The Other Mummy

15 September 2014

The Other Mummy

To celebrate Children’s Book Week here in Australia, my eldest decided to dress up as a mummy for his school’s parade.

Of course, I had to help him with his outfit. It was 20 minutes before we had to leave for school and I was frantically trying to wrap him up in toilet paper and sticky tape. It was the stupidest idea ever. The toilet paper didn’t work because it kept tearing and falling apart. I was getting desperate and quite close to tearing up my old white bedsheets, so I could get a good wrap around my son.

But then I had an idea… I used kitchen paper towels with staples instead! I wrapped him up in 5 minutes flat!

If only the ancient Egyptians knew about staplers! And paper towels!

Getting him to school was also quite tricky. He had to lay down (almost) horizontally in the front passenger seat of the car. And he had to be absolutely still and quiet the whole time, because if he talked, his breath would soften the paper towel over his mouth and it would just fall apart. It was hilarious! He was a very well behaved, silent mummy!

I should have wrapped up my other two kids too.

I would have had a wonderfully quite morning! :P

 


 

From City To Surf To Hamburger (Then Bed)

12 September 2014

My friends and I participated in the recent Perth City to Surf!

This year the running event celebrated it’s 40th year, but for me, this year was my first time running in it… so I was pretty excited!

However, two weeks before the event, I was down with the flu, fever and dizziness, and it threw my running training out of whack (ie. I didn’t do a training run for 10 days). And it was only the day before the event, that I felt 90% back to normal and I decided I would still run – BUT I had to promise myself to take it easy.

Perth City2Surf 2014

This is my friend Pippa and I, about to run the 12km distance, while our other friends ran the Half Marathon (21kms).

We were pumped up at the start!

Perth City2Surf 2014

Off we set. I took this photo (while running!) as the runners left the starting line and made their way up the first hill. There were 45,000 participants this year!

Have you been in a running event before? I’ve run in a few events. It’s pretty spectacular. There is a very cool and energetic atmosphere in the air. But it is really, REALLY crowded.

I won’t lie. I didn’t like the crowd. As a running experience, I didn’t find it relaxing or therapeutic. It was highly distracting! I spent the whole time looking at everyone’s gear / clothes / shoes / hats / hair / body shape / elbows / calves / backs / bums! I couldn’t help it! It was everywhere I looked!

I was also overwhelmed with a sense of frantic urgency, a feeling that I HAD TO HURRY UP! It felt as if everyone was rushing towards the Christmas city shopping sales and I had to follow the crowd or I would miss out! Or get RUN OVER! DON’T THINK JUST KEEP MOVING!

There were a lot of hills and I quickly found myself a bit breathless and wheezy and unable to sustain a good running pace. I was a bit grumpy that my health wasn’t up to it. I lost Pippa at the 5km mark… and I ended up walking A LOT after that.

Perth City2Surf 2014

I finished the 12km with my slowest time ever!

I pretty much WALKED the distance more than I ran. I was quite embarrassed! Look at me. I don’t even look like I’ve been running. I didn’t even break a sweat. Some of my friends were running a half marathon and I looked like I went for a Sunday stroll haha!

My average pace was 7:06m/km and my overall time was 1:30 – which is pretty slow for me. That pace is like a brisk walk, not a run. Ooooh well. I guess I stuck to my promise of taking it easy.

I looked at my running app and it told me that I had burned 724 calories in the 90 mins. Which was cool and all but…

Grilld Burger and Chips

…we headed off to an inner city pub for drinks and lunch.

I was STARVING. I DEVOURED this lamb burger (611 calories) and chips (252 calories) in 5 minutes flat.

724 calories OUT, and 863 calories IN? Er. I definitely didn’t think that one through very well. Oh well! It was freaking delicious.

When I got home, I had to take a nap. My husband let me take a 2 hour nap, bless him! I was so tired and sore. And for the next few days, I think my health dropped back down to 80%.

Soooo… looking back, I probably should have just stayed in bed, so I could recover that extra 10% in the first place!

But at least I did it.

And there is always next year.

And another hamburger.


 

Building a Stylish Wardrobe – White Pants and Oxfords

11 September 2014

I was recently introduced to someone as a “fashion blogger” and she immediately asked me earnestly, ‘Ooh! I need a fashion tip! What should I buy?”

It’s a tricky answer. But it made me realise that most people – as well as me – just need a quick and specific suggestion to get them thinking about their next fashion purchase.

So here’s a tip!

If you need to refresh or update your wardrobe this season, I suggest you get some slim white pants and oxford shoes!

