Archive for July 2010


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ASOS Outlet – Dresses under £30

30 July 2010

ASOS Outlet – Dresses under £30

There are quite a few online OUTLET and CLEARANCE shops out there – selling great stuff for 50% – 70% off. All. The. Time.

Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to keep tabs on the frequency of new arrivals and quality of the stock. But when you hit a gold mine, it’s pretty hard to resist.

I was browsing the ASOS Outlet Shop (you have to click the OUTLET tab) and I found heaps of awesome dresses for under £30.

Enjoy your weekend! xxx

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

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A Love for Simplicity

29 July 2010

Camping Breakfast

Most times I consider myself a city girl. I enjoy crowds, tall buildings, air conditioning, wireless internet connection and hairdryers!

But there is also a part of me that craves simplicity.

Sometimes I need to strip away the unnecessary add-ons of my life and live simply.

I guess, that’s what I love about camping.

It makes me reassess what I need in order to survive. It makes me realise what I CAN and CANNOT live without. It makes me choose. And cull.

I found that living with less makes me focus on nature, and its pleasures.

There’s just something intoxicating about waking up at sunrise and breathing in the morning air of the bush. It is heavy, dewy, cold, and rich with the smells of wet wood, damp earth and grass.

And like in the photo above, to mix in more smells of hot, freshly brewed tea, sizzling bacon and eggs, warm toasted bread and burning wood – ahh, it’s amazing.

I think living simply brings about a certain kind of happiness and contentment.

I should really do it more often.

And I should at least try a little harder to bring some of that contented simplicity back into my normal life.

(You might find it interesting to note, that we can’t live without ceramic tea cups.)

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Al&Alicia Online Shop

27 July 2010

Al and Alicia Singapore Fashion

So I’m trying to write a review about the latest collection of clothes from Singapore Designer AL&ALICIA – but I can’t seem to do it without gushing and squealing. I’m completely in love with their clothes!!!

Their designer rundown is brilliant, it sums up their look perfectly –
Al likes tailoring with a masculine edge.
Alicia likes all things flirty and feminine.
The two of them combined is AL&ALICIA
Where boy meets girl to create a subtly androgynous look
The truth is that Al is Alicia. And Alicia is Al.
A schizophrenic duo, designing together.

Above I’m wearing the Eye Spy Tank, and Boy Washed Shorts. And I am also sporting a Rayon Twill Blazer in Wind Chime (an off white colour).

I absolutely LOVE THIS LOOK, especially with my Converse Chucks. I’d be so, so, so happy walking around Singapore for hours dressed like this.

My favourite item so far is the Rayon Twill Blazer. Gorgeous, soft and I can’t get over the way it falls and swishes around my body!

Al and Alicia Singapore Fashion

My usual style leans more towards flirty and feminine, and I tend to stay away from boyish shapes. But AL&ALICIA has a very, very cool thing going with this combination of “boyish girliness” and I just might do a bit more of it.

On the left, again I’m wearing the Rayon Twill Blazer in Wind Chime (I’m in love!). The top is the Alexa Pocket Blouse, and the shorts are the Annie Belted Shorts.

On the right I’m wearing, the Stacy Shirt and the Annie Belted Shorts again.

The designer behind AL&ALICIA is Alicia Ong. Born in Singapore, trained in fashion in New York, with internships in Marc Jacobs, J.Crew and DKNY. All her clothes are made with amazing quality and style, and they are all made in Singapore.

You can buy her clothes from the AL & ALICIA online shop.

Or New York’s

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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

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A Tale of Two Nests

26 July 2010

A couple of days ago, my husband came home from helping a friend clean up storm damaged trees in the backyard.

In amongst all the dead branches, they found not one, but two bird nests. At first, they thought one had an egg in it, but it was just a gum nut caught in the grass lining of the nest.

A Tale of Two Nests

It’s simply amazing that birds can make such a thing. And I was most impressed by the differences between the nests.

One is woven entirely from twigs, each twig curved by beak, and then lined with grass. It is exactly what you image birds would build! Like in a cartoon!

A Tale of Two Nests

But the other is made of a kind of felt of feathers, human string, and what looks like spider webs.

