Archive for June 2009

 

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Making Baby 3 – Coping With Three Kids

30 June 2009

When I first considered whether I wanted three children, I was terrified. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to cope. Two kids are great, because mum and dad can hold one each. Not to mention, I have two hands to hold each kid.

But what happens when there are THREE kids?

I would sometimes see a mother with three or four children – walking to school, in the shops, getting in and out of the car… and I think “My goodness, how does she do it???”

Those mothers were truly super-mums in my eyes.

So the other day I had a kind of epiphany.

I was dropping my two big boys off at their school. It was pouring with rain, it was windy, and the air was really cold. I parked the car. I got out of the car and stood in the rain. The car park was full of cars, kids, parents, puddles – it was utter madness.

There I was, holding a baby in one arm, two school bags in the other arm. I had my head crooked to one side so I could hold my own open umbrella under my chin, while trying to keep the baby dry. The boys were also standing in the pouring rain, in a huge puddle, with water soaking into their socks, enjoying the novelty of rain and trying to open their umbrellas.

I was shouting “PAY ATTENTION, WE’RE ON A ROAD! DON’T SPLASH THE PUDDLES! DON’T OPEN THE UMBRELLA TOO CLOSE TO THE CAR! DON’T POKE YOUR BROTHER IN THE EYE! STOP SWINGING YOUR UMBRELLA AROUND! DON’T STAND TOO FAR OUT ON THE ROAD!” as I used my knee to herd the boys away from the zooming cars.

I was so stressed. I stood there… and I could feel my blood boil with frustration. I was going to explode. THIS IS SO HARD!! THIS IS CRAZY!! I’M GOING CRAZY!!

I had a moment of insanity.

Then a thought flashed through my head – Oh. I see. This is how THOSE MOTHERS DO IT. WITH PLAIN HARD WORK.

I quickly realised that it probably didn’t have to be so hard. I needed to calm my nerves. I just had to do things slowly. Maybe adopt a slightly more positive attitude. And stick with what was important at that very moment. Which was, crossing the road.

Rain? Puddles? It’s just water right?

So, oh well, the baby got a bit wet. My hair got soaked. The school bags were drenched. The boys looked like they just had a shower. And I’m sure we’re all going to get a cold by the end of the week. Ah well.

As we approached the classroom, one of my boys looked up at me with big happy eyes and said, “Whoa, I feel like I’ve been in a washing machine!” And I actually laughed.

Later on that afternoon, I thought about this whole “super-mummy with three kids” thing.

We’re not THAT SUPER. We’ve just gotten used to the hard work, the juggling, the busy-ness and being organised.

It’s not glamorous, but it’s life.

And learning how to love it, is perhaps the most super thing about it.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Fashion Find: Little Monsters Kids Wear

29 June 2009

My Boys in Little Monsters Gear

Little Monsters, an online shop for designer kids and baby clothes, asked me to review some of their stuff.

I figured it would also be a cool opportunity to take photos of all three of my boys!

Little Monsters T-shirts

For my oldest boy, Callum, I selected a black Personalised Name T-shirt. He loved it.

For my second boy, Sean, I selected a blue Trendy Tee, with a picture of Sean Connery on it.

He didn’t quite get the joke, and wondered why HE didn’t get a t-shirt with HIS name on it too. So I had to explain who Sean Connery was, what secret agents were, and how subtle humour can be much funnier than normal humour. He seemed pretty happy with it after that.

For my newest little boy, Liam, I chose a Jolly Roger Baby Playsuit. Tee hee, he looks so serious in black.

Over all, the fabric quality of the t-shirts and playsuits are superb – thick, durable and soft. And their selection of designers are all extremely cute!

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.


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I Still Heart NKOTB

25 June 2009

New Kids On The Block

When I was 11, I LOVED New Kids On The Block. That’s right. It was true love.

I loved their songs, the way they dressed, the way they danced, their hair, their voices, their smiles. I read up about their songs, their producer, their backgrounds, which American states they were from, their siblings, the name of their pets. I collected posters and stuck them up all over my wall. I collected magazine snippets from every girl magazine available, and kept them in a neat scrapbook.

