Thursday, May 30, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

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These photos are from the last two weeks, since I didn't manage to get a photo every day. The weather has been up and down, but mostly sunny, and even positively warm on a couple of the days.

This has become one of my favourite outfits. It is super comfortable, and I feel super confident in as well. These boots from Wittner are ah-mazing! You can't really see it in the pic, but the heel and the back is suede, while the rest is regular leather, and despite the heel, they are so comfy.

Black jersey knit: Belle Curve
Black tank: Flower Clothing
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve
Black horn cuff: Etsy
Silver necklace: Witchery
Black wedges: Wittner

I received this scarf ages ago as a secret santa gift, and not only was it the perfect present for me, it is also amazingly versatile due to all the colours it contains.

Purple alpaca tunic: Eileen Fisher
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve
Black wedges: Wittner
Multi-coloured scarf: a gift

This outfit doesn't look as good in the pic as it does in real life, I promise! In real life, the knit trench drapes and moves really well. Plus, layered over a wool sweater, it is the perfect weight for the cool but not cold weather we've been having.

Camel knit trench: CAbi
Beige wool sweater: Sportscraft
Skinny boot cut jeans: Gap
Brown loafers: Louenhide

Again, this outfit looks better in real life, but I think even if it didn't, it is the perfect "at home" outfit - it is comfy, practical, but still perfectly nice if you need to dash out of the house. I think it would have looked much better with my new black wedges rather than the ballet flats, but since I was mostly at home this day, you'll have to give me a pass for slipping on ballet flats to run down to the post office.
Teal knit tunic: TS14+
Teal under tee: TS 14+
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve
Gunmetal flats: Witchery

This is what I will probably now call my hospital outfit for all eternity, since I literally spent 24 hours in it, mostly at the children's hospital. I started the morning by picking a nice but still casual outfit for my son's assembly as he was receiving an award. Little did I know that it would need to survive a stint in the ER, followed by a night "sleeping" in a recliner chair next to my son's hospital bed! It was surprisingly comfortable (definitely more comfortable than my sleeping arrangements!), and still looked presentable when I was meeting with the docs the next morning.

Burgundy cardigan: Pepperberry
Purple tee: Pepperberry
Plum paisley cords: Sportscraft
Nude with gold studs slippers: Witchery

See you all next week!!

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Also linking to:

Momma Go Round

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A tough couple of weeks and some much needed inspiration

Image courtesy of dan /

Have you ever had a period of time where you just can't get out of a funk? That was me for the past couple of weeks. A perfect storm of things came together at once that left me overwhelmed. The car accident really shook me up, and left me on edge. My son was going through a period of acting out, changing from a sweet little boy to one who was willfully disobedient, talked back, and often lashed out physically. I was sure it was a phase (it's totally out of character) but it still really got to me. I seemed to be chronically tired, yet not able to sleep properly at night. I was getting constant headaches. It turned me into a mother that I did not want to be.

I yelled, I screamed, I went nuts over the slightest little thing. I even resorted to the occasional smack, even though I don't believe that smacking is the answer, and the look in my children's eyes made me feel so guilty. The house became a mess, and then the mess and clutter made me feel even more irritated.

Even though I didn't to want to be acting this way, I couldn't seem to stop. And then two things happened. Firstly, my son needed to be hospitalized after a severe asthma attack. Secondly, while I was at the hospital, I came across a post from Simple Mom, Where You Water It. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and the two together were the shake up/wake up call I needed. I needed to be all there for my kids and my family, regardless of the challenges going on. And I needed to remember that the grass isn't greener on the other side, it is greener where you water it.

So what did I do to water my grass? I went to the doctor for my headaches, who diagnosed muscle tension from the accident, and referred me to an excellent physio. I started taking short afternoon naps while hubbie watched the kids. Bach's Rescue Remedy got a good workout whenever I was feeling overwhelmed. I started using the oldie but goodie trick of counting to ten when the kids did something to aggravate me. I started on the house room by room, and we sat Stephen down and let him know that his behaviour was unacceptable and what the consequences would be if and when it occurred again.

I still have my moments, but in just a week, everything is looking a thousand times better, and you know what, my grass is looking greener after all.