It has all been so beautifully merged together that it looks like it was produced out of a steam pressing mould. It smells as clean as if I just bought it from an expensive boutique. I suppose it has been washed by the rain.

How long does it take to collect all those spider web threads? Why would two different species of birds need such different nests?

I know there are answers somewhere, I just don’t know them.

So I’ll just enjoy being amazed, and add these to my collection of inspirational nature things I have on top of my computer monitor.

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My Kebaya Adventure

23 July 2010

Next month, I will be flying to Singapore to attend my cousin’s wedding. I’ll only be there for 2 days, but I’m quite excited. I can’t wait to party with my relatives!

It just so happens that my cousin is Peranakan/Chinese, and her husband-to-be is Scottish/American. So the theme of the wedding is Kilts and Kebayas, and all the guests are supposed to dress up accordingly.

But the problem is, I had no idea what a kebaya is! I admit I’m not that well educated!

So the other day, I blurted out to some Singaporean friends – Does someone have a kebaya I can borrow to try out? I needed some kabaya wearing experience!

My friend, bless her, raced home and grabbed this for me.

Kebaya Adventures

It fit me perfectly, like it was tailored just for me! And the fabric was quite beautiful. So, I was beginning to like kebayas.

It turns out that a kebaya is traditional dress made up of a blouse and sarong, worn by women in Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Each culture has a slightly different interpretation of the kebaya. And there are different patterns, fabrics, embellishments and beadings.

My cousin is half Peranakan, which is a distinct Chinese/Malay mixture ethnic group, and they ALSO have their own kebaya style.

So I did a quick search on this newfangled thing called the INTERNET, and it led me to many images of super hot chicks in sheer blouses covered with flowers. I was sold. I want one now!

Kebaya Adventures

I also found this beautiful photo of some lovely Peranakan ladies sporting some gorgeous, authentic Peranakan kebayas.

Kebaya Adventures

They are so beautiful!

So again, I searched the internet. And me, supposedly being the online shopping queen, could not seem to find a place to buy an authentic Peranakan kebaya online. But I did discovered that authentic kebayas can cost between $400 to $800 for the full set.

SO. EVENTUALLY. I have sourced an actual (not online) kebaya shop, and I talked to a lovely lady (on the phone) who assures me that there are authentic Peranakan kebayas in my size for $140, in some nice colours. But I am in Perth. The kebaya shop is in Singapore.

I fly into Singapore on a Thursday night.

My appointment with the kebaya lady is early Friday afternoon.

And the wedding starts late Friday afternoon!

Leaving it a little late perhaps? Can I stress myself out enough??

I don’t even know what the kebaya will look like!

I guess I’ll have to bring camisoles in two different colours – black and cream? And two pairs of shoes?

Ah well, if all else fails – never fear, I’ll have a back-up dress to wear to the wedding.

And now, to get my husband into a kilt!

Kebaya photos are from The Nyonya Kebaya by Datin Seri Endon Mahmood and Wikipedia.

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Roast Pumpkin Salad Dressing

22 July 2010

Salad for Lunch

I’ve been crazy over pumpkin lately.  I can’t seem to get enough of it. I love it on pizza, made into soup and dips, and especially roasted and tossed in salad.

This is my favourite dressing for Roasted Pumpkin Salad –

Honey and Balsamic dressing
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk until well combined, then drizzle on salad :)

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White Tops from YesStyle

20 July 2010

White Top from YesStyle

I’ve been trying to wear less black these days. And today I was going for a casual but smart look.

I found a Chiffon Blouse from YesStyle, which was a great buy. It’s actually a cotton tshirt, with a drapey chiffon layer in front. It’s nice and versatile – to wear to work, dinner or dress it down. And easy to layer.

I’m wearing it with some gorgeous new shorts from Singapore designer Al&Alicia. Which I’ll talk more about next week!

Quilted chain bag from FashionJunkee.

Patent flats by Sachi.

My leather belt was a vintage find from an op shop.

As for my hair – I curled it in the morning, gave it a good hair spray, and went about all day with a messy curly ponytail. I loved it!

