Monday, 31 October 2011

My Pseudo Birthday

I shopped. And it was good but slightly stressful. And it was all within the rules of my shopping ban.

All week Mr B has been talking about taking Little Miss L and I to pancakes for breakfast in the city. Which is strange because Mr B never wants to do anything on the weekend. He loves his couch time, and NEEDS his couch time and I respect that.

Anyway, so on Friday Mr B came home and he and Little Miss L handed me a very heavy envelope. In it was a card saying 'Terrific 30' and a beautiful message from my husband and my daughter saying how much they loved me, how proud they were of me, how they think I am a good Mum, and how 36 weeks ago Little Miss L came into our lives and stole focus from my 30th birthday (which was the 10th February).

On the day of my 30th birthday I spent my last day of a total 10 days in hospital after giving birth to my daughter on the 1st February and having a significant operation that saw me lose my reproductive system because of the dreaded c word. Cancer. On the 10th, I didn't open any big presents or have a big party with my friends and family like I always imagined I would. But I had my health, I had my husband, and I had my daughter, who blessed my life by assisting the Doctors in finding my cancer at my first ultrasound. And I was so so so happy with that and didn't want anything more. And IT was gone. The c word was no longer there. And I was happy. I AM happy.

That seems like a lifetime ago. But in fact it was only 9 months ago. 9 months ago I was being wheeled into surgery without knowing what the outcome of the operation would be, who this little person was, what she would be like, if I would ever get to see her grow up. But here I am. Everything turned out so well. Even better than we could have imagined.

So, back to the card.

Inside the card was 36 $10 'gift vouchers' made especially for me by Mr B. He explained that the number 36 had significance because of two reasons. 1) because it was 36 weeks since Little Miss L came into our lives, and 2) because it was to celebrate 30 years of my life and 6 months of my shopping ban.

I was so shocked and surprised and felt so loved and special. Mr B doesn't often do big romantic gestures and in fact only usually does them every 4 years. Don't ask my why, I don't even know why, he just does. It always falls in the same year as the Olympics.

My initial reaction was 'No! I don't want this! I don't need to go shopping. I don't want to go shopping'. See what this shopping ban has done to me. Its conditioned me to not like shopping. I know. Crazy.

Anyway, after I'd had some time to think about it and Mr B assured me that it was ok to shop, and I was only allowed to spend it on myself, I started planning my purchases. And this is where the STRESS started. What to get? I've got $360 to spend on whatever I want. But its my 30th birthday money so I don't just want to buy everyday ho hum items, I want to get something grand and keepsake so I will always look at it and say 'That was my 30th birthday present', but I actually need to get some basic things for summer - a hat, shorts, togs, etc. But that's BORING. Ugghhh.

So, I've bought two things so far - a Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Whoppin' Watermelon. I love it. Its so soft and the hint of colour is just gorgeous, plus the cool chubby twist up stick is pretty awesome too. Ok, I know this is not a grand 30th birthday type present, but I've wanted one for a while now, and well, its my pseudo birthday and I'll buy a lip balm if I want to.

And then I also bought a beautiful big glass vase by Georg Jensen. It was on special from David (Jones, that is) and was tall with a narrow opening, which is what I've been looking for in a vase for a loooong time because all of the other vases I own (cheap ones) have a wide opening and my flowers just flop out and look silly, but this vase, it makes a cheap $9 bunch of roses from Woolies look spectacular.

And so now I've got $230 left to spend, and I feel like I can call my vase my 'big keepsake 30th birthday purchase' and now just buy stuff that I want/need. Now I've just got to figure out how best to do that in the most bang-for-your-buck kind of way! Stay tuned.

And, if you're still reading this - well done you! I think this is my longest blog post ever in the history of my blog!

C xo

Friday, 28 October 2011

Fashion Friday: Nautical

I can't believe its Friday again. This week has gone so fast!

