Archive for January 2010

 

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Weekend Omelletes

29 January 2010

Eggs, tomatoes, herbs from the garden

My mother gives me a dozen eggs every week, freshly laid by her chickens.

I team them up with a few baby roma tomatoes from my garden, a handful of basil, spring onions, chives and parsley.

Seasoned with a good portion of salt and pepper.

And we have the most delicious omelettes to start the weekend!

Weekend Omelette


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Wearing 70’s Fashion Trend- It’s Back (Again)

28 January 2010

70s Ruffle Maxi DressSo apparently the 70s look is back in fashion for 2010.

And what better way to indulge in a frivolous fashion trend, than to go to a 70s party wearing your mother’s dress from the 70s!

A halter-neck, ruffle-detail, maxi-dress in large flower print. Can you get anymore “Fashion from the 70s” than that?

But my story is slightly cooler than that.

My mother made this dress all by herself – in the 70s.

She was 25, she was invited to a party… and she had nothing to wear.

So she just whipped it up one weekend. And she has kept it all this time.

Part of me is green with envy. I wish I could sew proficiently.

Another part of me is amazed at how society (and it’s relationship with fashion) has changed in one generation.

In those days, it was very common for women to sew their own clothes. They didn’t have much money, so they had to be creative with their materials – at least that’s what it was like where my mum was living.

I can imagine a bunch of girlfriends sitting around at a party, spying on other girl’s outfits and saying things like “How did she get the ruffle to sit so well on her neckline? I can never get mine straight!”

I wore this dress with a large chunky gold bracelet and big gold earrings – and sandals.

Thanks Mum!

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


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Old Boots New Boots

27 January 2010

Old Boots, New Boots

Sometimes I get so darn sentimental.

My oldest boy is moving up yet another shoe size.

I thought the image of the two boots would look cute. And as I crouched over them in my backyard, I was struck by the power of the image.

Time is moving on. New things will be old. Journeys will be travelled. New memories will be created. Life will be lived – no matter what.

And they’re just a couple of old boots.


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Online Shopping at YesStyle – Asian Fashion from Korea, Japan and Taiwan

26 January 2010

YES Stlye Asian Fashion

I have always been fascinated with “Asian fashion”. And for those not so familiar with the term, it is used to describe the pop culture fashion in Japan, Taiwan, Korean, Hong Kong and China.

Obviously I’m intrigued because I am ethnically Chinese. But also because I live in Australia, where there is little access to “Asian Fashion” images, and almost no places to browse and buy.

In my limited knowledge of Asian fashion, I know it can be very “out there” and generally… the more fashionable women are known for their fabulous styling, layering and accessorising.

I also know that Asian Fashion can be very wallet friendly, with some styles direct from the catwalk, but in materials that are not designed to last the next season!

So my forage into Asian Fashion began with an email from YesStyle, an online shop specialising in an amazing collection of fashion from Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

They wanted to send me a few bits and pieces for a review… and all I had to do was choose a few items as gifts. Lots of things on the site looked really good, but I had no idea where to start!

YES Stlye Asian Fashion

Firstly I chose this very cool Double-Breasted Military Coat, which cost US$77.

A fashion coat is a difficult garment purchase for me, because it usually costs around $300 – $500, and after you’ve worn it for one winter, it might look out-dated next winter! So I always end up buying something classic, which leaves me with a wardrobe full of classic styled jackets that all cost heaps and look the same!

I also know a few friends from Singapore, who, when they go to visit a cold country, are unwilling to spend lots of money on a warm coat, believing that a few extra jumpers will block out the cold. Here’s a tip – jumpers don’t keep you warm when it snows!

Anyway, so I wanted to test out the issue of quality versus cost, and I’m happy to say that my coat was actually better than I expected.

Next I wanted to test out the issue of sizing, particularly because I’m used to Australian, US and UK sizing. How will be able to work out the sizing and get clothes that actually fit me?

Well, I’m wearing some Studded Wool Shorts (pictured above, which are out of stock on the website) and they fit like a dream. Shorts hardly ever fit me like a dream!

