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Date added: 04/12/2016 Introducing the lovely Lainie to Whale Spout!

Well, hello there! You may have noticed a few changes at Whale Spout lately - new logo, new website AND a gorgeous new accessories range.

Our gorgeous new logo!

What you may not know is that these changes have been the result of a collaboration with my fabulous and uber-talented friend, Lainie, in the world of girls accessories. Lainie and I have 5 girls between us aged between 6-11 so we have an excellent understanding of exactly what girls want (and don't they let us know it!)! Lainie is an incredibly clever couture wedding dress designer and wedding dressmaker, and also has a background in children's clothing - funnily enough, this is how we met about 5 years ago!

 

    

Kate & Lainie looking super glam!

(No need to be alarmed if we don't look like this everyday ;) )

 

We look forward to this new journey together and hope you'll join us on the ride!

Thanks,

Kate x

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Date added: 16/03/2016 The sound of silence

My three girls on their first day of school 2016

Well, we are 8 weeks in to our first school term of all three girls at school.  Despite looking forward to this year for a very long time, I think it’s taken me as long as it has them to adjust! Ruby has slotted right into school, as I’m guessing the third child does when they’ve been visiting the school daily for the past 4 years.

So, 8 weeks in and what I have I learnt now that I have all three children at school? Well…

Positives

  • My house is very quiet – I can actually hear birds singing
  • I actually have time to do things
  • My supermarket shopping experience is so different – it no longer needs to be cut short due to a mad dash to the toilet
  • I can clean the house and it stays clean (until 3.35pm anyway!)
  • I’m feeling more organised and my head is (a little) clearer
  • The dog and the cat are getting way more attention, and maybe more cuddles too ;)
  • I’m actually managing to hang out two loads of washing, mop the floor, and get some cupcakes in the oven by 10am AND I get to lick the beaters!

Negatives

  • My house is very quiet – I’m missing the continuous singing and chatting of my little one
  • I (still) have nowhere near enough time to everything – 9am to 3.30pm absolutely FLIES by!
  • My supermarket shopping experience is so different – I haven’t bagged my own mushrooms for years, I’ve always had a little helper
  • I’m missing my shadow who helps me clean, Ruby is a top sweeper!
  • No matter how organised I think I am, after school activities always have me in a fluster
  • I’m grasping at straws for affection, I’m learning to squeeze my girls a little longer at school drop-off so I can manage 6 and ½ hours without them
  • This ‘licking the beaters’ thing is not very helpful to the waistline

I still feel that I haven’t really relaxed into this transition in my life – I can’t just sit down and read a book or be lazy, I’m forever looking for something to do. I’m sure this will relieved feeling will come in good time – once I feel like I’ve finally caught up on the last 9 years of being a mother!

Overall, I am amazed at how much I am missing the girls during the day, but I’m also appreciating the time I have with them after school more than I ever have.

I remember when Molly was a baby and most people over the age of 50 would say ‘enjoy this time, it goes so fast’. I would smile politely and think to myself something along the lines of ‘I wish it would hurry up so I could have 8 hours sleep again’. Now, almost 10 years on, I get it. It DOES fly. It feels like yesterday that I was home with two toddlers and a baby and now all my babies are at school. It’s time for me to appreciate what I have and enjoy every moment.

 

With my baby on her first day of school 2016

Thanks,

Kate x

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Date added: 16/10/2015 A Birthday... and some exciting news!

This month marks the 4th birthday of Whale Spout! What started out as a little bit of fun sewing my girls some outfits for their birthdays, turned into a business venture I had never imagined. Posting the below photo on Facebook back in late 2010 resulted in friends contacting me and asking me to make the same outfits for their kids… it was a lightbulb moment and Whale Spout was born in October 2011.

 

Molly (4) and Grace (almost 2) in October 2010. Would you believe that these skirts still fit the girls 5 years later!

 

Four years on and life is crazier than ever. Three very busy children, a household to run, a part-time job, family and friends, and, a small business to manage. Something had to give, and I just didn’t have enough time to work ON the business as much as I was working IN it. I finally seriously considered an idea that I had been floating for a while. It was a scary thing to think about, and there were so many ethical issues surrounding it, but I finally made the decision to have my Whale Spout products manufactured offshore.

