Friday, November 28, 2014

Win a robot vacuum cleaner!

This giveaway has now closed. Thanks for entering 

This is a C1 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy

Cast your mind waaaay back to when we were renovating this time last year. It was fabulous because we had great local builders, but horrid because we had a newborn, no sleep, a shed load of crazy leaking out and lots of fucking sand inside and out.

The outside of the house is still very much a work in progress because, like so many who have renovated before us, we have run out of money. Meaning the front yard is comprised of a 4m pile of dirt that then grew weeds. It's affectionately known as "the mound" by our neighbours. The  backyard is slooooowly being done, bit by bit. There is now tufts of grass! There would be more but the bastard doves keep eating the grass seeds.

Despite the results taking forever to show, I'm really getting in to the gardening side of things and we have basil, parsley, rosemary, citrus trees, olive trees, an apricot tree, peas, carrots, lettuce, onions, chillies, strawberries and cherry tomatoes all growing, nay, THRIVING! I can't believe it! There are a few snails, too, but we can't be awesome at everything.

Being out there a lot with means I'm constantly back and forth to the shed to get my bits and pieces - I can't leave them out, secateurs and children apparently don't mix. I was lucky enough to receive a Garden Cart from to help me out.

I'm normally pretty good at putting together flat pack stuff, and I'm a master with an Allen key, but it took me a while to assemble this thing. The instructions were a bit hard to follow, my two enthusiastic helpers kept trying to spin the wheels, and there were a few washers missing; but it didn't change the way it worked so I just pushed through without them (I'm not an engineer, could you guess?).

It can hold up to 300kg and it's not a toy, there's even a warning on it. So of course the first thing my kids do is take it for a spin. I supervised, they got their jollies and now they leave it alone because things aren't half as fun when mum lets you do them.

I wheel it around then back to the shed and I don't have to lug everything. There is heaps of room and it steers really well. I like to pretend I'm at a garden centre when I wheel it around. 

While the outside slowly comes together, I'm trying desperately to keep the inside clean. New floors throughout the whole house mean I'm a bit narky when it comes to sweeping - I can handle toys strewn everywhere throughout the day, but the sand that is tracked in, the millions of goddamn crumbs in every room, and the few dog hairs shit me to tears. I like to walk around bare foot and feeling the grit makes me cranky.

When sent me a robot vacuum cleaner to try out, I was over the moon because it can clean while I DO NOTHING! Or, as the case is usually, while I clean something else, prepare snacks, stop children touching dog poo etc. 

The robot came fully assembled and even had a charge so I could use it straight away. To be honest, I wasn't expecting it to be brilliant. The manual was a little lost in translation and it gave the impression it would be a cheap knock off, but I was actually really impressed by it.

It senses obstacles and drops, comes with a virtual wall and remote control, and goes back to the recharging base by itself when it needs to. It doesn't go completely in to the corners, but it gets pretty close - closer than I had imagined. I've been putting it on every few days in different rooms to gather all that damn sand, and it has been doing a great job and emptying out the bagless chamber shows me that it really is picking up lots of sand, dog hair, crumbs and dust but NO TOYS! It easily goes from the wooden floors to Tricky's carpet play mat without getting stuck, but I'd say it wouldn't cope well on shag pile.

In terms of volume, it is quieter than a standard vacuum cleaner and it didn't freak out the dog or the kids, so that's good! Check it out:
A video posted by glow (@glowless) on
If you have filthy carpet then this little machine probably won't get it all out, but as a maintenance machine every few days it is a gem. Plus you can put a toy or a cat on it, film it, and become a YouTube sensation.

So, you wanna win one, don't ya? Right well there are three ways and you can enter as many times as you like with different answers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Glow's Annual Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide - 2014

S1 For full details please see my disclosure policy

I’m making a list (I’m checking it twice?). A Christmas wishlist for the whole family.

Usually I’m a catalogue girl, particularly after being in the BIG W catalogue last year which made my mum think I was a SUPERSTAR. Vast volumes of catalogues are already being shoved in to our letterbox daily. There's so many that the other day while I was hunting through them for presents it took me a full five minutes before I realized I was looking at groceries and oil filters on special. That's five minutes I won't get back.

