Monday, March 30, 2009

Skin Care

Well, I am blessed in many, many ways, but not in the ways of the skin. At 32 I still have reasonably bad skin, yet I look after my skin better then anyone I know.

I cleanse, tone and moisturise twice a day, always wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water, yet I still have blackheads, and a bit of acne. I know, everyone has their cure, and I have tried just about everyone of them, from rubbing fresh tomato over my face to smothering my skin with calamine lotion every night. Didn't work for me!

But I early last year we introduced an organic skincare line to our boutique, and (as you would expect after 20 years of bad skin), I was skeptical, but willing to give it a go. Jewell skincare is organic and natural (and not a bad price either), and whilst it has taken a few months, I am noticing a difference to my skin. I can't say why, maybe because it is gentle and am I not sucking every bit of oil out of my skin, and I finally have a little bit of balance. Whatever the reason, I am happy!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Winter Wears

I am soooo sick of the hot weather.  I am from the tropics originally, so when I moved down South, it was a whole new wardrobe I had to find for the beautiful crisp air (hard job, but someones got to do it).   I remember waiting at the train station with my knees hurting I was so cold.  And the beautiful feeling of coming home after a hard days work, having a HOT shower, and putting on the flanny pj's, slippers, bed socks, dressing gown, and then curling up under a blanket.  Ah bliss!!

Now, it seems winter is in hiding.  Maybe I am more acclimatizes, or maybe it is global warming, but autumn (what autumn, it seems Summer has moved in on Autumns turf) and winter last for about a month, and then the hot weather starts again.  Well I have a cupboard full of jumper, cardigans, coats, scarves and boots that I want to wear.  Being a full time mum now, they seem to get an outing about once a year.  I must admit it is a bit easier to look lets say...... less polished in winter, but I haven't yet gone the all day tracksuit look.  Even though at times it would be blissful, I will not go down that road yet.  Jeans and a nice cardie for me, and maybe when I am in my retirement village knitting my great grand kids booties (who I am kidding, I will be buying them), I might relent and go the tracksuit.  Maybe.

Anyway, for those of you who do get to celebrate winter, the Trench is the biggest item this year.  Very versatile jacket it is to.  Pop a bold belt with it for a great look.  It also looks great with jeans, fine for work with tailored trousers or a pencil skirt, or team it with the winters other big look - ski-pants.  Yes they are back.  I believe they are a lot like the skinny jeans, you really need to embrace the lollipop look (all head, no body - a look I will never understand) to get away with it, but if you are comfortable, do it!

Womens' Beauty Rituals

I have a wedding to attend tomorrow. And, as I painstakingly painted my nails tonight (yes, attempted french polish), it got me thinking about the beauty rituals women do. In some ways, it doesn't matter what part of the world we live in, we all do some sort of beauty ritual for special occasions. It starts a week before the event - the waxing, hair, tanning, nails, a little extra moisture into the feet for those open toe shoes.. and the list goes on.
Preparing for such events prompts us to take a little more time out for ourselves - I love it!
Which leads me to this funny story.. I wanted a light tan so had put a great loreal lotion on over the past few days to build it up to a nice shade. I was quite pleased with how even and natural looking I had applied it. However, today my 2 yr old boy and I were lying on the couch watching Thomas and he looked at my feet and said 'Mum, your feet dirty'.. I said 'No they are not!' but had to laugh to myself. Maybe the tan wasn't so neat on the feet! ha. I had the dirt look going on.. Oh well..

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Noosa Holiday and Australia Zoo

Well I am back today from a great holiday at Noosa with the family and some great friends.  And a wonderful, relaxing time was had by all.  I didn't take a computer which I was nervous about, running an on-line business and all, but it was the best thing I could have done.  Row did a fantastic job (as I knew she would) of keeping everything running smoothly, and I didn't work at all (accept for designing a few sneeky kids shirts - Noosa got the creative juices flowing).

On our last day of holiday's we packed the car up, said goodbye to our friends, and headed off to Australia Zoo.  It was a really great day, although the kids were scatty they were so tired from the week of swimming and sun.  In hind-sight, we should have gone at the start of the holiday, but regardless it was great.  We saw every animal in the zoo, and my 4 year old, who is normally quite timid around animals, insisted on getting her photo taken with an ENORMOUS python.  So we said yes, and nervously watched as the trainers wrapped with 5 metre snake around her.  She was unfazed.....  the most she had to say about it was that the snake felt heavy and slimy.

I would love to post some photos of our experience, but in our true style we forgot our camera and had to resort to using...... a disposable.  How quickly we forget the old.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kid's name labels make light work!