Today's Fashion Friday post is a bit uninspired. We're having a day around the house and running some errands so comfort was the key factor here:

Dress: second hand Katies dress (inherited from my Mum)
Belt: vintage
Flats: Barkins

What have you got planned for the weekend? I've got BC on Saturday - we're reading The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell. I know. Quality reading. I'm allowed to say that because I picked the book. I'm a bit of an SATC fan so I wanted to read this to see what it was like. I'm a bit 'meh' over it.

Mr B is also planning on taking us girls to pancakes on the weekend. Yummo. My fave!

Hope you all have a fab weekend.

C xo

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Meal Planning Woes

via Pinterest

Meal planning. I hate it. Every night trying to think of something yummy but healthy, easy and quick to cook for dinner. It requires so much effort, and organisation and planning. We do a weekly grocery shop, but if I don't get my butt into gear prior to the shop and pick a few new recipes to try out, we end up eating the same meals... usually an easy mexican night (burritos or tacos), spaghetti, some kind of stir fry, steak and vegies, chicken kebabs and salad, meatballs and vegies.

Lately I have been trying to mix it up a bit. I introduced 'meatfree Monday' which means I HAVE to get creative and make something tasty and new because Mr B will not settle for bland (he loves his meat). A new fave is corn fritters with chilli relish and salad.

I also have a lot of recipe books, so I went through them and picked a few recipes out that I knew picky Mr B would like, and I've tagged them with a little yellow sticky note to remind me that we've had that recipe AND it got the thumbs up from Mr B. I'll often forget about recipes that we've tried and liked, so this is a good reminder for me.

But sometimes I just get so frustrated with the whole meal planning and cooking dinner process... Its tough! For just one night I'd like Mr B to take control in the kitchen and cook ME dinner... actually, I'd like to challenge him to do it for a whole week including doing the grocery shopping. Then he'd see how hard it is. I know he can cook. He's actually quite good in the kitchen, and I always love watching him because he's very careful and exacting with how he does things, and he likes to pretend he's a Jamie Oliver type cook talking to the camera and explaining what he's doing. But he uses the old excuse of 'you're better at it than me' and says he'd rather take us out for dinner than cook it.


And next year, when I return to work for 3 days a week, its going to be even more annoying and tough! Working AND having to do groceries and meal planning and look after a baby. I think I'm going to have to implement some kind of Mr-B-cooks-on-certain-nights roster (yes, you heard right Mr B)!

C xo

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Signature Scent

Do you have a signature scent? Or do you have about 5 different fragrances that you wear when you feel like it?

I'm the latter. Currently I have Chanel Mademoiselle (my fave), Marc Jacobs Daisy, Miss Dior Cherie (nearly finished), and Body Shop Vanilla sitting on my dresser.

I'm on the hunt for a new fragrance to add to my Christmas wish list. I find that I'm attracted to the floral and the musky/oriental type fragrances at the moment.

So far, these are my Top 5:

Naughty Alice by Vivenne Westwood

Michael by Michael Kors

Lou Lou by Cacharel

Nina by Nina Ricci

Gucci by Gucci

When I was at my Nan's house over the weekend, I got to sample a few of the bottles she had (she had Lou Lou and Nina). I always prefer to spray the perfume on my skin and smell it a few hours later to see how it changes and reacts with my skin. You don't get the same effect when you spray it on those bits of cardboard.

C xo

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Quilt love

How divine is this gorgeous, textured quilt?

I love the colour as well. It looks so serene. And it goes perfectly with the floral pillow. I would love this for our bedroom. You can buy them here.

C xo

Monday, 24 October 2011

Chocolate Fudge Bars

I have made this slice twice in 2 days last week... It is seriously that good. And chocolatey. And fudgey. And easy. And quick. Which is exactly what you want and need. I found it on Chantelle's blog Fat Mum Slim which is an excellent read. You should check it out.

