Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ragdoll cats

I am feeling rather weary today.  It has been a hot day, and the kids and I have been at home all day, which sounds relaxing but can be rather exhausting when trying to keep them entertained.  It has been nice nevertheless.  I am shamelessly going to blame my tiredness on my cats.  We love them dearly but they are such monsters and are dirty stop outs.  One work me at 3 in the morning to be let out (toilet break) and the other woke me at 3.30 to let in.  We don't normally let our cats stalk the streets at night, but that was the night that was.

Our cats are RSPCA survivors which we adopted about 10 years ago when they were only 6 weeks old.  I think that we will always be RSPCA supporters and only ever adopt animals that aren't lucky enough to have a pedigree but it doesn't stop my yearning for a Rag Doll Cat. 

Our cats, whilst affectionate on "their" terms are not lap cats, and after growing up with a cat always on my lap as soon as I sat down, I really miss that.  Now I have two children constantly on my lap so I shouldn't complain, but patting a cat is a great stress release and it would be nice if my two would be obliging occasionally. 

I always remember my Grandmother working on whatever Handmade item she had taken an interest in, be it embroidery, crocheting or knitting in "her" chair with her tiny Burmese Cat permanently on her lap.  Nick named "The Brown Bomber" by my father she hated everyone except my Gran, but she was very cute.  One day......

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kids and Chocolate Cake

With two young children my husband and I are pretty active on the weekend - park, pool, visits.  However with my husband away this weekend it is just the three of us, which is sort of nice for a change although we are all missing the forth one very much.

As is family tradition I guess, we sort of have Rafferty's Rules when the dynamics change somewhat.  Dinner is toasted cheese sandwiches, we have a movie night and all pile on the couch together with our dinner,  and by the end of the day a very messy house.  So the kids and I had big plans for this weekend to just relax and see where the weekend takes us. 

It has not gone SO well to this point and it is only Saturday midday.....  The kids have fought non-stop and we have not had a fun morning.  There was a straw that broke the camels back which ended in both kids having some "time to their selves" in there room for 30 minutes (I needed a bit of time in my room as well).  It seemed to have solved the situation and we went onto make a very successful chocolate cake for an afternoon park date with friends.

Rather then trying to create a delicious looking cake, I let the kids go wild with the icing and resisted all urges to even things up.  Anyway, it doesn't really matter how a chocolate cake is iced - it always looks delicious.  They did a pretty good job to, although I'm not entirely sure of the ratio of cake to icing, I have a suspicious that a lot of the icing was secretly consumed before it made it to the cake!!  Who can resist - really!

Hope your are enjoying your weekend.
Jen & Row

Our favourite Blog This week. . It is obviously a popular blog given the number of followers, but I can see why. Beautiful photography goes a very long way, and the author of Lobster and Swan has it down pat.

This blog is a mixture of fashion, decor and food, and it moved away from the “this moment” style that a lot of magazines and/or blogs follow, and follows original concepts and ideas. I love this type of blogging because that is where I draw my own inspiration from. It only takes a glimpse of something to let an idea form – then it is just doing it something about it rather than dreaming about it.

I seem to be very drawn to home decor at the moment, so I really love the blog entries revolving around wallpaper and fabric. Don’t forget to have a look when you have a chance.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cooking for Fussy Children

I really struggle with cooking for my children.  My two will only eat what I call "clean food", for example plain pasta without any sauce at all.  There can be no sauce or marinade on meat, no salad dressing, no stews or casseroles.  All food has to be separate as well - I can't even make a pasta without sauce but mix in a little bit of bacon or peas.  It is highly frustrating.

I have know conceded defeat and the fussy ones get just about the same dinner every night.  Broccoli, corn, plain pasta and some sort of plain meat (steak, chicken).  Once I embraced that they will not be adventurous it actually takes a little of the stress of me and dinner time.  Dinner should be a happy time, and in my house it was becoming a disliked part of the day by everyone. 