It’s all just a bit overwhelming this year so most of the time they go straight to the recycling bin. They don’t pass go, they don’t collect $200 and they definitely don’t make it through the front door. But I *ahem* still have last years with my picture in it.

In lieu of said recycling fodder, I’ve been having a play with the BIG W Christmas microsite – it’s a huge digital catalogue that contains everything you could possibly want in one super easy, paperless, searchable, wishlistable format. I just created a new word. You’re welcome.

Related: The more I say “wishlistable”, the more it feels like it’s an obscure eastern European word to be whispered in the ear of a highly attractive man.

I’ve made a few lists of my own (some of which may or may not have been anonymously forwarded to my rellies), and here are my top picks:

I love things that encourage creativity and imagination for little kids. The Micador colour your own rocket or shop is so awesome, if they had an adult sized version I'd buy it for myself. And you can't go past Peppa Pig merchandise. That pint sized feminist icon is an absolute fave for boys and girls alike.

Let it gooooo, let it goooooooooo. You know I still haven't seen the movie? But I somehow know everything about it. Osmosis perhaps? Elsa and Anna costumes aren't just pretty, the imaginative play that dress ups encourage is so important for youngens.

1989 for everyone! But if you don't want to listen to T-Swizzle's sick beats (see what I did there?) then headphones are an ideal pressie for teens - big ones like Dr Dre's or even little earbud ones. It allows the perfect balance: you don't have to hear their music and they can be antisocial. WIN WIN!

OK so it's a bit of a cop out category, it should be called the Glow and MapGuy category. The Ben Elton book is technically on Aunty Penny's wishlist so Ima buy it for her then borrow it when she's done.

Use the filters to narrow down your search by category (fashion, toys, home etc), age, sex and price range to make it more targeted. Although I’d like to have words with whoever did the keywords for it because when I entered Home, Adult, Female, under $50 some of the things that came up were a little off; cat food and laundry detergent? Seriously, you buy me a bulk pack of Friskies, I’m gonna have a hard time resisting the urge to smack you upside the head with one of those little purple cans. Maybe I'm being too harsh; in this season of giving, even crazy cat ladies would love a present.

Share your 2014 Christmas Wishlist via email (or if you want everyone to know what you’re eyeing off, share it on Facebook), then sit back and watch the gift side of Christmas being all wrapped up. Literally. 

What is at the top of your wishlist this year?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Can we talk about genitals for a minute?

There are a whole lot of words you can call your junk. Instead of listing the ones from my own personal Dicktionary, I asked on my Facebook page late last night and you lot helped me create something pretty from words like foof-fa and schlong. See, if you follow me on facey we talk about dicks. You should totally put that on your to do list. Following me on Facebook I mean, not talking about dicks. Though you could do both, I'm not stopping you.

So here we have it. Genital word art FTW.

Genital Euphemisms BOOYAH!
But I want to talk about the words we use for gentials around our kids - and as I type this I'm already scared of the awful search results this post will bring. And straight from the get go I am going to say I don't care what your family does; I don't think there is a right and wrong with parenting, just what works for your family, which is possibly different to my family. I don't think I'm better than you, that you're better than me, whatever. As long as you don't give your kids crack and have them wallowing in their own filth, then you're pretty tops in my books.

Anywho, Casa de Glow has a "real names" policy. It's not a formal policy in that we don't have a document stating the correct pronunciation of body parts is required at all times, but it's just what we do. Although, now that I think about it, I'd like to create that document and hang in the entrance just to see how awkward I can make people feel. I'll do it in Comic Sans just to make people really uncomfortable.

Tricky has a penis. OMG SHE SAID PENIS. We call it a penis. OMG SHE SAID IT AGAIN. He calls it a penis. OMG CAPSLOCK IS BECOMING REDUNDANT. Bobbin has a vulva. She can't say it yet.

