Monday, November 21, 2011

Baking together

On the weekend, we had Irini and Stephen's cousin over, and I thought that baking was the perfect activity for us to do together. I had this recipe jotted down, and I know it is from a blog, but I cannot remember who it is from - if you know, or if it is your blog, please let me know so I can update and link to you accordingly!

This recipe is perfect for baking together as it is a) easy, and b) really easy to have the kids individually involved, rather than having to take turns.

Mix In Cookies

500 g butter
1 cup sugar
1 tin condensed milk
5 cups self-raising flour
mix-ins of your choice (i used choc chips, rainbow mini choc chips, and 100s and 1000s)

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in condensed milk and flour until a dough forms. Split into three bowls, and add individual mix-ins to each bowl, and then get the kids to mix in the mix-ins. Scoop tablespoons of mixture onto a greased or lined baking tray (i used a separate tray for each variety), and get the kids to flatten their cookies with a fork. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a preheated 180 C (350 F) oven. Cool on oven rack and then devour!!  One batch literally makes over 100 cookies.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Flo Dancewear

Irini is in LOVE with ballet; she loves waltzing around the house, she loves her ballet class, and most of all, she loves wearing her ballet outfits. When she's not pretending to be a princess or a superhero, she is pretending to be a ballerina.  Since she is still in kindydance (and not "real" ballet classes!), the kids are still allowed to wear what they want, which means a various assortment of tutus, princess and fairy outfits. Irini very quickly decided that she wanted a "ballanina" (her pronunciation!) costume, too, so for the last two years I have relied on an Australian brand, Flo Dancewear. I picked this brand since the clothes look like "real" ballet clothes and are all machine washable and breathable (despite being delightfully frilly and fluffy) and I have continued with it since Irini has grown out of her outfits, rather than wearing out of them, and they take some pretty heavy wear during the classes.

 This is the first outfit Irini wore. She still wears it occasionally (including today!), but it really has become way to short for her so I think it is probably about to become relegated to her costume rack. Not only is it adorably cute, but after nearly two years, it is still going strong. The tutu part of the dress has little diamantes scattered over it, and not one has fallen off, despite it being only machine washed.

This is the outfit I recently bought for Irini. It has more of a sylphide feel (for those of you who did ballet yourself) than her last tutu-y one, but it is still very beautiful and elegant with its shoestring straps. Little details like the straps crossing at the back so they don't fall off make all the details. We have had the bolero since the last dress, but it's more forgiving in size, so it still fits.

 If your little one is into less frilly ballet things, then Flo has a great range of more "casual" dance wear, like harem pants, jazz pants, tracksuits and basic leotards. If you are looking at buying some high quality but reasonably priced outfits for your baby ballerina, then I highly recommend checking out this great Australian brand.

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Note, this is not a sponsored post, nor does Flo know that I am writing it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Let's set a good example!

We've all seen typical mom outfits of running shoes, crops and a tank or tee, and possibly even been seen ourselves in these outfits. But really, it doesn't take much to turn an adequate but boring and run-of-the-mill outfit into something with some style. With a few well chosen accessories, not only will you look more put together, you will be setting a great example for your children.

"Hang-on", I can hear you saying, "what does looking put together and stylish have to do with setting a good example for our children?" Well, I think looking stylish has a lot to do with it. Motherhood (and SAHMs in particular) can get a pretty bum rap, from the media, from other moms, and from society in general. It is seen as the lesser option, the lesser role, and really, when you see a lot of us running around looking like slobs, moaning and complaining all the time, it's pretty easy to see why that is our image. Look at it this way - would you go to "work" (as in paid, outside employment) dressed in runners, cropped pants and a tank and expect to be taken seriously? Of course not. But we moms run around like this and expect our role to be taken seriously.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we start wearing suits - we still need to be practical for what our role entails. But taking an extra ten minutes in the morning to accessorise, fix our hair and add a touch of makeup can make a real difference in both how we look and how we are perceived. Let's show our children that motherhood is a valuable role, and that just like an "outside" job, we take it seriously!

Take these two summer outfits - they are comfy and practical, and great for running around after little kids. But, and it's a big but, these are pretty boring and you are guaranteed to blend into the background. They don't look bad, per se, and I've definitely seen worse, but with a few well chosen accessories, you can turn these blah outfits into something chic and stylish, and yes, still just as comfy and practical.
Typical Mum Outfits

My first piece of advice is to keep your accessories relatively current. The clothes in the above pic are pretty timeless and will last a long time. By updating some of your accessories seasonally, you can inexpensively make your wardrobe look more current and more fashionable, without having to overhaul all the clothes in it. So let's start with the shoes. I love me my heels, and will often wear them almost everywhere, but for most moms, a great pair of flats is much more practical.  I love the gladiator style sandals on the left - they look modern and really add some edge to a basic outfit, but are still as comfortable as a pair of flip flops. Sandals like this would also look great with a date night outfit or with skinny jeans. For the right outfit, I went for a classic pair of ballet flats in an updated metallic. I adore a gunmetal metallic, rather than a silver or a gold, because it will go with a lot more things in your wardrobe. Another option is a champagne metallic, since it sits kind of in between gold and silver.