I have always had the idea of creating a cook book for parents like myself that struggle to get anything nutritious into their children.  I have made a few attempts to hid the nutritional ingredients and I must admit my muffins (which have blended cauliflower, butter beans, and zucchini in it) are a hit, but that is about my only success.  So when I say food hidden, I mean food HIDDEN, not just grated carrot in with the mince.  Anyway, there is an idea for some creative chef out there.

So it is back to making two dinners every night, one lot for the kids and one lot for my husband and me.  Although I must say he can be less then appreciative, which while he has his many many good points, tact and forethought are not part of those good points.  Dinner tonight was a lovely salad of roast pumpkin, roast beetroot, and haloumi with (for him, I am not a meat eater) a eye fillet.  All he could say was "Geez Jen, what is going on?  Where is the onion?".  Hmmmm, tonight when I go to bed I am going to really enjoy JUST reading my book!!

Let us know your tricks of the trade when it comes to fooling the kids!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

24 Faubourg Perfume by Hermes Review, your Signature Scent?

A signature scent can create an individual style. My grandmother pops into my mind when I think of signature scent. Maybe it is because when Gran started wearing perfume (that she could afford, after the war no doubt) there was so little choice as apposed to now, but she wore the same perfume for as long as I can remember. It was spicy, sophisticated with a slight sweetness to it. I wish I knew what is was today, I am sure a spray of it would bring a lot of memories of my beautiful Gran who has now passed away, flooding back.

24 Faubourg Perfume I think would be the closest to this scent that I can get I think. It is incredibly delectable, chic and sophisticated with features of orange blossom, amber, vanilla and jasmine. Although I believe Hermes recommends it’s use for casual occasions, I can imagine the elite of society spraying this on before they walk out the door. Truly decedent, this designer perfume by Hermes is an affordable luxury.

Whilst still quite an individual scent 24 Faubourg Perfume is a classic, launched by Hermes in 1995. 24 Faubourg by Hermes has top notes of Bergamot, Orange, Peach and Hyacinth which are very light and last only 5-10 minutes. It’s middle notes are made up of Tiare Flower, Orange Flower, Jasmine, and Orris, which become apparent 15 minutes after you have applied and last up an hour or more. Lastly the base notes of 24 Faubourg by Hermes are Sandal, Patchouli, Amber and Vanilla. Base notes are the scents that will stay with you for several hours. Hermes Perfume are made from natural and/or synthetic fragrant oil extracts and are diluted in water or high-grade alcohol. Please note, like all perfume, 24 Faubourg by Hermes should be kept in a cool, dry area (fridge) and away from sunlight and heat as this can disturb the balance.

Hermes is an international acclaim and known designer brand worn by the rich and elite, with many celebrities sporting the Hermes Birkin (remember the Sex and The City episode about Samantha doing practically anything to be one of the first with the Birkin). Hermes scarves also feature heavily in the novel The Devil Wears Prada. The Editor In Chief wears a Hermes scarf in different and creative ways with every outfit. Of course she only wore the scarf once before disposing of it, so she had a new one every day. I think most of us could not even contemplate spending such an amount on a scarf once let alone every day. This makes Hermes Perfume all the more affordable, with it selling on Amazon for under $250 (well under I think, but this does change from week to week), and it will last you many many months, even if you use it every day.

All reviews on Amazon are favorable, with 24 Faubourg by Hermes receiving an average rating of 4.5 stars. Here are a couple of comments:

“It is a classic scent, deep and rich with both flowery and spicy undertones...a grown-up perfume that is still young at heart.”

“This warm, lovely and light fragrance is a lighter version of the famous Hermes 24 Faubourg. The top notes are orange blossom, jasmine, geranium, vanilla, raspberry leaves and bay leaves. The base is made from sandalwood and musk. This delicate fragrance is classified in the light oriental and light floral family. It has a combination of both warmth with floral scents that makes it sensual and sophisticated at the same time.”

“This is a very sophisticated fragrance, it is soft, sweet and lady like, but not to flowery. This is a very dressed up fragrance and a great perfume to wear when you would like to give the air of classic chic.”
You can buy 24 Faubourg by Hermes from Amazon at the moment, and check out further customer reviews there. You may even be lucky enough to get free shipping at the moment....