C xo

Friday, 21 October 2011

Fashion(ably Late) Friday: Packing

I'm sorry for the late Fashion Friday post. Its been one of THOSE days *sigh*. Little Miss L woke on and off continuously between 1:30am and 4:00am and then at 4am she decided that she was ready to start her day. She always wakes like that when she's coming down with a cold... and low and behold what happens today, the runny nose starts, the constant sneezing begins. So we had lots of cuddles and couch time today.

I must say though, that starting your day at 4am makes for a very productive day. I'd done three loads of washing, pureed some apples for Little Miss L, made the bed, washed my face, done the dishes - all before 8am. But a 4am start means morning tea is at 8:30am - out came the chocolate slice and a big frothy home made soy latte. I figured I'd been up for 4 hours already so it was ok. And then my Mum arrived just before 10 with big coffees from McCafe. She is a life saver.

Anyway, back to the fashion. I thought I'd show you what I'm packing for my trip up north. We're going for 4 days and 3 nights. I always find it hard to pack. What if the weather changes and I'm not prepared? What if I change my mind and don't feel like wearing the outfit I packed? There is no such thing as 'packing light' when it comes to me. I like a selection of outfits and options just in case!

Here's what I packed:

  • Undies, bras and pj's
  • 3 x dresses (one casual and two that can be dressed up just in case I go out somewhere)
  • 1 x black jersey skirt
  • 3 x tops which I can wear on their own or layer
  • Cream blazer
  • Workout gear (for the afternoon walks with Little Miss L)
  • Nude wedges (can be worn casually or dressed up)
  • Black Havaianas
  • Tan flats
  • 2 x belts (one leopard print and one brown)
Actually, I think this is considered 'packing light' for me! Are you a good packer? Or do you overdo it like I do?

Hope you have a lovely weekend planned my sweets!

C xo

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Missing Out

I'm feeling all sad and forlorn this morning, for two reasons...

One. I realised today that I'm going to miss out on the one and only Liz and Phil (aka The Queen and Prince Phillip) visiting Brisbane. My Mum, Little Miss L and I are heading up north for a few days to visit the relo's and hence will be away when she touches down in Brisbane on Monday. Damn! I was so looking forward to seeing her and checking out what kind of superior hat and brooch combo she'd whip out for sunny Queensland.

And two. There is a mega ridiculous sale on heels at Wittner at the moment. Crazy, ridiculous, cheap prices! Heels that once were $149.95 are now $29.95. Oh, the inhumanity! (bit dramatic, aren't I?) Damn shopping ban. The sale is only on in store, so if you live close to one (in the words of Faux Fuchsia) RUN! DON'T WALK!

C xo

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Style vs Trends

Do you dress for style or trends? Or a mixture of both?

I like to think that I dress for style with a sprinkling of trend driven stuff thrown in for good measure.

I'm a big believer in dressing for your shape and wearing clothes that fit you properly, rather than wearing the latest and greatest colour/skirt/top/pant etc just because its 'in'.

I love looking at street style blogs for fashion inspiration. Here are a few of my faves:

Vanessa Jackman is an Australian photographer and has a keen eye for style. She often photographs at all of the big fashion shows.

via Vanessa Jackman

Lucy Laucht is a British girl who has lived in Brisbane, and now lives in New York. She has the most awesome sense of style and is great at mixing high street fashion with vintage finds and designer goodies. p.s. and she owns that awesome Mulberry bag that I so covet! Jealous!

via Lucy Laucht

Dear Golden  (Lauren) has THE most amazing vintage style. She almost never ever buys anything new, and she always looks great. Her outfit posts are few and far between, but she hand picks all of the vintage items that you can buy in her etsy store and these items are often in her wardrobe for a while first before she sells them, so you know they're going to be good. My sister J loves this vintage etsy store and has bought a smattering of lovely vintage items from here.

via Dear Golden

And here are a few images that are inspiring me right now:

All images via Pinterest
Do you like to dress for style or for trend? Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?

C xo

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Being Happy with Mediocrity

My friend L sent me a link to an article last week that triggered the thoughts behind this blog post. Mediocrity. It sounds like such a bad word. Mediocre. Average.