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PS: I know I don't usually write posts like this, but I felt I needed to share. It's often easy to read blogs, and see perfect lives with perfect children and perfect homes, since we bloggers are all human, and usually like to show just the "pinnable" stuff, but as we are all just human, our lives are so much more than that, both good and bad. This is but a small window into a tiny fragment of my life. But I hope that by sharing this not so shining moment, it may help someone else out there when they need either a spark of inspiration to get them back on track, or a moment of "I'm not the only one like this" to help them feel not so alone.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Book Review: The Honest Life by Jessica Alba

I really do try to live a greener, healthier life, but I have found recently that I (and therefore, the family) have started to fall back into bad habits. The funny thing is, I know I am going backwards, but I am finding it hard to get back on the wagon, so when I read that Jessica Alba had released The Honest Life, a book on living a greener, healthier life, I thought it might be just the motivation I need to kick myself up the backside!

Before I say anything else, I have to say that what I loved most about this book was how real and approachable it was. Much has been made about the "rivalry" between Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba when it comes to healthy living. Don't get me wrong, I think I am one of the few people that still likes Gwyneth, but as her website, GOOP, has clearly demonstrated, real and attainable healthy living is probably not her strong point. Jessica on the other hand, comes across just like another mum in the playground. She admits that cloth diapers didn't work for her (and guess what, they didn't for me either - thank goodness they have a high resell value!), and neither does growing her own food (again, on our tiny block, with our busy lives, not working here either), but that doesn't stop her from making some real and meaningful change in how she lives her life. She really stresses that it isn't an all or nothing affair. Every small change adds up to a big difference.

The book covers a lot of ground - food, family, homemaking, beauty, even style - and not only tells you what you should be avoiding, but what you should go for instead. She includes some recipes, both for food and for homemaking, some inspiring personal anecdotes, and lots and lots of info on how you can live a clean and healthy life from day-to-day, or as she puts it, Living The Honest Life.  At times, her mentioning of the Honest Company (her business selling green cleaning/personal care products) is a bit off putting, and made the book feel a little like a catalogue, but it really is a small flaw for such an awesome book. It is the type of book that you read from cover to cover, but since then, I have gone back and referred to different sections again and again.

So did it give me the kick I needed? Absolutely!! I am sure you'll be reading a lot more about my "regreenification" over the next few months...

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Little Pony Rainbow Dash Birthday Party

Last month was Irini's 5th birthday, and she has been thinking about it for months, insisting on a Rainbow Dash My Little Pony party.  When I sat down to plan it out, I was so relieved that Rainbow Dash was her favourite pony, since that opened up all the rainbow inspiration out there! This year we had a lot of kids, so we hired a community hall, which meant that we didn't have that long to set up, and it needed to pack up quickly as well. I kept the decorations pretty simple, focusing on Rainbow Dash's colours, so lots and lots of pastel rainbow colours with punches of pink and turquoise. 

The kids table was set up with rainbow balloon topiaries; we hung pink, lime and turquoise tissue paper puffs and paper lanterns from the ceiling; and we had huge rainbow balloon bouquets (made by my dad!) around the room. Most of the party supplies came from either Spotlight or Pink Frosting. Finding MLP-type colours was surprisingly easy!

I tried to rainbow theme as much of the food as possible.  The rainbow jellies were a huge hit, and were super easy to make, just somewhat time consuming letting each layer set. I thought the Rainbow Dash cookies came out looking great, and they were delicious, but I think the blue-green colour put off a lot of the kids - I only saw adults eating them, and once they had one, it was hard to stop. The rainbow choc chip cookies were a cheat - ready made dough from the supermarket - but were much more popular with the littlies! The rainbow cupcakes did not come out as I envisioned, and literally turned the kids' mouths deep purple, but not one was left at the end of the party. The toppers were printables from this etsy seller, as did the food tags, and really helped to make the party a Rainbow Dash party rather than just a rainbow party.

What is an Aussie birthday party without chocolate crackles?! I loved these as a kid, and it looked like most of the parents did, too, since I saw a lot of them sneaking them off their kids plates. To fit the Rainbow Dash theme, I mixed in rainbow candy coated choc chips. I also tried my hand at cake pops and they came out great! They were super delicious, and were much easier to make than I expected. If you haven't made them before, then I highly recommend having a go.

Finally, the piece-de-resistance, the Rainbow Dash Birthday Cake. I had been given pretty explicit directions - it had to be Rainbow Dash blue, and it needed flowers, a rainbow and clouds. I was originally going to make a rainbow layer cake, but I honestly ran out of time, so I harked back to old fashioned marble cakes, and mixed up batches of cake mix with the colours, randomly dropped the mixtures into the pans, then swirled with a skewer. It looked great, and tasted even better - I now only use the vanilla and chocolate cake recipes that I found via Angry Chicken, adapted for my Thermomix; they literally take less than 5 minutes to mix up (maybe even less than 3!), turn out every single time, and are so moist and tasty I am always being asked for the recipes. Seriously, switch to this cake!!