MG and I chose to use the correct terms in age appropriate ways for a number of reasons; the abuse prevention aspect, empowerment, self-esteem and what not. I was not brought up this way (we were a house of doodles and wee wees) and since a large chunk of my parenting strategy is to not make my kids end up like me, I tend to turn everything I was taught on its head and go from there.

Calling a spade a spade, or a vulva a vulva and a penis a penis as the case may be, seems to be pretty uncommon amongst my circles and it has led to many an embarrassing situation - for them. The words have about as much effect on me as other body parts like elbow, wrist and leg (but not foot, that makes me squirm).

In the checkout line recently I told Tricks that we'd just pay for our groceries then I'd take him to the toilet, to which he replied "It's OK, Mum, I don't have to go. My penis changed its mind". We got a mixture of giggles, red faces, death stares and looks of abject horror. For the record, I giggled because those things sure do get a mind of their own young.

Would we have had a better reception if he had said bladder? Urethra? Don't be shy about the penis, y'all, it's just a word.

I remember my mum coming to me wide eyed after hearing Tricks say it for the first time, checking to see no one was within earshot then whispering "He told me he needed to tap his peeeenis after he went to the toilet!". I'm sure she would have been less taken aback if he'd dropped an F bomb. When they hear him say vulva there may be a coronary event. I'm not even certain they know what a vulva is, to be honest.

Speaking of which, he doesn't actually say vulva properly... most of the time he says Volvo. As a car aficionado I can't blame him, but it's bloody hard to keep my mouth shut when the jokes about it being "a bit boxy" are just dying to come out.

My only concern with teaching my kids anatomical names for their body parts is that when others say willy or fanny or Mr Foofy or whatever that they'll be confused. But I figure there are so many different names going around already and they all kinda know what is going on. Either that or they'll hear me call someone a dick or a cockhead and figure it out.

So I'm curious. What do you call genitals? Was it a decision or it just happened?

Monday, November 10, 2014

So, my kid's room nearly caught fire

Bobbin's room is sparingly decorated. I like it that way.

a) I'm all about that space, 'bout that space
b) I'm on a budget
c) She's just gonna pull everything down anyway, so why bother?

It could use a nice, framed picture on the wall, but the one that I would loooooove is expensive, plus I'm no style blogger and it would probably end up looking naff. So for now it's simple and uncluttered.

We have her cot, a 2x2 IKEA Expedit, a change table and the most awesome rocking chair ever. It's awesome because I upcycled it from a horrid brown and beige disaster to a funky aqua with cushions. BOOYAH. Still not a style blogger, though. Although yellow wall, aqua chair and bunting brings me close, yes?

On the IKEA thing is our placenta print (yes, it's blood) and a beautiful musical snow globe with a carousel horse that MapGuy's aunt gave Bobbin when she was born. On the change table I have the most used things; all our cloth nappies, some muslin cloths, and a purple basket with some nappy liners, nappy rash cream, hand sanitizer, disposable nappies and room deodorizer because SHE'S A LADY (or because I got it free when I had an ENJO party). Miss Bobbin decided this was the best toy in the world as soon as she became mobile and not wanting her to get fershnickered on the hand sanitizer, it made it's way up on to the shelf, toot sweet, away from little hands.

Anywho, one night a few months ago as I was folding nappies, I noticed a small hole in the front of one of them. I couldn't figure out where it came from, it looked like the fabric had melted a bit but how on earth could that have happened? I checked the washing machine, in case it had become caught or something, but couldn't find anything. Um, a moth? Had she caught a toy on it? No idea. The nappy made it's way to the bottom of the pile and was barely used because it was no longer very waterproof.

Fast forward to last week when I was changing Bobbin's nappy and I noticed the side of the purple basked had some big, melty holes in them. What the fuck? This ain't no moth hole. It's MELTED! Highly flammable nappy liners and disposable nappies oh and pure fucking alcohol in a container that was so hot it was melting.

