wooden rattles, dummy clips and beautiful baby wraps. These products not only look stylish but also provide the added benefit of avoiding harsh plastics.

The Gift of Local Quality for Kids

  •  A dolls house is a memory that lasts a lifetime and now gifting your little one’s a tiny dream home doesn’t have to mean compromising on style.   Mostly Miniature  designs and produces the latest on trends miniature furniture fit for those most magazine-worthy of dolls houses.  Seriously, it’s fabulous and made right here in Ballarat. 
  • Flamingos and Foxes specialises in custom made items for children including name blocks, height rulers, mountain blocks, cameras and much more!   They also have a joint partnership with Rivers Gift to raise money for research into the cause of SIDS.   (This business also has an ETSY store  if you use the code FREECOLLECT local residents won’t need to pay postage.)
  • Tarmak Kids make handcrafted cubbies and mini furniture that will make your child the envy of the neighborhood.   
  •  Jilly Junior Lace Teepees might just be the sweetest thing you’ll see this year.  Pretty much guaranteed to make little girls swoon.   (They also have a lovely range for boys too.)
  • Quib and Co.  are a local small business with a range of stylish  gear for the little peeps to wear. 
  • Eluca Designs are Ballarat’s one stop shop for personalised and unique name blocks for little ones.  They also produce  individualised Christmas bauble blocks, milestone blocks, block jigsaws and even full alphabet sets! 
  • Kardan Creations make  gorgeous customised buntings for birthdays and room decor as well as being Ballarat bespoke board specialist!   Birthday boards, odd stock boards, key hanging boards – they’ve got the lot. 
  • Visit Celebrate at 1/403 Warrenheip Street in Buninyong for a creative collection of toys and trinkets designed to spark the imagination and set the stage for creative play.   Celebrate’s owner also runs the gorgeous Deer Little Parties – for all your party planning, event styling and party hire needs.
  • Just Craftin’ Around Carlee’s Handmade Crafts makes a series of lovely pre-Christmas crafts including Santa sacks, glass brick lamps and Santa plates.   As well as a collection of other items to help make Christmas super special for the kids. 
  • Fontea is a unique home based store in Bullarook that you can visit by appointment. Stocking a wide range of products, including gorgeous felt fairies, handcrafted jewellery, handbags and much more.   Order are also taken online.
  • If you still need more inspiration for the bub in your life but can’t find it locally another option is Not In Shop.    An Australian wide collection of bespoke products for Australian Families.


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Ballarat Gift Inspiration for Families

The Gift of A Family Experience

  • Looking to reduce your family’s carbon footprint through tree planting? Fifteen Trees might be just what you are looking for. Through the Fifteen Trees website you purchase native trees for community groups to plant and once planted you get to see your trees. Trees costs from $4.30.
  • An annual family pass to Sovereign Hill,    Kryal Castle   or   The Wildlife Park is a wonderful  idea for a family.   Give them the gift of being able to pop in for picnics,  visit the shops or just return again and again to enjoy the experience.  (Can someone tell my why we don’t have an economical joint family pass for all three available for locals!) 

The Gift of Local Quality for Families

  • ‘Event Evolution Photography’ is Ballarat’s new go-to solution for event photography. Specialising in capturing memorable moments at children’s parties, family gatherings and community events as well as corporate functions. With gift voucher available for purchase this has the potential to be a perfect gift this Christmas.
  • No Nits Naturally.  Plan on 2016 being a year free from Nits.  This lovely Ballarat Based small business will help you reach that lofty goal!
  • Bird and Blossom is a delightful locally based online boutique store  filled with hand-crafted goodness.  Prints (personalised and inspirational), jewellery, home decor and felted toys.  It’s the perfect place to find a ‘one of a kind’ gift for someone special. 
  • Antipodean Love is the online home and now retail space, for the best Australian and New Zealand designer gifts and homewares, whether it’s for a ‘thank you’, new baby, birthday, anniversary or to treat yourself.  Antipodean Love believe that Australian and New Zealand gifts definitely do not need to be tacky and that you want to give and receive a gift that makes you feel happy and proud.
  • Formosa Gardens Nursery Cafe Gift Shop is a local family owned business that’s been operating in Ballarat since 1977!   They stock cute animal statues, vases, hand-made jewellery, ladies and kids boots, watering cans and children’s capes clothing  just to name a few!   Well worth stopping to explore.