I didn’t have enough money to buy their CDs, so I taped their songs off the radio. I would wait up each night to record which ever top 10 song was playing, immediately after the previous night’s songs, so I could listen to all their songs over and over and over again.

It was always so tricky to rewind the tape back and forwards, record the song, then stop the tape just in time, so that I didn’t record the DJ’s voice or the radio ads.

Amongst all my day dreaming about them, no one explained to me AND it never occurred to me… that I could actually meet New Kids On The Block IN REAL LIFE. I mean, these guys weren’t like real people. They were completely unattainable. They were far, far, far beyond my reach and imagination. It was clearly an impossible thought.

By the time I was 14, I grew out of the New Kids phase. In fact, I was very embarrassed that I had been so utterly infatuated with them. So I trashed all my posters, clippings and tapes. I scoffed at anyone who liked their songs. And they became the epitome of all that was uncool, cringe-worthy, and rejected childishness in my life.

New Kids On The Block

And now, it’s been 19 years later, and I’m 30.

It’s funny how age and time has the ability to project you above issues of the past.

I feel I’ve come full circle. I’m happy to revisit the things of my childhood. And I’m not embarrassed about that phase in my life at all. I actually think it’s quite charming, in an enriching kind of way. It’s made me who I am. And I’m completely cool with it.

When I heard they were coming to Australia, it took me 2 seconds to decide that YUP, I was happy to pay hundreds of dollars to go see them! After all, it was an unfulfilled dream of mine, right? And they seemed to scrub up quite well. Plus it would be very entertaining to see thousands of other women in their 30s, all reliving their teenage fantasies!

However it was all not to be. Due to the economic downturn, NKOTB had to cancel their Australian tour. I won’t get to see them in real life!

Oh well. I’m sure they’ll come again next time.

Siiiiiiiiiiigh.


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The Uniform Project – 365 days in 1 dress

24 June 2009

The Uniform Project

Sheena Matheiken has created a wonderful blog, The Uniform Project, where she has undertaken to wear one dress for one year, as an exercise in sustainable fashion.

Each day she reinvents the dress with layers, accessories, and other bits, most of which are vintage or hand-made – and comes up with some very cute and stylish outfits.

It also is a year long fundraising project for the Akanksha Foundation, a grassroots charity that is devoted to funding the education of children in the slums of India.

I found it to be utterly inspiring and fascinating to browse through her outfits! It certainly humbles the part in me that craves for new dresses every season. I love fashion with heart!


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Making Baby 3 – Not a Newborn

23 June 2009

Liam at 13 weeks

The other day I went to visit a girlfriend, who had just given birth 10 days ago. As she held her tiny baby, wrapped up in a pink bundle of blankets… I sighed at the beautiful sight of soft, squishy skin, and tiny crinkly eyes.

Then to my shock horror, I realised that the baby in my own arms WAS NOT A NEWBORN ANYMORE!

Look at him! He’s like a big monster baby compared to the fragile, helpless, kitten-like baby he used to be. What happened?!

Liam at 13 weeks

Liam is 13 weeks old and he has discovered his hands, as you can see in the photo on the left.

I just LOVE this stage. It’s hilarious. Babies will just sit and stare at their hand, as if it was the most interesting thing in the world.

He’s also experimenting with his expressions. From spaced-out blurred looks, to squinty-eyed laugh-out-loud looks, to this… super-cute frowning.

Is everyone just dying from cuteness-overload yet?


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Yummy Mummy Stuff From Fashion Junkee

22 June 2009

Bag from FashionJunkee

All mums know that you need a huge bag to carry all your stuff. So while I try to stay away from those bright pink-polka-dot nappy bags, I tried out some large fashion bags from FashionJunkee. They worked a treat and were very affordable!

Above I’m showing off a bag from their collection of wide woven handbags. I was tempted to go with the mustard or the green, but maybe next time.