Here are some other WHITE TOPS from YesStyle that caught my eye.

White Tops from YesStyle

Lace Top and Camisole and Lace Layered Dress

White Tops from YesStyle

Balloon Sleeve Top and Shawl Collar Blazer

Happy shopping (or browsing) everyone!

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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

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19 July 2010

Kayaking - July 2010

For nearly 2 years, I have been hankering to go kayaking in the river.

You see, I live near the river. And every time I drive or cycle past it, I look over – and see people paddling their kayaks on the still blue water – and I find myself filled with a strong sense of desire and envy.

I guess I just never got around to it! Mainly because I’ve been bogged down with the BUSYNESS OF LIFE. As you do.

So for my birthday, my husband organised a surprise kayaking day for me (rather, us). OMG you should have seen the BIG BIG smile on my face and the twinkle in my eyes when he told me 15 minutes before we walked out the door.

We borrowed our neighbour’s 2 person kayak and 4WD (thanks Irwin!), found a spot on the river to start, plotted a course and set off!

Kayaking - July 2010

It was SPECTACULAR. It was an incredible day for kayaking.

The water was still, like a pond. The air was crisp. The scenery was beautiful. Ahh it was so so so cool. Definitely one of the best, most peaceful and tranquil experiences of my life.

Gliding along the mirror-like surface. Slicing through the water. Seeing my ripples ebb as far as my eyes could see. It was magic.

At some parts of the river, it was SO QUIET and SO STILL, that it all felt a bit odd. Eerie and creepy, perhaps.

You know. It was like a horror movie. The scenery goes quite. The sun suddenly feels hotter, the insects stop buzzing, the fish stop splashing, a crow flies overhead going AAAAAKKKKKK. And I was just waiting for something large and green to slowly appear from the water.

I actually said to my husband, “Uh, there are no crocodiles here in Perth right?”

Osprey eating fish

Anyway, while we were paddling, the water exploded a few metres away from our kayak. I thought someone dropped a large rock into the water. But emerging from the splash, flew an osprey. It was like watching a nature documentary – and seeing the water droplets roll off the feathers in slow motion. The osprey flew off carrying a fish in its claws. It was SO CLOSE to us, and a very cool moment.

But even cooler, was 10 minutes later, we paddled past a tree, and saw the same osprey perched on a branch eating the fish. We paddled slowly and quietly towards it, and took some awesome photos.

Overall, we kayaked for 2 glorious hours.

The paddling itself was pretty hard work. Especially since I’ve never done it before. It was quite a workout for my abs, arms and legs. But my body felt so good. And it was so refreshing for my soul.

I really, really loved it.

And now I hope that one day I’ll have my own kayak and go paddling on the river at dawn. And at night.

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Style Inspiration: ELLERY SS 2010

16 July 2010

Ellery SS 2010

At the Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, there was certainly a lot of excitement and gushing over the launch of ELLERY’s new collection. In fact, I hadn’t seen the pictures and I was thinking, OMG it can’t possibly be that good can it???

But alas I was wrong. I couldn’t take my eyes off the garments as I browsed through photos and videos of the show. They were simply gorgeous!

Ellery SS 2010

I love the inspiration from the zodiacs. I love the edgy feminine look. I love the tailoring and slight asymmetry. I love the mix of textures and I LOVE the colour palette.

Images by Zimbio and Ellery

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

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Holiday Moment 2010: Parker Point, Rottnest

14 July 2010

Parker Point, Rottnest

Just stunning.

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How to Wear Whites for Lazy Weekends

13 July 2010

What to Wear: Lazy Sundays

It’s holiday season here in Australia, and I’m feeling very relaxed and lazy.

I’m loving the “natural” colour palette for this fashion season – especially whites, off whites and nudes.

Outfit details –
Top: I saw a photo of this drape top from Urban Outfitters and it looked really nice. But when I received it, I was a little disappointed, because it looked a bit cheap. But when I finally WORE it, omg I fell in love. It was so simple and relaxed and it fell so beautifully! Such a good value.

Jeans: Turned up white jeans by Fendi. I bought these off ebay for $50.