Earlier this year I travelled to Vietnam and met with my dear tailor, who has since become a very close friend. She introduced me to her incredibly talented seamstresses (there were 14 women!), and I visited them in their various workplaces. I saw their working conditions and chatted to them about their lives and their families. The ladies are happy, healthy women who enjoy sewing and are paid fairly for their work. They work reasonable hours in a safe and clean environment, which really does operate like a well-oiled machine.  There is absolutely no exploitation at all, and I would never had decided to outsource my manufacturing if there was any risk of that.

In addition to being able to contribute to the income of these women and their community, I am now able to provide a larger range of products and shift my creative focus to the design side of things instead. Some changes have had to be made though and I am now concentrating on girls’ clothing only from baby to 6 years.

The new range will soon be launched and I am so looking forward to sharing it with you.

Thanks to each and every one of you for support over the years and I can’t wait to have you join me on the next stage of our journey!

Thanks,

Kate

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Date added: 24/07/2015 Broken Dreams

 

Ten years ago this week my husband and I rode a rollercoaster of emotions that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, yet so many couples experience it. In the space of a week, we were overjoyed to find out we were pregnant with our first child, the baby we desperately wanted, and just 7 days later our worst fears were confirmed and we had lost the baby.

Miscarriage is extremely common, and once you experience it you realise just how many women have gone through it too. It leaves you heartbroken, devastated, confused and feeling guilty… what did I do wrong? We are told that the pregnancy wasn’t meant to be, that there must have been something wrong with the baby and it wouldn’t have gone full term anyway. We are provided with statistics that as many as 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, with 1 in 4 known pregnancies ending in miscarriage. That doesn’t stop those feelings of guilt creeping in – I shouldn’t have carried that heavy box; I shouldn’t have had that glass of wine; I shouldn’t have taken that Panadol. It can take a long time to get over that guilt (if ever), but as they say, time does heal.

Miscarriage at 6 weeks doesn’t sound so bad. However, once we knew we were pregnant, every waking (and some sleeping) moment was jam-packed full with thoughts of our future baby. The tiny little tadpole in my womb was suddenly the attention of our entire world. Everything we did and thought and spoke about revolved around the baby and our future.

Our baby was due in March 2006, in the same week as the birthday of three immediate family members. It was going to become a joyous time in years to come, celebrating these birthdays around the same time. We discussed everything first time parents-to-be discuss - possible names, what year the child would start school, our first holiday as a family. The chances of a boy versus a girl, nursery colours, baby clothing and a cot. We’d started looking into prams and car seats. I had even started planning our subsequent children and when approximately we would start trying for baby number 2.

It never crossed my mind that everything we dreamt of wouldn’t fall into place. Until I was at work and visited the toilet. That was when our dream turned into a nightmare.

The days after our miscarriage was confirmed remain a blur. We decided not to keep it a secret and we wanted our family and close friends to know what we were going through. It was hard telling people, and we had some varied reactions. My brother was actually the only person who asked me if I was in pain - and yes, I was emotionally and physically. I can so clearly remember a dear work colleague, who herself had experienced miscarriage but had 3 healthy sons, saying to me at the time ‘You will go on to have children Kate, but you’ll never forget this baby’.

Mourning the loss of a future baby is difficult. As with all grief, everyone does it differently, including husbands and wives. Seeing another pregnant woman was heartbreaking, yet it didn’t trigger the same reaction to my husband. Two months after the miscarriage we went to Bali on holiday. I remember one night, walking back along the beach after dinner. The waves were roaring and we stopped and sat on the sand and I howled my lungs out with my husband’s arms wrapped around me. It was liked the ocean started healing me that night.

Our baby’s due date was one of the hardest days of my life, but it was made slightly easier as by then, I was 8 weeks pregnant with Molly.

Ten years on, I have thought about that baby every single day. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I went on to have three very healthy and amazing children. Some people never get that chance and my heart goes out to them. But don’t think for a minute that we don’t reflect and speculate and wonder what our lives would have been like had that baby been born into our family. At the time, I was convinced the baby was a boy, and we went on to have three daughters - what could have been?

Hindsight is an amazing thing. I’m fully aware that had our first pregnancy been successful, we would not have the family we have today. And I wouldn’t change my three amazing girls for anything. But there a many a time when the mind starts wandering and I imagine that we would have an almost 10 year old with us now. So many unanswered questions and broken dreams.

To our little star in the sky, we think of you often and thank you for watching over your three sisters.

Kate x

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Date added: 09/04/2015 20 facts about me!

I absolutely LOVE Instagram, and find I'm using it more often than Facebook these days (you'll find me at @whalespout).

