Monday, December 23, 2013

Stress-free shopping online!

This is a sponsored post
Does anyone else find furniture buying a chore?
Before I had kids, I seemed to have all the time in the world to trawl between stores, comparing products and prices.
These days though, I’m time poor. I live in the country too, which means I really need to travel if I’m going to check out everything that’s on offer.
Worse, my kids look at me like I’ve suggested giving all their electronic games to charity and moving to Mongolia if I even think of taking them with me on a furniture-buying expedition – even if it’s for them.
“It’s so boring,” they’ll moan. “Everything looks the same.”
And after five minutes of lying on mattresses or sitting on couches, they’ll ask: ‘Can we go now?’
Chase needs a new bed and Harmonie would love some cool drawers for her bedroom. But neither of them wants to actually go shopping for them, and I honestly was dreading the experience.
So imagine how delighted I was when I discovered Furniture Online!
This one-stop internet shop means I can browse for furniture while the kids watch telly, do their homework, or kick a ball out in the garden.
They’re happy, and I still get to choose from more than 5,000 products – all without the stress of dragging bored kids around stores with me, and minus the expense of travelling.
With a click of a mouse I can check prices and compare designs on everything from kids' bedroom furniture to lounge suites, plus rugs and accessories.
I can buy outdoor furniture online, or select much-needed bookcases and chairs for our home office.
Furniture Online has the cutest kids’ storage range too, as well as loads of dining and lounge room ideas.
When I’ve narrowed down my choices, I just call the kids over to see what appeals. So much simpler to shop in the comfort of our own home. Best of all, the prices are cheaper too.
Furniture Online have cut out the middle man so customers get the best quality products at the lowest prices. They are so confident of this, they give a no hassle guarantee that if you find any product at any of their competitors within 30 days of your purchase, they will beat that price.
But buying online doesn’t mean you lose personal service. In fact, there is as much help as you like, whenever you are ready to ask. The company has a seven-day helpline so if you have any questions or need advice about which products, designs or colours will suit your home or budget, you can actually talk to an expert about it. No waiting vainly trying to catch a sales representative’s eye, whilst the rugrats attempt to drag you out of a store by force. Simply pour yourself a wine cup of tea, and sit down for a chat.
Once you’ve decided and ordered your gear, delivery is fast. Within 5-10 working days, and they’ll schedule the time and day to suit you. There are options for weekend and/or evening deliveries if that suits your busy lifestyle, so you don’t have to take time off work or stay in for hours wondering when your much-awaited furniture will arrive.
They run regular sales and free delivery promotions too.
If you’d like to give Furniture Online a try, they’re offering a 10 per cent discount to Maid In Australia followers. To take advantage of this great offer, simply enter 10OFF at the voucher code when you finalise your order.

Happy shopping!  

Chase's current bed ... notice the similarity between the body language of dog and Man Child? 

I wonder what would be more fitting for a soon-to-be teenager? And his dog?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Paradise for parents - and a giveaway!