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Ballarat Gift Inspiration from Independent Consultants

  • Visit Audrey a  local Ballarat Phoenix Trader consultant for cards and gift wrapping for Christmas.
  • For those who love fabulous nails, you’ll find some awesome gift ideas at  Jamberry  Nails with Adrienne.
  • Independent Scentsy consultant Lorenne  has a safe and delicious alternative to flamed candles.  Specialising in electric warmers and fragranced wax bars to make your home smell divine!


Are you a local Ballarat Business that needs to be on this list?  We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and we’ll get in touch.    



May 31, 2016 · 4 comments

Do you ever feel like internally you need to thaw out? 

Apparently I do.

My soul feels frozen and numb.

Not necessarily in an evil or destructive way.

But none the less unyielding and unwilling to give. 


I don’t exactly know what this means.  It’s a new feeling for me.  I’m usually so good at being introspective and understanding myself.  I ask myself questions and give myself answers and seek the wisdom that comes from within.

But not now.  Now all is silent and all I can do is wait.

Wait for my soul to thaw and movement to begin again. 


I’m not even particularly sure why things are as they are.  I’m a mum and  life is  busy.  I work.  I care.  I tend to my growing babies.  But perhaps I don’t tend to my own self enough.  Life, marriage, work, mothering, home maintenance, family and friends all jostle for priority and carry their own ‘barbs of wire’ that scratch and sometimes  draw blood if they are ignored. 


I find it hard to nourish my soul and some days it screams for attention and love.  I tell it to ‘shut up and wait’ because there is always something or someone else that needs my care and  concern more than it does.   This is not really helpful.  After all, I’m sure all it wants is my kindness. 


But even with my frozen soul, I feel a flicker of hope.  Hope because I know a thaw is coming.  I can sense it shimmering away just over the horizon.  Waiting for the perfect time to spill over like sunlight and bring justice to my world.   It will bring deeper understanding, answers, and fresh perspective.  And that’s what we all need, right?  Feelings and emotions will start moving again.  Passing through and whispering their little secrets of wholeness into my being.  Growth will happen and new things will blossom.  New strength.  New insight.  New joy for life.  


Expectations bring hope and from hope springs the delights of life. 

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Little Things

February 9, 2016 · 1 comment

I found this little fellow at my front door the other day.  Happily resting in the shade of our porch from the heat of a summers day.    Up close and personal shots of insects lead me to believe they are inspiration for every alien character on Dr Who and Star Trek. 

marco insect

And this funny little creation has built his home in my front garden. He patiently waits out the summer heat curled up in the large leaves, all the while keeping his fingers on the pulse so he knows when something delicious stumbles its way into his web of doom.  (Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly.) 

Macro spider and web

If I could dive into a colour that colour would be indigo.  I love it with as much passion as you can love a colour. Luckily for me,  these crazy wild daisies grow like weeds around these parts and while they’re a bit small for diving into, their presence makes me happy. 

Maro daisy

 I’m not sure who calls this home, and frankly, I’m not sure I want to.   But I do wonder how it manages to make things so perfectly round in the hard dry summer lawn.  Clever critter. 

Macro Spider hole

Beautiful bee doing your thing.  Keep on pollinating and producing – loving your work. 

Macro Bee

All of these, plus many many more, were taken on my Galaxy Notes 5.  I’ve been spending some child free/work free  time playing with macros.  I love the way macro photography makes you see things in an entirely new light.  It opens up a tiny little world and makes is real to us monster sized humans. 

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You’re probably all aware that school goes back this week.  The six weeks of summer holidays has evaporated away leaving only days of freedom before the uniform washing and lunch box making starts again for another year.  Why does January ALWAYS go so fast?  

It’s generally about now that I start to have a mild anxiety attack thinking about school lunches.  I want to be  one of those mums who pack healthy, sugar free, GMO free, wrapper free, glutten free (and maybe taste free) nude food lunches.  You know the ones, people put them on Facebook and Pinterest to shame us mere mortal mums into doing all that extra work.  But let’s be honest here, as good as my intention may be, within weeks of school starting the pre-packaged biscuits and muesli bars start creeping their way back into this family’s lunch boxes. 