Shoes: Grey Oxfords from Betts.

Bag: Inspired Bottega Veneta Hangbag from Fashion Junkee.

Scarf: Ellery from Sportsgirl Online Shop.

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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

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Salt on the Beach, North Fremantle

12 July 2010

Salt on the Beach, North Fremantle, Perth

The other day I met up with some wonderful girlfriends for lunch by the beach. My god, I had a fabulous time lazing in the sun, chatting and eating.

Now let me tell you… there are cafes. And then there are CAFES.

Most café connoisseurs would – over many years or research and experimentation – carefully select a café based on its barista, its coffee beans, its ambience etc.

But not me.

I went to Salt on the Beach, for the first time the other day, and have already decided it as my FAVOURITE CAFÉ IN PERTH.

It has –

1) Big clean glass windows where you can look at the beach and be out of the wind.

2) A fenced off children’s playground, in the shade, right next to the café tables.

3) A great menu for a special lunch.

And that’s all I need really.

Salt on the Beach
44 Port Beach Rd (Corner Tydeman)
North Fremantle WA 6159
P : 9430 6866 | F : 9430 6089

Salt on the Beach on Urbanspoon

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Sophie Kyron Jewellery

9 July 2010

Sopie Kyron Jewellery

Something I adore is quality, original, handmade jewellery.

So much so, I can admit that I once dreamed about making beautiful pieces of jewellery and selling them to adoring customers. Oh the hours I would spend handcrafting each piece! But ah, that was many years ago, and besides, who has the time really.

So I find it very inspiring to meet someone who has made that dream come true.

For some of my international readers and others who don’t know, I’d love to introduce to you a very famous Australian jewellery designer, Sophie Kyron.

Sophie is based in Western Australia, and is a familiar and highly praised name in the Australian fashion industry. Having been established for 20 years and celebrated by fans such as Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette and Kate Ceberano (just to name a few), Sophie Kyron continues to dazzle fans (and me!) with each new collection.

Sopie Kyron Jewellery

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sophie to chat about her jewellery career. Dressed in a stylish grey suit and a stunning necklace of her own design, we shared a cup of tea in her studio showroom.

She describes her success to good, old fashion, slow and steady hard work. Hearing customer feedback. Fixed determination. And sticking to your dream. I like that a lot.

Many of her pieces are detailed, ornate, have a sense of drama and romanticism. She tells me that she often uses unique, vintage materials, to create beautiful one off designs.

Her store looks like a treasure box, bursting with original and striking jewellery. It’s just gorgeous! And it makes you want to buy something as a gift, or so you have some amazing jewellery piece to pass on to your daughter.

Sopie Kyron Jewellery

And best of all, you can buy Sophie Kyron jewellery from the online shop, which lists all pieces from her collections with prices and details. It’s an excellent website!

Or if you’re in Perth, you can pop into her showroom and studio in Swanbourne.

Sophie Kyron
146 Railway Street
Swanbourne, WA 6010
Phone: +618 9384 4975
Fax: +618 9284 7463

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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

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Marsupial Droppings

8 July 2010

Meet a quokka. It is a type of small kangaroo, about the size of a large cat, only found on Rottnest Island, where I recently had a four day holiday with my family.


There are about 10,000 quokkas on the island. They are very cute and they are very curious. They also go around trying to eat everything in sight. Quokkas, like all marsupials, are not famous for their intelligence. They are cute as anything, but basically, pretty stupid.

Meet my son, Liam.

Liam - Age 14 months

He is also cute, curious, and will try to eat anything he has never seen before. AND he is also not exactly a genius (yet).

So this combination of 10,000 quokkas and a not-very-clever Liam is a BAD combination.

Because quokkas leave these attractive, perfectly formed poo… ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Quokka poo

Sometimes the poos are brown, and sometimes they are dark green. No matter what colour they are, they still look like tasty chocolate morsels.

The roads and paths are sprinkled with them. The playground, the gardens, and even in the shops.

Quokka poo is such a problem that the shops have little quokka-proof doors to keep the little devils out. But of course, quokkas are so cute that the little kids open the doors for them, so they can get in and poo on the floor. Which then of course means all the customers step on the poo.

