Friday, 30 September 2011

Fashion Friday: Navy and Stripes

This week has gone so fast!!! Although, I'm hanging out for the weekend, so today will probably go slow. BC on Saturday and a footy finals gathering and catch up with mates on Sunday. Can't wait.

T-shirt: American Apparel
Skirt: Thrifted
Necklace: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Witchery

I hope you have a lovely weekend my sweets!

C xo

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Zusak makes me sob

Ok, so serious nerd alert here. I'm in a bookclub. And I LOVE it. We affectionately call it 'BC'. I think this is our fourth year of BC - some people have come and gone, there are some original members (like me) and there are lots of new members, including baby BCers. Friends of friends, work colleagues, babies. That's how we keep growing. People find out about our BC and want to be in it! That's how good it is.

So, each month someone 'hosts' BC - they pick the book that we read, the venue, date (usually the last weekend of the month) and time for BC. We all rock up, discuss the book, eat, drink, but mostly we gossip, we laugh, we catch up on each others lives. I look forward to BC every month and catching up with all of the girls, and this Saturday is our BC meet up.

We read (or in my case - are still reading) 'The Messenger' by Markus Zusak. Wow. Brilliant. Loving it. The quote above is from the book and is one of my faves. It actually triggered the tears I discuss below. I loved The Book Thief when we read it in 2009 year (I think it was 2009 - somebody correct me if I'm wrong!). The Messenger is very different to The Book Thief, but still great. Zusak has a way of bringing emotion and life into his characters and into the story. You truly feel connected to them. He is still to this day the only author that has made me sob, I mean really sob with big fat tears and a hot red face (that was The Book Thief - I highly recommend. I would actually say that The Book Thief is my favourite book). And Zusak has not failed with The Messenger. I cried. And I haven't even finished yet! Bah!

What about you? Have you ever cried whilst reading a novel?

C xo

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

CWA baking goodness

I baked this chocolate slice today (excuse blurry/dodgy photo!) from the excellence that is the Country Women's Association (CWA) Biscuits and Slices cookbook. Those ladies sure do know how to do good biscuit and slice. Recipe below.

We had some lovely visitors today - my old uni friend R and her tiny baby S. Baby S was so so tiny and so so adorable. She was born 5 weeks premature, so R and I had a lot to talk about (as Little Miss L was born 8 weeks premature).

Chocolate Slice

150 grams softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 cup cornflakes
1 cup dessicated coconut

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a slice tin
2. Cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy
3. Sift in flour and cocoa
4. Add corn flakes and dessicated coconut and mix well
5. Press into slice tin and bake for 30 minutes
6. Ice with chocolate icing. I sprinkled extra coconut over the top to make it look pretty... well, ugly pretty.

C xo

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Lip Service: Lucas Papaw Ointment

I seriously love this stuff. I never go a day without using it. I not only use it on my lips, but also on pimples, dry skin, burns, sores, blisters, Little Miss L's nappy rash... the list goes on! It works wonders.

C xo

Monday, 26 September 2011

All That Glitters

If I wasn't on a shopping ban, I'd be buying these pretty glittery things:

Kida Flats from Wittner

Talk of the Town clutch by Alannah Hill

Stila Glitter Eye Liner in Silver Lilac

p.s. Shopping ban is still going well 3 weeks in. When people doubt me it only makes me stronger. I think that my shopping bug is being satisfied by shopping for Little Miss L instead! Although I'm only buying things she needs and not going overboard. How responsible am I?

C xo

Friday, 23 September 2011

Fashion Friday: Denim shirt

Shirt: Witchery
Skirt: Country Road
Belt: Forever New
Shoes: Wittner

Quick post today. Busy busy busy. Preparations are underway for my brother in laws wedding tomorrow. Hair appointment is booked for this morning. The out-laws are babysitting Little Miss L while i'm there. Then we're off to the airport to pick up the relos and then we'll drop everyone off at the hotel. Looking forward to the wedding so much! Hope you have a good weekend too.

C xo

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Things I Love: Leona Edmiston dresses

Right, so we've already established that I'm a sucker for a dress... Now, throw in a design by Leona Edmiston and 'you had me at hello'.