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So when the  peeps from SunRice contacted me recently to ask if I’d be interested in giving away two of their ‘kitted out’ lunch box packs it seemed to me that the goodies in the pack, and the Mini Bites themselves, might be something some of my fellow “mortal mums” might be interested in.   So today I’m happy to tell you it’s giveaway time. 

SunRice tell me that their products are healthy, bite-sized brown rice cakes made using the goodness of Australian, locally-grown brown rice.   A tasty, fun, portion-controlled snack that has less fat than regular potato chips: easy for mum and dad and healthy for kids!  Sounds okay hey.  As you would imagine as a mum of three growing primary school aged girls  I am always looking for cost effective, easy and nutritious lunchbox fodder. 


The SunRice’s ultimate back to school ‘kitted-out’ lunch box pack giveaway

If you would like to win one of the two SunRice Mini Bites Back To School packs, valued at $170 each, simpy tell me your best ‘Back To School’ tip in the comments below.  The giveaway is open until 12.00pm (midnight) on Tuesday the 2nd of February and the two best answers will be chosen as winners.    You can see all of my giveaway Terms and Conditions here if you feel the need to read them.   (ps: products may vary slightly from those pictured. )

What’s in the packs?

whats i the pack

Good luck. My fingers are crossed for you. Both for smooth sailing as the kids head back to school for 2016 and the giveaway. 

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Wow … …  … is this really happening?  Am I actually sitting down and  writing a blog post?  It’s been a while crocodile but yes, here I am.  You see this is what happens when you cross over from hobby blogger and start making a living in the online world.  You start to lose contact with your first love and that’s not necessarily a good thing.  (Guessing I will have to think about that a little more.)

Anyhoo, today my littlest was at a bit of a lose end, being school holidays and all, and started begging me to cook something with her.    Grimacing at the thought of a messy kitchen clean-up I gave in and started digging through my collection of Cuisine Companion  recipes waiting to be trialed.   In the end we settled on these Chocolate Brownies.  A friend sent me the recipe a few months back and it was the prefect opportunity to give them a whirl.

Chocolate Brownies Cuisine Companion two



250g unslated butter
150g plain flour
320g white sugar
60g cocoa
3 eggs
Vanilla (1-2 teaspoons)

Chocolate Brownies Cuisine Companion one



Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees. 

Line a slice tray with baking paper.

Insert Ultra Blade into CC.

Chop butter roughly and melt in CC (3 minutes, 65 degrees at speed 4).

Add all of the rest of the ingredients into CC and mix (20 seconds, at speed 7)

Pour mixture into the lined slice tray and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Allow to cool before cutting into serving sizes and dusting with icing sugar.

Chocolate Brownies Cuisine Companion four


And the verdict.  These are truly delicious.  Very rich and gooey.  They would make a perfect dessert with a lucious drop of double cream.   A lovely sometimes food that is so simple you could whip it up in CC to impress your friends for morning tea.   Give them a go – I’m sure you will agree.   You can also find more easy Cuisine Companion recipes by following this link.  

Do you have a Cuisine Companion?  Link up your favourite recipe in the comments so we can all share to CC lovin. 

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How cute are these guys?  Well, I guess I might be a little biased, because these are the adorable  human beings formerly know as the three little pinks.  They have sure grown up hey!    When I think they were five, three and one respectively  when I started writing The Truth About Mummy I have to do a little double take and re-centred myself.  To all those people who told me the baby/preschool years go quickly – you sure knew your stuff.   These days I’m mum to three beautiful and multi-coloured young ladies.   


Anyhoo, today isn’t really about walking down memory lane.  It’s about Book Week.  Don’t you love Book Week and the celebration of all things bookish?  Well if I’m honest, despite all my pre-mum-life dreams about how much fun it would be getting costumes ready for school parades I really don’t enjoy the pressure of putting together three awesome outfits.  Something seems to get a little lost in the translation from dream to reality.  It’s actually hard work and frustrating.  So this year I got some help.   


And look at the results.  These costumes are brilliant and the girls are all really happy with how they look and feel in in them.  Winning without effort thanks to The Costume Box. 