So, while Liam was terrified of the quokkas themselves, he was rather drawn to the quokka poo, quicker than you can say “NO WAIT – THAT’S NOT FOR EATING!!”.

Yes that’s right, our little baby has eaten quokka poo.

And lets just say that we have been back from holiday for a couple of weeks now, and it is clear that even if you eat several quokka poos over a four day holiday, it doesn’t do any harm.

None of my other children, as far as I know, has ever eaten animal poo, so Liam is unique in that regard.

Thank God that quokkas are vegetarian!!

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Chicken Feet

7 July 2010

Chicken Feet

Despite trying to come across all super healthy and all that, I confess that I have a weakness for weird Chinese food.

And last week, I decided that since it was my birthday, I was going to eat some of my favourite foods – chicken feet with chilli oil.

Yes! The feet of chicken! It’s delicious!

(I try not to think about it too much.)

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What to Wear: Dinner in Winter

6 July 2010

Dinner in Winter

It was my birthday on the weekend, and hee hee I was rather spoilt!

During the week, my husband took me out for dinner and to see a musical. It was so so so cold, but I wanted to wear something nice, not pants and boots.

I’m wearing a See by Chloe smock top, I bought from – love that shop! It was $170 but I got it for $40. I adore the colour and puff sleeves!

My belt came all the way from London, a gift from my sister.

My skirt is a bandage style mini skirt by Tokito, Myer.

Leather-look leggings (my winter favourite) from FashionJunkee.

Snake print, lace-up heels by Zoe Wittner.

Hangbag is a gorgeous Prada-style, velvet luxe clutch by Betts.

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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

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Festival of My Birthday 2010

5 July 2010

Karen Birthday Cake 2010

Every year for my birthday, I like to take the whole month of July to celebrate.

This year I was particularly spoilt!

Wednesday: My husband took me out to see the musical Mamma Mia – which I’ve never seen before (no, not even the movie). I’m not a huge ABBA fan, but I loved it! It was so, so cool. I enjoyed the story, the music, the production, the set, costumes – everything! All the raving reviews about the show were true. It was an awesome night out!

Thursday: I organised a dim sum lunch with some close friends + babies. I ate chicken feet, fried squid and my other favourite dim sum delicacies to my heart’s content.

Friday: Organised a lunch by the river, with another bunch of girlfriends + babies. Then we sat in the park in the warm sun, chatting and watching our kids in the playground.

Friday Evening: We hosted a big dinner party for one side of our family. My husband made a delicious 3 course meal and my sister-in-law made some mouth watering carrot + walnut mini cakes with lemon cream cheese.

Saturday: My husband took me KAYAKING! I had told him that I wanted to do it ages ago, and he surprised me today. Will have pictures and the story posted up soon!

Saturday Evening: We were invited to a friend’s dinner party – ok perhaps we might have crashed it with my birthday. Our host made an amazing 3 course meal for 18 people – all by himself! Including vegetarian options! Thanks Shane!

Sunday: Dinner with my side of the family at our local Japanese restaurant. Mmmm I love vegetable tempura.

Karen Birthday 2010

I have a whole heap of other things lined up for this month. The next being – a holiday trip up North.

So yes, I’ve had a wonderful birthday week shared with loved ones. Thank you all who had left birthday messages and emails! I really appreciate your thoughts and well wishes. Hugs and kisses all around!

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BenjiBox Clear Shoe Box – 20 Box Pack

2 July 2010

BenjiBox Clear Shoe Box - 20 Box Pack

When BenjiBox emailed me and told me about their Special 20 Pack of Clear Shoe Boxes, I had to think for a moment –

“Uh do I have 20 pairs of shoes that I would want to keep in clear shoe boxes?”

You see, I’m pretty good at maintaining a tight collection of shoes. We don’t have much room in our house, and I can’t afford to store zillions of shoes that I never wear.

Plus, I’ve NEVER done a complete count of all my shoes. So I thought that this was a good time to do a stock take, you know, let them out for a bit of fresh air, toss out the really old ones, and do a bit of shoe shining.