Usually when I buy “small” sizes over the internet, particularly from Australian, US and UK online shops, they arrive much bigger around the waist. But YesStyle have all their measurements listed on each garment page, so you just have to get hold of a measuring tape and make sure you don’t get tangled!

YES Stlye Asian Fashion

And lastly, I found a very cool looking Long Stripe Singlet, that I immediately wore everywhere!

I actually picked up a few more items from the online shop, but I’m going to style the items in some of my Daily Outfit Posts over the next few weeks.

The YesStyle site is pretty big, and I was a bit boggled as to how and where to start.

So here’s my tip – try searching by these brands that caught my eye!

Melissa: Elegant, feminine and classic styles.

FoxCity: Edgy and trendy styles, funky prints, all very rock chick looking.

Prischu Essentials: Basics with a touch of trend.

Star Mimi: Very cool and casual style in a subdued palette. Great for basics and layering.

YUMI: Very cute winter layering

Dizzy Darling: For the younger crowd. Very funky, trendy, sexy styles!

Cherry Story: Lots of cute, mix and match girly pieces.

Happy Shopping!!

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


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Baby 3: The 9 Month Update

25 January 2010

Liam - 9 Months

Liam is 9 months and has 4 teeth. They have gown out of correct order, and it just looks so cute when he smiles. He looks like a drunken sailor with his teeth smashed out.

Over the space of a month, Liam’s development has EXPLODED and progressed at lightning speed.

It’s so scary. It’s like watching all the home video of our FIRST child – in fast forward! Eating solids! Picking up food! Crawling! Cruising!

Argh! Someone slow it down! It’s going too fast!

Liam used to crawl like a slow creeping lizard. He would pause and carefully examine the seam of the curtain, or the edge of a cardboard box.

Now he’s bolting around the house on all fours, like a little BULLDOG, getting into the toilet, the bathroom and all the rooms of our house. He even goes out the front door if we leave it unlatched!

But the weirdest thing is – he can now stand up by himself for 15 seconds, straight off the floor, without holding onto anything. He just goes from his “doing-a-poo” squat to standing straight up.

I’m completely horrified. He looks much too young to be balancing. It looks demonic – as if his head might spin around and around and he’ll say “I’m watching yoooouuu” in a deepy, raspy voice.

Fortunately, all he does is realise that he doesn’t know what to do next, so he just smiles stupidly, and then sits back down on his big nappy-bum. Then he runs away on all fours like a never-ending wind-up toy that just keeps going and going and going and going.

Liam - 9 Months

A few weeks ago, Liam first pulled himself up onto some furniture. What happened to the quiet, placid baby I had a month ago??

He used to be happy to be plonked into a room full of baby toys, but now he just wants to be where his older brothers are. And he’s not happy to just sit and watch. He wants to join in. He’ll get right into the action, grabbing his brother’s toys or messing up their pencils. Or he will scramble over to the TV, grab the Wii Remote Controller, and wave it around at the screen – obviously copying his big brothers!

It’s made me a little sad to see Liam bypass all the BABY BOY TOYS (think Thomas the Tank Engine) and go straight for the Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtle toys.

Under the worrying influence of older brothers, my last, iddy-biddy baby is growing up so much faster than the other two!!


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What the Cleaners Might Find

22 January 2010

Cubby House Bed

OK. We don’t really have cleaners. And if we did, it would be such a shame, because I really love stumbling across weird “remnants of play” left by my kids.

This is me approaching my son’s bed. I was actually looking for my slippers, which I left by his bed, when I said good night to him the night before. Looks pretty normal, right?

But when I looked under the bed…

Cubby House Bed

…toys were strewn everywhere, dust balls were collecting in the spider webs, and the fridge magnets were arranged in the words: “cubBy hoUse”, on the steel bed frame.

It reminds me that my kids live in a different world of imagination than I do. And I love to be reminded of that.

It’s gold I tell you.


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How To Curl Long, Thick Hair (using 1 hair product)

21 January 2010

I love my long, straight, black hair. When I am out, I often get comments about how cool perfectly-straight-black-hair-that-goes-half-way-down-your-back is.