If you're active on Instagram, you've probably noticed a lot of '20 Facts' posts popping up in the last week or so. I was tagged by the supremely talented Jen of @coffeeandchocolate to share 20 things about myself. Sounds pretty easy right? I thought so too. Then I got to about number 6 and started struggling!

Here's my list, I'd love to hear if you have any thoughts :)

  1. I love chocolate, so, so much.
  2. I lived in Malaysia for 2 years as a child and my travelling bug was born.
  3. This year I have been with my husband for 19 years (I'm 36, so I've been with him longer than without him!).
  4. Just before we were married, my husband and I discovered that we had actually been delivered by the same Obstetrician (even though we lived in different towns and were born 5 years apart!).
  5. When I lived in London, I used to regularly go to Paris... for the day... for work!
  6. I climbed a mountain when I was pregnant with my eldest child (I didn't know!!).
  7. When I was a child, I wanted to be a hairdresser when I grew up.
  8. I have a dream to one day write a book.
  9. In 8 days my husband and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary.
  10. In 21 days I'll turn 37.
  11. In 31 days I'll celebrate my 8th Mother's Day.
  12. In 34 days I'm flying to Vietnam!!!
  13. I am passionate about letting kids be kids and not dressing them as mini-adults.
  14. I just don't get Twitter.
  15. Cuddling my 3 little girls is my absolute favourite thing to do.
  16. I thought I was going to die while white-water rafting on the Nile in Uganda.
  17. I have 5 nieces and nephews, with family in England, Switzerland and Vietnam.
  18. Apart from 6 months in high school, I only started sewing 5 years ago.
  19. I suffer debilitating hormonal migraines which basically wipe me out for a day or two each month.
  20. My dream travel destination is Cuba.

 

I tagged the lovely Bethany from @ryderlovesmiller to share 20 facts about herself. Pop over and check out Jen and Bethany's 20 Facts :)

Thanks,

Kate x

P.S. If you're on Instagram, let me know your name in the comments below and I'll pop over and follow you!

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Date added: 11/02/2015 How can it be February already?

I had to sign a few documents this morning and couldn't believe I was signing the date as 11/2/2015 - when did that happen?! How can we almost be half way through the second month of the year? Time really does go faster when you get old!

Life feels like it's only just getting sorted in the Whale Spout house. The year began with me getting my wisdom teeth out in early January (note to self: don't ever have surgery again while the children are on school holidays...), which effectively wiped out the following two weeks. Then that last week before school went back was spent running around wildly trying to get everything ready for the start of the new school and kinder year.

Finally, on 29 January, we were ready. Molly began Grade 3, Grace started Grade 1, and Miss Ruby commenced 4 year old kinder ('big kinder'!).

 

Kinder kid, Grade 1 student & Grade 3 student

 

Me with my girls (I may have been as excited as they were!)

 

Daddy with his 3 girls

After all the happy snaps we were off. We don't have to go very far, we live extremely close to school. The girls took off in front of my husband and I. Then they grabbed each others hands and stuck side by side. Hubby and I looked at each other and without speaking, we knew the other was thinking 'well, they don't really need us now, do they/!'. It was a moment of pure pride!

 

This just melts my heart!

We made it! There were lots of nerves and loads of excitement, and all three drop-offs went really well. Another school year has begun, and it won't be long before my littlest blondie will be wearing that green uniform too.

Here's hoping that you and your children all have a wonderful year at school and kinder in 2015!

Thans,

Kate x

 

 

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Date added: 05/12/2014 A big day in the BIG city

I recently realised that, despite two of my three children being born in bustling Fitzroy, right in the heart of inner-city Melbourne, they really are 'small town country girls'! Molly and Grace had a curriculum day at school, so my Mum and I decided to make the most of it and take the three girls to Melbourne for the day.

The excitement began well before I expected it - on the platform waiting for the train! They were so eagerly checking if it was arriving, I was worried they would fall onto the tracks. With this being Grace and Ruby's first train rides, the elation was bubbling over. We found our seats and Ruby whispered to me (in that way that 4 year old's whisper louder than they actually speak) in quite a terrified tone 'Mum, there are no seat belts!'. After some explaining we settled in and enjoyed the traffic free ride.

Love Grace's face, this was her expression most of the day!

Once we arrived at Southern Cross station, the journey continued on a tram up Bourke Street (queue: more excitement!!) to Myer. Quite simply, the Myer windows are just breathtaking, and watching your children take it in is pure joy. The girls were captivated by the story of 'Santa and the Three Bears', the mechanics, the baby bear, the props and just how real-like it was.