I love Leona Edmiston dresses. They are so easy to wear, so comfortable, so inexplicably girly, flattering and last but not least, they don't need to be ironed which is a massive plus in the life of a mother.

The only thing I don't like is the price. Sigh. Leona has two main lines - her 'Frocks' and the 'Ruby Collection'. The Ruby Collection is designed in Australia, but made in China and therefore are priced around the $150 mark. The Frocks are designed and made in Australia and therefore come with a higher price tag to boot. This being the case, I've only ever bought a LE frock on sale, but she does do good sale!

Currently I own 11 LE dresses and I'm sure my collection will keep growing (once the shopping ban is over of course!).

C xo

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Pearls and Chains

Despite me trying to find ways to better store my mass of jewellery, I am always on the look out for cool necklaces. I love this pearl and chain one from Seed Heritage. So chunky but pretty at the same time. I wonder how easy (or hard?) it would be to DIY (seeing as I am on the shopping ban - I can't buy anything new to wear but I can make things for myself!!!).

I found this DIY pearl and chain bracelet on stripes and sequins that is similar to the pearl and chain necklace. Another thing to add to my crafty DIY to-do list!

Do you have a list as long as your arm of things you'd like to DIY? I do. And I am also a big culprit of starting a project and abandoning it half way through. So then I have lots of half done projects lying around the house. Must stop that.

C xo

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Storage Ideas

I have been searching for ways to display the mess of earrings, brooches, necklaces and bracelets that I own... I don't have a lot of space and so I've been looking for ideas that are space saving and pretty. This is such a pretty and practical way of displaying earrings. I need to visit a few vintage shops to buy an ornate frame.

via Pinterest
And I love this idea too with the pretty hooks and the frames and the small mirror! Its like a little jewellery shop on your wall.

via Pinterest 

Now I just need to find the time to do this DIY jewellery storage...

How do you store your jewels?

C xo

Monday, 19 September 2011

Hardcore Declutter

How was your weekend? I embarked on what can only be described as a Hardcore Declutter around the house. So far we have four large garbage bags of items to take to the op shop and I haven't even finished yet.

I started small. I figured that was the best way to feel like I was achieving something. I sorted out my recipe book out which was chock full of recipe cut outs and hand written recipes. Here are some before - during - and after shots.

I felt lighter and more organised when I was done. And I have even used it a few times already.

I then tackled my bag shelf - check out the bounty I found in the pockets and zippers of the numerous hand bags and clutches I utilised throughout my glory days (aka my 20's).

What does this photograph tell me about my 20's? I liked to be prepared (note the several tampons and paracetemol I found), I wore 'too tight' shoes (hence the bandaids), and I had neat hair (note the bobby pins). I'm a bit of a goody two shoes, aren't I?

In other news, I've implemented a Meat Free Monday for our evening meal. Tonight we're having corn fritters with salad and a chilli jam. Yum.

C xo

Friday, 16 September 2011

Fashion Friday: Wild Side

I'm embracing animal print. I never thought I'd say that. I used to think it was tacky and dated - but that was 19 year old me. So here I am, 11 years later and getting in on the animal print action.

Singlet: Big W
Skirt: Hand-me-down from my friend A
Cardi: Valley Girl
Shoes: Cellini

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Things I Love: Free Glossy Mags

In the past week, two of my favourite free publications were released: the Ikea mag and the Westfield Style Guide. I LOVE these and get so excited in anticipation of their arrival. Some how the Ikea magazine never makes it to my neck of the woods, so my Mum always gives me hers. Isn't she the bestest? And the Style Guide - I sign up online to receive it in the mail, but I always see it at the shops before it arrives in my post box and I end up with two copies. Oh well.

In other news - I did it. I dyed my hair. I chose Garnier Herbashine in Light Ash Brown. It took all of 10 minutes. The results: a bit darker than I expected and brown hair dye all over the bathroom. Oops. :-\

I find that I always seem to need to wear bronzer on my face when I have dark hair. Is that normal?

Its such a beautiful sunny day in Brisbane today. Little Miss L and I went for a walk up to the local park and had a picnic. We kicked off our shoes and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air. Little Miss L is almost sitting up by herself. She is growing up so fast!