Create your scent today!

Christmas Cheer

Christmas is approaching way to quickly for my liking.  Being quite pregnant, my family are traveling to me this year, so it will be a full house especially on Christmas day when my husbands family will be joining us as well.  Luckily I have clued everyone up to look forward to a very easy Christmas food wise as the last thing I want to be doing is cooking all day.

In saying that the kids and I will be having some cooking marathons prior to Christmas.  Instead of buying presents for the Grandads, they will have a variety of fudge to look forward to which I am sure they will appreciate much more then some trinket or book and t-shirt that is just going to sit in their cupboard.  I love giving presents, but I have always been of the opinion that it is not about the amount spent on the present but the thought that goes into it.  I find a handmade card and a necklace my kids have made me far more meaningful than a cheap bag made of vinyl (not naming any names, luckily that person is not in the least  bit interested in my blog, so I can keep up the pretense of just using it when said person is in town). 

Anyway, along with cooking days to fill up the holiday we are going into Christmas craft mode.  After years of working 60 hour weeks, and then having young children who aren't really at the stage of being able to spend long amounts of time doing craft, I am excited this year to get them making Christmassy things.  First on the list is two big canvases that I am going to let my munchkins go wild on.  I am going to paint them first - one red, one green and then it is all up to them.  I got the idea from a visit to the kindy my son will be attending next year.  On the wall was the most amazing painting of an angel.  She was gorgeous, with one eye at the top of her head and the other near her mouth, and a very wobbly smile, but the room feel in love with her and it was the essence of Christmas.

Unlike my possibly unlikely flower garden promise of maybe posting photos - I will be posting photos of my children's grand designs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why didn’t anyone tell me how ugly Pumpkin plants are?

I have gone down the road of many homeowners and 6 months ago planted quite a sizable vege garden. This was done with the big idea to get the kids involved in gardening, have an outside interest, and start teaching them a little about finance. I financial whiz of a friend gave me the idea to start the kids on their entrepreneurial road early in life and have them tend the garden, grow lots of veges and sell them to me, and then invest their money into more plants, fertilizer, reproduce more veges and sell to me, etc.  I am sure you get the picture. My 4 year old was not overly interested but my 6 year old thought it was a great idea and was very enthusiastic for about 4.5 minutes. But I thought it was a great idea, especially as I make my living out of supporting artists and designers who make, produce and create for a living. I would love to pass on the message to my kids to embrace their creativity and do what they love in life rather than be stuck in a profession for life that doesn’t make them happy.

We did grow some beautiful celery, and have a great crop of cherry tomatoes and that was about the extent of it, even though we had zucchini, squash, carrots, the list goes on, growing. No success there. So we moved on as you do, can’t live in the past can you. I planted herbs (that died) and pumpkin. Why did I do that? Ugly, soo ugly. And it produced nothing, just overran the vege patch and my lawn.

So it was completely pulled out on Saturday and replaced with flower seeds...... A lot of fun was had by the kids and me however I did have the misfortune of encountering a small cane toad which was disappointing and meant I could not enter the left hand side of the garden for at least 24 hours (slight toad phobia). However I have a fearless 4 year old boy that would probably pick the ugly thing up and deposit it somewhere more appropriate then my backyard with little encouragement. Anyway we now have a beautiful patch of dirt that will produce a mass of colouring flowers in 14 -16 weeks. Yah. Pictures will follow....... maybe depending on the success, don’t hold your breath.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How do you find time to create?

How do we find the time to create?

I think I can safely say most of us out there that create also have jobs, and or families that we need to devote time to. I don’t work anymore, but have a 6 and a 4 year old and another little one due in February so my time is ever dwindling. Even though my older two are self sufficient in that they don’t need me to help them with the toilet (thank god, wiping bums is really not my favourite job), they can get themselves a drink, etc, the time saved here is now spent helping my oldest with homework, and involving my youngest in learning. So what do I give up to get more time? I am quite fond of eating and sleeping, but one has to make sacrifices, and being a woman I can multitask so eating can stay – guess it is sleeping....