Mine have instantly multiplied my outfits, giving me endless combinations with my existing sweaters, printed tops, blazer, jackets, singlet tanks, cardigans…

Tropical + White

My top is a recent purchase too. I walked into Zara, looking for a printed top… and I was immediately struck with this one. It looked unique, it had a silky fabric and it had raw edges on its sleeves and hem.

The print, radiating a kind of preppy… tropical resort… grunge (whatever that means) totally captured my mood.

And yes, I paired it with my white pants and beige oxfords!

Top from Zara
White jeans by Fendi, from ebay
Shoes by Habbot Studios
Hat from Kmart
Bracelet stack by Samantha Wills, from Frockaholics

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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


 

Simple Cheese and Bacon Scones

8 September 2014

Simple Cheese and Bacon Scones

I woke up one morning and I was SO SICK OF MAKING SANDWICHES for my children’s lunch. So I found a new recipe and made some very simple cheese and bacon scones. They were so delicious, tasty and soft. I ate two for breakfast. They were just like what you’d get from a fancy cafe, I was soooo pleased.

They really are best eaten hot and fresh from the oven!

I modified the recipe of course, so here’s my version.

Cheese and Bacon Scones
400g of self raising flour
50g of regular butter (with salt), diced and left at room temperature
250ml of milk (I just used low fat, because that’s what I had in my fridge)

Flavouring
125g of tasty cheese, grated
75g of rindless bacon, chopped and fried until crispy

Or
125g of smoked salmon
2 tablespoon of chopped dill

Method (Makes 12 scones)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Fry the chopped bacon and let it cool.

3. Put butter and half the flour into a large food processor. Process on low speed until butter and flour are combined and there are no lumps. Pour in the rest of the flour and process again. This took me 2-3 minutes. Or you could do this all by hand. Add the cheese, bacon, milk and mix on low speed until it turns into a dough. Don’t over mix or the scones will be tough and dry!

4. Plop the dough onto a floured bench top and flatten it with your hand to a thickness of 3cm. Cut the dough into squares (looks a bit more cafe style this way!) of 5 – 7 cms. Put the scones on a lined baking tray and brush the tops with a bit of milk.

5. Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes until golden!

Simple Cheese and  Bacon Scones

Ta da! I also added 1 tablespoon of chopped chives and about 100g of grated zucchini.

Simple Cheese and  Bacon Scones

Serve hot with a smear of butter.

Enjoy!

xxx


 

Cow Suits and Cow Puns in Cow Town

4 September 2014

On a sunny Saturday morning, out for a drive in the countryside, we drove into a little town called Cowaramup, hoping to find a quite cafe with a sleepy view of the main street and a yummy breakfast menu.

The town’s name originates from Cowara, the Australian Indigenous word for a bird, the Purple-crowned Lorikeet. The town was originally created around timber milling, but now it is best known for it’s wines, beef and DAIRY products (mainly cheeses and chocolates). A perfect combination if you ask me!

But of course, the amazing coincidence is that… the town’s name has the word “cow” in it, and it is in the middle of the diary industry.

So its nickname is COW TOWN.

Cow Town (Cowaramup)

As I said, we were looking for a small cafe with a relaxed vibe. But when we pulled up in the main street, we found something very odd instead.

The whole town was decorated with cow spots. There were life-sized statues of cows all over the streets, sidewalks and gardens. There were cow balloons, cow streamers, cow posters and cow banners everywhere!

Cow Town (Cowaramup)

There were PEOPLE dressed up as cows! They were everywhere! Hundreds of them.

Adults and their children were in cow onesies!? All walking along… acting like nothing was unusual at all.

My children were dumbfounded into silence. Their eyes twitched and the cogs in their brains slowly told them that something veeeeery strange was going on.

Cow Town (Cowaramup)

One of my sons said “Mum, this is like a weird movie, right?”

It turned out that we had arrived on the day of the town’s annual country fair, named “Deja Moo – an Udderly Legend-Dairy Cowntry Fair”. It was so cute and fun! There were food stalls, arts and crafts, bouncy castles, “moovellous milking demonstrations”, “cowabunga boot throwing contests”, “cow pat lotto”… and more cow puns I’ve ever seen in one place.

But why was everyone dressed up as cows?

We quickly found out from a cafe owner (who was serving me while wearing a cow suit) that only minutes before, the town smashed the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as cows, with a total 1,352 people in cow suits! Apparently the record was previously held by the town of Fairfax in Virginia, USA, where 470 people dressed as cows. They went to the trouble of having a unique number for each and every cow suit! This is pretty good going for a town with an official population of less that 1000 people. I guess they got help from the neighbours.