Urban Dictionary defines mediocre as:

Not good, not bad, but a negative term nonetheless. Often used to describe something that is average, but was expected to be much better.
But why? Why should it be seen as a negative thing? Why aren't we happy with our mediocre, average, every day lives?

It seems to be drummed into us from an early age, this need to always be striving for bigger, better things. Better job, more money, bigger car, bigger house. And whilst yes, always striving for more does have its benefits, why can't we just pause for a while, and appreciate what we've already got?

I had a health scare last year, and it made me realise that life is too short. I realised that I didn't want to always be wishing I had more or had the biggest and bestest things. I had to stop for a while and really put things into perspective. I now like to sit and reflect on that time when I'm feeling low or when I'm looking at someone who I think has everything. I have to remember that I do have everything. I have my health, a husband who loves me, a beautiful baby, wonderful friends, a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my belly.

See, mediocrity doesn't have to be that bad.

I hope you can pause for a while today and appreciate the wonderful things you have in your life.

C xo

Monday, 17 October 2011

Spend and Save: Tan leather bag

I am totally coveting this Mulberry bag. It is timeless. It is large and could carry many things. It is expensive. Oh my, it is 600 pounds worth of expensive.

I found this bag today out at Garden Way Home and Garden. Its not as pretty as the Mulberry one but it is slightly cheaper at $229 (Mr B are you taking note for future Christmas / birthday ideas??!!!).

C xo

Friday, 14 October 2011

Fashion Friday: Stars and Stripes

I have been watching The Today Show all week - they are in New York and its making me wish I was back there too. Absolutely love that place.

So today I whipped out some stars and stripes in a homage to the good ol' US of A.

Necklace: Made by me!
T-shirt: Witchery
Skirt & belt: Cue
Shoes: Seed Heritage

Have a happy weekend y'all!

C xo

Thursday, 13 October 2011

In a nail colour rut

Every time I go to the chemist (which is a lot because I have a baby who often needs stuff from the chemist), I look longingly at the new, pretty, shiny, colourful nail polishes. I told myself that I wouldn't buy anything I could WEAR on my shopping ban, and that (unfortunately) includes make up, nail polish, perfume, etc.

But I am totally in a nail colour rut. I have all your of your classics - reds, pinks, corals, neutrals and even a sparkly silvery glitter and a dark slate grey/black. But I am bored with them and totally loving all of the fun, bright, citrusey (yeah, that's a word) colours that are out now for Spring/Summer.

I really want to try these, and my chemist has them at 2 for $10. Bargain.

Do you like to wear bright colours on your nails?

C xo

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The dreaded shopping

So, we all know that I love shopping, but there's a few things that I absolutely dread shopping for... togs and jeans. Uggh. Even just thinking about it makes me shudder.

When October (Buy Nothing New Month) is up, I am granting myself a leave pass to buy a pair of togs using my DJ's gift card that I have been holding on to.

When I had Little Miss L, I also had a big operation at the same time which left me with a large unsightly scar running vertically up my tummy. So my numerous bikinis and tankinis are no longer a valid swimwear choice, hence the need to hit the shops and do that one piece swimwear shopping that I so dread.

I have started doing a bit of browsing online to see what's around. I want a style that is classic but a little bit sexy; flattering and able to magically transform me into Miranda Kerr (haha). At first I thought I'd go for a black pair of togs, but these are really catching my eye:

Jets 50's style halter in indigo and white

Seafolly one piece with ruching and optional straps

Jets spot boy leg one piece

I like them all for their tummy hiding capabilities (patterns, ruching, etc). I love the spotty ones but I am such a shorty, I think the boy leg would only make me look shorter.

Which ones do you like?

C xo

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The fashion pack comes to the 'burbs

So, Little Miss L and I rocked up at Westfield Garden City this morning for our weekly dose of 'Babies Books and Rhymes' at the library, only to find a packed car park and a glossy white stage set up in centre court... It was then that I realised that stylist extraordinaire Gok Wan was appearing live today. Excited much? You bet.