I find it a constant struggle to find the time to really focus on whatever I am embarking on at the moment. If I paint, I start at 8 o’clock at night and I paint until I am finished that canvas (needless to say my paintings are NOT full of detail, but they are full of colour!!). Or I try to find projects that I can get my kids involved in, so while I work away I have a miniature version of what I am doing set up so we can all work together. This isn’t my favourite, as just when I am starting to get focused on what I am doing it is inevitably the time when my kids have had their fill of the project and are ready to move onto the next thing. Oh well, it is all fun.

Sewing (my first love) is a little more challenging. As mentioned with my painting, if I can’t get it done in a small amount of time, I will not start. Whilst I pick things that aren’t going to take me days and days to make, sewing is a long process regardless. First it is cutting out the fabric as per the pattern (really not happy that that is part of the sewing process), and then the pinning, measuring, sewing, pinning, measuring, sewing, and on it goes. So rather than a day of sewing and I have a new outfit, which was possible pre kids, I have a week of trying to sewing and maybe a new sleeve. However au vante gaurd that may be, I am not Lady Gaga and I require more than a sleeve to make an outfit – I appreciate the value of pants ever so much.

I have adopted a new strategy though, which is working for me. Rather than just focus on sewing one item, I will pick a few different things to sew (generally something for me, for both my kids and maybe a new cushion) that all require the SAME coloured sewing thread. The really time consuming part is all the prep work – 4 patterns does take a while to cut out, and I tend to use Burda. (I LOVE Burda, but the tracing is very hard, especially now they have taken the pattern sheets down from two either side, to one either side). Once that is done, I have my four little piles and I methodically work through each pattern, pinning the first step on each item, then doing all my sewing at once, then pinning and sewing, etc. I have found it is far more time efficient and I have become a far better sewing because I am not rushing to get through the pattern and ignoring steps so I can get more than a sleeve made. I always thought I was a reasonable sewer, but after working through patterns this way I have found so many new techniques that make my final outcome look much better and are in most cases far easier.

So this is how we evolve I guess. I am determined not to give up the things I love just for the sake of time (or sleep) but my first and most important role is mum, so I just have to work with it. We would love to know how you manage your time, leave us a comment, you never know we all might pick up a new trick or two.

If you are an artisan and are wanting to display your work, drop us a line at Shimi, we are always on the look out for new designers to contribute.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aromatherapy Skincare, why use it

Rowena and I have always preached the virtues of Jewell Skincare. It is aromatherapy skincare, that has quite a small life span (about three months), which means that it is natural and therefore much better for us and our skin. I am sure you are all aware that whatever we put on our skin is absorbed into our blood. We know that “we are what we eat”, so the same can be said for what we put on our skin. When we use aromatherapy oil the oil penetrates into our blood stream which rejuvenates the skin and eliminates waste materials. It helps remove dead cells from the body and will stimulate the growth of new and healthy cells.

If you are afflicted with troublesome skin (like me) it can be extremely frustrating. For me personally my problem skin is hormonal and worsened with pregnancy, however problem skin can be caused by other things like extreme heat, excess makeup and fatty foods. I have tried almost everything to elevate my problem skin, from extreme medicine to generic shop bought products. Whilst the prescribed medicine did work it had so many adverse side effects it wasn’t worth taking. The only other thing that made any difference was Aromatherapy products. And besides – it smells so good.

A very popular Australian made product based on aromatherapy and natural products is Jurlique. Whilst Jurlique is absolutely beautiful and in my younger years I used it on and off for years, it is expensive, and to be honest, with a young family – not affordable. Jewell is an alternative to Jurlique and very reasonably priced. It may not have all the bells and whistles like Jurlique, but it is of extremely high quality (which is why Shimi sells it) and just as luxurious.

Aromatherapy is not just for skin care. One wonderful advantage of aromatherapy is its sanitizing properties and they can easily be used to clean your home, rather than harsh chemicals. I’m sure you have all heard of the mosquito repellent Citronella – another aromatherapy oil.