How cool! I love seeing small communities come alive and get involved in a project that brings everyone together! There was such a wonderful sense of celebration and happiness in the air! I was very moo-ved.

(Sorry, I couldn’t help it)


 

Fabulous Dresses (with some fabulous workouts) from Frockaholics

2 September 2014

One of my favourite online shops Frockaholics have received a whole new shipment of hot dresses for the new season. They asked me to pick a few out to feature on my site, and it has come at a good time because recently I’ve been thinking… “Omg it’s the start of the new season, I have a couple of events to go to, what do I wear?? I think I need a new dress?!?”

Anyway, I’m so excited to share my picks with you.

Now I’m also going to do something a bit different… I’m trying to be a clever chicken here and combine my two passions (ie. obsessions): Fashion and Fitness.

Frockaholics

First up – who would have thought that I’d look good in a… one-piece, peplum playsuit?!

I chose this Romper by Cameo because it was a bit risky. The halter neckline and the thin shoulder straps are a very trendy and current design at the moment. I would only recommend this style for women with small shoulders and a small chest/bust. It really focuses on the top half of your body, making your shoulders look extra broad.

The shorts of the playsuit were baggy and balloony like a skirt. The peplum made it extra bulky, like I was wearing a nappy?!

But it was actually awesome to wear. The peplum gave me a striking hourglass silhouette. The length of the skirt/shorts was short enough to make my legs look longer than they are. It was a very comfortable, fun, party dress and I had no fear that I was going to embarrass myself with the skirt flying up on a windy day.

Frockaholics

Speaking about embarrassing myself.

OK I said I was going to TRY to combine some of my workouts in this post. I realised that doing a “lunge” in high heels is very, very tricky. And not at all advisable. It’s like trying to do it on tippy toes! Hello muscle strain!

The dress withstood the test just fine. Not that I’d go to the gym in a leopard print playsuit. But maybe it’s your kind of thing.

Frockaholics

I love colourful dresses, especially floral inspired designs in psychedelic digital prints!

This Lilac Bloom dress by Talulah, with its high neckline and modest ruffled hemline is modest and cute from the front. But it has a statement, criss-cross back, which makes it standout, on-trend and a bit sexy.

Perfect to wear to a wedding, garden party, and cocktails with the girls.

Frockaholics

I don’t even know what this yoga position is called. I just copy the girl in front of me in class and I can hardly hear what my instructor says because I’m concentrating on my pose. Your body is supposed to be horizontal and parallel with the ground? With one arm and one leg extended?

Again, close to impossible with high heels. Not to mention I’m trying to stay absolutely still to take a photo. Don’t try this at home!

Frockaholics

Lastly, if you’re looking for a simple but striking, glam evening dress – you can’t go past gold sequins!

It has a sexy, low back with some criss-cross straps (you can’t wear a bra with it) so you have to rely on some adhesive bra pads.

The rest of the dress falls and sits like a simple shift dress, so you don’t feel constricted or suffocated. And the fabric is forgiving enough so it doesn’t show your tummy if say, you pig out on ice cream later in the evening. Which is what I always do after my workouts. Don’t you?

As for my workout position, it’s a deltoid/tricep stretch with a leg lift… but as you might be able to tell from my understretch, I’m not really into it anymore. Working out in high heels is only for trained stunt women. There goes my dream for a new fashion meets workout channel on YouTube. Just kidding people.

Hope you’re inspired to check out the new styles at Frockaholics!

Here’s a shortcut to the dress section, where you’re bound to find something for the new season.

(And if you were wondering… I didn’t get to keep these dresses.  I had to return these “product samples” to the marketing department where they will be professionally steam cleaned for other marketing uses… and I did not sweat in them at all! I swear!)

Enjoy!

xxx

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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


 

A Machine For Knocking Down Things

1 September 2014

Life has been going great for our family. I couldn’t be happier! We’ve all struck a wonderful balance of life, work, kids, school, fitness, friends, parties and creative projects.

But the most significant change to our routine is that we’ve amped up our involvement in our children’s learning and development, by extending what they learn in school. The only down side is that it’s really time consuming, but it’s fun and we think it’s worth it :)

My 11yo recently took up an extra-curricular unit in “engineering”. I say this loosely, because its unit outline had spun a tale about Minecraft (the computer game), mining, materials, building bridges, and engineering projects… so my son was sold on it.

The unit turned out to be great. The projects were interesting and broad enough to let imaginations run wild.

One of the projects was “Knock down a small statue (made out of paper boxes) by any means, as long as it involves a chemical reaction.”

