Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Northern Beaches Mum Louise decided to trial reusable gift wraps for Christmas this year and she has sent us this glowing review…

Bohemian Wrapsody is a business that makes reusable fabric gift wrap. They are very conscious of contributing to problems which will affect future generations, such as waste creation. These fabric gift wraps and sacks are an amazing way to reduce the amount of wrapping paper you accumulate.

These gift wraps are a great concept. They are great quality, well made and look gorgeous! I love the prints that Bohemian Wrapsody have to offer. They make gift giving a bit more special knowing that you are reducing your footprint and it will last forever. It feels so good using these and not wasting paper. 

If you are conscious of waste creation, I highly recommend you look at these reusable fabric gift wrapping kits for your family.


Your child is once again clearly unwell… and yet again you find yourself calling school to say they will be absent, phoning in-laws for childcare help, cancelling activities and playdates.

We know we shouldn’t compare our kids to others (and it is certainly unhelpful in many ways!) but when it becomes noticeable that our child seems to be the one who is always unwell compared to their friends or peers, or they are not meeting development milestones, it is natural to become concerned.

When your child:

  • Is never quite well
  • Always has a snotty nose
  • Has unusual bowel habits
  • Always has a headache
  • Seems to be vacant 
  • Is not meeting milestones 
  • Is not communicating like the others
  • Has respiratory issues…

Then you might find yourself at the doctor’s clinic yet again, desperate for a solution.

Normal and common

It has become quite normalised and acceptable for children to get grommets in their ears or have their tonsils (or even in some cases their appendix) removed.  However, every organ in the body has a role, and when there is a problem it is the body’s way of letting us know to pay attention and work out what is wrong.

Removing any organ unnecessarily is a bit like removing the oil filter from your car because it has a leak and not replacing it! It does in fact have a purpose, and without it the car will not function properly again.

The tonsils for example, are often the first warning sign that the body does not like what is being consumed. Tonsil discomfort, irritation or pain can be the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong, and endangering the body’s system. 

While removing tonsils may seem like a good solution to stop the pain and the ongoing battle with them, it is also removing an important warning trigger. If we can look past the frustration and worry of our child’s recurring sore throats, and consider tonsils from the viewpoint of their primary function – we can then really look at what they are trying to tell us.

Allergies and intolerances

Allergies and Intolerances are not always the cause, but are worth investigating as a starting point, particularly with tonsil issues. 

We know allergies are increasing at a seemingly rapid rate amongst our children due to many factors both genetic and environmental, but that is a separate topic for another day! Allergy diagnoses might seem trendy or a like a current fad, however many allergy issues are still not identified and it is worth investigating as a possible cause when your child has health issues.

It is well established that dairy plays a role in many respiratory, ear, nose and throat conditions. Both dairy and gluten often play a role in behavioural, ASD, digestive and skin conditions and more. Removing these can provide real relief for many people.

The 7 most common known allergens are responsible for a variety of health issues, and these can be quickly identified by a qualified Nutritional Medicine Practitioner.  

Top 7 allergens:

  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Soy
  • Casein (a protein found in milk and other dairy products)

A great way to start is a basic elimination trial. You can simply remove a possible allergen from your child’s diet for two weeks and see how their body reacts. Is there any change in your child’s symptoms? Are they better or worse?

If more than one allergen is playing a role it becomes a bit more complex, and finding a Nutritionist who specialises in this field can be a valuable resource.

Stepping back and thinking about your child’s optimum long term health means it is worth considering dietary and other less invasive changes first, before putting your child under the knife.

General anaesthetics all come with risk. And all our organs are there for a reason. So careful consideration needs to be given before we remove any of them… because what seems like a ‘quick fix’ now, may cause more problems down the track.

With extensive knowledge in Biochemistry, Microbiome, Genetics and Physiology and counselling, coupled with her qualifications in Nutritional Medicine and Emotional Health, Jacinta Callaghan is on a mission to help people better understand how amazing the human mind and body really are.

Jacinta is known to clients, students and other practitioners as blunt, honest whilst being compassionate, and just a little bit ‘nerd-like’ in her knowledge.
She is not afraid of telling like it is… with the science to back it up. And with science ever-evolving and new evidence supporting the efficacy of Nutritional Medicine being uncovered each and every day around the world, more and more people seek answers beyond big-pharma.