It all clicked. The burn in the nappy, and now this big mofo melty hole. The snow globe had concentrated the sun's rays and burned the nappy and basket! I had never thought of it! I admit I felt pretty bloody stupid for not thinking about the danger (curved glass + sunlight = bonfire), but I never connected it. So far, everyone I've told has been surprised and said they wouldn't have thought it either. Which may be because they're trying to make me feel better. Who knows?

Luckily, it has only melted the basket and the other stuff hadn't caught fire by the time I got in there. I can only imagine how freaked out I would have been to walk in after her nap and find the corner of the room on fire. I shudder to think.

So if you have snow globes, go make sure they aren't next to a window!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

One stop Christmas shopping for people who are either efficient or lazy (with bonus free festive stuff)

This is a C1 post
I was not obligated to blog about this, but it was so awesome I thought I'd share it
For full details please see my disclosure policy

Everyone has that one person who is hard to buy for. Just so we're clear, this is not me. I love everything and am always easy to buy for. Probably because I get excited over a box of chocolates or a cheap bottle of wine. Tell me it was on special when you bought it and I'll be even happier. BARGAINS!

The someone in this house who is hard to buy for is MapGuy. He's geeky and in to maps so I once considered buying him a GPS, but then I looked at them and my mind boggles with all the different types and features. Because he's so damn polite he'd open the crappy model I got and say it was awesome and just pretend for years that it was, all the while it only contained maps of London or some shit. Asking him kinda takes away the surprise so anything tech is out of the question.

But HUZZAH, I am totally going to the Myer Giftorium this year for his present!

I was lucky enough to head to the media launch a few weeks ago and was so impressed (and not just by the dessert buffet but OMG THE DESSERT BUFFET!). It's a one stop shop, for sure. Ideal for people who don't have hours to walk around entire shopping centres, who don't feel like dragging kids with them or for those, like me, are inherently lazy. Plus, ahem, they will be having these Treat Streets at stores too. You know, in case you feel like wrapping your taste buds around this. See, even the elves are excited:


Anywho, back to the details. There are twelve themes, and yes they're a bit stereotyped, but it does cover a whole lot of people and all budgets from the "ugh I can't believe I got that dickhead as Kris Kringle" to "I'm willing to go in to debt to show how much I love this person":
  • Dapper Dad
  • Miracle Mum
  • Glamour Gran (Grandpa gets left out, sorry)
  • Trendy Young Things
  • Kids Cubby
  • Food Fanatic
  • Stocking Fillers
  • Techno Freak
  • Fashionista
  • Globe Trotter
  • Paws Corner
  • Hop, Skip, Juice 
It's all arranged so you can easily navigate around and find something awesome. I loved that the kid's section had so many interactive toys - magic kits, make your own cape, gardening kits and the like, Gifts that will be more than just a once-play thing.

One of the coolest things is that from November 8th all stores will have a heap of free activities for young and old - face painting, tree decoration and table dressing demonstrations, book readings, cosmetic workshops and the like. Plus select stores will have demonstrations from major brands like SodaStream, Dilmah, Marvin's Magic and more. It was such a theatrical feel at the launch and that's exactly what it is going to be like on weekends and special days at the stores. They do fancy stuff like this all over the world but never before in Australia where it actually becomes a little Christmas carnival.

If you still don't have a clue what to buy, you can get a free consultation with a Giftician who can help you out. This is ideal for me. See previous note about being lazy.

I'll be using the online Santaland booking form because lining up with two kids for ever to see a guy in a red suit is not high on my priority list. Plus the longer we line up, the more Tricks will talk himself out of it. I need to get in and get out. Army precision. GO GO GO!

I think we'll be hanging out at Myer a bit over the next few weeks to get in to the Christmas spirit. Also, free stuff. But good will to all, and yaddah yaddah yaddah too, yeah? *coughtreatstreetcough*

We were told we'd get a little gift bag for coming along and I just imagined it would be something little. But hoooooly shizenhowzer, we got spoiled. I have wanted a SodaStream since I was six. Seriously. This is dream come true stuff!

Special thanks to Kids Business and Myer for such a great event.

Who is your hard to buy for person?


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