C xo

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Nude foot wear

I have only just discovered the joys of nude coloured foot wear - they go with everything and seem to make short little me look taller. So in love with my Tony Bianco 'Hussey' heels. Perfect nude colour, patent peeps, and comfortable 8.5 cm heel height.

In other news, this morning I fit into some of my pre-pregnancy pants! Whoop whoop!!!

C xo

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Blonde vs Brunette

This is my ever-lasting struggle. Blonde or brunette? I naturally have a light brown/mousey hair colour (with a few grey hairs thrown in for good measure!) - the one that can easily be lightened to a caramel blonde or darkened to a chocolate brunette. Every couple of years I start thinking about changing my hair colour to the one that I am NOT sporting. I swear I must drive my hairdresser crazy some times... I currently have blonde highlights through the top of my hair (with very bad regrowth)... Being on a budget has meant that my trips to the hairdresser every 6 weeks have changed to approximately every 12 weeks (or longer!).

So, I have been thinking about dyeing my own hair at home - but I am scared to do it, a) because my hairdresser may yell at me, and b) because what if I hate it and I have to go through the whole lightening process again? Uggh.

But there are many pros for home hair colouring - cheaper; I can do it more regularly to hide those little greys; I'll get a nice even hair colour; my hair will look glossy and healthy. And changing to brunette means that I won't have the unsightly regrowth anymore. But sometimes I feel like brunette seems so boring on me - that it makes me look like a 'plain jane'... See the torment that I'm in?!!

Does anyone have any tips for me? If you dye your hair at home, which hair colour do you use? Should I go permanent or semi-permanent?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Weekend Visitors + Shopping Ban Update (Day 7)

We had lots of lovely visitors over the weekend. I love entertaining and especially baking for my guests. Friday night saw Mr B entertaining the boys with footy, pizza and scotch and I made a pear and apple crumble for dessert. Saturday we had plans to go to our friends K & M's place for a celebratory birthday dinner for K, but with the Antarctic winds blowing a gale on Saturday, they offered to come to ours and bring all of the food so we wouldn't have to get Little Miss L out in the cold. And Sunday saw the arrival of an awesome father and daughter combo all the way from Norway, and a cowboy from Dalby. These two boys were my best buddies at work and when I lived on the Gold Coast back in the day - we have all gone our separate ways now, but we still manage to keep in contact and when we all get back together we just pick up where we left off. Don't you love friends like that?

I baked this yummy Strawberry Summer cake that I found on Smitten Kitchen for Sunday afternoon tea. You can find the recipe here. It was so delicious - the sweetness of the cake and the tartness of the strawberries went perfectly together.

After afternoon tea we headed down to Southbank so the Little Norwegian could have a splash around - she loved it 11/10. It was so nice to be in the warm sunshine - we even got chocolate paddle pops and I had to take my cardi off - it felt like summer.

Right, I know you've all been waiting for a shopping ban update, so here it is. I have been on the shopping ban for a week so far and I have survived a few good sales and numerous trips to the shops without being tempted to buy something for myself. Ok, I lie, I have been tempted as there are so many pretty new season things out at the moment, but still, I have resisted purchasing by chanting in my head 'I must succeed on the shopping ban'.

I am starting to think more about my wardrobe and what I have in it and how I can maximise the use of the items I already own. In my dreams I own a computerised wardrobe ala Cher from Clueless, however in reality my plan is to take photos of my outfits and file them in a cute folder. I often forget about items that I own and if I can organise some photos of outfits then it might spark me to wear more of my wardrobe instead of the 20% that I wear 80% of the time.

So, all in all, a successful first week and I am very keen to continue on this no shopping journey.

C xo

Friday, 9 September 2011

Fashion Friday: Comfy

Today Miss L and I are venturing over to the north side of Brisbane for a play date with my beautiful God son and his lovely Mummy. Can't wait. So today's Fashion Friday post is all about comfort. I whipped out my trusty leggings and this no-iron Metalicus dresss.