There is no one size fits all in Nutritional Medicine or Emotional Health, and Jacinta is on a mission to uncover what will ‘fit’ each and every person she treats.


Northern Beaches Mum, Sally, recently tried Pregnancy Chef. She enjoyed the meals and sent us this review…

Healthy Pregnancy Food – At Your Doorstep

I tried the meals below, so I would get a selection of meat, fish and vegetarian food. It also helps making a varied selection as we all have different tastes in our household and the kids can be a bit fussy! 

The Vegetable and Barley Paella was my favourite and it tasted just like a traditional Paella should. The dish was made with barley instead of rice because it’s a good source of iron and that added to the flavour. It was a good sized portion, as were all the meals. 

The beef Goulash was a good Winter/Spring dish and was packed with meat and vegetables. It was really tasty, and the kids loved this one. 

All the meals have clear cooking instructions. They can be cooked from frozen but it is best to take them out of the freezer and let them defrost in the fridge overnight.   

The thing that set these meals aside from standard frozen meals is that they include the nutrients required for each stage of pregnancy, but still look and taste so good that the whole family can enjoy them. 

Meals ordered:

  • Beef Goulash with Pearl Barley, Sweet Potato and Sautéed Spinach 
  • Beef and Vegetable Meatballs with Wholemeal Pasta and Napolitana Sauce 
  • Green Curry Fish with Brown Basmati Rice and Snow Peas 
  • Almond Crumbed Chicken with Pumpkin Mash and Green Beans 
  • Vegetable and Barley Paella 

Pregancy Chef make eating well nutritious and delicious foods during pregnancy and when you are breastfeeding easy.


We have a discount code for you! Use code NBMUMS15 to get 15% off your first order. 

Well 2020 has certainly been a challenging year! And for many particularly challenging to maintain the routine of exercise, while trying to juggle, working from home, remote learning, limited access to child care, and so the list goes on.

As we all slowly roll back to normal life, it’s important to re establish our exercise routines, but the mere thought of that can be overwhelming when we have been so out of whack.

These are some steps that may be helpful, to regain your sense of control over this aspect of your life, and in turn start feeling and performing better… get back to the old you!

  • Start small – our workouts don’t have to be super long to be effective… 30 minutes 3 times a week is a great start!
  • Plan it into your week – just like you would any other appointment, don’t leave it to chance, or how you feel on the day, find the times that work and commit to them
  • Do what you love – reconnect with the style of exercise that you enjoy
  • Connect with people – often we can find motivation and accountability by connecting with a like minded people, a friend, a personal trainer or a gym community.
  • Allow yourself the time – YES you are important. YES your health and vitality impacts every single aspect of your life and NO you are not selfish to allow yourself time to invest in yourself, in fact you are role modelling excellent behaviour for EVERYONE around you!

Most importantly, don’t judge yourself on what you have done in the past, past is past, it’s time to start fresh, don’t beat yourself up, celebrate each win everyday.

We will all eventually get back to ‘normal’, but don’t wait for it to just happen. Make a conscious decision that your health and fitness is important, because it is! And so are you! Step by step you will get there, and remember to reach out for support. You don’t need to do this alone, you and millions of others are feeling this way, let’s work together to get ‘back on track’.

Kate Groube – Fitness Trainer at Genesis Health and Fitness

Imagine you are walking your child up to their classroom to drop them off to school. You put their bag in the racks outside their classroom and hug them goodbye, hoping your precious baby won’t worry so much that they end up feeling sick the entire day. You’re standing there staring through the window at your child’s class of 28 beautiful children, wondering how on earth you’re going to help your child through the debilitating anxi­ety that they come home with every afternoon. As those 28 buzzing children go to take their seats ready to begin their day, you may not be aware that out of those 28 children:

  • one has been diagnosed with depression
  • two have hurt themselves in times of extreme stress and anxiety
  • seven are experiencing ongoing mental health conditions – losing sleep because of worry and anxiety
  • many others in the room are the victims, or perpetrators, of bullying.