We sang our nursery rhymes to a packed house (so many babies - Little Miss L loved it - big smiles all round), and then we headed to the Shingle Inn for milk, coffee and a choc raspberry muffin.

Much needed soy latte & choc raspberry muffin

Outfit shot
Little Miss L wore the colour of the season - orange - in an ensemble from Target (she is bang on trend that girl although kept being mistaken for a boy - seriously, there's flowers on her outfit!), and I wore my pink roses Timeless by Vannessa Tong dress.

And then we went to centre stage and waited. And waited. And waited. Well, we only waited about 45 minutes, but that seems like an eternity when you've got an impatient 8 month old. She eventually fell asleep in the pram. And then Gok arrived to loud cheers, applause and thumping music and woke Little Miss L up. D'oh!

With babe in arms I avoided the rude shoppers who kept pushing in front of me (seriously, they were so rude) and watched Gok. He was funny and entertaining, but kept reminding us that he was gay. Ok, we get it. You're gay. Just show us your makeover skills! But I missed these. Little Miss L got bored, so we left.

A good mix of people and styles in the crowd

Gok Wan wooing the crowd

It was fun checking out the crowd... There were your typical suburban Mum's, Grandmas, teenagers, middle aged women, the fashion-fashion girls and the gay boys. I scored some Dove samples and Schick discount vouchers. All in all, a fun outing for this Mum and her bub.

C xo

Monday, 10 October 2011

3 hours of bliss

3 hours. To ourselves. Without baby. It was bliss. Here's a recap on the night - the outfits, the food, the arguments haha.

I wore this:

Dress: Leona Edmiston
Brooch to hold together dress so as not to flash the waiter: Mimco
Shoes: Martinez Valero
Earrings: My vintage style chandelier earrings worn on my wedding day. Can't quite remember wear I got them!
Clutch (lying on messy bed): Leona Edmiston

Mr B wore Ben Sherman shirt and Levi (I think) jeans

We arrived at the restaurant (Alchemy) around 7:30pm and hit the bar for a drink. As decided in the car, Mr B was to be the designated driver, so I could drink to my hearts content (which means having about 2 drinks. I am such a cadbury).

I ordered a Lychee Lust cocktail and Mr B went for a Peroni Leggera. Then we went to our table. We had an excellent view of the Story Bridge.

We ordered our entree and mains. I got the scallops for entree and lamb for main. Both excellent, especially the scallops. Mr B had a beef-o-rama and ordered ribs for entree and Alchemy's signature beef cheeks for main. I would have had photos to show you, but Mr B largely protested my photo taking at dinner and jested with me that it was obvious I don't come into the city very often nor go out to fancy restaurants (he works in the city and often dines out for work related purposes). Hence the argument portion of the evening. Despite this, nearly every couple around us was either taking photos of their food or of the view. So Mr B had to pull his head in. And I took a photo of my dessert, complete with 'Happy Anniverary' written in chocolate. I resisted the urge to swipe that chocolate away with my finger. I ordered a chocolate honeycomb bar and Mr B got the souffle of caramelised apple. I even scored a glass of dessert wine compliments of the house.

Overall an excellent dining experience. Food was good. Company was even better. We had a great time making up the background story of all the other diners in the restaurant, especially the 40 something old woman dating the at least 60 something old man flashing around his money and buying expensive caviar and vodka.

C xo

Friday, 7 October 2011

Update - No Shopping. No Buying Anything New.

Right. Mr B is out at a work function, Little Miss L is tucked up in bed, so I thought what better opportunity do I have to update you all on my shopping ban and my participation in Buy Nothing New Month.