But a lot of hair equals a lot of work, and I have to iron it flat every couple of days. And sometimes, I dream about having naturally curly hair! Curls are much more forgiving, romantic and natural looking.

My hairdresser said if I wanted to get a digital perm it would cost me $500 and 5 hours in a chair. REALLY!? I wasn’t too keen, because I have issues with the money, time, chemicals used, the damage to my hair, and I’m at the wrong time in my life for those kinds of investments.

So I might get it done some time in the future, but at the moment I wanted to play with my hair – as it is – a bit more.

Right now, I’m experimenting with a method that only uses 1 styling product – styling wax.

This post is a bit long and has lots of pictures (of me doing my hair). I’ve suddenly gone all self conscious, sick of looking at pictures of myself, and scared of me coming across all vain!

So you’ll have to click “Read More” if you’re actually interested in curling long hair. Do you think you can handle more? You have been warned!

(more…)


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A Finger Up Your Nose and A Fresh Perspective

20 January 2010

Karen, Sean, Angela

Many weeks ago I met up with fellow blogger Angela, who was in town for a few days. She used to live in Perth, but now she lives in Singapore.

It was great to sit in the sun by the river and catch up! It was particularly nice, during our chat, to notice Perth and its lifestyle with fresh eyes again.

Yes, our skies are BIG and blue and our weather is almost always delightful.

Yes, people do go windsurfing and boating and have barbeques during the week.

Over here, it’s all about quality of life, and enjoying each day in a very easy and laid-back manner.

Everyone says there’s nothing to do here, but that’s rubbish – I hardly have enough time to go to all events that I WANT to go to – music events, fashion happenings, designer markets, live bands, comedy nights, plays, weekend festivals, art exhibitions, shop openings, food and wine shows.

And I haven’t even mentioned the family-friendly events!

Angela mentioned she was taking a friend horse-riding and visiting wildlife parks. Horse riding! Wildlife parks! What a great idea! It’s funny how visitors bring a fresh perspective on things.

*Make mental note: Must take kids to tourist attractions during the holidays!

Karen, Sean, Angela

When I catch up with friends, usually, there are other kids present. So when there are NO other kids around, I am always a little worried that my kids would get bored.

But my 4.5 year old Sean was a darling and he was very well behaved! And my 9 month old, Liam ate sand and slept in the pram.

When the cameras came out, Sean livened up considerably.

We asked him what we should do for the “Silly Photo”, but as you can see, he was the only one sporting enough to go all the way.


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Porn for New Moms

18 January 2010

I was at a friend’s baby shower the other week, when I spotted this book in the pile of gifts.

Yes, the title of the book, Porn for New Moms, caught my eye and made me very, very curious – enough for me to pick up the book and have a look. So bravo to the publishers for the winning title.

I sat there and flicked through the book, hoping to find very hot guys in very little clothes… and what I found was something FAR, FAR BETTER. It was very hot guys who understand exactly what a woman wants when she has just had a baby.

Porn for New Moms

“Damn you look hot in those trackpants”

Porn for New Moms

“Let’s not have sex tonight. Let me rub your feet while you tell me about the baby’s day.”

Porn for New Moms

“And in just eight more hours, we can wake up mummy!”

I could not stop laughing. Seriously, I was standing there with my camera, giggling and giggling, taking forever to snap these photos to share with you all.

It’s an EXCELLENT present.

Porn for New Moms at Amazon.com

Porn for New Moms at Fishpond.com.au


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Inspiration – My Dirty House

15 January 2010

When I notice beautiful textures and subtle colours as I go about my daily life, it shakes me out of a rut, and I find myself somewhat inspired.

Check it out!

Aerial Photograph of forest and clouds

But what is it? An extreme close up of the texture of an exquisite cashmere wool?

Nope.

An aerial photograph of clouds over a tropical mangrove forest?

Also, no.

I am ashamed to admit that I found this inside a tea cup in my own house.

Green Tea Cup

Truly disgusting, and yet also beautiful and bizarre.

