Saw the cutest range over at Anthropologie, featuring mini-pleat details. Just love the earthy colours of these shoes and bag.
Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.
For my first two pregnancies, I didn’t have a baby shower.
I guess I didn’t feel the need to have one. I didn’t need my friends to buy me presents. I didn’t need balloons and baby shaped confetti.
I also wasn’t too keen on the idea of ME being the “pampered princess for the day”.
Plus the fact that I didn’t like the idea of celebrating a baby who wasn’t actually HERE yet.
So when I twigged that a few of my friends were trying to organise a SURPRISE baby shower for my current pregancy behind my back… I jumped in and took control of the situation. I don’t like surprise parties!
So I organised a baby shower for myself. It was more of an un-baby shower.
No sitting around in circles, oohing and aahing over little booties. No balloons or decorations. No oestrogen-inducing duckie blankets.
It was just a lovely, low-key, weekend morning-tea with 20 of my girl friends. Which was perfect.
I asked my friends not to bring any gifts, because I already mostly have the baby clothes, blankets, toys, and all the baby furniture and bits and pieces I need!
But some couldn’t help themselves, and one of my girlfriends even surprised me with a foot scrub, massage and pedicure! Ah, it was so so sweet of her.
Ok I did set up some baby shower games.
Guess the Substance in the Nappy!
Basically guests had to open up, smell, inspect the contents of the nappy, and write down their guess on a bit of paper.
I had a melted Mars Bar, wholegrain mustard, vegemite, crunchy peanut butter, mashed peas, melted Snickers Bar, melted Picnic bar, and plumped sultanas.
Guess the Baby Food
I bought 6 jars of baby food, in a nice range of sweet and savoury flavours. Soaked the labels off and relabelled with numbers. Guests had to identify just 2 ingredients.
I had pumpkin and corn, apple and pear, banana and custard, apple and berry jelly, a tomato vegetable and beef stew, and a vegetable and rice curry.
Overall I had a really lovely afternoon and it was just so nice to be with my friends!
I’ve been looking for a quick and tasty biscuit recipe for a really long time – and this one is pretty much the best tasting butter cookie I’ve ever tried!
It’s just slightly easier than my other favourite Simple Butter Cookie Recipe.
This one is also not too sweet. It has a lovely buttery shortbread flavour. Still firm enough to give a delicious crunch. Keeps well. Easy recipe portions. Strong enough to throw into the kid’s lunchbox. Quick enough to whip up in 30 minutes. Easy enough for the kids to cut.
My only complaint is that when rolling and cutting, the dough is a bit brittle, and you have to be a little careful. Yeah, I’m that lazy! Would be tonnes simpler and quicker if we made circle-shaped biscuits!
Butter Biscuit Recipe
125g of softened butter
½ cup of caster sugar
2 cups of flour
Beat butter with electric mixer. Add sugar and mix until fluffy. Add egg, mix. Sift flour, combine with mixer, then make into a ball with your fingers. Throw into fridge for 10 minutes while you clean up. Roll flat to 1cm or less. Cut biscuits, line up on baking paper. Into 190C oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden colour. Cool on a wire rack.
I remember Sean, as a baby, being sensitive and grumpy all the time. Then as a toddler, he was utterly defiant and strong-willed. Over the years, being the second child, Sean’s personality was often over-shadowed by his older brother. He liked, copied and wanted everything Callum had and did.
But last year, with his older brother in full-time school, the days would go by where it was just me and Sean. It gave me an amazing opportunity to get to know him.
Firstly, he talks SO MUCH. He is very articulate, eloquent, and his sentences and expressions are mind blowing. Given the chance, he could talk for 5 hours non-stop when we’re together.
He’s not happy with simply giving a monologue commentary on our day to day activities, or talking to himself.
He asks questions and he wants answers. He wants to discuss things, he comes up with all these crazy ideas and theories, he wants my input and explanations, and he wants me to engage with him.
Sometimes it can be really hard work, especially when I’m not in the mood for conversation.
Having said that, he has an excellent capacity to entertain himself for up to an hour at a time. He has a wild imagination and he loves to make up his own adventures with his superheros and action characters.
He’s a very determined kid. When he sets his mind to a task, he’ll finish it. He will go all the way and not look back.