Inspired by Mythbusters (the TV show), countless amounts of YouTube videos, and my husband’s help… my son came up with the idea of triggering a big, kicking leg with a small chemical reaction “trigger”.

The whole process took about 4 weeks of sketching ideas, testing, building, more testing, visits to the hardware store and lots of tweaking. We also had lots of exploding coke bottles!

A Machine For Knocking Down Things

Here are both my big boys testing the effectiveness of coke + mentos, coke + bicarb soda, coke + Alka-Seltzer (effervescent antacid). Then swapping the coke for vinegar. And then water.

They settled on brown vinegar and bicarb soda, because it had much more “grunt”.  I’m not sure if that is a proper engineering term, or something they picked up from my husband.

So then they had to work out how much brown vinegar and bicarb soda was needed to get a good “explosion”.

They made SUCH A HORRIBLE MESS. Bicarb soda was sprinkled everywhere. They got vinegar sprayed in their hair, clothes, roof of the patio and the outdoor furniture set. They just opened packets of this and bottles of that, and tossed it on the ground so my whole backyard looked like a dump!

I literally had to hide in the house, because 1) I wanted to give them some independence, 2) I didn’t want vinegar in my clothes.

So this is the final “Knocking Things Down Machine”.

A Machine For Knocking Down Things

My boy set up the box statue to knock over.

I love the star shaped sunglasses.

A Machine For Knocking Down Things

A small bottle was filled with brown vinegar. Bicarb soda was wrapped in a little paper capsule. The capsule was popped into the bottle. The paper wrapping slowed down the reaction to give my son time to get the lid screwed on.

A bit of garden reticulation piping with a tap was screwed onto the bottle. And a balloon was attached to the end of the pipe.

A Machine For Knocking Down Things

The balloon portion of the contraption was placed under a lever.

The tap was opened to let the gas (and froth) blow up the balloon.

(The balloon blew up very quickly!)

A Machine For Knocking Down Things
The growing balloon lifted up the lever.

Other side of the lever had a string attached to it.

The lever pulled the string.

A Machine For Knocking Down Things

The string changed direction through a pulley.

The string pulled out a little peg – made from a texta marker.

The peg held up a swinging pendulum “leg” (the horizontal bit of wood in the photo above), with a “foot” attached to it.

A Machine For Knocking Down Things

The peg came out, the “leg” swung and the “foot” kicked the statue over!

A Machine For Knocking Down Things

This was what the whole contraption looked like from a far. Actually I think this was an earlier version because there isn’t a foot attached to the swinging leg in this photo?

It wasn’t exactly a fine example of carpentry. My husband, who helped my son considerably, was appalled by how ugly, dodgy and wobbly it was.

The thing was so big that we thought we might have had to hire a trailer to take it to school. How embarrassing!! But we managed to borrow an SUV and fit it in the trunk, phew.

Anyway, it worked! It fitted the brief. It totally knocked the socks off his teacher and classmates! My son also seemed to like the feeling of hard work that led to achievement and going “over and beyond” expectations.

You know, my 11yo is great at school, but he hadn’t really found that “spark” that made him REALLY interested in ANY subject. He just cruised along, in middle gear, preferring to play football, computer games or read a book.

But I’m quite excited to know that we might have now planted a seed of some kind. Who knows what it might lead to.

You know how you hear from highly successful or highly driven people and how they often describe a “defining moment” in their life or career. Well my hope is that as parents, we manage to fill our children’s lives with MANY of those defining moments, however subtle or outstanding.


 

3 Ways to Wear – A Tropical Print Top

29 August 2014

3 Ways to Wear Tropical Print

I was born on a tropical island – think blue ocean, blue skies, green jungles and palm trees – so I have a soft spot for tropical prints!

I picked up this cute tropical print skirt from ClubCouture at a great price, and have been enjoying how much I can mix and match with it.

1) Blazer and Bralet
Splashing out in sporty-luxe look, I’m wearing a blazer (also from ClubCouture) and bralet from boohoo.com.

2) Big White Summer Shirt
I found this awesome white shirt in a thrift store. It had embroidery, lace, tassels and made from a gorgeous cotton fabric. It was in a size 16, but I hacked it up and sewed it up to fit me. Now I consider it to be one of my best summer cover ups.

3) Grey Marle Tee
I love this look. It’s casual and colourful, but still stylish. The statement necklace (from The Accessory Report) really adds a notch of style to the whole outfit. Sandals by Holster (from The Iconic)

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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


 

Architects and Heroes

28 August 2014

The other day, I dropped my aunty off in Subiaco for a doctor’s appointment. While I waited for her phone call (to be picked up), I found myself with 2 hours to spare.