This is modern childhood, and as adults who care for the children in our lives, we must ask ourselves – what has gone so wrong?

The nature of children’s health around the world is chang­ing. There is now a ‘new morbidity’ occurring, with obesity, mental health conditions, self-harm and suicide taking centre stage.

It seems extraordinary to need to talk about how we can promote good mental health in our children. Childhood is supposed to be an untroubled time in life, free from the stresses and burdens of adulthood and pressures of the modern world. As parents, we often assume that our kids innately have good mental health habits that will help prepare them for handling life’s inevitable challenges. Regrettably, this is not the case. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 14 per cent of children and young people have mental health problems, and 50 per cent of adult mental health disorders originate before the age of 14. We must stop waiting for the signs of mental ill health to appear, as then it’s too late. As parents we need to take proactive, preventative action that sows the deeds of resilience and positive mental health for our children.

The good news is as significant adults for our children, the real difference is in our hands; the parenting practices we use have a substantial influence on our children’s psychological wellbeing. Almost 50 per cent of the factors that determine children’s psychological wellbeing and happiness come from the environments in which they are raised. This means that there is a lot we can do to ensure our children reach their own unique potential and

develop their own healthy, strong psychological wellbeing that enables them to face the future with confidence.

We can help them develop habitual behaviours and ways of thinking that become encoded ways of automatically thinking and responding.

We successfully did this with the ‘slip, slop slap’ campaign, and the rates of skin cancer plummeted because both adults and kids became used to those habits and now don’t go out in the sun without their hats, sunscreen and long-sleeved shirts.

Now it’s time to turn our attention inwards to their mental wellbeing. Just like we can help our kids develop physical fitness we can help them develop mental fitness. We need to help them develop daily habits that take care of their mental health – just like they take care of their physical health by exercising and eating enough fruit and vegetables. These habits need to become sec­ond nature, just like putting on their sunscreen so that we can prevent mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide occurring.

Most of us have not been taught pos­itive habits of mind by our families or at school. But the good news is that we can all develop the skills and tools we need to improve our mental fitness and emotional wellbeing.  

Parents’ capability to cultivate positive mental fitness in our children is greatly contingent on our own mental fitness. The ways in which we nurture and develop our own mental fitness serve as a template for our children. By modelling good mental fitness habits, tools and strategies that take care of ourselves and our psychological wellbeing, we are embedding protective factors that lessen the probability of our children developing anxiety, depression and other mental health difficulties.

In exactly the same way airline staff instruct us to put our own oxygen masks on first before helping others, we need to make sure we take care of ourselves first as we can’t take care of anyone else if we are running on empty. Our children soak in every action we take, and when they see us caring for ourselves by eating well, exercising, making time for friends, laughing and having fun, demonstrating self-compassion, using our strengths and taking some time out to rest, they notice that these things help us function better.

When we embed these building blocks of mental fitness into our daily lives, we are laying a strong, solid foundation for our children’s future upon which they can build the life of their dreams.

Kari Sutton is an educator, speaker and author who has helped over 25,000 children, parents, and educators with evidence-based strategies, tools and approaches to foster children’s positive mental health. She deconstructs the research, so you don’t have to and provides practical, easy to use tools and strategies that plant the seeds of resilience, emotional wellbeing and mental fitness in our children. She is launching her second book “Raising a Mentally Fit Generation” in late 2020.


Astronomy is one of the easiest sciences that can be done from anywhere by anyone. People have been staring at the night sky and wondering since time began.

Looking at the night sky is a wonderful family activity that can be undertaken without almost any equipment! 

Night sky gazing can be done from almost anywhere by just following a few simple tips and tricks.

Autumn through spring are the easiest and best times to stargaze in the Southern Hemisphere because the Milky Way is overhead and the nights are earlier. However, there are always plenty of things to see no matter the time or the season.

All you need are clear skies and a place to look up. For many just watching the moon go through its phases and tracking the movements of the brightest planets during the month can be exciting and this of course can be seen from wherever the light pollution is not too horrendous and when there are few clouds.

The weather plays the most important part when it comes to stargazing. Nothing ruins an astronomer’s night be they amateur or professional more than clouds.