    

'This bed is too hard!!' - Santa

 

        

Ruby was captivated by the baby bear, even when he was busy scratching his bottom!        

 

           

Three very happy girls :)           

After the Myer windows, we headed into Myer and climbed up the 6 flights on escalators with, you guessed it, even more excitement! We reached the Giftorium and even my Mum and I were amazed: stunning decorations, Christmas carols, gifts for everyone, helpful staff and the most festive atmosphere.

              

Beautiful decorations in the Giftorium.

 

                  

Grace was thrilled with this dancing and rapping Santa (no Christmas carols here!)

I was expecting the queue for Santa to be very long and tiring, however we timed it perfectly. Just as we lined up two entertainers came along and started their performance. The girls loved it, dancing along and joining in the One Direction/Christmas songs that the knew. The performers received their largest applause when they sang Frozen's 'Let It Go', and all the Giftorium staff and Santa's Elves joined in!

Ruby was quite worried about seeing Santa, and was not even confident enough to knock on his door. But once we walked in, the girls handed Santa their letters to him and he opened and read them all. Within a few minutes Ruby was putty in his hand and she willingly climbed up onto his lap!! WIN!! I'm thrilled to finally have a Santa photo of three happy girls and the loveliest Santa.

                        

WIN! A Santa photo with all 3 girls smiling!!

 

                            

After the official photo they got to play around and did this 'magic' photo.

Myer and Santa was such a lovely experience and the girls were on a high. I was thrilled to have finally experienced a positive Santa photo and with the whole interaction Santa had with the girls - it was so lovely!

After lunch and before we left the city we had to wander around the arcades and see all the decorations. We came across the divine Babushka's (http://babushkas.com.au) in the Royal Arcade and their stunning Christmas shop. Despite having to firmly grip some wandering hands, we were in awe of their intricate hand-made decorations and bought a handmade bird that was made in Poland for each of the girls.

                                  

Babushka's in the Royal Arcade

 

                                    

More beauty in the Block Arcade

 

                                        

The Royal Arcade

Waiting for the tram to take us back to Southern Cross with three very tired girls, we were again amazed at the beauty of the Christmas decorations. Melbourne, you have put on a divine Christmas celebration and should be extremely proud!

                                          

Bourke Street mall

A wonderful day in the BIG city, and we will have to make it an annual tradition. Thank you Melbourne!

Kate x

 

P.S. Please note that this post was not sponsored.

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Date added: 20/10/2014 The great washing machine debate: top loader v. front loader

WARNING: This post is purely based on a first world problem.

However, it’s quite possibly a problem confronting many families out there and I need some help :)

 

We recently moved house. It was horrible. The packing. The unpacking. The boxes. The general mess. Especially for someone like me… a generally ‘tidy’ person. But now, 4 weeks on, our new house is fabulous and *almost* unpacked. We just need to do the toy room/kids living room but I’m kind of hoping the kids might wake up one morning and do it themselves… wishful thinking, I know!

IMAGE: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/525302744006160185/

The only major disaster resulting from our house move is our poor over-used washing machine. It’s getting close to 15 years old. It was originally my brother’s, and then we bought it off him 10 years ago. I realised a couple of years ago that we should look at getting a new washing machine. After all, it’s a 4.5 kilogram machine. Yes, 4.5kgs. For 5 people. That’s a LOT of washing cycles over the course of the week. That’s one set of bed sheets AT A TIME.

Anyway, someone was on my side as the washing machine has somehow lost its alignment during the move (I really can’t explain it any better than that, and as we only actually moved 485 metres, maybe it’s just tired…). It no longer senses when it’s full of water. Cue an overflowed washing machine. Since we’ve moved into this new house we have flooded - or ‘floated’, as Ruby says- our laundry at least 14 times.

IMAGE: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/130534089173681786/

So begins the great hunt for the new washing machine. So begins the massive question confronting me right now – do we go top loader (as we have always had) or front loader???? HELP!!

The only thing I know for sure about our new washing machine, is that it must operate better than the dreaded twin-tub machine I had during my University days. Oh, and a larger machine would be nice too. All the other functions are just confusing me. Surely it can’t be such a big decision, but seriously, I’m losing sleep over it!!