Trying to avoid the mall-type shops on Rokeby Road, I wandered into the local op shop… and bought myself 3 awesome books (total of $9).

Then I found a secondhand bookstore and found another 2 books (total $4)! I was so delighted with my buys, that I needed a coffee and snack to celebrate.

Architects and Heroes

I stumbled across Architects and Heroes, a new cafe that I’ve been hearing about in the local social media circles.

It was my ah ha! moment, as there’s always something magical about discovering a treasure by accident, rather than researching it and then seeking it out with intent.

Architects and Heroes

With a cool mural stretching across the whole cafe, a laid back vibe, the smell of quality coffee, smiles from the staff, lots of seating (indoor and outdoor) and lots of fancy-wacky specialty coffee instruments… this place was a winner for me.

Architects and Heroes

The menu looked pretty good, featuring a seasonal menu of eggs, mushrooms, smoked salmon, crusty bread, French toast, cinnamon muesli. There were also lots of delicious baked goods on display too.

But I just wanted a quick snack, so I settled on a ham and cheese croissant.

Architechs and Heroes

My croissant was tasty and fresh. My soy flat white was gorgeous and smooth. My sunny spot by the window made me glow with happiness.

I pulled out one of my book finds – a double edition of The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Despite initially feeling a bit self-conscious (PRETENTIOUS NERD ALERT!), I stuck my nose into it, became oblivious to the rest of the world and read until I received the call telling me I had to leave.

I’ll definitely be back again to try out some of their meals. And I promise to be a bit more social and bring a friend next time!

Architects and Heroes
25 Rokeby Road
Subiaco, WA
Mon – Sat: 6:30 am – 6:30 pm

Architects and Heroes on Urbanspoon


 

Riding, volunteering or donating?

26 August 2014

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013, photo by Ze Wong

Photo of me riding 200km over 2 days for The Ride To Conquer Cancer, October 2013. Photo by Ze Photography.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that for the past two years, I rode in The Ride to Conquer Cancer to raise money for cancer research.

The event is a 200km ride over two days, and is designed specifically for people who are NOT already experienced cyclists. It’s for newbies and beginner cyclists!

In 2012, when I took up the challenge to RIDE 200kms, I was very motivated about raising cancer awareness and raising funds for cancer research. This cause is something that is very close to my heart, since I nearly lost my husband to cancer, and because I have lost a good friend, who was, like me, a mother of young children. I wanted to make something good come out of my fear and loss.

But I was also deeply concerned that I could not actually do it. 200km seemed like a long way compared to walking the kids 2km to school! People in my extended family were actually counselling me against it: “Can you actually do it???”

Well, as it turned out… YES I COULD!

It was a fantastic experience… it completely transformed my views about personal fitness. It was a brilliant journey to go on. I learned so much about myself, about bikes, about fundraising, and the power of working as a collective. Over the two years, The Ride to Conquer Cancer event has raised approximately $39.1 million in Australia (the proceeds go directly to research facilities in each state) – which is amazing!

But this year, I am not riding. The truth is… I’ve now picked up a whole lot of other sports like running, netball, yoga and strength training. So while I’m still pretty fit and active, I haven’t actually been on my bike since October last year – 10 months ago! I just don’t have time to do the training.

But my dedication to the RTCC, and the cause, has not diminished, so I am still participating, as a Volunteer/Crew Member. I’m going to be finding out what it takes “behind the scenes” to make a huge event like this work. And of course, I am hoping to motivate YOU! So I’ll be reporting on what I see and do. Of course, I’ll be doing the Perth RTTC… but there are also rides in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

What can you do?

Ride!
I did it, so you definitely can do it too! You can sign up with a friend, or you can sign up by yourself and the RTCC people (volunteers like me) will match you up with a team of new friends you can train and ride with.

When I first started out, I was a complete beginner cyclist. A total noob! I started training with a 15 year old, rusted, mountain bike. Read about my whole journey from when I first started my cycling journey!

Volunteer?
The Ride to Conquer Cancer organisers are looking for people to join the volunteer and crew teams. It’s the best way to experience the event while you support the riders on their journey! Pop over to the Ride to Conquer Cancer Crew Page to find out more.

Donate!
If you can’t participate or volunteer, what about making a small (or large) donation that goes immediately and directly towards cancer research. You can go to my donations page and make any donation amount you wish – $20, $50, $100, $500! You can leave a public message, or a personal message, or just do it anonymously. And you get a receipt, so you can claim this against your tax.

More coming soon!


 

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