He’s pretty good about trying new experiences. It doesn’t take much for him to launch into something new or exciting. But once he’s made up his mind about something, it’s close to impossible to change his mind. He’s not easily swayed.
In fact, he is willing to suffer punishment, forego special treats, and go to bed without dinner – just to stick with his decision. Which is something I [somewhat] admire about him.
He’s also very much more of a leader type, than a follower. And unafraid to speak his mind.
Someone gave him a very basic digital camera for his birthday – it just points and shoots, without any auto-focus. Which means most of his photos are very blurry.
He often goes around snapping all kinds of random objects around the house and in his world. Words cannot describe the sheer delight I have when we scroll through his pictures together. We choose one, print it from the computer, cut it out, and pin it up on his wall.
This year Sean started Kindergarten – 2 full days at school. He started off really, really well – full of familiarity, confidence and happy to make friends.
But in the last few weeks, he’s been saying he’s bored at Kindy, his teachers don’t let him have any fun, and he’s quite clingy when it’s time for me to leave. I suspect it’s the impending arrival of the new baby, but I’m still keeping a close eye on him, in case there’s something else going on.
I must admit, I really enjoy hanging out with him all day. He’s like my little, best bud.
I am so proud to say that he is a very cool little kid, and I just love him to bits.
I know I’ve said this before – this is my third pregnancy and I wished I invested in a nice maternity wardrobe earlier!
As I write this, I am 38 weeks pregnant. And I am embarrassed to say that I have hardly anything to wear.
I am rotating a couple of bottoms with a handful of tops. If I had been a working mum-to-be, I would be mortified at myself, wearing the same thing each week!
Anyway, the lovely ladies at Maternity Exchange Singapore, contacted me and thought I might like to test out some of their clothes.
I was very intrigued by their business idea, and thought it was quite clever.
They are a maternity wear boutique in Singapore, which allows women to BUY brand new maternity outfits, RENT a piece individually, or RENT through specially priced packages (8, 12 or 20 pieces)
Sounds like a pretty cool idea for women who want to save money on new maternity clothes.
Pictured above, I’m wearing an orange Maternal America top, and white Mothers En Vogue pants. They were SO comfortable, that it made me go “AH HA! So this is what real maternity clothes are supposed to feel like!”
On the left, I’m wearing a very pretty floral Japanese Weekend maternity dress, which doubles as a nursing dress – the brown waistband lifts up for easy nursing. Its rental price is 65% off its recommended retail price!
On the right, I’m wearing a pink Mothers En Vogue tube top, and an Olian brown skirt. The top fits really well, it’s just so comfortable and it’s so flattering for the pregnant figure. I feel sooo good in it!
The skirt is great too. I like how the waistband stretches over my whole belly, so it doesn’t cut into my tummy. And I like how it’s versatile, you can dress it up or down. Again, its rental price is 65% off its recommended retail price.
Maternity Exchange Singapore has a pretty impressive range of popular and international maternity brands: Ripe, Egg by Susan Lazar, Maternal America, Japanese Weekend, Olian, Arabella B, Dote, MBC Maternity and heaps more.
You can go visit their boutique store here:
6, Raffles Boulevard
#03-108, Marina Square.
Tel: (65) 6100-EXCH (6100-3924)
Fax: (65) 6234-1898
Or visit their online store, which at the moment, is only available in Singapore.
But if you really like their stuff, write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll be happy to make special arrangements for international shipping.
Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.
I have a confession. A sort of announcement.
As you can see from the picture, I am not 23 weeks pregnant. I am 38 weeks… and there are only 40 weeks in a normal pregnancy.
Let me explain.
When my husband and I decided we were going to try to conceive a third child, the question on my mind was: Am I going to share the journey with my readers?
A lot of my readers had asked me why I hadn’t written much more about my previous two pregnancies. And I knew that many people would be interested to know the week by week details.
Also, since this website is based on my life, it was only natural for me to share this amazing life experience.
However, my immediate answer was: No, it was much too personal.
5 years ago, I decided not to share anything about my husband’s battle with cancer, which was happening at the same time as my second pregnancy.
I revealed it all in one, simple, short post after he had recovered.
I have no idea what I would have done if my husband had died, or been crippled.
A part of me wonders if writing about it would have helped me through it, in a therapeutic way.