Here’s what is on my wishlist:

  • A minimum 8kg washing machine
  • A machine that will allow me to open it within the first 15 minutes of it starting so that I can throw that lonely sock/t-shirt/pair of undies etc. that I found under a bed or on the bathroom floor
  • The capability to have a fast wash (you know, for those ‘oh my God there are no clean school uniforms for tomorrow and I need this to dry tonight!!!’ emergencies)
  • Preferably a minimum 4 star water and energy rating

While we're on 'wishful' products, this would be perfect:

              

IMAGE: http://funnyasduck.net/post/34936

 

So, tell me folks, is a front loader worth it or should I stick to a regular top loader? All degrees of advice welcome and appreciated!

Kate x

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Date added: 10/09/2014 Yippee, a conference! Introducing: ProBlogger
Date added: 28/07/2014 These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray… New York – part 3

We did everything we wanted to do in New York – visited all the neighbourhoods and especially loved the multicultural vibes of Harlem and trendy West Village; mingled with thousands of New Yorkers at Sheep Meadow in Central Park enjoying the perfect summer weather on Memorial Day weekend; explored the Brooklyn Bridge Park and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge on possibly the busiest day of the year (Memorial Day); caught the Staten Island Ferry to get up close to the majestic Statue of Liberty; visited Wall Street, and paid our respects at the Reflection Pool on the site of the fallen World Trade Centre and the newly opened National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

 

Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island ferry.

 

One of the two Reflection Pools at the site of the former World Trade Centre twin towers.

 

'No day shall erase you from the memory of time' - Virgil

(at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum).

 

We found the homes of some pop culture icon’s (Monica’s apartment in Friends and Carrie Bradshaw’s brownstone in Sex and the City); people watched in Times Square; were serenaded by the Belfast Community Gospel Choir by the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace in Central Park; visited the fabulous museums - the Frick Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (and enjoyed lunch on the Met’s rooftop terrace), and the Natural History Museum.

 

           

Monica's apartment in Friends.

 

               

Carrie's Brownstone in Sex and the City.

 

                  

The Belfast Community Gospel Choir performing acoustic

inside the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park.

 

                     

The rooftop terrace and view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.         

 

We watched the New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx; transited through the regal Grand Central Station; walked the High Line; watched the fabulous 'Motown the Musical' on Broadway; found the famous Flatiron building; explored the iconic New York City Library; toured the Garment District (even hubby enjoyed this one!); shopped on Fifth Avenue; and on our final night in New York, we watched the sun set from the Top of the Rock, one of the highest views in NYC from the top of the Rockerfeller Plaza .

 

                          

Yankee Stadium.

 

Enjoying some American culture watching the New York Yankees!

 

Grand Central Terminal.

 

The spectacular Flatiron building.

 

A mere 70 floors up at the Top of the Rock - Observation Deck at Rockefeller Plaza.

 

Day time view north of Central Park from the Top of the Rock.

 

Evening view south of the Empire State Building and

lower Manhattan from the Top of the Rock.

 

After 10 amazing and dream-fulfilling days in New York, we flew to Las Vegas. With all the lights, colours, neon, action and garish behaviour that comes with Vegas (and it’s seemingly lawless culture), I was almost instantly homesick and desperately missed the girls. We stayed at the Bellagio with our room overlooking their famous fountains – this resulted in numerous Skype calls home so the girls could see the fountains in action in daytime and lit up at night! It was so lovely to share it with them, but I was ready to come home after just one night in Vegas.

 

                                                  

Iconic sign at 'old Vegas' - Fremont St.

 

The view from our hotel room at the Bellagio.

 

The Bellagio Fountains dancing at night.                     

 

One thing that really struck me being without three young children, was how often in those two weeks we would have missed the ‘little’ things. You know, where us adults are generally looking at the big thing and the child beside you points out something little but just as important (or beautiful, or detailed, or poignant)? I think we would have missed so many of these things without the girls to point them out to us.

So, was it worth it? Absolutely YES! It was a fabulous experience that now seems like a dream – did it really happen? Were we really there? Despite the tears and missing the children dreadfully, we knew they were safe and happy and managing fine without us. That is a great thing for a parent to know. We have strong, resilient children. I’m so proud of them.

Would I do it again? No, not in a hurry and not by choice. We hope to take the girls to New York one day, but not until they are all teenagers and can truly appreciate the awe of the city and be able to walk, and walk, and walk some more!

Every holiday from now on will be a family holiday. But, it was so lovely to be able to spend time alone with my husband again. To be able to have an entire conversation on the one day, and not spread out over a week, was fabulous! To enjoy many lazy meals and get to know each other properly again was wonderful. Yes, we had our moments, but I would do it all again in a heart beat!

 

                                                              

Home with my beautiful, crazy girls!

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