Ha, so yes, it turns out that I do own 20 pairs of shoes. In fact, I have another 10 heels, 12 flats, 6 pairs of boots, and 3 sports shoes. So I guess I’ll have to get another 20 pack.

As you can see from the photo above, 20 pairs of shoes look like a shit load of shoes!!

But when they are all boxed up neatly (pictured below), you kinda think – IS THAT ALL? Maybe I DO need more shoes after all!

An excellent kind of optical illusion for husbands if you ask me.

BenjiBox Clear Shoe Box - 20 Box Pack

I love the design of these BenjiBoxes – they are really good quality, and they have DRAWERS (instead of flaps and tabs) so you can slide and whip out your shoes faster than you can say I’M COMING ALREADY, HOLD THE TAXI!

I wrote about them in this post a few years back, and have a few pictures of how they slide in and out.

They accept Paypal and they ship internationally!

(By the way, can you believe it? I don’t own a pair of bright red shoes! How is that possible?)

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

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Being a Skater Girl

1 July 2010

RipStik Castor Board

With my birthday around the corner, I have decided that I want only one thing.

A ripstik. Yes that’s right. I don’t want a designer handbag. I don’t want jewellery or a spa experience.


A ripstik is actually a brand of “castor board” – it’s a bit like a skateboard – but it has only TWO wheels, and you propel yourself using a twisting motion, much like surfing or snowboarding.

How on earth did this craziness come about?

It all started last Christmas, during the school holidays. Children in the neighbourhood, took to the streets with their brand new Christmas toys. Kids had new bikes, go-karts, scooters, skateboards, skateboard ramps… and these newfangled RIPSTIKS.

They were just SO NEW AND SO COOL. They were like the latest new thing. They were expensive, tricky to ride, and everyone thought they were just soooooo cool.

I must admit, I was intrigued.

So while I “supervised” my boys playing on the street, I watched various kids learn how to ride these ripstiks.

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Over a few weeks, I saw a 7 year old go from tripping over his shoe laces to RIDING IT LIKE A PRO. Then his sister picked it up. Then his little brother had a go.

OMG I was burning with envy. Day by day I watched these kids practice, learn and get better and better. I felt SO jealous.

I guess it was ONE OF THOSE THINGS. A thing that I place in a box labelled “I would love to try it one day. I probably would never be any good at it. And I know I would never get around to it anyway.”

In that box I have also put – learning to play the piano, learning a second language, learning to kayak, and a whole bunch of other stuff.


A few weeks ago, I couldn’t help myself. I was in the park with my children and I saw some kids skating on the street. I stopped one of them and asked to have a go on his Ripstik.

So there I was. Being coached by a 7 year old. And his sister.

Put your foot here. Make that bit straight. Step up like this. Kinda wiggle your hips like this. God, I love kids and their uncomplicated way of explaining things.

I tripped up so many times. I didn’t fall on my ass. I didn’t break my teeth. I may have twisted my ankle a little. But after my first “session” I managed to stay on for 3 seconds. I was so excited, pumped and completely energised. I was very HAPPY. And I like being happy.

So it became a bit of a street joke.

Every time those kids saw me on my daily walk, they would run into their house, drag out their ripstiks and let me have a go. I could see they really enjoyed teaching me… and enjoyed the fact that CALLUM’S MUM was making excellent progress with her propelling motion.

Then more kids would come over to play and hang out. And soon there would be a hoard of kids mucking around on the street, and watching me skate.

Thank goodness, my own kids are not at that age, where they would be utterly humiliated by their mother’s antics.

I admit that during my “practice sessions” I would get a little embarrassed. You know, that I’m this total nutcase mother, the focus of attention, and possibly the reason that the neighbourhood kids are out on the street playing together. Because once I announce that I’m leaving, all the kids go “Awwww” and everyone goes home. How funny is that?

So after a few sporadic practices, I can now ride 30m in a straight line! I ROCK!

I’m feeling SO GOOD about it. So happy that I think it’s time for me to get my own board.

So here’s to conquering “ONE OF THOSE THINGS” in life.