Bag from FashionJunkee

This is a Prada inspired tote – extra large, to fit all your stuff. Very cool.

You can see the whole handbag collection here.

Baby Pouch from FashionJunkee

They also sell some stylish baby slings and pouches. This one is reversible, you can wear it five different ways, and there are a few size adjustments.

For my first two babies, I used a baby carrier, and I could not live without it. So with a bit of hesitation, this was the first time I tried a baby pouch – and I was sold.  I find it to be so much easier than a carrier. I use it every day as I drop my kids off at school. I can be hands free and do heaps of stuff as I carry my bub around!

Liam is 3 months old and he’s looking a bit dazed because he just woke up.

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.


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Daily Outfit 19-06-09

19 June 2009

Daily Outfit 19-06-09

The weather has been getting colder, and I’m feeling the laziness creep into my bones.

Most days I slap on some jeans, tank and a jacket. But the other day I was heading out to meet some girlfriends, so I thought I should at least dress up a little bit.

Grey jersey dress from Fashion Junkee. Smock jacket from Myer. Lace scarf from Sly. Leggings from Target. Shoes from Betts.

Check out my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.


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Colour Inspiration: Speckled Yellow

18 June 2009

Autumn Trees


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Making Baby 3 – Getting Back into Shape, Part 1

17 June 2009

I have been getting lots of people writing in to ask me about my weight before and after pregnancy, gaining weight, and how I have been getting back into shape etc. And I have been finding it absolutely fascinating to see THE EFFECTS OF THREE PREGNANCIES over time, age and lifestyle.

My History

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was 25 years old and 47kgs. I literally ate to my heart’s content. I gave in to any craving for junk food, meat pies, fried noodles, cheese, chocolate.

Surprisingly, I didn’t gain much throughout the pregnancy. But near the end, within a few days, my appetite grew and I suddenly put on 5kgs – and got big purple stretch marks on my tummy. (So big lesson, gradual weight gain ladies!)

In total, I gained about 15kgs (pregnancy was 38 weeks long).

After I gave birth, I breastfed, and the weight instantly melted away. It definitely had something to do with natural metabolism or genetics or SOMETHING, because I wasn’t on a vigorous exercise regime, nor did I go to the gym. However, I was an active mother, going out every day, walking, carrying baby in a sling, and pushing the pram.

The stretch marks faded to a silvery colour over time. A very, very small price to pay for having a baby! I also did a lot of pelvic floor exercises.

When I was pregnant for the second time, I was 27 years old and 45kgs. I had a much healthier lifestyle and diet this time, but I still ate as much as I liked.

Again, I gained 15kgs in total (pregnancy was 38 weeks). And again, the kilos melted away after birth, with hardly any work on my part, and the stretch marks faded to silver. I felt that I was lucky with my genes. Once again, a lot of pelvic floor exercises.

Then it was 4 years between my 2nd and 3rd children. I was not very fit. I got tired easily and had very low stamina. I did do various spurts of exercise and sports, but no regular cardio workouts, or muscle building or toning exercises.

I was slightly concerned that after four years, I still had a small JELLY BELLY – as they call it in post-pregnancy circles. Since I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight, I assumed that jelly belly is due to loss of muscle tone in the abdomen.

Now, I say “slightly concerned” because, I guess if I was VERY concerned, I would have been motivated to do something about it. And the only person in the whole world who would ever noticed was me. Once again, a very small price to pay for the joy of having TWO babies.

With my third pregnancy, I was 30 years old and 45kgs. My lifestyle and diet had never been as healthy. Throughout my pregnancy I did lots of exercise, body stretches, I ate very well, I didn’t over eat, and I practiced a LOT of self-control with my cravings.

I put on 14kgs in total (which was really good, considering I was pregnant for 2 weeks longer this time, and delivered at 40 weeks).

A week after the third birth I was 8kgs over, which is completely normal.

But now, it’s been 3 months since the birth and I’m still 3kgs over. The weight isn’t exactly “melting away” like when I was 25, and the loss of muscle tone is a lot greater, so the jelly belly is obviously a lot bigger.