And looking at it in hindsight, maybe I would have been able to inspire more people if I did.
Who knows. But at the time, keeping it secret was the right thing for me to do. The thought of sharing the day to day details of my life at that time, with thousands of strangers… was daunting and terrifying.
So when it came to Making Baby 3, I still had lots of fears. Fears of failure. Fears of being too real. Fears of sharing things that were very close to my heart. Having the contents of my heart out in the open – open to attacks, ridicule and judgment.
And what if something went wrong along the way? Complications. Invasive procedures. Operations. Miscarriages. Still births.
I guess if something did go wrong, I wanted some time to deal with things personally and privately, before I shared it with the world.
Because on the other hand, a big part of me wanted to share the story. I wanted to put it out there. I wanted to tell others. To let people in. Connect, talk and inspire people on a different level.
So I found a way where I could share my story.
I put a 3 month delay on all my Making Baby 3 posts. Yes, what you have been reading up till now, was written 3 months ago.
Why have I decided to reveal the truth now, before the delivery, if I have gone to so much trouble to keep it delayed?
Well, to be honest, a lot of reasons.
Because everything has gone so well so far with this pregnancy – I’m feeling confident.
Because we had problems getting pregnant, I have had to consider how fortunate I am to be having a third baby.
Because, I guess, that I have matured a lot in the time we have been trying to “Make Baby 3”.
Because I have become a wiser, calmer, stronger person.
And because I wanted to be completely honest with you, my readers.
I hope you understand why I needed to have the delay. I hope you forgive me.
So now, I am currently at 38 weeks.
I am big, and I am heavy! Everything in my pregnancy has been going wonderfully fine and dandy.
Considering that both my other sons were born during my 38th week, I am expecting the baby any day now!
Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.
The Purple Boot Brigade is a fundraising campaign dedicated to supporting education and awareness programs for breast cancer, across Australia.
The moment I heard about people wearing PURPLE BOOTS to help beat breast cancer, I was hooked! What a great idea! Of course, I wanted to know more about the campaign, and to hear the story of how it all began.
So last week, I had the honour of meeting up with Ros Worthington. We arranged to meet at the fashion outlet of a good friend of Ros’ – celebrated and uber-successful WA fashion label, Morrison.
Ros is an amazing woman. I read her bio, and I already knew she had established the Make A Wish Foundation of Western Australia and The Breast Cancer Foundation of Western Australia.
As I talked to her, I discovered she had worked at such a grass roots level – travelling around the state, visiting remote and rural communities, helping health workers and local women, educating and spreading the word about early breast cancer detection.
Ros also told me her life story, and I was amazed at the sheer number of enormous difficulties that she has overcome. And that she has responded to it all by giving so much back to her community, locally and nationally.
Steel Blue is a company who manufacture work and casual wear boots, and to promote awarness of breast cancer, they collaborated with the Breast Cancer Foundation of Western Australia to make a bright purple range of boots. Like I said, a brilliant idea!
Imagine a workman walking onto a building site wearing bright purple steel-capped safety boots. Of course, everyone who sees the boots will suddenly know about the campaign, and will tell their family and friends about it.
$30 from the sale of every pair of boots goes directly towards the development of an on-going national campaign aimed at making younger women aware of the need to detect brest cancer as early as possible – because earlier detections have much better survival rates.
I personally don’t have much need for steel-capped safety boots, but I love them as a fashion statement! I was told stories of women travelling around the world with them, turning up at fashion events in them, and even getting married in them! Just to make that statement – BE BREAST AWARE! So I thought I’d have a bit of fun with them too.
My son Sean was happily clumping around the house in my pair. Even at 3.5 years old, he was asking, “Why are these boots PURPLE?”
Part of the national education campaign is the “Test Your Breast IQ” quiz. You simply visit the website, click through a multiple choice quiz, and it tells you the correct answer each time you get it wrong.
I did not know, for example, that men can get breast cancer. The idea of the campaign is to break down mis-information and fear about breast cancer that reduce the chances of beating it. But of course, breast cancer is not such a happy topic, and to encourage people to have some fun taking this educational quiz, there are some pretty cool prizes up for grabs.
Each week, somone who takes the quiz can win a pair of the fabulous purple boots, but at the end of March, someone will win the major prize: an $8000 in value luxury holiday to Thailand for two people, with $1000 spending money thrown in!
