Princess Abroad Currently living in China
13th June 2014

In Loving Memory – Ellie Holmes

So, you may have noticed that I have been quiet lately…


Two and a half weeks ago I received the devastating news that my friends 15 year old daughter Ellie, passed away during the night. Nat called me from school (as I was trying to induce JJ’s morning nap!!!!) and told me the news over the phone. No details just a shocking piece of information that made me numb from my head to my toe!


I cried! I called out to God! I prayed for the unknown path ahead. My heart was broken for Leigh and Ollie.


Our whole community has been shook from this saddening event.
Our church community has been devastated – Ellie sang on stage, attended youth and even greeted people at the door as they walked in. She had a heart for the Lord and found ways to serve him.
Our school community has been rocked – She was a lively member around the school involved in many different endeavours. She was always looking out for her friends.
My personal social circle has been affected – Ellie and her family were part of our “Beijing family” – She attended our games nights and we enjoyed holidaying with them a few months ago. Ellie was an adoptive big sister to Z and JJ often fighting with her mum, over who gets to hold JJ during the service.


I want something good to come of this (not that anything can ever replace the life of a loved one). PLEASE if you are reading this take note of this one thing…technology can be harmful!

Young people should not have technology devices in their rooms after 9pm!

Please we need to help our vulnerable young people to make good choices. We need to ensure their room is a safe haven. Mobile devices and the such, allow too much into what should be their “safe place”. Remember as kids, we would go to our room and feel safe, the only thing scary was the (imaginary) monsters lurking under the bed. Now there are a million different challenges coming at us and we just need to switch off.

Young people think they are invincible (I know that I sure did). They think they are smart enough to avoid the outcomes of actions…but sadly this isn’t always the case. Think about it. If you get an emotional message late at night you sometimes don’t know what to do…but if you get that same message in the daylight where you can talk to someone then somehow it’s doesn’t seem so bad.


Can you help me by sharing this post with a friend with kids…If we can help just one other person in Ellie’s honour…


Ellie also had a heart for orphans. If you are able to make a donation to an orphanage in her name the family would be grateful. Oherwise this site has been organised to raise awareness for PAPYRUS –

Eleanor Holmes RIP! 


So I’m really sorry that I broke my promise to you all. I did promise that I would post every week but given the circumstances, I’m sure you can understand.


More from me again next week.


Love Princess xx
23rd May 2014

Becoming a Trim Healthy Mama – in Beijing

Hello again!


I’ve got a secret!

I’m jumping with joy internally and externally.


Happiness spilling over!

Doing my little boogie dance!


Why you may ask…well…I’ve recently met 2 friends who are changing my life.
The title of this post gives it all away so it’s not really a secret. I’ve recently devoured the book ‘Trim Healthy Mama’ by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett (my 2 newest and bestest friends). I often don’t read for pleasure (unless I’m beside a pool) but, I couldn’t put this book down. The amount of knowledge that confronted and flipped my previous understand of food and fitness blew my mind.



I got the book on a Sunday and started eating according to the plan the very next day. It wasn’t that hard to make changes to begin with but finding some of the ingredients in Beijing has been a little bit difficult. Two things you must avoid at all costs – sugar and white carbs. Their only other ‘rule’ for lack of a better word is NEVER mix grains with fats during a meal.

Protein, veggies and fats OR Grains/healthy carbs, protein and veggies/fruit.
S=Satisfying  OR E=Energising


Why never mix? Well our bodies only ever need one fuel source. This fuel can come from fats (cheese, cream, butter -mmmmm, healthy oils) or grains (quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn, sweet potato) and paired with protein and veggies makes a great food choice that will sustain/satisfy your needs. What happens if you mix these fuel types??? Well our bodies use one and store the other! Not making for a pretty picture, literally!

But I’m not here to review the book, I’m here to share my exciting news!!!!


My jeans fit!


Maybe you didn’t process that, let me say it again…


ALL my jeans fit!