Here are a few simple tricks to get you up and stargazing at our wonderful night skies.

Become familiar with the night sky

This is a lot easier today than it was in the past with so many amazing apps that you can load onto your phone or tablet. With these apps, you can hold your phone up and have it identify what all those fuzzy things or the bright stars are.

These apps will show you where the constellations, planets, the moon and even the International Space Station can be seen. The pictures below are from a free planetarium program called Stellarium, which works on all devices including PC’s and Macs.

There are also countless books and planetarium programs as well as good old fashion star charts that will help you work out what do you want to look at on any given night. Having a plan makes everything a lot easier before you head outside.

It makes sense to be able to identify at least a few of the major constellations. For example, can you find the Southern Cross it is in the southern part of the sky and has two bright stars better known as the Pointers which always can be found company with it.

Another popular and easy to identify constellation is the scorpion and above it – Sagittarius -which looks more like a teapot than an archer. These are visible between our southern autumn and spring. 

Coming into late spring and early summer the well-known group of stars often called the saucepan but correctly known as Orion is easily visible.

By learning to identify these easily found constellations will help you to be able to find your way around the sky better.

Choose a spot as far away from light pollution as possible

Light pollution unfortunately limits how much that we can see with our naked eyes. It’s a reason why people travel to the country predominantly to be able to see the skies. However, you can still see a lot even from your suburban backyard.

Most of the brightest stars and planets can still able to be seen even in our capital cities.

To see a star-studded sky and the Milky Way itself, you may need to travel to a remote area far away from the city. More of the night sky is visible the farther away from city lights you are.

But don’t let that put you off! Your local park can be a great place for stargazing since they are usually darker than surrounding neighbourhoods and are family friendly.

Let your eyes adjust to the dark

This is really important. Your eyes will start to adjust to the dark within minutes of turning off the lights but everybody’s eyes are different. 

To adjust to the darkness completely can take up to 30 to 35 minutes. And once adjusted it is really, really important not to use a flashlight or look at your phone or camera screen as this can totally ruin your night vision. Most apps have a night vision mode which makes the screen more red. 

Another way if you need a light is to use a torch with red cellophane over it in multiple layers to dim the light. Red cellophane can also be used over your smart phone or camera screen so as not to ruin your vision.

The most important thing every stargazer needs is patience

Patience is needed is if you’re going out to watch the meteor shower like some of us will be doing later this month and in November and December for the upcoming meteor showers. 

Unless you’re under a very dark sky you need to allow your eyes to become fully dark adapted and to patiently look up and wait as sometimes the meteors can be a few minutes apart.

The key thing is to get out there and have a go get as far away from lights as you can and just look up – and be amazed at what you can see.

The landscape of labour and birth in 2020 is vastly different to how it was 20 years ago (not just because of COVID!). Statistics show that the number of women with complications during pregnancy is significantly higher that it has historically been. The two main contributing factors to this are maternal age and obesity.

Improved opportunities for women in terms of education, travel and career, improved fertility treatments such as IVF and social and cultural factors such as isolation from extended family and financial cost have influenced many women to choose to start a family later in life.  The percentage of women having babies when they are over the age of 30, has risen from 23% in 1991 to 48% in 2016.* Pregnancy over the age of 35 is associated with an increased risk of many complications including preterm birth and diabetes

The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide.  In 2016, 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight (BMI from 25 to 29.9), and 13% were obese (BMI >30) – that’s almost half of all adults! Matching this, nearly half of all mothers in NSW were overweight or obese in 2018.*

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of almost all pregnancy complications, such as: diabetes, preeclampsia, post partum haemorrhage, large baby and more.  In 2018, over 13% of women had diabetes in pregnancy and one in three mothers gave birth via Caesarean Section.

So that’s a lot of bad news for expectant mothers!  What can they do about it?

Planning for pregnancy

If you are planning a pregnancy and you are overweight, the single most important thing you can do to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy and birth is to get your BMI back to between 18.5 and 24.5. If you are already pregnant, then maintaining a healthy weight gain is key.

If I develop complications, how will they impact labour and birth?

Should you have complications in pregnancy, there are lots of things you can do that can improve the likelihood of having a healthy baby, normal birth and a positive experience of labour.