Do you have a favourite family holiday spot?
Their slogan is “Heaven For Kids Paradise For Parents”.  And it’s one of the few occasions where I’ve found advertising is true to word.
I’m always skeptical about these things.
After all, the advertising would be a crock, and the place would be over-run by other people’s kids, right?
Well, no, the advertising is actually very accurate. And yes, the place is over-run by kids, but that’s actually a positive as it happens.
Loads of kids means loads of instant playmates. And plenty of relaxed parents. Once we check-in, my own children are happily entertained for hours.
I can relax on a deck chair with a good book, and just listen for their happy screams. They come back from time to time, to drag me onto one of the slides – which they think is the coolest thing ever – or dunk me into the spa for a relax. And of course, whenever they are hungry or thirsty, which is often.
The resort’s biggest attraction is arguably the waterpark.  
Arguably, because there’s also Planet Chill, an indoor ice rink; an awesome kid’s club; ongoing entertainment throughout the day run by the Resort Entertainment Crew; and lots of free and paid activities, like hair-braiding, a magic show, and fire-truck tour.
The waterpark features two aqua-play attractions – one for littlies and one for big kids – as well as a large lagoon-style pool and a heated spa. There’s also an adults-only area, with private spa, for those who want to get away from the noise.
The big aqua-play zone is where my kids spend most of their time. Designed over three levels, it boasts myriad slides, water cannons, play areas and ladders, as well as a giant bucket that dunks 600 litres of water on delighted children every few minutes. And the slides are big enough for big kids, trust me.
The Resort Entertainment Crew are gems, supervising regular games throughout the day, like jelly-eating competitions, mini-olympics, jump rope competitions, hula hoop challenges, footy toss comps, and more. They will keep your kids busy and happy throughout the day, as long as you are there to keep an eye on them and cheer them on. (Who would want to miss it? I'm taking embarrassing photos, all of the time!) And it’s all free!
Some games have prizes like ice-blocks, and once, Chase even won a Spongebob Squarepants hat.
To be honest, my kids are far happier enjoying the outdoor activity with their new friends and the REC crew, and forcing me on to the slides than spending time in the critically-acclaimed kid’s club. But other parents find the kid's club invaluable.
Most packages at Paradise Resort include a free four-hour session daily per child, which is awesome.  But great as it is for couples who need a break, my kids always seem to want to hang out with me and in the main areas of the resort – which is fine as I still feel like I get a rest anyway, and we are still spending quality time together.
Besides, all that activity makes them hungry and thirsty, and often.
I always pack an esky of drinks, fruit and snacks to keep prices low, and the resort is close to the main drag of Surfers Paradise shops, supermarkets, and beaches anyway.
But you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the prices at Bistro Zagame’s and the Poolside Bar and Bistro are surprisingly affordable. And they are aimed at fussy eaters so there’s enough to please everyone – even vegemite sammies are available by the pool!
Kids meals are $8, and there are regular budget-priced theme nights around the pool.
There is also a mini mart for purchases like milk, bread, noodles, cereal, and even wine and beer.
Wednesdays and Saturdays are movie nights, when deck chairs are placed outside in front of a giant movie screen. It’s a good time to order takeaway woodfired pizzas, sit back, and relax for an evening under the stars. So relaxing, even if you’ve seen the movie before.
The REC staff do a Wii dance-off with the kids – and a few big ones – as well.
The newest attraction, and one that I fell for, literally, is Planet Chill. Friday and Saturday nights are family disco nights, but there are sessions every day and some nights. And there are penguin helpers and complementary head-gear for those who are unsure of their skills.
The kids and I tried it out on a Sunday night and had it practically to ourselves. I fell over on my arse only twice, and wasn’t nearly as sore the next day as I’d imagined.
It was the kids’ favourite thing to do that weekend, and luckily, many packages include a session on the ice for the family.
There are so many things to do at Paradise Resort, it’s easy just to stay there. From cupcake decorating for the kids, to cocktail making workshops to the adults, it’s tempting to never leave.
But you are close to the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches and shopping precincts and there is loads to explore using the resort as a base if you choose to.
We always bring back sushi and other treats we can’t get at our country home from our forays, to enjoy when the kids get hungry at odd times.
And the upgraded rooms are funky and comfortable, with lovely beds, and even a (tiny) table and chairs to eat at.
They are not posh, but they are clean, comfortable and serviceable. We’ve stayed there in cold weather too, and it’s only taken a phone call to have someone bring us extra blankets in the middle of the night.
Oh and it’s worth paying extra for one of the bunkhouse rooms, which contain brightly painted bunks for the kids, dividing the room from the adult area. There are xbox games and a TV for the kids, and little things like a microwave and toaster that make a difference.
One of the nicest things about the Paradise Resort Gold Coast is that it’s easy to stay on after check out to enjoy the facilities a little longer.
One of the most difficult things is that the kids always beg to stay one more night. And my goodness, it’s tempting to give in!
Oh well, there’s always next time…
Thanks to the Paradise Resort Gold Coast, MIA has three family passes to Planet Chill to give away. That’s for two adults, and up to three children to enjoy a two-hour ice-skating session, including safety gear if required.
To enter, make sure you’re following my Facebook page. Then leave a comment below, sharing what you’d do first at the Paradise Resort Gold Coast and why.

Entries close 5 pm, Tuesday December 17, 2013.

A rare moment of sibling peace - taking in the view from our room

The lagoon pool and the small kids' water park 

You can just see the three-level waterpark on the right hand side. And there's an adults only area to the left of that with its own spa, so grown-ups can have some peace.

More of the pool area

Time for a mocktail - a Cleo's Crush - and a chocolate frog in jelly. Well we are on holidays!  

Planet Chill was awesome!

Man Child on the move!

Proof we made it to the beach ...

Lunch at a nearby Sushi Train ...

Can't get enough Sushi 

Harmonie with Club mascots The Captain and Cleo

Chase, on one of our visits, doing arts and crafts around the pool

Harmonie puts the finishing touches to her masterpiece

Chase's favourite breakfast, Eggs Benedict

A kids' portion of Pasta Bolognaise at Zagame's Bistro

It's all too much fun! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Weird World Wednesday: The undies edition

Most of us don't go around without knickers, so why should our most loved accessory?
Protect your iPhone's modesty with its very own pair of panties or briefs. The sexy silicone smart pants protects your phone's special Home button, and keeps it looking stylish.
The perfect present for the person who has everything?
They originated in Japan where they are being sold in vending machines for about $2.50 but you can also get them on Amazon.
How about these Hello Kitty swimwear bottoms for summer?

Or you could go for the leopard-skin look for those sexier days ...

There are briefs for male phones too. Even superman pants!

You're welcome.