And with that, my little girl was another year older...

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

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This week has been a crazy, crazy week! It has been super busy, the kids and I were in a car accident (not my fault, and no one was hurt, thank goodness!), and I have just generally found myself a bit down in the dumps. But, it can only go up from here, right?! I recently had a total clean out of my closet, and I found that the narrower selection made a week like this so much easier. knowing that everything in there not only fit well, but mixed and matched, meant that I really could just grab items and go, without any stress at all. I'll be posting soon on what I did, so stay tuned!

I never thought I would wear printed pants, but when I saw these paisley printed cords, I fell in love! They are warm and cozy, and the print is subtle, rather than over the top, just the way I like it.

Wine knit: Jane Lamerton
Paisley print cords: Sportscraft
Black bead necklace: Witchery
Brown loafers: Louenhide

I don't know why I grabbed all navy, but once I was dressed, I really needed a pop of colour, hence the red-orange scarf.

Navy sweater: Lands End
Navy velvet jeans: Gap
Navy moccasins: Lands End
Red-orange wool scarf: Country Road

This sweater looks much more purple in real life than it does in the photo! It is a beautiful and rich deep purple, and while it is very light to wear, it is so warm.

Purple sweater: Eileen Fisher
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve
Black suede boots: Modern Vintage
Black horn cuff: Etsy
Black pearl necklace: Etsy

I'm not usually a pastel person, but I really loved these two pieces when I saw them, and pastels seemed like the perfect choice for the Mothers' Day High Tea at my son's class. I ended up changing shoes just after I took the pic, since just as I was about to leave in the morning, my heel got caught in a crack in the pavement, and the little rubber heel bit pulled off. Such a pain, especially since we were already running late!

Tweet white and blue print blouse: CAbi
Aqua tweed jacket: CAbi
Mini bootcut jeans: Gap
Gunmetal heels: Ann Taylor
Silver bracelet:Tiffany

The weather was so perfect today, it was almost unbelievable. The sun was out all day, but it was still crisp and cool, perfect for being outside.

Navy and teal print tunic: CAbi
Navy wool waterfall cardigan: Sportscraft
Denim leggings: Belle Curve
Black wedge boots: Wittner

See you all next week!!
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Also linking to:

Momma Go Round

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hot Ginger Tea Syrup

Winter is coming on fast here in the Southern Hemisphere, and with that comes coughs, colds, and all the other maladies that seem to strike with the cold weather. After our recent trip to Hong Kong where I rediscovered an old favourite, ginger tea, I came home determined to find an easy way to be able to have it on a daily basis, and this recipe for Hot Ginger Tea Syrup is what I came up with.
Ginger is a wonderful herb for winter; not only is it deliciously warming, but it has an amazing complement of health benefits, including being a potent antibacterial agent and a strong anti inflammatory, both wonderful things for treating and preventing coughs and colds. Combining the ginger with honey helps it last longer, and also adds the incredible properties of honey as well. I highly recommend using local raw honey if possible, but if you can't get any, then any good honey will do. I make my Hot Ginger Tea Syrup in the Thermomix, but you could easily make it on the stove top, with just a bit more time involved. This recipe makes a big batch, but you could halve or quarter it if you don't see yourself drinking it every day!

Hot Ginger Tea Syrup

300g fresh ginger, peeled
500g raw local honey
400g filtered water
  1. Chop ginger in Thermomix 5 sec/speed 5. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  2. Add honey and water and cook 10 min/100C/speed 1.
  3. Allow to cool, then strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a sterilised jar. Store in fridge.
To serve, I pour about 1cm into the bottom of a cup, then top with boiling water and a slice of lemon. It is also great with the juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon added (especially if you can feel something coming on or are already sick), or as an iced "tea" made up with chilled sparkling water.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - Winter is finally here!!

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I'm so excited! I just can't hide it!! That song just popped into my head now that autumn/winter looks as if it has finally arrived. I LOVE winter - I love the cold, the clothes, even the rain, and after this eternal summer, I was totally hanging out for it. It's not yet cold enough for coats or gloves, but after all the heat, I'll take it!

Cooler temps and a little rain meant I could break out the warm and cozy layers, especially since we were spending the last few days of the school holidays being lazy and playing games inside.

Camel knit: Lands End
Cream long sleeve tee: Lands End
Min bootcut jeans: Gap
Silver long necklace: Witchery
Leopard wedges: Sportscraft

The temp went up and down today - while the sun was out, it actually got quite warm, so layers came on and off as the day went on. This outfit took me from mini golf in the morning, work in the afternoon, and picking up my parents at the airport at 2am that night. I don't know why, and it wasn't my intention, but with the jacket on, this outfit reminds me of Joan from Elementary, my new style crush!

