Looking up, looking down, looking forward

29 July 2014

Margaret River 2014

While were we in Margaret River, we took the kids on a wintery bush walk somewhere off Carters Road.

It was so peaceful and beautiful! The colours of the trees were singing out with life in the soft forest light.

Margaret River 2014

I looked up and was mesmerised by the black and grey masterpiece printed in the sky.

A light sprinkle of rain fell. And occasionally, a burst of sunshine spilled little coins of light onto the forest floor.

Margaret River 2014

The mud stuck to our boots, but it didn’t stop us from following the track into town.

The children ran ahead and disappeared out of sight. Their shouts of laughter seemed muted in the thickness of the bush.

Us adults strolled slowly, hand in hand with our loved ones, through the cathedral of trees that made us feel like kings and queens.

Simple holiday pleasures, which cost close to nothing, are definitely the best!


 

Just go for it, girl

28 July 2014

Crop Top + Jeans

When it comes to finding my own personal style and dressing for my body shape, after many years of experimenting, I think I’ve finally figured out what works best for me.

I have a very petite, hourglass figure – which lets me get away with a lot – but I have short legs.

If I wear a long top, a long tunic, a pelplum top, a drop waist top, or even a shirt that ends below the waist, I always feel overly elongated and visually “top heavy”. This may or may not be an accurate certainty… but fashion is all about how it makes one feel right?

So I’ve learnt several tricks. I tuck my tops into my bottoms in order to highlight my waist. I tie knots into my t-shirts. I wear belts over shapeless dresses to highlight my waist. I wear short shorts to elongate my legs.

And most recently I’ve found the ultimate optical illusion for short people like me… the crop top! Yes, it’s not for everyone. And as I keep saying, if you’ve got the goods (whatever they are), just go for it girl!

Making your waist look like it starts higher than it really does, the crop top is a short-legged person’s best friend.

I have recently picked up a loose fitting crop t-shirt in white, black and grey – all in preparation for the warm summer months.

I love wearing them with high waisted jeans and tropical print pencil skirts.

Black crop top from The Iconic, Check shirt by Tokyo Fashion, White jeans by JCrew, white sneakers by Converse, Crossbody bag from Witchery, Diver watch by Rotary.

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


 

A birthday of bagpipe farts

25 July 2014

For my birthday, my husband and I planned to go out for a fancy, romantic, degustation dinner. In fact, I was so organised that I booked the restaurant about 6 weeks earlier. It was at a restaurant that I have been dying to visit… and finally I had an excuse to spend hundreds of dollars on a meal there!

So on the day of my birthday, my family made me breakfast: Bacon, eggs, mushrooms and spinach.

It was just how I liked it. So much love right there.

My Birthday 2014

In the afternoon, I went out to lunch with my parents.

We shared a huge bowl of delicious nachos. I had my usual soy flat white.

My Birthday 2014

After lunch, we chatted and did a bit of shopping. Then I went to pick up my kids from school, brought them home and fed them a snack.

Since my husband and I were going out for dinner that evening, all 3 of my kids were going to have a sleep-over at my parent’s house. Yay! Like I said, I was super organised.

I grabbed their ready-packed clothes and drove over to my parents house. I dropped them off and zoomed home by 4:30pm… giving myself HEAPS of time to have a shower, wash my hair, put on my makeup, style my hair, and put together an evening outfit for a hot Friday night date with my husband.

But on the way home…I started to feel…unsettled. And the feeling grew. A sense of anxiety came over me.

By the time I reached my house, I realised I was feeling sick, and the feeling was growing fast.

There was a sudden pain in my stomach. I felt swollen with sickness. I wanted to throw up. My head was spinning. I felt so freaking bad that I had to lie down on my bed.

I curled up into a fetal position, squeezed my eyes shut and my head spun into a pit of swirling darkness.

I laid there, fully dressed and still wearing my makeup and shoes… and I blacked out.

At 5:30pm, I opened one eye.

OMG I was still in agony. I looked down at my stomach and I couldn’t believe it. It was huge, swollen and round and I looked like I was 6 months pregnant!!! WHAT THE HELL DID I EAT???

I reached behind me, my hands clumsily slapping the bed sheets, looking for my handbag. I found my phone and I called my husband.