In addition to all that, I don’t seem to have the same natural reservoir of energy stored up. I’m even more tired, I need more sleep, I get more headaches, and my bones and muscles actually hurt when I use them.

Yes that’s right, I’m over 30! I’m finding it harder to keep myself fit and in shape! Haha how clichéd is that? But it’s the simple truth.

Of course, the “mummy tummy” is very normal. After all, my skin and muscles were stretched out like a balloon for 9 months. If I “let it all hang out” I look 3 months pregnant.

To be completely honest with you and myself, while I LOVE being a mother, I just don’t want to have a “mummy tummy”. And I can see how this will continue to become more of a problem as time goes by. So, I am determined to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and flatten my tummy somewhat. And I have been inspired by some other mums I know who have done it.

So What to Do?

My husband and I are trying to improve our eating and lifestyle habits.

So we are eating very well – lots of raw vegetables, limiting processed carbohydrates and high-cholesterol meats, sugar and fats. However, our kids need all this stuff for their growing bodies, so they often get a different variation at meal times.

We’re including more exercise into our daily routine. For example, my husband rides his bike to the shops, instead of driving, and I walk the boys to school, pushing my newborn in the pram. This is actually great, because I get to chat with other walk-to-school mums in the park, and it doesn’t seem like work at all.

I’m also researching abdominal exercises specifically for mums, and I discovered a few fascinating facts about the mummy tummy and some simple exercises to help get me started… and I’ll share it all next time around.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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My Organic Garden – Broccoli

16 June 2009

Broccoli Heads

Finally! After something like 5 months, my broccoli plants have sprouted some heads.

I’m grinning from ear to ear with excitement and beaming with such delight… that it’s probably a bit pathetic. But, hey each to their own, ok?


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Go Ask Your Father

12 June 2009

Sean in the Garden

For a kid who loves air-guitaring to rock and roll, munching on carrot sticks, drawing aliens and playing wii golf… my 4 year old son comes up with some superb brain-hurting questions:

“If God made everything and everyone… then who made God?”

“Hey if I had a dream, and then I woke up, what if this is a dream, and when do I wake up?”

“When grandma dies, will she come back as grandma? Or do you think she can choose who she wants to come back as?”

“And what if every adult died at the same time? Like if a big rock fell from space. And it could only kill the tall people. How will there be more kids?”

“Are there other countries on different planets in space? And how do you know that?”

And my favourite…

“Why do adults have to work anyway? If they need money, why don’t they just rob a bank?”

I love the kid. Really I do. I also love chatting to him and answering the questions in four year old language.

But what I can’t STAND… is when he asks me a question in a quiet waiting room of a doctor’s surgery… and everyone in the room hears it, and from the corner of my eye, I can see everyone’s ears prick up, and lean a little closer so they can listen in.

(But before you think he’s a genius – that isn’t a colour abnormality in the photo above. Yes, that’s a green smudge on the side of his mouth because he likes to suck on textas.)


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Betty Sugar Collection Launch

11 June 2009

Betty Sugar Collection Launch

The other night I headed over to Northbridge to see the launch of new designer Betty Tran’s Betty Sugar Collection. The show was at the Skatt Salon, which features a big pink catwalk down the middle of the room.

Now, when I say “big” and “pink”, I mean the catwalk was BIG and LONG and HOT PINK. Quite a glam fashion statement.
Betty Sugar Collection Launch

I went to the event by myself, but turned out I knew all the fashion photographers there. I had met them last year at the Perth Fashion Festival, and it was nice to see and chat to them again.

I also managed to walk up to a few random people, start chatting and convinced them to “Do the Karen Cheng” with me! This is the lovely Arina, who was wearing a to-die-for deep magenta dress from Cue, and the charming Alex.

Betty Sugar Collection Launch

Overall the clothes were feminine, sexy and very wearable. I was amazed by how many came down the runway – maybe 60 in total? I really enjoyed both the clothes, and the overall presentation of the show. I think we’ll be seeing more of Betty Sugar!