The most important thing to understand is that your labour will be managed differently from women who have no complications.

How will it be different?

1. You are more likely to be recommended Continuous Electronic Monitoring during labour.  This is involves two monitors being strapped to your belly: one measuring the baby’s heart rate, and one measuring the frequency of contractions.

2. There will be more frequent interruptions in the form of conversations, observations and examinations of you and your baby.

3. You will most likely be offered a different set of choices than someone who doesn’t have complications in pregnancy. For example an induction of labour or additional ultrasound scans. You many also have less choice when it comes to labour and birth. For example, you may be discouraged from having a water birth or labouring at home for as long as possible in the early stages of labour.

Preparing for birth

Because of the above, women with complications in pregnancy are less likely to have long periods of quiet time during labour. Traditional birth classes teach women the importance of a birth space that is quiet and dark that will allow the hormones of labour to work their best, but it is more difficult to achieve this when you are being frequently interrupted.  These interruptions take women out of the lovely “birth zone”.  Many women have an expectation that they will manage labour using popular relaxation methods, and are disappointed when things don’t go to plan.

Not only do the women become annoyed because the techniques they are trying to use don’t seem to be ‘working’, but the frustration and disappointment also interrupts the flow of labour hormones.  This slows the progress of labour, leads to an increase in the experience of pain and the need for more pain relief, in some cases the baby can become distressed and there is an increase in interventions overall.

No wonder some women feel their bodies failed them or that their birth was traumatic.

BUT, it is possible to achieve the birth you want, it starts with a different kind of preparation.

What can you do?

1. The most important step is to be informed. Learn all you can about your specific circumstances. Don’t rely on google or other people’s experiences (from chat groups), find out from your Health Care Provider or other reputable sources such as Diabetes Australia or NSW Health.

2. Develop a good collaborative relationship with your Health Care Provider.  Ask them how they propose to care for you during labour and birth.  For example, do they recommend monitoring, an induction, or anything else specific to your situation?

3. If you have had a previous difficult birth, or even an experience that didn’t match your hopes, it can be helpful find out what happened. You can ask to look at your old notes with your Health Care Provider and/or debrief the birth.

4. Prepare, prepare, prepare. If you are planning a vaginal birth, it is important to understand the reality of what the day will actually look like and not to expect the ‘wished for’ quiet dark room with no interruptions.

5. Being active during labour and birth is still really important and achievable, even with interruptions.  It will be slightly different when you’re connected to a monitor, but you can still adopt positions that are helpful for birth and comfortable. The midwives can help you with this – you don’t need to labour in bed just because you are on a monitor!

6. Relaxation techniques are also really important for helping women have an optimal level of good labour hormones.  The key is preparation and practice of not only the technique itself but also how to come in and out of the relaxation smoothly. 

7. Have realistic expectations.  Understanding what your carers will be doing, how often and why will also help labour hormones flow, because you will feel safe and calm.

Women are much more likely to have a positive birth experience when their expectations match the reality of their situation, they have a collaborative relationship with their Health Care Providers, are well informed and supported in their choices.

Despite the challenges faced by women giving birth in 2020, there is still a lot within their control.  Preparation is instrumental in achieving the best possible outcomes.


NSW Health Mothers and Babies Report:

WHO International:

Prepared for Birth is an online business providing antenatal courses for women who have more complicated pregnancies. In particular they focus on women planning a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after a Caesarean Section) and women with Gestational Diabetes.

Our expert Jodie is a Clinical Midwifery Consultant who has worked with hundreds of women with complications in pregnancy preparing for labour and birth.  She was constantly frustrated by the lack of information in traditional birth classes for these women, and how they weren’t prepared for the reality of what they were going to experience during labour, what their choices were and how they could navigate it differently.  Years of working with women with higher risk pregnancies who desperately wanted a normal birth was the inspiration for starting the Prepared for Birth business.

“there wasn’t a moment that didn’t engage or entertain…
perfect family fare in a delightful setting”
AU Review

It’s that time of year again. From Wednesday 6 to Sunday 24 January the amazing Mr Toad and his bonny, boisterous pals will be heading to Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden for the 18th consecutive year to entertain littlies and biggies in Glenn Elston’s outdoor production of The Wind in The Willows.