Once children reach the age for kinder/school, parents soon realise that name labels come in very handy! There are a number of companies out there who make labels, therefore it can sometimes feel a bit confusing knowing if one is any better than others. I don't know if they really do vary that much in quality. However, one company that I have used and have proven to do the job well is - that's mine - - The iron on and stick on work very well, I have never had problems with them peeling off. There are also funky colours and designs to choose from for both boys and girls. It makes the garment/item look very neat with a professional name label stuck on.
I love them! Please feel free to share your favourite label providers too!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Enhance your assets!

Today I am skipping the bit where we talk about clothes and going straight to what is underneath them - underwear! I am guessing most of us have seen Trinny and Suzanna in action with their funny, helpful and sometimes rather un-tactful tips (that are true!). The one thing I can definately relate to though, is their constant advise to get GOOD underwear. It can totally transform your look. My favourite - the organic underwear range, it is so soft and so comfortable (Target sells it, others stores may also sell it) Share your best underwear finds, I am sure we could all use the advice!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cooking Classes are a great gift idea!

Yesterday I shared a favourite salad of mine for you all to enjoy. It got me thinking about a great gift I was given at christmas by my lovely sister. She gave me a voucher for a cooking class at Pips Cooking School - - I absolutely love Italian food and have therefore booked into the Authentic Italian class. I am going in May, so will keep you posted on how I go! Can't wait. Stuck on a gift idea for someone special? This is such a great idea, its something that we don't always think to buy ourselves and we are getting our creative juices flowing! Or, do you know someone who doesn't get much time to themself? This will encourage them to take time out and enjoy food and wine with the class after.. Sounds pretty good to me!

Roast Potato and Feta Salad

I just love sharing and receiving tried and tested receipes. Here is one that whenever I make it, I will always be asked for the receipe. It's a fantastic salad to accompany with a BBQ, quiche or for a light lunch. Enjoy!

Roast potato and feta salad
1/3 cup flaked almonds
1kg orange sweet potato, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
Olive oil spray
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
150g baby rocket, washed, dried
150g Persian feta, drained. (I also use Greek)
Balsamic dressing
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat over to 220C. While oven is heating, put almonds on a tray. Put in oven and cook for 4 - 6 minutes or until toasted. Set aside to cool.
2. Line a large roasting dish with non-stick baking paper. Put sweet potato in dish, spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 - 50 minutes or until tender and golden. Leave to cool.
3. To make balsamic dressing: Combine all ingredients in a screw top jar. Shake to combine. Remove lid. Microwave on HIGH for 10 seconds or until honey is melted. Shake to combine.
4. Arrange rocket on a platter. Scatter over the sweet potato. Crumble over the feta and sprinkle with almonds. Pour on dressing and serve.
Make ahead: The almonds can be toasted up to 2 days ahead. The dressing can be make up to 2 days ahead. Store both in airtight containers in the fridge.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wardrobe Clean Out Time?

It goes without saying that I love clothes, but more importantly, finding just the right pieces to suit my style! But, isn't it amazing how much our style and taste can change so much as the years go by! Today, i had the urge to clean out my wardrobe - and it felt great! I can go to my shelves and hangers now and pretty find everything that 1. fits me or 2. that I still wear. It also creates room for some new pieces to be added back in! So, my question is, when was the last time you had a clean out of your wardrobe?? You might even find a few items you can re-vitalise with a scarf, funky belt etc!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cute Cards

I have come across this great on-line store call Mondo Cherry -

They make the cutest cards (among other things), and the reason really struck a cord with me.  I have a house FULL of books, and come from a house with every wall adorned with bookshelf full of books, of all different genre.   Both of my parents are huge readers, and apart from a brief spell of rebellious ignorance, I LOVE to read (although with two little ones, I am more prolific with under 5 year old books, then anything else).  Thankfully my two little ones also love to read (and I am trying to encourage my husband, who is more in touch with pop culture then I would like, to become ONE OF US).  My smallest usually wakes quite early and instead of waking us up (bless him), with plop himself before the bookshelf and read (aloud) until we are all awake.

However with little ones, and life in general, books don't always remain in immaculate condition.  Although this is life, it also saddens me to see this, and the girls from Mondo Cherry obviously feel the same as they have made these little cards from books that are a little more then worse for ware.  

It is lovely to see this sort of creativity in such a disposable world.  

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fashion Problems

I am the first to admit I am a bit of a slave to fashion.  It really makes me feel good to put something nice on, and I think every women has the right to feel lovely in what they wear.  However, sometimes that comes at a cost.  

I had not long ago bought myself a beautiful but very long floral skirt.  And me being a shorty (5.2"), I really had to take the skirt up.  But as is normal for me, I couldn't wait to wear it and decided that I could deal with a dragging hemline for a night. - nice pair of heels and no one will be the wiser.  So we had a dinner party and our lovely guests arrived.  Night was going well - most of the kids had passed out in front of the tv  watching "Ice Age" and the finally the adults had had a chance to talk at a normal level and enjoy their dinner and wine without endless requests for milk.