For such an inexpensive product it has so many advantages. If you have sensitive skin we at Shimi would be glad to talk to you about what may suit you. Please contact us anytime; we would love to hear from you.

Pregnancy Mood Swings

I relented ........ of course I cooked.  No tantrums tonight though, from kids or mum.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pregnancy Mood Swings

Pregnancy has worn me out today.  Not only do I feel HUGE for 25 weeks, but the baby is sitting extremely high, so every time I bend down I get a very uncomfortable pain in my ribs, and I think the third trimester blues have hit me.  (Is there such a thing?  I just made that up).

I do hate to complain, especially as I have a friend, well lets call her an acquaintance, who is also pregnant, just a few weeks in front of me, and she cannot wait for someone to ask how she is so she can have a good old moan.  That is fine once in a while, but after 7 months of this, we are all a little tired of hearing about it, and regrettably usually find a place to hid when we see her coming.  (I can say these things, I'm pregnant and am fighting raging hormones).

So, let me get this out of the way, I am thrilled to be pregnant, love feeling my baby kick, and cannot wait to meet my little man.  But I think after 25 weeks of no complaints despite hideous morning sickness, and one man telling me I had the chubby cheeks of a baby (what the hell was he thinking) I can complain a little.  Tonight my hormones took over and dinner ended with me sitting in my room sobbing. 

As you may know I have to little ones (6 and 4) and every night (and lunch for that matter) is a battle.  I don't so much mind them not eating there dinner (it is their choice if they want to go to bed hungry) it is the constant complaining that I am not digging at the moment.  Just when I was ready to throw a perfectly good plate of food out the window, I calmed down enough to once again present my daughter with her dinner and tell her that Friends (currently her favourite show - what am I raising??) would be banned for the rest of the year if dinner was not consumed, I saw my husbands face when he took his first mouth full of food.  Now dear reader, let me explain that dinner was a simply pasta of Cheese and Spinach Tortellini with a tomato cream sauce and salad.  Nothing extravagant, but really I could not stuff it up.  And I didn't, it was perfectly fine.  My husband then ate a quarter of his meal and claimed (wisely he probably thought) he was too full to finish.   Well, I am a pretty easy going type of person most of the time, but the look I gave him could have stripped paint of the walls.  I admit now I probably overreacted, but when you cook every night for two little people who act like you are poisoning them, it is going to build up one day and bubble over.  Tonight was the night.

Anyway, I went and had a good weep and concluded not to cook tomorrow night and leave them all to fend for themselves.  Lets see if I follow through (I am sure I will relent when I see my 4 year old trying to butter and vegemite himself a sandwich at 7 pm tomorrow night).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Favourite Blog This Week : The Vintage Sheet Blog

In my younger years (so pre children) I was a great op shopper and nine times out of ten I would end up buying a plus size item and would cut it down to a minuscule little dress (that is when I didn’t mind showing off my legs). It was a really cheap, fun and effective way to create a unique wardrobe, and I loved doing it.

Even when I go out now with this end in mind, I never find what I am looking for. Whether it is usually because I have a four year old with me and I am too distracted to find the “it” piece, or maybe given my lack of time these days, I don’t feel as creative, or maybe I just don’t have the confidence I did in my late teens.... Nevertheless I can’t seem to re-create for myself.

However I came across . This is a great blog about reinventing vintage sheets. It is a lovely blog with postings from other creative minds about things to make with vintage sheets, pillowcases, etc. The tutorials are very thorough with photos through each step.