The conversation went something like: URNGH. I’m sick. I ate something bad. I feel like shit. Not going out tonight. Cancel the restaurant booking. I’m staying bed.

I passed out again.

My husband came home, checked that I was still breathing, put a bucket next to my bedside table and left me sleeping.

At 9:30pm, I opened one eye again.

My necklaces were tangled in my hair. One earring was wedged into my ear. I smudged makeup and lipstick all over my pillow and sheets. I had one shoe off and one shoe on. My body was aching. My head was still dizzy. My stomach was still swollen, and I was still in pain.

Yeah, Happy Birthday Karen.

I got out of bed, took off all my jewellery, changed into my pajamas, washed my face… and tenderly staggered out into the lounge room where my husband was watching TV and enjoying his lonely Friday night “man” dinner – toast.

I plopped down next to him on the couch.

And then it happened.

I let out the BIGGEST FART of my life.

It started out resembling a big brass tuba blasting through the cushions of the couch. There was such a change in air pressure I think my ear drums popped. Then it became like a bagpipe belting out morse code. DOT DOT DAAAASH. It wouldn’t stop. Oh my god, I had to leave the room to try and save the last shreds of my dignity. My husband laughed as I fled, jet propelled.

(Mercifully, the pain in my stomach slowly subsided throughout the rest of the night. The “flatulence” did not. And every few minutes, I had a little wind instrument explosions from down below.)

I rang my mum to see if she was feeling ok (we both ate the bowl of nachos) and she was just fine, so it was not something that I ate. And then it hit me… my soy flat white tasted a bit different than usual. Damn it… they probably put REAL milk in my coffee! Grr.

My husband was very supportive. After his initial laughter, he didn’t mention my musical bottom at all. Bless him.

When we finally went to bed, he bravely spooned me and gave me a birthday cuddle in bed, being careful not to squeeze me too tight.

He said: “You know, Honey, even after all these years together, you are still full of surprises.”

And that is how we keep the romance alive! :P


 

Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

24 July 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

The other day I had some left over waffle batter in the fridge. I don’t know how was that even possible, because we LOVE eating waffles.

Anyway, the batter was all thick and gluggy, so I added a bit of water to it and then it became a bit too watery.

I cooked it up in my waffle maker anyway. They didn’t rise very well, but OH MY the results tasted a bit like crispy, crunchy pancakes with that soft, spongy moistness.

They were incredible to eat.

I ate like 4 (!!), which is more than I’ve ever eaten in one sitting.

My waffle batter recipe has no added sugar to it, but that’s kind of pointless since I ended up sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top haha!

Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

My Basic Waffle Recipe

65g of butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water
2 cups of SR Flour
pinch of bicarb soda
pinch of salt

I used to separate the eggs and beat them separately. But now I can’t be bothered.

So I literally just mix all the wet ingredients.

Then stir in all the dry ingredients, until smooth. Takes 2 minutes.

My waffle pans take ¼ cup of waffle batter. Cook them up until golden brown.

Cinnamon Sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top while hot, and my god, try not to eat too many!

Enjoy!


 

What I Wore: Girl’s Night Outs

22 July 2014

This year I promised myself that I was going to go out and see more of my girlfriends.

I know it sounds like such a simple and unambitious resolution to make (it’s something I should be doing anyway!) but hey, it’s July and half the year is gone already! If I don’t keep myself organised and mindful of these things, they usually just slip away and before I know it, the end of the year approaches far too soon.

So when I go out with my girlfriends… we don’t go clubbing. We don’t go dancing. We don’t go to bars to listen to live music. In fact, we try very hard to stay away from all those noisy places.

We just like to sit and talk, have a nice dinner, drinks, dessert and just catch up haha!

As long as there are no husbands and kids, we’re very happy!

Girls Night Out

I managed to take a quick phone snap of what I wore for my last 4 dinner dates. They are all simple and black outfits :)

Left:
Top is actually a dress by In Good Company
Leather pants from Topshop
Boots from Vangoh Shoes
Earrings by Mezi

Right:
Top by Splendid, from Shopbop
Leather pants from Topshop
Faux fur jacket by Sarah (Korea)
Necklace by Wanderlust & Co
Black heels by Acne Studios from Foward Forward

Girls Night Out

Coincidentally, for the photo on the left, I took this picture before I went out and before I put on my bracelets and rings.