My pre-pregnancy jeans, my skinny leg jeans and my pile of jeans in the corner of my closet waiting for “that day”, they all fit. That day is here! I’m currently wearing jeans I bought 3 years ago and I didn’t have to suck it in and do the dance to pull them up (don’t pretend you don’t know the dance). They slid on with ease, and another major bonus, I can sit down and still breath.


My Jeans fit

My Jeans fit



There a many reviews of this book floating around the internet and my little spiel isn’t going to make headlines, but if I can help just one other person to read this book and begin implementing the plan. I’ll be a happy chappy. I want to share with the world what was shared with me (thanks Colleen xx)!


So drop me a line if you would like some more information. I’m happy to share my tips over a coffee latte (made with butter).





Princess xx


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17th May 2014

Meet My Family

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – so for this week this picture will have to do.

My Family

The Browns – May 2014

Please meet my husband Nathaniel (32) and our 2 sons, Jotham (6 months) and Zander (5 years). Both my boys are ‘Made in China’.

Things have been super busy around here lately and I’m changing up a lot of things with my diet (THM anyone?). I’ve also just accepted part-time work for next year.

More to come on that later.

Short and sweet this week.


Princess xx

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9th May 2014

Cloth Nappies for Newbies

Hi again my friends,


The latest thing to come across my path is cloth nappies and soap nuts – yes these things go hand in hand. Both are good for the environment and for the pocket (besides the more I save on nappies the more I can spend on Pandora – hehehehe). I care about the environment, but I’m not an extremist. Basically I support both the big guy and the little guy. I am both, at home in an overpriced jewellery store and bargaining with the little old lady selling strawberries off the back of her cart over 1 measly rmb.


So how did the cloth nappy adventure begin??? I attend the LLL meeting in Beijing, Shunyi and recently I was given some information about an orphanage needing to sell off their cloth nappy stash. The nappies were being sold for $3 to $5 a piece and the inserts began at 0.82 cents. These nappies also came with a few “amazing”, “quality”, “fantastic”, “totally worth it” recommendations from local friends. I quickly ran some calculations and whilst I can source Korean Gold Huggies cheaply on Taobao they are still about 20 cents per nappy and my little guy was going through about 10 a day (at least). So by investing in cloth nappies I would pay off my stash in 3 months.


What made me finalise my decision to “go to the bright side?” (as a good friend Kylie put it).

  1. My live in Ayi would actually be the one doing most of the work.
  2. Saving money, especially now that I’m a stay home mum this year.
  3. Supporting a local orphanage.
  4. Being nicer to both my little guys butt and the environment.
  5. Super cute designs.

Things to be aware of when going the cloth nappy method in Beijing.

  1. Lack of sun (and space) for outside drying – although the sun/UV can bleach a nappy clean even on a pollution day up to 200 AQI.
  2. Hard water – this hasn’t affected my nappies and I only wash with cold.
  3. A small selection of brands cheaply available – please contact me by personal email if you would like the contact detail I use.

So I’ve been on this cloth nappy journey for about 2 weeks now and I’ve been reading blog after blog to find out the basics. Boy oh boy did I need help! There is a tidal wave of information out there (and I realise that I am now adding to that) but what I couldn’t find was a dummy’s guide to beginning cloth! So here it is my Cloth Nappies for Newbies/Cloth diapering 101!

The Ultimate Dummies guide to Cloth Nappies for beginners!


  • Nappy – what Australians call a Diaper!!!!
  • MCN – Modern Cloth Nappy
  • Pocket Nappy – a nappy that has a hollow section in the middle where an insert (or multiple inserts) can be put.
  • Insert – a piece of material which you stuff or place inside the MCN to catch the wee. These can be made of multiple materials and combinations.
  • Liner – a disposable or washable piece of fabric to lay between the baby’s butt and the nappy to hopefully catch the poop.
  • Minkee – a really soft/fluffyish fabric which I am in love with.
  • PUL – a waterproof material on the inside of the MCN to catch excess wetness.
  • Strip/Stripping – Much to my husband’s disappointment this doesn’t mean getting naked. Ladies be careful before you start talking to your husband about stripping unless, you know, you want THAT outcome… In regards to nappies Stripping is a process where you boil/soak inserts to remove detergent and ammonia build up.
  • Dry-pail – A simple bucket with a lid used for storing wet nappies until they are ready to be washed (suggest no longer than 30ish hours).
  • Soap Nuts – A nut like berry which has a natural soap ingredient which can be extracted and used for all types of household cleaning – especially laundry.