The night was drawing to an end and I had decided to carry my little 2 year old up stairs to bed, so the other kids didn't wake him when they left.  So both arms were cradling my little one as I proceeded upstairs (shoeless), but with every step I took I stepped on my skirt, making it creep down my hips a little more each time.  I could do nothing but keep going, and hope no one was looking, but unfortunately by the top step all that was covering my bum was my pink knickers.  And my guest were now all looking at me from the bottom of the stairs - all to stunned to turn the other way.

You live and learn!!  Tell us your embarrassing fashion statement.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Children's Craft

I have two very active children, and when a daytime sleep is just not an option, the next best thing to do is to sit them down with craft.  Generally it is a very pleasant experience, lots of sharing, and compliments flying left right and centre, but today was a little different.  My oldest has just started Kindy and as such is learning lots of new things - one of her favourite things to do cutting and glueing, which she is very good at for a four year old.  However, now the 2 year old wants to do the same thing.  I am a pretty relaxed mum and like my children to experience things rather then wrap them up in cotton wool, but the use of scissors is a little more of an anxiety builder - especially when combined with fighting.  However all in all it went well, until I found that my 2 year old had decided to do a little creative cutting on his clothing.... and his sisters.  Don't ask me how I missed this little slip up when I was sitting right next to him, but it happened.  Ah well.

Regardless of these little incidents I think craft can be one of the most gratifying projects a child and parent can do together.  It is fun, they kids are using their fine motor skills and problem solving skills, and they are using their imagination.  Another great project is planting seeds and/or plants.  Although you have to be careful with the combination of potting mix and children (potting mix is toxic), it is a great way to get kids interested in the environment and they are absolutely chuffed when they see seeds growing into seedlings, flowers emerging, and plants growing.  (It is a great gift idea for little ones too.  Instead of buying endless presents that I'm sure most kids don't even give a second look to, try giving a potplant holder and a packet of seeds, or seedlings ready to be planted).  Check out this site for some more great info on kids and gardening:

We would love to hear more craft ideas of kids - let us know your favourites.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kids and Food

Being the mum of two under four I fill my life with my beautiful friends and their wonderful kids.  It saves my sanity and give the kids a different focus from drawing on the carpet or making new and improved colours from my make-up.  So today was lovely, with 8 mums and double the amount of children running around.

One lovely mum thoughtfully brought a delicious chocolate cake, which the kids swooped on.  Being from 1-5 years of age, cleanliness is never a major issue is their lives, and therefore there was chocolate from top of the head to the feet.  Not only was it all over them, but all over me, the walls, the floor and the carpet.  (anyone know how to get chocolate out of the carpet??).  Nevertheless, as the ad goes, life is meant to be messy, and there is nothing sweeter then seeing the kids having a wonderful time together.  Ah motherhood.

The Power of Gratitude

The saying 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' rings so true. Have you ever kept a 'Gratitude Diary?'. All you need is a notebook, and taking a few moments before sleep each night to jot down the thing/moment that you were most grateful for that day. It can be as simple the enjoyment you felt cooking with your child, sitting quietly reading with them, talking with your neighbour, having a cup of tea with your best friend!
(To get you started, why don't you cover your notebook in pictures of your top 5-10 favourite 'things' in life!).
I found from keeping one, I started to appreciate all of the wonderful little moments I have each day. I had more to be grateful for than I realised!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Beautiful Things

We are in our first week of blogging! It is a whole new world out there for us in the bloggging community. We are mums of two (each) small children, which we find incredibly rewarding, although we do each have a strong addiction to chocolate and coffee! However being a mum, you do tend to lose your identity somewhat, which is why we decided to inject a bit of creativity into our lives and start our online store It has proven to be a great labour of love - and our sanity.

Our theme at the moment is "things of beauty". I have a funny story to share which I am sure we can all relate to doing at one time or another. My family and I spent last sunday with friends who have been impacted by the Victorian Bushfires. We spent the morning pulling wire from burnt fences on their property to prepare it for re-wiring. While we were working away, we had a conversation about how it's sad that we need to lock our houses up like fort-knox these days - even when just going down the paddock..
After a good day's work and being away from my home (in town) from 9am - 4pm, we pulled up at our front door. To my horror, as I walked up to it, I found my screen and front door wide open! No, I hadn't been broken into - I had left it open! Just walked out the door that morning and completely forgotten to close it. Ha! What a relief to see that all of our goods were just as we had left them. But even better, the realisation that our quiet little street in the suburbs is fairly safe as well! It was quite liberating to think of what could have been, but didn't happen! Phew!
Have you ever done that? Share your similar stories..