For me, this year is all about keeping things simple and not over stressing on the small stuff.   It’s the only way I can find the balance between working, being a mum and having a life!  If I need to order in costumes to make that happen then so be it!  


So, thank you costumebox.com.au for these beautiful Book Week costumes.    Hocus Pocus, beautiful Blue Butterly and Ariel the Mermaid are all set to go after our impromptu photo session last night.  (Yes our back lawn is in desperate need of a mow – wanna come do that for me?).

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Disclaimer:  The lovely people at Costume Box gifted me these costumes for my girls to wear.    No money was exchanged and all opinions expressed are totally my own.  All photos are copy write to CazFilmerWrites and published with the approval of each child.



This post is brought to you by Finish Quantum Max Tablets Power & Pure

My morning routine usually works something like this.  I get up six in the morning (unless insomnia is sleeping over,  which case it could be anytime from two onwards) and stumble over to the bathroom.  After navigating the obstacle course of pillows piffed on the floor the night before, I quietly close the ensuite door (in an attempt not to wake sleeping beauty from his slumber) and get myself showered, dressed and generally ready for the day ahead.    Then I move on out to the kitchen to unstack the dishwasher and make the girls lunches before waking them up for school. 


Okay, so this is where my dishwasher delima begins.   In general terms, I love dishwashers. (Some love lamp – I love dishwasher.)    I like the fact that they hide away all of the used dishes and I never need to have my kitchen benches stacked with dirty, messy pots, pans and plates.  Well that’s the theory, but in reality I’m still training my family to put their dishes straight in, so let’s just say it’s going to be like that one day in the future.  Then, after tea, it’s a nightly ritual for either me or hubby to do the final stack for the day and set the dishwasher to work – all ready for me to unstack in the morning. 

Ran the dishwahers

But, over the past few months something has gone wrong with this process.  Our dishwasher has dropped her bundle and her work has gotten sloppy. We’re talking leaving a gritty, dirty looking deposit on my dishes.   Some mornings they actually seem to come out in worse condition than they went in.  That is not satisfactory work.   There is nothing that pushes my buttons more than an appliance, the was built with one job in mind, that doesn’t perform.   Seriously.  Why am I standing at the sink at 6.30am, hand washing fifty percent of my dishes when you’ve already taken your turn?  We paid well over a $1,000 for you dishwasher, and we expect better!

I’ve tried all of the convention fixes.  Sometimes they work for a day or two but the problem just keeps coming back. There is obviously something wrong deep within, that dishwasher cleaners just can’t reach.   This all sounds a little sinister to me as in ten years of owning dishwashers the supermarket-cleaners have always done the job before.    Anyway, what I really need is for my morning routine sanity to return.  So, we’ve called in the big guns. Next Friday the dishwasher doctor is coming to visit, and  I am praying he will be able negotiate and get her back to work.  Perhaps she’s looking for a pay increase?  Either way I’ll be sure to let you know how it all goes. 

Has your dishwasher ever dropped it’s bundle?  How did you solve the problem?  

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Image credit.


lost my name

I am known as ‘the gift buyer’ in my family.   I was born with the knack of seeming to know just the right present to suit just the right person.   Well, in reality I don’t consider it a knack at all.    It’s pretty simple really – I just ask myself  what makes the person I am buying for happy before I start shopping.   Once I’ve worked that out all the rest falls into place without much effort.  

When it comes to buying for younger kids and newborns, most of the time these days I’ll head straight on over to Not In Shops.   Because they combine two things I love.   Lovely handcrafted and personalised products that you can’t find in the shops and supporting people who are stepping outside of their comfort zone to make a living from their passions.  That is great stuff and something I want to get behind. 


Today I thought I’d introduce you to what I think is a perfect gift idea for toddlers or preschool aged little people – especially if you’re looking for something that will live in their hearts and minds for the rest of their lives.   (Any grandma’s out there I am  thinking of you!!)  This book is totally adorable and the reason I know it will live in their hearts forever is because it’s all about their favourite subject – themselves.    

The creators of Lost My Name take your child’s own name and use the letters to weave a story about a little person who wakes up having lost their name.  They then go on a magical journey, meeting fabulous creatures, until they have collected all of the letters that make up their name.    Can you imagine the joy on their faces when they start reading (or being read to) and realise they are the centre of attention in their very own book. Can’t you just see how their eyes will sparkle with surprise and joy?