I know it’s mould. But why is it so amazing in colour and texture? Why are some parts green, others white, and others yellow?

And how did it get here? Was the mould spore in the green tea leaves to start with, or was it just floating by in the air, and happened to land in my tea? And isn’t this how penicillin was accidentally discovered? Am I on the verge of a BIG medical breakthrough here?

If only I had the time to find out the answers to these questions…

To make your own green tea mould…

1. Make a cup of much needed green tea to calm your frazzled nerves while working at the computer.

2. Have the computer monitor suffer some kind of failure, and then unthinkingly push the half-drunk tea cup BEHIND the monitor while you fix the problem (by vigorously yanking on the monitor cable until the picture comes back – it works every time!)

3. Then be distracted by something else, and forget all about the cup of tea.

4. Re-discover the tea cup approximately two weeks later, when the damn computer monitor plays up again.

5. Enjoy!

(I was tempted to put the cup back again, to see if it grew into something even more interesting…but I’m not that brave!)


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2010 Fashion Trend: Wearing Digital Prints

14 January 2010

2010 Fashion Trend: Digital Prints - Josh Goot and Alexander McQueen

Fashion trend watching is a very interesting sport to engage in – not only on a sheer aesthetic level, but also on a cultural level.

I find it fascinating to see how designers play with styles on a catwalk… and over a period of time, they seep into popular culture, and somewhat define the aesthetics of a decade.

Ok perhaps it’s a bit high-and-mighty. After all fashion is just one aspect of The Arts – architecture, art, photography, dance, etc.

Anyway. I was deeply intrigued by a new fashion trend apparently set for 2010 – digital prints.

A few designers experimented with digital prints in recent collections, think Alexander Mcqueen (2 dresses on the right) and Josh Goot (2 dresses on the left).

2010 Fashion Trend: Wearing Digital Prints

The trend caught my eye because I love watercolour and painterly looks, blended gradients and organic looking prints. Especially on silks and printed on white cotton.

But the designers have definitely pushed this idea further… having designs inspired by geographical patterns and just crazy-bold colours!

Anyway, about 10 years ago I bought this strapless tube top with a digital print of a water pond, reeds and a lily.

Of course the image was zoomed right in, so you can only see blurry parts of the water and the reeds. And only a few petals from the lily.

It has a slight oriental look to it as well (probably from the lily) which I liked as well. And I’ve only kept it because I love the print and colours.

I dug it out and paired it with a few straight forward items:
Black blazer (from Cue)
Tulle skirt (from Birdsnest.com.au)
Fierce shoes (from Betts).

I also had a necklace which I forgot to put on before the photograph.

Anyway, I enjoyed wearing this outfit! I took off the blazer during the evening and the colours definitely made me all happy and chirpy. I really should wear more colours!

…..

Check out my favourite online fashion shopping in my Online Fashion Shopping Directory.


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Recipe: Banana and Coconut Pancakes with Caramel Sauce

13 January 2010

Pancakes Bananas and Coconut

For Christmas I received an amazing cookbook: Delicious: Quick Smart Cook, and this was one of the recipes I HAD to try out.

I basically woke up one Sunday morning at 5am (as you do, when you have a baby) and I decided to make it. Of course I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I made a few changes on the fly (like using 2 eggs instead of 4).

The flavour of the pancakes on their own, are quite plain. So the fresh bananas and the caramel sauce is ESSENTIAL. If you’re lazy you could just use honey or maple syrup.

Banana and Coconut Pancakes with Caramel Sauce and Yoghurt

1 banana
2 eggs, separated
1 cup (250ml) of coconut milk
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
Melted butter for greasing.

Toppings (optional)
2 bananas
desiccated coconut
natural yoghurt

Caramel sauce
50g of butter
½ cup of brown sugar
3 tbs of golden syrup
150ml thickened cream (I didn’t have cream, so I used a splash of milk)

Method

1. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, set aside.