Next, invest in a great bag in a neutral colour, in a size and shape that works for your lifestyle. I really think you need two, one in black, and one in a lighter colour like tan or taupe that can work better in summer or with lighter colour clothes. For mom's with young kids, I don't think you can go past a roomy tote. It will fit all the things you need to tote around like sippy cups and wipes and a bottle of water for mom. I prefer a tote that also has an over-the-shoulder strap since it frees up my arms.

Lastly, add in once more accessory to add some colour or texture. Both outfits are at the uber-casual end of the spectrum, so don't go over-the-top, but some simple touches will really take the outfit from blah to polished and pulled together. A long pendant necklace on the left not only adds a pop of colour to a neutral outfit, but helps to visually elongate the body. This is particularly great for this outfit, because the crops and the shoes can often do the opposite. For the right outfit, a soft scarf in tones that pick up on the colours of the top add another little bit of colour, and some textural interest as well. If you are not confident with scarfs, then check out this youtube series, How To Tie A Scarf 25 Ways.  
The New Mom Uniform!
So by simply adding in three accessories, you are really taking your outfit from looking like you quickly grabbed a couple of things out of your wardrobe, to looking pulled together, and like a professional, intentional mom-about-town!

Linking to Monday Mingle

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

pleated poppy

Two weeks in a row! I'm on fire with a pic everyday. Summer well and truly feels like it is here, with temps above 30 pretty much everyday except late last week. Meanwhile, you guys in the northern hemisphere are having snow in October - what is going on!!

Thursday was nice and cool and now that the hot weather is here I wish I had savoured it more! Stephen and I watched Irini's ballet class and then we all went and had lunch with Mum and Dad at our favourite cafe, Fez. Now looking at this pic, I think the tunic would have looked better with a black rather than white tank underneath. Purple tunic from Flower, grey leggings from Isabella Oliver. Wittner black ballet flats and Costume National bag. My favourite silver necklace and horn cuff from Mai Tai Collection.

Friday was warmer, so I though sheer chiffon polka dots was nice and spring like. I grabbed this pic before I went downstairs, so no shoes yet! My fave skinnies from Ann Taylor, with Flower Clothing tunic. Wooden cuff bangles, and a silver Tree of Life necklace from Pilgrim. I used the same bag as Thursday.
 These are the shoes I ended up wearing, my trusty Nine West Flats. Excuse the bad pedicure - will definitely be fixed this weekend!
These are my new Roberto Cavalli sunnies - a super bargain on Modnique. Is it sad to say I was inspired by a TV show? 

I saw Sarah Michelle Gellar on the first episode of Ringer with these oversized sunnies, and had to have a pair. I love the whole look, but I don't think a white coat is that practical for a mum of preschoolers! I can't say I am loving the show, but it sure is food and interior design porn!

Saturday was the start of the warmer weather so hubby and I took the kids with us on some deliveries and then went for lunch down by the beach. Dark skinnies from Ann Taylor (will I ever be able to wear boot cuts again?) and a black tunic length tank. Cream silk jacket with grey and black feather print from Virtu (a great source for casual plus sized clothes) and wooden beaded necklaces from Witchery. Black cage heels from Urban Soul.

We did not leave the house on Sunday  - I was catching up with housework and Nick was catching up on bookwork. So, comfort was the order of the day. I wore the skinny jeans again (be assured, I do wash them!) with a silky top from Piper Woman (retail speak for Piper's "big girl" line - are skinnier girls not women, too?!).

 I started Monday with the best of intentions and had even booked a session with a trainer at the gym when 20 minutes before my appointment, Nick asked if I could come in and help at work. Luckily, the trainers at Contours Yokine are great, and let me reschedule without any penalty at all - they are that fantastic! Pink tank from Basque, Old Navy pants and Reebok Tone shoes.


This is what I changed into after my non-gym attendance. White denim crops from Lands End, black and white silky top from Ann Taylor, Dyberg/Kern necklace, Kate Spade bag and brass bangles from Gap and Coldwater Creek. Tan wedges from Country Road.

Tuesday is Melbourne Cup day, the so-called "race that stops the nation" even though those of us in the west don't actually get a holiday for it. Our playgroup decided to have a casual lunch after our usual session, so we could all have a chance to watch the big race. Lucky I didn't bet - my pick came in fourth! Since this is traditionally a day to get all dolled up, I thought I would go a bit more dressy than usual. Ruffled tank and striped linen skirt from Talbots. Same tan bag as yesterday, and my Pandora bracelet.

Here is a close-up of the necklace I wore, from Talbots. I love this necklace, it is just so summery!

I love these shoes - really comfy and the nude colour is almost the same as my skin colour, unlike most of the "nudes" out there. Plus, I can prove that I did actually give myself a pedicure, with a beautiful Rimmel colour, Misty Jade.

Today was super-hot and I have to laugh because me and everyone I talked to was complaining about the heat, but how short our memories was only a few weeks ago that we were all complaining about the winter weather! It was also my birthday - so Happy Birthday to Me!! Black ponte pants from Ann Taylor, Eileen Fisher grey tank, and grey mesh vest from Flower Clothing. I wore my tan Kate Spade bag and my Urban Soul cage heels. Usually these heels are super comfy, but today (maybe it was the heat!) they were killing me!

I bought a few dresses today (a birthday present to me!) so I look forward to showing them to you next week.

Also linking up to :

Momma Go Round

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