A few months back Not In Shops sent me a copy of Lost My Name to review with my littlest pink.  Admittedly she is seven now, so slightly older than the age group I’d recommend this book for, but she is still in love with it.  The constant begging for me to let her take it to school for ‘show and tell’  has been a little wearing – but to be honest there is nothing more I love than kids getting excited about books, so I’ll let that pass.   I think there is just something a little bit magical about having a book written about yourself.  

This book would also make a very special newborn baby gift.    Obviously, there are some complications here if you don’t know ahead of time what the baby is going to be named.  But, if you’re able to wait off for a few days with the gift giving I think this is a perfect idea.  We have a teacher at the girls school who is expecting in coming months and this is exactly what I am wanting to do for her. 


If you like to find out more about Not In Shops  or  the Lost My Name book please head over to their website.  The book costs $33.95 (including P&H) and the ordering process is  very uncomplicated.  All you have to do is complete the order form on the Not In Shops website with your child’s names and gender and then wait for it to arrive.  I have found them very professional and received several emails updating me on our books printing and arrival times.

**I am an official Not In Shops blogger and love working with them to promote the beautiful and bespoke products to my readers. 

the giveaway

lost my name review and giveaway

Would you like to win a copy of Lost My Name for a little person at your house?  Or maybe for someone else you’d like to inspire to love reading?  Follow these easy-peasy steps to enter:

  1. In the comments below tell me about either a book from your own childhood that still lives on in your heart or the most beautiful or unusual name you have ever heard. 
  2. Be kind enough to share this giveaway on Facebook  and then, if you do, please feel free to leave a second entry comment.
  3. Follow The Truth About Mummy  and Not In Shops in any way you like (Facebook, Twitter, Feed, email or Pinterest.)
  4. Please leave an email address  that you check regularly – as all giveaways are redrawn if you don’t respond within 5 days.  
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  • Giveaway is open until Midnight  29th of August 2015
  • No entries will be accepted after this time.
  • All decision are final and based on skill not luck (not random draws here.)
  • (Check the T&C tab for full T&C).
  • Disclaimer: This is a review and giveaway.  I received a free copy of the Lost My Name book to enable this review.  

Win Stuff Here.


Do you know I have not even logged into WordPress for almost two weeks.   Now that’s a sure fire sign that my life is swaying to the hectic side of the pendulum.   As you know, I’m not a big fan of busy.  I much prefer a slow ‘mooching’ approach to life.  But that said it’s generally during the busy phases that things really start to happen. 

A couple of days ago I was offered work with one of Ballarat’s local conference and accommodation centres, as their assistant marketing officer.   Well using the word “offered” might be minimising the process slightly.    I actually endured attended three interviews and used up more than my fair share of ‘sparkle power’ to make that ‘offer’ happen.   Regardless thou I am well  pleased with the outcome.    Starting from mid next week I’ll be spending two six-hour days a week working back in the real world and flexing my marketing and social media muscle.   In my imagination, this is going to be like having best of both worlds.   Three days a week at home focusing on my Caz Filmer Writes projects ( and doing housework, family stuff, and getting back to the renovations) and two days out working in the real world.  Now, if we could all just come together with prayer and fasting in the hope that this  turns out as well in reality as I’m picturing it in my mind. parentint

While all this has been percolating around in the world of possibilities I also had two interviews for a project management job, which apparently I didn’t get.  But how could I know this as they chose not to notify unsuccessful applicants – even though we dragged our sorry arses in there twice!  Are you hearing my attitude?  Sorry – but I think that’s rude.  After all a phone call doesn’t take long or cost much.  (Hashtag Grrrrr).     And just to keep it interesting I also got offered six days emergency administration work at the girls school.  I’ve never worked in a school before and despite thinking we needed to evacuate the first time I heard the bell go off, I loved it.   It’s been a while (read many many years) since I’ve done pure admin/reception work and I have to admit I kinda felt like I was playing a huge game of pretend.   How could you not love doing that?