Children will giggle and howl at the characters’ mad antics, they will go on an adventure with Head Chief Rabbit, Ratty and Mole, then join a dangerous mission with the Rat Pack and Badger Patrol to rescue little, lost Portly the Otter from the Wild Wood.

This is interactive theatre at its best and will have the children calling out, “He’s behind you!” and singing, “Waggle your ears, wiggle your nose,” or the inimitable “Quack quack quackadyquack”. So, pack a picnic, pack the kids and head on down to the riverbank for this rollicking promenade production.

WHERE: Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney
Enter via any gate and make your way to the Harbour side of the Main Pond
SEASON: 6 to 24 January 2021
SHOWTIMES: Wednesday (6 Jan 6pm only), Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10.30am & 6pm; Sundays 11am; Wednesdays 10.30am
PRICES: Midweek $25 Single, Family $90; Friday/Saturday $30 Single, Family $110
BOOKINGS: or 02 9011 7704 or Ticketmaster
Tickets can be purchased on site from one hour before show time

It is quite common for parents to question whether their child is ‘gifted’ at one point or another. Being gifted often runs in families and children can be gifted at different levels.

It’s very important to distinguish the difference between a ‘gift’ and a ‘talent’. Gifted children are born with above-average abilities in certain areas. This could include physical or creative skills, musical ability, academic ability, social skills and more. Talented children are those who have developed those natural abilities to a greater extent. It is possible that a child who is gifted with a natural ability doesn’t demonstrate that gift to his or her potential. This is why correct identification and access to quality enrichment in education for gifted learners is especially important.

Gifted education refers to a specialised stream of education that ensures the learning needs of these children are being met. Sometimes gifted and talented learners require a faster pace of learning, more complex thinking routines and/or deeper engagement with more challenging topics. It is important that gifted and talented learners feel challenged and rewarded for perseverance with difficulty, as at times, these students can become risk-averse. 

To assist parents, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions on the topic: 

What are some signs that my child might be gifted?

Some include:

  • Early language development
  • A preference to speak to or be with adults or older children
  • Imagination and creativity
  • Intense curiosity in one or more areas of interest
  • Excellent memory and recall
  • Ability to quickly grasp new information and apply it to new situations

What should I do if I think my child might be gifted?

Depending on the age of your child, speak to your child’s educators first. An alternative is to seek an assessment via an educational psychologist. Psychologists are trained to distinguish the areas of learning including working memory, attention, processing speed and reasoning skills. Before testing though, ensure that you are clear on why you are having your child tested and what the information will be used for. 

How do I support my gifted child?

At times, parents of gifted learners may feel isolated from other parents. The challenges of ensuring that your child is well catered for and understood can be exhausting. It’s important for parents to know they are not alone. Opportunities to connect with other, similar families and for your child to connect with similarly minded peers could assist in supporting their social and emotional needs.

As an educator in a school that focuses on providing quality care for all students, including research-based programs that nurture and support students who need further extension and challenge, it is a delight to watch young learners thrive as they tackle new and individualised challenges that assist them in their lifelong journey of learning.

Written by: Mrs Mel Bryden (Assistant Head of Junior School, St Luke’s Grammar School, Dee Why Campus)

Kenneth Grahame’s immortal story of life on the riverbank is a rollicking yet gentle adventure, starring the pompous, arrogant, vain, hilarious Toad – a favourite with children everywhere. Toad, along with his better-behaved friends, Ratty, Mole, Otter and Badger, as well as the rascally Weasel, have come to life every summer for the past 15 years providing enchanting and lively entertainment for all the family.

Over the years tens of thousands have delighted in the simple pleasures of this rollicking promenade production… so pack a picnic, pack the kids… and head on down to the riverbank.

Saturday 9th January at 10.30am.
Family pass is 4 tickets.

Click here to view this promotion.

Terms and conditions: The winners will be chosen by Northern Beaches Mums, Wednesday 2nd of December at 9am and contacted by email. If the winners cannot be contacted within 3 days another winner/s will be chosen.

Competition is open to SYDNEY residents only.