Dress: Metalicus
Cardi: Veronika Maine (I do own a lot of cardigans don't I?)
Leggings: Ezibuy
Necklace: Vintage - bought from a crazy old lady at the Fortitude Valley markets many moons ago

What have you got planned for the weekend? Mr B is having the boys over tonight for footy and pizza, and tomorrow we are celebrating a friends birthday with a BBQ.

C xo

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Eating Right

Lately I've been doing a bit of research on the blood type diet (Eat Right For Your Type) by Dr D'Adamo. Miranda Kerr is a fan, and she looks great, so I thought I'd suss it out. Off to the library I went. I picked up the book and have spent the last few days reading it while Miss L naps.

The theory behind it is interesting - Dr D'Adamo has found that different blood types react differently to certain foods and some foods are better for one blood type than another. He has also found that blood type can also affect one's personality and also what type of diseases and illnesses you are prone to. Some of the characteristics he has noted in Blood Type A (my blood type) are scarily true: sensitive to the needs of others, good listeners, detail oriented, analytical, creative and inventive

He also suggests suitable exercise for each blood type. I was happy to note that gentle exercise is best for the sensitive Type A - i.e. walking, yoga, stretches, swimming, etc.

I am so keen to give this eating plan a go to see if it makes me feel better and helps me lose weight  - but it is super hardcore and eliminates some of the things I love, including beef, some dairy (cow's milk and cheese), black tea and wheat (nooooooo! I love bread).

And it is a bit 'spensive - I spent $70 at the fruit and veg shop yesterday - yikes!

I'm going to take on board some of the recommendations - cutting out a few of the food and beverage items that aren't good for my blood type, but I don't think I could make this a full time venture!

C xo

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Shopping Ban Update: Day 3

Time for an update on the shopping ban. 

via Pinterest

Its Day 3 and I have managed to unsubscribe myself from a few retailers email send-outs AND reject a shoe sale 'heads up' from a dear friend. I am so strong.

On Day 2, I did however buy Miss L a top to wear to an upcoming wedding (which she needed), and buy myself a leopard print belt that I've had my eye on with my Forever New gift card - both within the rules of my shopping ban, so its totally OK.

It does concern me slightly that I went shopping on the second day of the ban though.

C xo

Things I Love: Chocolate

Ok, this is a no brainer. Chocolate. I LOVE it. Give me a block of chocolate and I'm set. Lately I have been eating Green & Blacks organic chocolate. It is so delicious - I am particularly fond of the Mint chocolate. I have also previously tried the Ginger one, and it is also excellent, although its hard to find.

Mr B will often 'yell' at me because all of the chocolate has been eaten. I tell him he's got to be fast!

Nothing better than a couple of squares of chocolate and a soothing cup of tea in the afternoon...

C xo

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Buy Nothing New Month

Well, it seems that I am keeping up with the times people, because what did I see on KAK (Kerri-Anne Kennerley to you non-Australians) this morning, but none other than this new concept called 'Buy Nothing New Month'.

For the month of October, there is a campaign being run to buy nothing new - the aim of this campaign is to encourage people to think about their purchases and promote conscientious and sustainable buying. Whilst I've taken it one step further to not buy anything new for myself, this campaign is encouraging buying secondhand, swapping items, recycling things, and so on.  You can read about why you should not buy anything new here

I really like this idea. Whilst it may not be good for the economy, it might teach people to shop more responsibly and to also learn to live with only the essentials. So often these days we as consumers are pummeled with advertising about what we must have and what we need - we often take things for granted these days - the simple things in life are often the best.

I know this is an extreme example, but when I read The Diary of Anne Frank, she lived with only the bare minimum and came to cherish the small things during her time cooped up inside the annex. It made me realise how lucky we are these days, that we have access to anything we want, we don't have to live on rations and we can shop online and have things delivered to our door.