And on the right, I took the photo after I came home, and after I took off my bracelets and rings :P

Funny how the colour of my bathroom changes my skin tone depending on what time of day it is!

Left:
Lace dress by Lily Whyt
Heels by Habbot Studios
Black blazer from ClubCouture

Right:
Sparkle dress from Forever New
Earrings by Alister Yiap
Black heels by Acne Studios from Foward Forward

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


 

Hello Margaret River!

18 July 2014

Hello hello! I have just returned from two weeks of school holidays. This time we headed down to visit the beautiful South West Region of Western Australia, centered on a town called Margaret River.
Margaret River 2014

It’s the region famous for it’s wines, beaches, forests and caves.

Not surprisingly I have have hundreds of photos to be edited, so here are a few highlights of my trip.

Margaret River 2014

The coastline was just gorgeous. We went fishing off the rocks of Gracetown (near Margaret River). Well… all the boys went fishing. They didn’t catch anything, but it was fun just to be there and walk along the coast.

I spent most of my time watching all the hot local surfers, and wishing I could surf!

Margaret River 2014

The surrounding forest area was stunning! The light, the colours, the sounds, the smells – oh it was all simply breathtaking. It looked like a movie set for a blockbuster fantasy.

My husband and I (and the kids) have all vowed to return for a longer bush walking and camping trip.

Margaret River 2014

We went for several bush walks. And as we were walking along, the floor of the forest suddenly seemed to open up to reveal a HUGE cave amongst the trees! It was amazing! Like another movie set!

But seriously… the caves were well signed and we followed a clear track to find this entrance. So it wasn’t like we were going to simply fall into one.

The actual cave was only accessible by joining an accredited abseiling group. We watched a bunch of abseilers drop 45m into the bottom of the cave entrance, and that was when we realised just how big it was. It looked like so much fun. This was definitely another must do for us!

I have lots more photos to share, so do pop back next week!

xxx


 

Right, left, right, left… Do you love Body Combat too?

14 July 2014

I’ve been going to a few Body Combat classes lately.

It’s kind of fun. A bunch of ladies punching at the air, while a fitness instructor shouts at us over the roaring music. It feels a bit silly.

But after the class, my biceps, triceps and muscles on my shoulders and back GLOW with a pain that promises my arms to look like Michelle Bridges, so that makes it worth looking silly, right?

The last time I tried Body Combat was 10 years ago. I was horrifically unfit and halfway into the class, I wanted to curl over and puke. But this time I am much fitter, so I manage to keep up pretty well.

I go at it pretty hard. There’s no point in doing weak pathetic punches, so I try to give my punches some power.

My coordination is so bad though!

Geez I’m terrible at the steps, the fancy foot work and trying to remember the routines.

I managed to PUNCH MYSELF IN THE FACE during the class! Who does that?!

Right jab, left jab, right jab, left hook, right hook, left upper-cut, right upper-cut… TRICKY RIGHT?

I got my right upper-cut mixed up with a right hook, so I klonked myself in the cheek.

I stood there for a moment, imaging cartoon stars coming out of my left ear.

I’m sure the instructor saw me.

Then I spent the rest of the class trying not to laugh.. at MYSELF!

I guess I need to practice my WAX ON and WAX OFF technique :P


 

Gorgeous Apple Pie (with no refined sugar)

11 July 2014

Apple Pie

I have been experimenting with different pastry recipes over the last few months… and I have found my winner!

I’m no pastry expert, but this one ticks all of my boxes:

It is easy to prepare, easy to roll, robust and elastic, it cooks well, it has a gorgeous buttery taste, and it has a lovely crunch!

Plus when I pile on tonnes of fruit, it doesn’t get gluggy and remain uncooked where the fruit sits on the pastry.

I have since made 4 or 5 pies/tarts with this recipe and the pastry always turns out perfect!

The recipe is based on a Donna Hay recipe, but I have omitted all the sugar. Still tastes amazing! Especially when it is filly with stewed fruit, which is crazy sweet!

Green Apples

Apple Pie Filling
10 green apples, cored and quartered
1/2 cup of dried cranberries, chopped

I grated all the apples in my food processor. Actually my 9yo son did it. It took him 3 minutes!