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Making Baby 3 – Liam’s 3 Month Milestones

10 June 2009

Making Baby 3 - Liam’s 3 Month Milestones

Liam is almost 3 months old. He weighs about 5kgs – I say “about” because I haven’t actually gone into the clinic to weigh him. He just feels like the same weight as a bag of rice.

He sleeps 11-12 hours through the night, and takes a big 2 hour nap in the morning, followed by several small 30 minute naps through the day. He is, by far my favourite baby, just don’t tell the others.

He has very good control of his head. He can turn to look at things. He notices people when they walk into the room. And smiles a lot.

New for this week, is that he can bring his hand to his mouth and suck on his thumb. Sometimes he misses and you can often find him bashing himself on the chin – which is actually quite cute, and not at all as cruel as it sounds.

But his cute factor has also risen threefold this week, as he is quite a chatterbox.

If he is awake, and if someone picks him up, makes eye contact with him, and talks to him… he will immediately goo and gaa and sing back with smiles, chuckles and a little sparkle in his eye. Good lord, it is so so so cute.

It’s enough to make me want another baby – but that WON’T be happening!

Photo: He also likes talking to his new friends, Goldilocks and the three bears. At first he eyes them up suspiciously, then after a round of introductions, he’ll happily chat away at them. Like I said. So. Cute.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Fashion Find: Cuff Style Bracelets

9 June 2009

Fashion Find: Cuff Style Bracelets

When I go out with my kids during the day, I don’t usually like to wear long necklaces, big bangles or jingly bracelets.

Handling small children, I usually get a string twisted on a pram handle, or a pendant tugged off its chain, or I might clock a kid over the head with something chunky.

So habitually, I’m quite minimal when it comes accessorising.

However, during the last few weeks, I’ve been keen to dress up my outfits with something like a cuff-style bracelet maybe?

These are some that I spotted over at Urban Outfitters.

Check out my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.


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Autumn Fogginess

8 June 2009

Misty Morning

For some reason, our two older boys have been waking up really early in the morning – at 5:30am – before the sun rises.

It’s so early that I have to lay out their breakfast dishes and the cereal boxes the night before, so they can help themselves to breakfast, without waking us up.

Most days they have their school clothes on, their shoes and socks on, and they are bursting with energy and ready to go to school, before 6:30am!

One morning last week a frosty mist had settled over our local park – which is very unusual for Perth.

My husband took the boys for a morning stroll before school to see it. They were so excited that they ran and ran and ran and ran until he couldn’t see them!


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Manifesto: A New Fashion Magazine

5 June 2009

manifesto1

I am a big fan of Fashion Nation – a fashion blog based out of Singapore, which is written by two fabulous girls, Dottie and Stephie.

These ladies combine a very girly giddiness about shoes, bags and clothes with an impressively brainy understanding about WHY they, and all of us, are addicted to fashion. Fashion Nation has become not only my hot-wire to fashion goings-on in Singapore, but also a welcome, on-going education about the whole culture, art and craft of fashion worldwide.

So I was smiling from ear to ear when they announced their new secret project. Dottie and Stephie have assembled a bunch of cool individuals, oozing with passion and real voices to produce the new fashion magazine Manifesto.

I’m so excited for them! And jealous, but in a really glad and proud way! I’ve always wanted to produce a simply divine magazine.

Manifesto is completely a magazine, as opposed to a blog. It has multiple contributors, rich, lush photo layouts, and comes as a packaged issue, but you can still read it online as a page-flip magazine. Like Fashion Nation, it is witty, articulate, of the moment and to the point.

Manifesto Issue number one is here. Go read!

manifesto2


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OK, I admit it. I’m a Star Trek Fan.

4 June 2009

Star Trek The Movie

I’m an avid fan of science fiction. I really, really like it. I like watching it, I like reading it, and I like talking about it – on a totally superficial level for entertainment purposes.