I haven’t made anything yet, but I have taken the first step and pulled out all my old pillowcases to make a skirt for my daughter /. Although I will endeavour to create this beautiful wreath before Christmas :

My to do list is filling up way to quickly.
Happy Shopping, Love Jen and Row

Friday, November 12, 2010

Polarized Sunglasses: Maui Jim Sunglasses Review

Are men the harder of the species to buy for?? Absolutely, well in my experience anyway. I have struggled with gifts for my husband for the past 12 years, but occasionally I get it right. An I-Pod was one triumph, but I think I can safely say Polarised Mens Sunglasses were the only other success. I choose a pair of Polarised Sunglasses for him last year after listening to him complain about headaches every time him played golf. Obviously this was due to the glare of the sun. When he got his little tinny for fishing and crabbing, the headaches only got worse. After a lot of consideration (he was sure it was the tightness of the frames) I bought him a pair of polarised sunglasses - and problem solved. I choose a "cheaper" pair of polarised sunglasses because I didn't want to spend a lot of money if it wasn't going to fix the problem, but as it did fix the problem, it will make my husbands next birthday present a much easier choice. If you have ever worn cheap sunglasses as opposed to high quality (and hence more expensive) sunglasses, you will be well aware that there is no choice - quality of quantity every time!! Maui Jim Kahuna will be my next purchase.

What are the benefits of Polarized Sunglasses?

With polarized sunglasses the sea (for example) appears more transparent so they are really beneficial for anyone that loves their outdoor activities. Normal sunglasses will decrease the intensity of everything by the same amount, but polarized sunglasses will selectively eliminate the reflection from light coming from about the waters surface. Polarised Sunglasses will always decrease the intensity of un-polarised light be 50%. Maui Jim Sunglasses have Polarised Plus 2 Technology, which means the lenses block 100 percent of UV rays and they will "manage" blue light. This means there is no interference with colour balance and perception. Maui Jim Sunglasses will compensate for the three types of glare - reflected, direct and bounce-back. They will absorb almost 100% of reflected glare. Well worth the investment if your are an outdoorsy person.

Why Maui Jim Sunglasses:

Maui Jim Sunglasses or Maui Jim Kahuna Sunglasses to be exact, are lightweight and durable. They have adjustable rubber nose pads, adjustable metal core temples, and are saltwater effective. The polarized lens are super thin and are completely Rx-able (meaning you can put prescription lenses in the frames). They also have PolarisedPlus 2 Technology as explained above, so you are getting ultimate UV protection to your eyes. Best of all, and the most common complaint I here about sunglasses, they are scratch resistant.

Some of the great features of the Maui Jim Sunglasses:

They have many wonderful features.

• The frames are Monel/Acetate, strong and stylish.

• They have Spring Hinges, which means it varies the amount of tension placed on your temples. They are made with springs, allowing the temples of the frame to press more firmly to the head. It is one of the reasons the glasses are more expensive, but it allows for you to have a customised fit.

• The lens type is glass, not plastic and as mentioned (just a few times) it is polarised glass.

• The nose pads are silicone, which are translucent and will stick to the skin without discomfort (great for those with sensitive skin).

• With the Sunglasses you will received a hard case.

• They are made in Italy, so you know they are quality.
• 2 Year Warranty

Any negatives?

Head on through to Amazon to see some great reviews (the average customer review is 4 out of 5), however the only negative I have come across is the price. Comments have been made that the glasses are pricey, but it is backed up with the age old comment "You get what you pay for". Quality comes with a price, and when you buy Maui Jim Sunglasses you are buying quality.

So where can you buy Maui Jim Kahuna Sunglasses?

You can buy Maui Jim Kahuna Sunglasses at a discounted price at Amazon. At the moment you can buy from from under $220 dollars, which I believe is about $100 off the retail price, and they are available in gunmetal or metallic glass copper frames. You may also be able to receive free shipping and free returns in the unlikely event that the glasses don't meet your expectations. Click here to view on Amazon.   Or to look at all the styles you can always go through to Shimi where we have the three colours displayed.  Don't forget to check out Shimi's other great products, both through Amazon and through our amazing designers that custom make products for you.

Need more convincing?

Here are a couple of reviews that say so much:

• "I highly recommend this line of sunglasses. They are the best sunglasses I have ever worn. Two Thumbs Up"

• "The quality is like any other! The lens are scratch resistant and never fog, it offers fantastic UV protection, and it cuts through almost all of the glare left on the water."

The best place for reviews though is the Amazon site. Click here to read more. However you can always pop down to Shimi for more information on these products sold through Amazon.  Happy Shopping, Jen and Row