First of all, the shopping ban. I've survived a month of zero, zilch, nada shopping for myself. A WHOLE month. Let me tell you, I am a bit proud of myself. When I told my out-laws that I was on a shopping ban, they laughed in my face! They don't think I'll be able to do it. But let me tell you, the doubt of others only makes me stronger. Even Mr B said to me the other night that he thinks I will just revert to my old shopping obsessed self when the 6 months is up, but I don't think I will. Even a month of not shopping for myself has made me realise that I was obviously doing it to fill a void, and I was buying things that I don't need. The shopping ban has already taught me to really think about what I have in my wardrobe and to figure out what I really need. I am embarrassed to say that the three outfit options below have never ever been worn before. I have three beautiful dresses just sitting there, unworn. What a waste! That's why this shopping ban is so so so good for me. I am cutting down on the unnecessary buying and 'shopping my wardrobe'. Man, it feels good. I've even found myself being really really careful about how I spend my gift vouchers I have sitting in my wallet since Christmas and my birthday. I value these gift vouchers so much and want to make sure I make the best use of them. I have come a long way people, a long way. I wonder what five more months will do?!!

And Buy Nothing New Month. Holy moly its hard. I have to really make a conscious effort not to buy brand new things (apart from groceries, hygiene products, medicine, etc). I want to take Little Miss L swimming, but alas, we have no togs for her. I can buy second hand, but didn't know if that was a bit gross for baby swimmers??? Who knows what the previous owner did in those togs?!! I guess we'll have to wait until November to go swimming. And Little Miss L is growing so fast... she's nearly out of her 00 clothes so we might have to hit the op shops for some size 0 outfits this month.

So there you have it. The update. Now, I might go and wash my hair, put a face mask on, and tuck in to a bowl of Peters Light & Creamy raspberry ripple icecream with a dark chocolate TimTam mushed into it. Yum!

C xo

Fashion Friday: Let's put it to a vote

So, my slopping around the house outfit today is highly unworthy of a Fashion Friday blog post, hence why I thought I'd do something a little different today. Mr B and I are going out on our anniversary dinner date tomorrow night at a fancy schmancy restaurant in the city, so I need you to help me choose what to wear.

Here are the options:

Outfit 1:
Black dress, blue heels

Outfit 2:
Watermelon red dress & black sparkly heels

Outfit 3:
Pale pink & lace dress and pink sparkly wedges

Send me your vote in the comments box below!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend filled with fun, family, food and friends.

C xo

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Happy Anniversary Mr B

Four years ago I walked down the aisle with the biggest grin on my face... I married the love of my life. We have been through a lot in the past 4 years of marriage - travel, mortgage, illness, child - and throughout it all, you have been my rock Mr B. I know you're going to read this and shake your head and think its so cliche, but its true. I don't know where I'd be without you. I love you. Happy anniversary.

C xo

p.s. found this diagram and thought you'd like it, seeing as its from your favourite song and all :-)  (hehe personal joke)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Snapshots of my day

I had one of those days. Little Miss L woke up on and off several times between 2am and 4am, I spilt my tea on our rug (while rushing to clean up a Little Miss L vomit), I couldn't get a reservation at the restaurant we wanted for our 4 year wedding anniversary tomorrow, I had to travel out to the sticks to pick up our groceries because I missed the online reservation for delivery this morning. Uggh. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

Hear is a few snapshots of my day:

Porridge & berries for brekky

Spilt tea on the rug :-(

Burgen Fruit & Muesli toast for afternoon tea

Getting Little Miss L ready for her bath
C xo

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

I have betrayed you iPhone

So, I have had to be a grown up and get my own phone. For years I have only had a work mobile phone - work was quite flexible in letting me use it for personal purposes, however with me moving to the Brisbane office next year, I had to give up my mobile phone which was a 'perk' of working in the Gold Coast office.

I decided to stray from the iPhone crowd and be an individual and get the Samsung Galaxy SII. So far, I'm loving it. Although I do miss some of the cool iPhone apps - especially Instagram. I have managed to find a cheap imitation though. Introducing Mytubo.

Behold, my first Mytubo photo. My pretty lamp from Freedom sitting on my side table in the lounge room in the 80's filter style.

C xo