I put the apples and cranberries into a pot and simmered on low/medium heat for 30 minutes while I made the pastry.

The resulting apple mush should be dry and you shouldn’t be able to see pools of liquid at the bottom of the pot.

Rinse out your food processor.

Basic Vanilla Pastry
270g of cold butter, chopped
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/4 cup of ice water
2 1/2 cups (225g) of plain flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder

Extras:
Extra butter for greasing your pastry dish
1 whisked egg for brushing on top of the pie

(I think you are supposed to process the butter and flour first. Then add water + vanilla. But I’m not very precious with my pastry.)

1. Throw all the ingredients into the food processor (with pastry blade) and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Let it mix some more until it starts to clump together.

2. Pour the dough out onto your counter top and give it a good knead. 2 minutes is long enough for me.

3. Throw it into the fridge (just in a bowl with a plate on top, why waste plastic cling wrap?) while you clean up your counter top. I only ever leave it in there for 5 minutes tops.

4. Halve the dough. Roll it out between one or two sheets of baking paper. One half is for the pie base and the other is for the pie top.

5. Grease a 24cm diameter pie dish with a bit of butter. Place pastry base into the dish. Work the pastry base so it looks nice.

6. Pour the apple filling into the base and spread it out evenly. Cut up the other rolled pastry into 1.5 cms strips and place neatly over the apple filling.

7. I like to brush the top pastry with whisked egg, to give it that golden glow.

8. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 190C. Or until golden brown!

Eat while hot, with ice cream!

Enjoy xxx


 

Running With My Boys

10 July 2014

I have been doing a bit of running with my boys, aged 11 and 9.

They seem to like running, and I like running. So it works for all of us.

Basically, I see it as a fun, free and easy way to entertaining the kids (and wear them out), while I get a good workout too haha!

I take them out to random and fun places to run… we call it “training”. I tell them that one day we are all going to run a marathon together in Paris or London. I don’t think they really know what that means, but they like the idea anyway.

Running 4 Feet

While running, or preparing to run, I like to talk to them about running techniques, enjoying the run, working on your own personal best times, setting goals, working towards your goals and doing a little bit more day by day. But I almost never talk about winning.

I feel that I shouldn’t fill them up with false hope or set any unrealistic dreams or expectations.

You see, my kids are short. Like, really short. With short legs. I don’t expect them to win running races.

There are SO MANY kids that are taller, stronger, fitter, and who have longer legs… which give them a huge advantage over my kids.

So when my boys say they want to try out for a running race, or join a running team. I’m so nonchalant and casual about it, I just shrug, “Oh ok. That’s cool. Have fun. Try your best.”

And that’s about all I’ll ever say to them. I don’t want them to have unreasonable expectations that get crushed.

Champion Boy Cross Country

Anyway, can you imagine my utter shock (bordering on disbelief) when my eldest son came home with this?!?

He won first place in his school’s Cross Country event. And he received a Champion Boy medal for Year 6!

Whoa!!

My other son came in 5th place for his year group, which was equally impressive!

I was *bursting* with pride for the both of them!!

They have certainly taught me a lesson… that limits are in the mind (in this case, mine), as much as in the legs. :)


 

What I Wore: Rose and Lace

9 July 2014

Rose and Lace

For my birthday, I splurged a little and bought myself a very cute + cool, Alexander Wang Marion cross body bag.

I’ve been eyeing this bag for a while (but in black), and eventually bought it online through a private sale at 80% off! I’m so in love with it!

I don’t have many designer bags, and that is mostly by choice.

After all, I have to save up for more important things like… future dental work for ALL THREE of my children!! :P

Rose and Lace

The days have been slightly warmer, so it’s been nice to walk around in shorts and a light coat.

My shorts were actually Sass and Bide jeans, which I bought at a clearance sale. I didn’t really need more jeans, but who could resist a pair of S&Bs for $30?

Anyway, I decided that I have too many pairs of jeans, so I armed myself with some scissors and a sewing machine and turned them into shorts. Can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear them more often!

Have a fabulous day!

Rose pink jacket by AL&ALICIA
Lace tunic from Korea
Denim shorts by Sass and Bide
Boots by Vangoh Shoes

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


 

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