But I wouldn’t say I’m a DIE HARD fan.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you the weapon used to kill which kind of alien on which planet in which series. I wouldn’t be able to explain the timeline of the political history between this race and that race. Nor would I be able to deconstruct and argue the complex relationship between Kirk and Spock.

I admit that the Star Trek brand has a rather heavy geek-factor associated with it, and that most people wouldn’t actually admit to wanting to watch the latest Star Trek movie.

But I have no problems with telling the world that I was excited about it!

In fact, I arranged babysitting for ALL THREE OF MY CHILDREN one evening, so my husband and I could watch it. Now is that true dedication or what?

Anyway. I really liked it! It was a cool action movie, the story, cast and characters were all great, and I particularly liked how you didn’t have to know anything about Star Trek to enjoy it.

There were plenty of insider jokes for those who are die hard fans, but it never got in the way of the pace of the movie. In fact, as I looked around the cinema at the end of the movie, all of the audience looked like completely normal people!


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China International Fashion Week 2009

3 June 2009

I love checking out fashion shows from around the world. I love being surprised, inspired and entertained! These are some of my favourites from the latest China International Fashion Week Autumn/Winter Collection 2009.

China Fashion Week 2009

I’m not usually fond of lace on dresses. I’ll make an exception for wedding dresses, but most of the time lace looks pretty dowdy. But this lace dress by fashion designer Chen Juanhong (as part of her Judy-Galaxy Fashion Collection) is pretty hot. Especially with the rad neckpiece. I like!

I also like this polka dot and striped look (part of the same collection), but perhaps minus the dead fox.

China Fashion Week 2009

These are some cool samples from the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University graduates show. Notice the dangling rubber gloves on the left garment – a bit strange, but it’s always fun to be strange… and subtle!

Images by Getty

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.


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Making Baby 3 – Who does he look like?

2 June 2009

When I first became a mother to a newborn baby, I quickly got used to all the QUESTIONS. Questions about my pregnancy. Questions about the delivery. Questions about the newborn.

How many months pregnant are you? Did you have morning sickness? What are you craving for?

How long was the delivery? Was it a natural birth? How much did the baby weigh?

Is your baby a boy or girl? How old is he? Does he sleep a lot? He’s got such long fingers!

I found it quite endearing that all these questions seemed so universal. And I’ve learnt not to be so irritated by these questions, because hey, I ask other new mothers the same things.

Liam is now 10 weeks old and I’ve reached the stage where everyone is asking me: WHO DOES HE LOOK LIKE?

My aunties use their hands and cover Liam’s forehead and say, his mouth and chin look like Callum, and his forehead looks like Sean. Or that he’s got Karen’s eyes and lips, but Andrew’s brow and nose. And for some reason everyone is obsessed about his eyelids and ears!

So I thought I’d share a few pics of my three boys, and everyone can make up their own minds.

Liam 10 weeks

Baby 3: Liam is 10 weeks old.

Sean 12 weeks

Baby 2: Sean is 12 weeks old.

Callum 6 weeks

Baby 1: Callum is 6 weeks old.


Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Daily Outfit 01-06-09

1 June 2009

Daily Outfit 1-6-09

This weekend I joined a girlfriend for lunch and afternoon shopping at Claremont.

It was a gorgeous, sunny, Autumn day. The warm air and big, blue sky was absolutely yummy. It was just wonderful to be out and about.

We sat outside in the shade of cafe umbrellas. I had a chicken and avocado focaccia and a cup of tea.

We chatted about life, marriage, travelling, exercise and shopping. We talked so much that we ran out of time to hit the shops, so we didn’t end up buying anything.

*I heart girlfriends*

I’m wearing my belt (from Sportsgirl) again! White tulip skirt from Soon Lee (Singapore). Black top from Country Road. Shoes from Betts. Purse is borrowed from my sister.

I tried to travel light – putting only my essentials into a purse (instead of a large bag). But it didn’t work… all day I didn’t feel complete… I was missing STUFF.

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Fashion and Shopping Directory.




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