You do have to be an Australian resident to be eligible for the main prize, but hey – anyone can take the quiz, learn more, and spread the word! Or you can just go and buy a pair of these Purple Boots that start conversations, by visiting the distributors list on the Purple Boot Brigade website.
I’m also very glad to say that Nuffnang Australia are supporting the Purple Boots campaign! You will notice an animating ad for the Purple Boots campaign located at the top of the right hand side column of this webpage. Nuffnang is running the ad for the month of March, at no cost, as the first of their contributions to spreading the word about important causes, across every participating blog in their network.
I know that Nuffnang have more exposure for good causes planned. So if you have a blog, and you would like to help charities like The Purple Boots Brigade do their important work, you can easily run these type of ads by joining up to the Nuffnang network.
But if this is not your cup of tea – wearing purple boots, breast cancer education, winning a trip to Thailand, or Nuffnang’s charity appeal – please take a minute to spread the word to someone who might be interested!
I get lots of emails from my readers asking me: “What kind of things are there to do in Perth?”
And for ages, I’ve been thinking of posting a write up, featuring some highlights of Perth and beyond.
So when Tourism Australia asked me whether I would like to share about my home town, I was delighted to finally sit down and write it all up.
SHORT STAY IN PERTH – If you are only staying in Perth for a short while, here are a few places you should definitely NOT MISS.
Perth is well known for not having any famous buildings, and for being a bit quiet. But you see, that’s how we like it.
People who appreciate Perth, love it for its relatively slow pace, big blue skies, huge open spaces, and freedom of access to literally hundreds of kilometres of simply spectacular ocean and riverside.
Perth’s founding fathers were very careful to preserve free access to the Swan River, which dominates Perth, wandering slowly from the hills to the ocean, giving Perth an amazingly generous ratio of people to water aspects and parks. So make sure you bring a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sun screen!
1. Visit Kings Park
King’s Park is on top of a hill, which looks down on the Perth skyline. It’s basically a huge bushland with lots of long walks and picnic areas, and it’s only a 5 minute bus ride from the centre of the city. It is also one huge war memorial, with each planted tree representing a fallen soldier.
Take a walk along the cultivated parks that overlook the city. It’s dotted with beautiful memorials, and depending on how keen you are on wildflowers and botanical gardens, a nice stroll and a stop for photos should take 1 hour.
In spring, the wildflowers are simply mind-blowing, and this is the only place in the world you can see so many unique, bizarre West Australian flowers in one place. You can even see the famous boab trees here.
The view of the city is great in the day. And very pretty and romantic at night! If you have only a few hours in Perth, Kings Park is an absolute MUST!
2. Go to South Perth
From central Perth, you can walk to Barrack Street Square to look at the Bell Tower and the Wheel of Perth (50m ferris wheel). Take a three minute ferry across the Swan River, to South Perth.
Take a stroll along the shore, there are nice parks for kids. Sit in a cafe, buy an ice cream, stroll some more and take it easy.
If you are energetic enough, you can walk or cycle an amazing 10 kilometres of walkways and parklands in a loop along the rivers edge, enjoying ever-changing, fantastic views across the river to Perth City and Kings Park.
3. Go to Cottesloe Beach
Cottesloe Beach is about 15 minutes drive, bus or train west of the city (halfway to Fremantle). It has a gorgeous aspect to it – lovely white sand, clean blue water, and lots of lawn areas and playgrounds for picnics. It is even lit up at night!
This is Perth’s equivalent to Sydney’s Bondi Beach – but much less crowded, and still untouched by tourism. It is absolutely iconic of the laid-back, easy-going West Aussie lifestyle.
Walk along the beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. Sit in a cafe and enjoy the view and the sea breeze. Cross the road, grab some fish and chips, plonk yourself on the lawn and watch the sun go down over the Indian Ocean. Cottesloe is amazing at any time of the day or early evening.
4. Visit Fremantle
Perth’s port city of Fremantle is 30 minutes drive from central Perth. Its old colonial-era streets are bustling with cafes, restaurants and shops that show off the huge benefit Italian and Greek immigration has had on Australian culture. There’s a fresh fruit markets and general markets for souvenirs and handmade goodies, not to mention an excellent strip of fashion boutiques along Market and High Street.