2. Mash the banana, set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks, coconut milk and salt until combined.

4. Mix in sifted flour, baking powder and banana.

5. Fold in egg whites.

6. Brush a non-stick pan with butter, and use a few tablespoons of batter for each pancake.

7. Heap with fresh bananas, yoghurt, caramel sauce and coconut.

I made about 16 small pancakes.

For the Caramel Sauce
Warm together and melt butter, sugar, syrup and cream in a pan over low heat. Simmer and stir for about 5 minutes until thickened.

PS. The Delicious: Quick Smart Cook Cookbook is really good!


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A Walk in the Park

11 January 2010

One of the things I love most about summer are the long summer evenings.

At 6pm, after dinner, we gather the kids and go for a nice long walk before bath time.

The sunset air, the sounds, the smells, even the colours are just beautiful.

We ride bikes, kick a soccer ball, play in the playground, and laze around on the grass noticing the summer buds on the trees in the setting sun.

A Walk in the Park - Liam

My baby usually naps during the walk. I love how sleeping babies squish their faces against the side of the pram, so innocently abandoning themselves to their needs.

A Walk in the Park - Callum

My oldest boy swings side-to-side on the swing. Everyday, I think he looks less like a boy, and more like a man.

A Walk in the Park - Sean

My second boy makes skid marks on the ground with the tyres on his bike. Notice the hasty use of grey electrical tape on his helmet to hold the plastic cover on – we’re so classy down here in the suburbs.

(The blue plastic cover doesn’t add to the safety of the helmet, it’s just for looks. But the boy thinks that the picutres of Ultraman and a spaceship are just SO important for a safety helmet. And as long as he’s wearing it, I’m happy.)


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Back With a Vengeance

8 January 2010

I have a confession.

Two weeks before Christmas, I was getting very, very tense.

Liam had grown teeth, and breast feeding had become quite a chore. I was also anticipating family-in-law coming to stay, kids being on holiday, and all the other dreadful routine-destroying carry-on that comes with the festive season.

Both my older boys were becoming more and more rebellious, and treating me like a junior house maid. My husband seemed to be more distant, impatient, and less helpful around the house. In fact, I was pretty sure he was planning to leave me.

I knew this because every time he asked me if everything was alright, or if he could do anything to help, I could just tell he was purposely pushing my buttons and just trying to start a fight and I would blow up at him.

Then, one day as I was folding a towering mountain of laundry, and contemplating life as a single mother of two ungrateful aliens and a nipple chomping toddler, all of whom look a lot like the man that my mother warned me not to marry…

BAM!

I burst into sobs with a “OH MY GOD NOTHING IS GOING RIGHT IN MY LIFE! I’VE BEEN WORKING SO HARD AND I JUST FEEL LIKE SHIT! I CAN’T SEEM TO DO ANYTHING RIGHT! WHAT’S THE POINT TO ALL THIS? WHAT’S WRONG WITH MEEEEE? AAAAAAARRGHHH!!”

As I blew my nose into a towel from the laundry basket, a little voice inside my brain said, “Oh hey, we haven’t seen you around here in a while!”

Insecure, psychopath, moody, angry Karen! Welcome back!

The next morning, I discovered that my body had resumed it’s normal monthly routine. Everything was working just fine. I was so relieved!

I wasn’t going mad! It was just the temporary madness of PMS!

8 months have passed since I gave birth and I’ve enjoyed a great ride of non-stop, cruisey, happy hormones. After so long without a cycle, I was completely unprepared for the return of the PMS rollercoaster ride.

But little Liam’s teeth are a sure sign that my life, like his, is moving on again to a new phase.

And I’m okay with that!

I am now armed with emergency chocolate, and listening to boy band music from the early nineties.

red_roses01

Flowers from hubby. Some expensive chocolate. And a foot rub. He knew all along, and he was just waiting for me to settle into my new cycles. God, I love him so much.


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Vintage Skirt from Op Shop Meets My Scissors?

7 January 2010

Op shopping fashion - vintage skirt and fashion restyleThe other day I hit the ops shops!

I was in the mood for a bit of fashion re-styling and garment reconstruction.

I found my perfect victim – a pretty, floral print skirt, which is all the rage these days (ok maybe last season).