Black asymmetrical jersey tank: Eileen Fisher
Black leggings: TS 14+
Grey knit blazer: Ann Taylor
Black suede boots:Modern Vintage
Beige necklace: Witchery

The day started off warm and was meant to hit 27C, but by the time I went to leave the house, it had started to rain and was much cooler, so I swapped the flip flops for black and white ballets, and added my grey waterfall cardigan.
Black tee: Gap
Fuchsia jeans: Gap
Black leather flip flops: J Crew
Pink silk scarf: Sportscraft

The first day back at school, and it was cool and raining on and off. By the end of the day, I was freezing in this outfit!

Black asymmetrical jersey tank: Eileen Fisher
Black undertee: TS 14+
Grey leggings: Isabella Oliver
Black hi wedges: Wittner
Olive scarf: Eileen Fisher

Winter arrived with a vengeance today, official severe weather warning and all. It was pouring cats and dogs almost all day long (particularly seeming to coincide with drop off and pick up times!) and was even cold enough that I probably should have worn a coat.

Purple poncho knit: Jane Lamerton
Long sleeve black undertee: TS 14+
Denim leggings: Belle Curve
Black boots: MBT
Patterned scarf: a gift

See you all next week!!
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Also linking to:

Momma Go Round

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Product Review: Dove Pure Deodorant

For the last week, I have been trying out the new Dove Pure Anti-perspirant Deodorant, courtesy of Nuffnang Australia. I was sent both the aerosol and the roll-on, but since I have been using roll-ons for as long as I can remember, that is what I have been trying out for the past week. I have changed a lot of my personal care/cosmetic products to more natural versions, but "natural deodorants" just haven't cut it for me. While I wouldn't call this product "all-natural" like a deodorant crystal (which is just a tad to hippy for me), the Dove Pure deodorant is the perfect compromise for me. It has been totally effective at keeping me dry, even on a day that lasted from 7am in the morning, to 3am the following morning, while not containing any nasties such as parabens, fragrance, colouring and alcohol.

Dove Pure was easy to apply, dried quickly, and left no sticky feeling. The lack of fragrance was a bit disconcerting to start with, but I actually started to appreciate it after a few days, since the lack of added perfumes meant that a) it didn't clash with my perfume, and b) there was absolutely no stinging, even when applied straight after shaving. I also loved that the deodorant left no white marks on my clothing, especially important now that I am wearing a lot more black!

All in all, this was a definite winner for me, and I will absolutely be purchasing it again when this one runs out.

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Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post and no compensation was given to me. One roll-on and one aerosol deodorant was provided to me for review purposes through Product Talk by Nuffnang. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - Holiday Capsule Wardrobe Edition

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It has been months since I did a WIWW post, so what better way to get back into the swing of things than with a recap of my week in Hong Kong. As I said in a previous post, I created a capsule wardrobe for the Hong Kong trip, and it made life so easy - everything mixed and matched, and with the use of my accessories, I never felt bored. By the end of the trip, almost everything had been worn at least once. Since I am almost always the one taking pics on our trips, I feature only rarely in holiday snaps, so i don't have a pic for every day, but the ones I do have will give you a good idea how my capsule wardrobe panned out.

Our first day in Hong Kong was mostly spent sightseeing. While the weather wasn't overly hot, it was very humid (that is a sea of fog behind us) so this linen jersey assymetrical top was perfect as it was cool and breathable.
Black linen jersey tunic: Eileen Fisher
Black crops: Virtu
Black horn cuff: Etsy
Silver long necklace: Witchery
Silver short necklace: Pandora
Black sandals: Naturaliser

We spent the next day at Ocean Park, a huge theme park that also has some incredible animal enclosures (here are the pandas) and an enormous aquarium. Much less humid today, but much warmer, too!

Navy jersey tank: Eileen Fisher
Black crops: Virtu

Black, white and navy cotton scarf: Witchery
Black sandals: Naturaliser
Multicolored print backpack: LeSportsac

Dinner with the characters at Disney!! Disneyland was a lot of fun, and the kids were so excited to have dinner with the characters - Mickey was definitely their favourite. This CAbi tunic was perfect for Disney - light and comfortable for our time in the park, but also dressy enough to go to dinner without looking like a total slob.

Teal print tunic: CAbi
Black silky knit pants: Howard Showers
Silver bracelets: Tiffany
Silver necklace: Pandora 
Black suede wedges: Django & Juliette

See you all next week!!
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Also linking to:

Momma Go Round

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