Make your way down to Fisherman’s Harbour to eat some fresh seafood, ice cream and have a stroll along the jetties. Crammed in next to the still hard-working port, you will find two excellent Maritime Museums, one dedicated to ancient ships, and the other, Australia’s more recent Maritime history.
5. Everything else!
But of course, there is so much more to do in the Perth metropolitan area.
Boutique and fashion shopping in Kings Street in the city, William Street in Northbridge, Oxford Street in Leederville, Subiaco and Mount Lawley.
You can see an excellent range of Australian wildlife at Perth Zoo – kangaroos, koalas, wombats and even giant crocodiles!
There is whale watching at Hillarys, river cruisers on the Swan River, wine tasting in the Swan Valley, helicopter rides over the river, jet skiing, scenic flights, art galleries, museums, etc, etc.
LONG STAY IN Western Australia – If you are staying more than a few days, there are heaps of great places to visit that are beyond Perth.
But be warned. Australia is VERY big, and Western Australia is the biggest part of Australia. It can take a long time to get places.
1. Margaret River
For a romantic, relaxing and chilling holiday, I definitely recommend the Margaret River region in the South-West. This can be done with only a one night stop over, but is better with two or three nights away.
The South-West is a superb touring holiday opportunity. Just hire a car or hop on a tour and set off, with something always around the next bend.
There are award winning wineries to visit, great restaurants, chocolate factories, ice cream factories, cheese tasting and olive farms. Not to mention a cute little townships and pretty countryside to see. See giant trees and forests, rolling, rich farm country and spectacular, dramatic coastlines, with heaps of small, unique farm-stay and bed and breakfast accommodations.
And you can also enjoy spas and salons, all geared up for hours of indulging and pampering.
2. Great Southern Region
Southern areas such as Albany, Pemberton, Walpole, Denmark are really lovely places to visit. Depending on what you like to do, there are gorgeous forests, tree-top walks, tree climbs, lovely little towns to visit, cute farms, pretty beaches, and interesting local history.
Or there are 4WD off-road adventure tours, that take you to the dramatic Southern coastlines and sand dunes.
3. Monkey Mia
For the more adventurous and outdoor sorts – Monkey Mia is a once in a lifetime trip.
Monkey Mia is in Shark Bay, some 8 hours drive north of Perth, and this huge area is full of beautiful white beaches and unique environments. You can feed wild dolphins, and take wildlife boat tours to see turtles and dugongs! It is a very long drive, and perhaps best done with a tour party, or you can charter a flight to make it all much easier.
4. Ningaloo and Coral Bay
My husband and my son walking along Ningaloo Bay at sunset.
If you are very keen, you can travel even further north to Ningaloo Reef and Coral Bay. Ningaloo is one of the world’s great secrets – a pristine coral reef hundreds of kilometres long, literally only a few meters from the deserted beaches. A mecca for divers and water sports lovers, as well as families who are accommodated by expert local guides. I have been scuba diving there, as well as whale spotting and snorkelling with whale sharks!
Broome is so far north of Perth that it is literally back in the tropics.
Broome is the most multicultural town in Australia, which is often thought of as the most multicultural country in the world. Broome has a very special history, being one of the world’s most important pearling centres during the first half of the 20th century, and has a populations of made up of so many different races that it is simply called “the Broome mix”. They have their own food and festivals.
I have never been to Broome, the Kimberley Region and the Australian North West. I would love to go visit and see all the giant, bizarre scenery, amazing wildlife and plants, spectacular fishing and scuba diving. I can’t wait!
Photo credits: Tourism Australia and my own.
I really admire Marni’s constant ability to bring together bright colours and patterns with crazy-bold textiles, and still create a look that is stylish and polished.
Check out my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.
Every evening, we take the kids to the park for a walk. We’re very blessed to live near a gorgeous stretch of parks, connected by paths, a creek, lots of trees, playgrounds, and lots of other friendly people who say hello.
Most days the boys will ride their bikes. Sometimes we let them take their scooters, or a ball, or a something new to break the routine. But every day is different. Every day is a new adventure.
Some days my husband takes the boys out by himself, while I cook dinner. And look what they get up to!
Although part of me is aghast by the civil irresponsibility – there’s something really remarkable about walking along and seeing the names of the people you love written in concrete.