I have pledged to Buy Nothing New during the month of October. You can too here

Monday, 5 September 2011

My Shopping Detox

My name is Catherine, and I like to shop. I love dresses and shoes, earrings and tops, necklaces, jackets, skirts, belts and headbands. I love shopping. I love the thrill of it, of buying something new, the rush you get when you walk out of the store with your new purchase in a pretty paper bag. What I don't like is the amount of money I spend on new things when I know I have enough in my wardrobe already (and also the resultant damage this does to my credit cards!).

via Pinterest

Lately I have been tossing up the idea of a shopping ban. I know there a lot of women out there in the blogosphere who have documented their shopping ban - some people are even doing it for a whole year! They are almighty strong. Me, I am thinking a 6 month ban will be a good goal to start with, and then I can re-evaluate at that point.

I want to do this shopping ban and be serious about it. Hence, why I am blogging about it. So many times I have said to myself, 'No more shopping', but who do I have to answer to? You will keep me honest lovely blog readers.

via Pinterest

Now, I need to evaluate why I am doing this shopping ban. There are a number of reasons, firstly, because I am currently on maternity leave and we need to save as much money as we can until I return to work next year, but even then I will only be returning to work part time and the saving will need to continue.

Secondly, I think that I use shopping as a bit of a hobby, and I find that I only seem to value items when they are brand new, which is ridiculous I know, but for example - I have had a lovely Leona Edmiston dress in my wardrobe for over 2 years now and I have NEVER worn it. I am whipping it out for my brother in laws wedding in a few weeks though. And Mr B's biggest gripe is that I have several pairs of shoes in my closet that I also have never worn. Oh dear, - I am a shopaholic!

via Pinterest

So, what are the rules?

  1. I cannot buy anything I can wear (however I can spend gift vouchers that I currently have sitting in my wallet since Christmas and my birthday, and I can accept gifts of clothing, jewellery etc);
  2. I can make clothes and jewellery for myself and any supplies I need for these ventures;
  3. I can buy essential items only when needed (e.g. undies, etc)
My aim for this shopping ban is to make the best use of my existing wardrobe, to realise the potential I have within it, and to also see how it will affect me - what will I learn about myself during this time?

I hope you will support me during this time. As of today, Monday the 5th September I am officially on a shopping ban until 5th March 2012. And I will be doing a lot of window shopping in the meantime...

via Pinterest

C xo

Friday, 2 September 2011

Fashion Friday: Spring Feeling

The weather is so lovely at the moment... I love this time of year when the days are warm and the nights are cool. Its the perfect time of year. I can definitely feel and smell spring in the air, so I had to whip out my most springiest outfit for today's Fashion Friday post. I love this dress. It is so comfy to wear, and it has pockets. I love a dress with pockets.

Dress: Op shop
Cardi: Witchery

I have got an action packed weekend ahead of me... a hen's night on the Gold Coast with my future sister-in-law and my first night away from Miss L. I'm not sure how its going to go. Ideally it would be good to get a full nights sleep, but somehow I don't think that is going to happen with all the fun and frivolity that a hen's night usually entails! Father's Day is on Sunday and Mr B's very first day of this kind. We don't have any plans as yet, but maybe we'll go out for a steak lunch or something? Hope you have a good weekend!

C xo

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Celebrity Image vs Self Image

There's lots of hype in the news at the moment about supermodel mum's making us 'real' mum's feel bad about ourselves. In particular, there is a lot of focus on the gorgeous Miranda Kerr. Yes, she looks incredible, and as mother to 8 month old baby Flynn, that is an amazing feat, but I don't see what all the fuss is about? She is a supermodel for goodness sake. It's her job to look good. And she has people she can pay to help her with the baby while she exercises, and I'm pretty sure she has a chef as well that prepares all of her meals. I personally think all new Mum's need both a baby sitter and a chef (haha) but in all seriousness, I think the media is making a mountain out of a mole hill. I don't look at Miranda and think less of myself because I don't look like her, and I'm sure there are a number of other Mum's out there that do not want to beat themselves up because they don't look like Miranda Kerr.

Miranda has always advocated for a healthy body image and a positive sense of self. She has even written a book aimed at teenage girls and young adult women called Treasure Yourself which provides a number of her insights, thoughts and lessons to lead the reader on the path to self improvement.

via Dolly
This book is currently on my must read list. I've heard many positive things about it and I am so interested to read Miranda's advice. I'll be sure to let you know my thoughts once I have read it.

C xo