Once you have chosen your brand (or second-hand has decided for you) then you must:

  1. Pre-wash, wash and wash again. Soak your inserts. Basically you want to increase the absorption ability. Just like a new towel, the more you use and wash it the better it absorbs.
  2. Learn how to use your nappy.  Seek a friends help, watch YouTube videos or Google your brand.  I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I may have been folding them wrong for the first day. I’ve got a uni degree but, I was completely out of my depth. Here is a photo showing you my ingenious method (of folding the front down over, instead of, to itself on the outside) verse the correct method.
    Cloth Nappy Fail
    Cloth Nappy Fail
    The correct method
    The correct method
  3. Decide on how you are going to wash your nappies. I dry pail wet nappies whilst waiting for a decent sized load. In the beginning I washed without soap, now I use 2 tablespoons of soapnut liquid (I make this myself by boiling 50g of soapnuts in 1L of filtered water for 5-7 mins, strain and keep in fridge – CLEARLY LABELLED). I wash in cold with plenty of water in the machine.
  4. To remove stains I prewash with a “Buncha Farmers Stain Remover’ wet stick (sourced from Taobao). I like to remove stains, then allow the sun to bleach, then wash with the next load and sun dry again if possible.
  5. Drying usually happens in my large sun room (I’m very lucky to live in a house in Beijing that has such a large room with direct sun access). I also hang them in my garden if I want a more concentrated period of sun bleaching.
  6. Storage was a question I pondered for a while, in the end I decided to move my change table from baby’s bedroom to the lounge room. I figured that I change all of his nappies downstairs during the day anyway and he stays in the one nappy overnight. My ayi and I have a system – once washed, nappies get one insert, ensure they are snapped at the correct size and then get put into 1 of 4 different piles – minkee, blues, greens, others. I also have a spot for wet wipes and a spot for inserts.
  7. Just go for it! Enjoy the journey and if you have any questions ask a friend or Google. I change his nappy roughly every 2 hours during the day and he uses a nappy with 2 inserts overnight (7pm to7am). I also bought some cheap polar fleece which I cut into strips the size of inserts to place between his bum and the nappy to catch poop and make the cleaning of my nappies a little easier. I’ll let you in on a little secret…my little guy only poops about 2-3 times a week, and I haven’t had to clean many poopy nappies.


I’m sad I didn’t start cloth nappies with my first son. It’s easy, cost effective and cute.

I love Minkee
I love Minkee
Cute Bum
Cute Cloth Bum

My biggest fear was actually the poop- but I wash that off my sons clothes anyway.

I just wish I had a good friend sit with me and tell me  the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m happy to be that friend for you, please leave me any questions below.

Lots of Love

Princess xx

3rd May 2014

Musings of a Pink Princess living abroad…

Welcome to my blog.

  • I’m God fearing!
  • I’m a Taobao shopaholic.
  • I dabble in spoken Chinese.
  • I’m an Aussie born and bred.
  • I’m attempting to become a little crunchy.
  • I love messing about in the kitchen (usually with the addition of alcohol).
  • I call myself Princess and I LOVE pink!


My name is Sheree Brown, that’s Princess to you and I am from sunny Brisbane, Australia. I am lucky to live overseas with my husband and my 2 wonderful boys. I will tell you more about them at a later time.

The posts you find here will be weird, wacky and hopefully wonderful. I don’t know what I will focus on, but I do know that I will commit to writing regularly and share about my adventures living abroad, at the moment that’s in Beijing. I can hardly believe that I’m approaching 5.5 years in this crazy, annoying city that has captured my heart!




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