In my own true introverted style thou,  right now I am in desperate need of some time to some time to settle back and reflect, ponder and plan.   (And if I didn’t have a family and home and I’m pretty sure I’d find that time.)   I want to think this through and establish a routine for my working days – both at work and at home.    One thing I have realised is that I need to put some boundaries ar

I want to be more purposeful than that.    

I need to be more purposeful than that.  

I am going to be more purposeful than that.    

How do I become more purposeful than that?

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Chocolate cake.  Need I  say more?  This recipe the simplest, best textured and nicest chocolate cake I’ve made (or eaten) in a long time and it’s so easy to make in the  Cuisine Companion that you probably won’t believe it.  I’ve struggled to find the appropriate person/place to credit for the brilliance of creating this recipe – this link is as close as I’ve come.   Once you’ve made it you’ll probably want to say thanks too. 

As with all of the recipes I post if you just want to print it out and avoid my pretty pictures and explanation, head on down to the bottom of this post.   But for those of you who like some explanation and visuals – read on.    You can find more family friendly Cuisine Companion recipes here.  You might also like to join this facebook group Loving the Tefal Cuisine Companion


Turn your oven to  180 degrees (160 if fan-forced).  Line the base of a larger sized cake tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.  

Insert the ultra blade into your Cuisine Companion.  And then add all of the ingredients into the bowl!  170g butter, 4 eggs, 250g milk, 300g SR flour, 370g brown sugar, 40g cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Work at speed 8 for one minute.  Scrapes down the sides of the bowl and then work at speed 12 for 20 seconds. 


Pour the batter into your cake tin and cook for one hour 0r until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean (without uncooked cake batter on it.) 


Remove the ultra blade from your Cuisine Companion bowl and get the little people to clean the bowl for you. This cake mix almost tastes like chocolate pudding – so frankly try stopping them!

Once cooled I iced my cake with a classic mix of butter cream icing.   I reduced my usual recipe by 3/4 to suit the cake size – as I didn’t really think we needed the sides iced as well as the top!    

Butter Cream Icing
1/4 cup of butter
15g cocoa
1 & 1/4 cups if icing sugar
1 tbs of milk.  
Mix this well by hand. 


chocolate cake cuisine companion

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Disclosure.  My Cuisine Companion was gifted to me and I have agreed to post recipes for your enjoyment in return.

Perfect Chocolate Cake for the Cuisine Companion
A simple and beautifully textured chocolate cake to make in your Cuisine Companion
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
  1. 170g Butter
  2. 4 Eggs
  3. 250g Milk
  4. 300g Self Raising Flour
  5. 370g Brown Sugar
  6. 40g Cocoa
  7. 1 tpsVanilla essence
  1. Turn your oven to 180 degrees (160 if fan forced.)
  2. Line a good sized cake tin base and lightly grease sides
  3. Insert the ultra blade into your Cuisine Companion
  4. Add all ingredients into the bowl
  5. Process at speed 8 for one minute.
  6. Scrape down the sides.
  7. Process at speed 12 for 20 seconds.
  8. Pour batter into the cake tin
  9. Cook for one hour or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
  1. Ice using butter cream icing. This cake freezes beautifully and can be pre-cut and frozen for school lunches.
Caz Filmer Writes http://www.cazfilmer.com/


My consistency as a blogger sucks right about now.  Yeah, I know.  It’s one of the golden rules of blogging BE CONSISTENT, but then again I have never really been one to follow the rules – so I guess I can let that slide.

Creativity CazFilmerWrites

Life has been all kinds of crazy around here for a few weeks.  The type of crazy where you mix looking after two elderly parents, one with Dementia and one with Alzheimer, with school holidays, job interviews and freezing cold weather. Can you see the picture?  Oh, we’ve been having some moments.   You know those ones where you choose to laugh because the only other alternative is to cry.  Hang on, there was this one time where I actually did both.  And it was surprisingly cathartic. 

This is only momentary madness though. Life will return to our version of normal, which only includes  one elderly parent, fairly soon.  School went back this week as well which means in a couple of days I’ll find time  to indulge my introverted nature and take some breathing space for my soul.  Then life will feel a little more harmonious and a little less crazy.   (It’s relaxing just thinking about it.)