It was only $3 and in my size, so I was very happy to grab it.

As you can see it’s in great condition, it’s very wearable, with a very versatile and pretty colour palette.

I’m wearing it with a blouse from Cue, pearl earrings and necklace, silk sash belt and satin shoes.

It’s a really cute vintage style outfit, but it’s just not my style. I just feel like I’m 50 going on 60! I immediately felt like I was about to pop on an apron and make roast lamb.

Anyway, my initial idea was to use a pair of scissors and hack off a good couple of inches off the bottom and turn it into a mini swing skirt.

Then team it up with cut up black leggings and a loose fitting kite tank or a long batwing top.

But when I got home, I just couldn’t do it. The skirt look near new, and it was in such nice condition, I didn’t want to cut it up!

Vintage skirt worn as a mini skirt and strapless dress

I decided to play with it instead.

On the left I pulled up the skirt, pinned it back and turned it into a mini skirt. But it was completely unwearable, because there was a huge gather of fabric pinned together on my arse.

And my sewing skills are not advanced enough to make it look great.

On the right, I just pulled it up, wrapped the same sash as a belt and wore it like strapless dress. It was definitely something I could wear to a wedding or an evening event. But again, I dunno, it’s a bit too girly-pretty for me.

I might hack it up after all.


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Liam Meets, and Eats, the Beach

6 January 2010

Little Liam continues to thrive. He has reached the stage where he can easily pick up something as small as a mushy pea, and put it directly into his mouth. So of course, now he puts everything that he finds into his mouth to see if it is food or not.

liam-eats-seaweed

Last week, I plonked him on the beach, which happened to be covered with lots of different varieties of seaweed.

The poor little guy! He was so confused by all the green and red vegetable-looking seaweeds. He chewed them for a long time, sand and all, bemused by the textures and flavours of the seaweeds. And I think he swallowed one of them, which is not actually recommended in any good parenting guide I have read.

I just keep reminding myself that it’s all good experience for him, and it must be doing his immune system wonders!


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Pears In Red Wine

5 January 2010

pears-red-wine

At a recent dinner party, I ate this delicious, unusual dessert, and I was amazed at how easy it is to make.

6 pears
a standard bottle of red wine
100gms of sugar
a cinnamon stick

Peel the pears – but leave the stalks on!
Cut a little away from the bottom of the pear, to help it sit up by itself.
Place the pears stalks up in a snug fitting pot or slow cooker.
Cove the pears with red wine, add the sugar and cinnamon.

Slow, slow cook for at least an hour, until the pears are so soft that you can carve the flesh with a spoon.

Serve with plenty of the sweet juices, and top with a dob of cream, or as above, with some yogurt.

Alternatives are that after the pears are cooked, you can marinate the pears in the cooling wine sauce overnight to increase the red colour, before re-warming to serve. To add more zing to the wine, you can also add orange rind, cloves, and /or vanilla.

(The alcohol in the wine is all dissipated by the heat of the cooking.)

Yum-EEE!


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Online Shopping at Birdsnest – Can you say SALE!!

4 January 2010

image of Women's Clothes, Dresses, Shoes and Tops available at online fashion shop Birdsnest

Apart from all the eating, drinking, general merry-making and relaxing, the start of the new year usually brings on something much for fun for me – SALES!

So I thought I’d point you all to one of my favourite online fashion shop, Birdsnest.com.au.

They are having a massive online sale of dresses, skirts, tops, pants, shoes, scarves, accessories and jewellery!

I may as well mention some other sales on at some of my other favourite online shopping experiences –

50% end of season sale at Betts Online Shoe Store,

Clearance sale at Gosh Celebrity Fashion,

Summer Sale on Wish Items and New Gift Guide at Alibi Online.

…..

Check out my favourite online fashion shopping in my Online Fashion Shopping Directory.


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Another Day. Another Toy To Torture.

1 January 2010

stuckduck

Bored 4 year old boys are so cruel.

Thank goodness he’ll be at school 5 days a week in a few months!

(And Happy New Year everyone!)