Despite the general neglect going on around here, I am very happy to report that my Kidspot Put Yourself On The Map (#shareaustralia) post has been chosen as one of the top 20 posts in the competition. Meaning I’ve now been commissioned (now that’s a word that makes you feel like a true online creative) to produce and expanded version which will be published on Kidspot.  Thank you Kidspot.   I can’t wait to start work on the 10 best family adventures to be had in around the beautiful town of Ballarat.  So seriously chuffed to have my work recognised in this way.

Ballarat For Families Collage Caz Filmer Writes

Most of my other writing work is falling a little behind.  I have posts that should have been posted and emails that should have been answered.  But that too will happen.  Perhaps not overnight – but it will happen (she says as she shakes out her long flowing hair).   So, if you’ve been waiting on me please know I haven’t  forgotten you and I’ll be back in touch soon.

In the meantime, amidst all the madness a few other little rays of sunshine have been lighting up my life.   I’ve had two fabulous local  job interviews for part-time project management and marketing work, which I’ve strangely enjoyed.  I have a second interview for both; so fingers are crossed I’ll be adding some new endeavours to the Caz Filmer Write’s bow soon.  We’ve also established a PR & Social Good group for Ballarat Bloggers and I’m loving linking our local bloggers up with fun and interesting local attractions and businesses and seeing the social media synergy start to bubble away.   I love social media synergy!  It’s seriously so cool to see the way it develops an individual personality – every single time. 

So there we go little blog.  You no longer need to feel neglected. I have written all over you – much more than I intended to write actually.   And I am once again reminded why I have this space and just how much I love to let words fall out of my fingers.   There  is something so fancy-free and peaceful about letting all of your words go on a blog.   Do you find that?  Is it what keeps you blogging too?

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 CC pinterest

This page is the home for a growing collection of time-saving family recipes either written or converted  for the Tefal Cuisine Companion.  All of the recipes are in plain-speaking English written by local Australian food and family/parenting  bloggers and should be a perfect way to help you get the most out of your Cuisine Companion. 

If  you have a recipe you’d like to add from your own blog please leave a link in the comments below.  If you have a great recipe you have created or converted yourself but don’t have a blog of your own to post it on  please also let me know as I’d  seriously enjoy trying it out myself and posting  it here on Caz Filmer Writes (with full credit to you) so we can keep sharing the Cuisine Companion loving. 

Cuisine Companion Family Recipes Caz Filmer Writes 

Easy Family Cuisine Companion Recipes for Aussie Families


Easy Tuna Mornay  (Caz Filmer Writes)

Easy Thai Green Curry (Caz Filmer Writes)

Easy Chocolate Cake (Caz Filmer Writes)

Healthy Chocolate Bliss Balls   (Caz Filmer Writes)

Chocolate Brownies (Caz Filmer Writes)

Pumpkin Coconut and Lime Soup (The Gourmet Chick)

Butter Chicken (MoveFuelLove)

Slow Cooked Lamb Korma (MoveFuelLove)

Potato and Leak Soup (Becky & James)

Vegan Orange and Poppy Seed Cake (VegeTARAian)

Beetroot Risotto with Basil (VegeTARAian)

Home Made  Pizza Base (VegeTARAian)

Banana Bread with Choc Chips (VegeTARAian)

Coconut Pikelets  (VegeTARAian)

Fruit and Nut (Nutella) Tarts (Essentially Jess)

Healthy Chocolate Brownies (Where’s My Glow)

Rasberry Vanilla Cheese Cake (Bizzy Lizzy Good Things)

Carrot and Walnut Cupcakes with Lemon (Samelia’s Mum)

Paleo Pancakes (MoveFuelLove)



Great Australian  Cuisine Companion links you’ll be happy to know about

Official Cuisine Companion Site 

Loving the Tefal Cuisine Companion Facebook Group

Cooking with the Cuisine Companion Facebook Page

Tefal Cuisine Companion on Pinterest  (Caz Filmer Writes)


Tips For Getting the Most out of your Cuisine Companion

  1. Work hard at getting between 3-5 recipes your family enjoys eating and you feel comfortable making within the first month of owning your Cuisine Companion.  You’ll fall  back on these all of the time when life gets busy and they will save you so much time and effort that you will fall in love with your CC again and again.   Risotto is always an easy place to start.   (Caz Filmer)



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