Archive for October 2011


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The Queen’s Glove

31 October 2011

Queen Sighting

The Queen of England (and Australia) was in my hometown of Perth on the weekend, and it turned out that she was making an appearance at a family friendly event in a very large park by the river.

I was persuaded by an English friend to “pop into the city to see the Queen”. So I dragged my 3 kids and my husband along. Hubby wanted to paint the back fence, but I thought it was a great excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the sunny weather in the city.

Usually I stay far, far away from large crowds and these sorts of big “organised” family events. And as it turned out, there were 100,000 people in the crowd or something insane like that. We walked from the train past a couple of kilometers of barricades and hundreds of police, while helicopters clattered overhead. We queued to cross empty streets while security people talked on radios.

Did I mention that my husband hates both queues AND crowds?

Queen Sighting

This was our view for a long time. We waited. And waited and waited and waited and waited. We ate hotdogs. I got a bit sunburnt. I ran off to the toilet.

And I came back just in time to snap this winner of a photo.
Queen Sighting

I think it’s beautifully hilarious. It perfectly captures the silliness of my whole day.

In a blink of an eye, the Queen’s car drove past, and then she was gone.

Just a flash of a gloved hand, waving.

My 6 year old son summed it up, “We walked all that way, spent the whole day here, just to see a LITTLE OLD LADY IN A CAR??? TOTAL FAIL MUM!!!”

My children were SO GRUMPY AT ME!

And to make it worse, I discovered that my two year old was still excited because he thought we were there to see either “Queen” (the 80s rock band who my husband is a fan of), or Lightening McQueen (a character from the Pixar movie “Cars”). Man, was he ever going to be disappointed.

So I made it up to them with ice cream.

And my husband? He was so quiet that I knew I owe him BIG TIME for this.

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New Season Trends – Nov 2011

30 October 2011

New Season Trends Nov 2011

Dig out your old slippers, or steal them from your grandpa. Loafers are pretty hot this season, and my soles are loving the flat change. Choose funky colours, awesome prints and crazy metallic colours.

Leopard Print from

Off White leather loafers from

Dalmation Print Suede Loafers from

New Season Trends Nov 2011

Love it or hate it, paisley is the new season floral. I actually quite like paisley… it reminds me little pieces of fabric my mother used to give me from her fabric offcuts. They were always so colourful like painterly watercolour palettes. These scarves are just fab for throwing over simple, casual outfits.

Etro Scarf from

Emilio Pucci Scarf from Jade24

Etro Scarf from

New Season Trends Nov 2011

Jewel tones are still going strong. Colour block them and try wearing them with the same hues. Think emerald, berry, sapphire, and mustard.

3.1 Philip Lim Emerald Top from

Soni Rykiel berry top from

Pringle of Scotland Mustard Top from The Outnet

New Season Trends Nov 2011

Boyish Tailored Shorts
Great for the warm weather, wear with a loose fitting top, leather sandals and a geometric necklace for an effortless outfit.

Rochas Shantung Mint Shorts from The Outnet

Marc Jacobs Grey Shorts from

Stella McCartney Light Grey shorts

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Like Pigs in Mud

27 October 2011

Put children anywhere they can smell water and they will RUN stupidly towards it.

The other day, I brought all 3 of my kids to the city and met up with a girlfriend and her 2 kids.

We spent 6 hours doing cultured things like going to the museum, the art gallery, looking at stuff, eating in a please-sit-still cafe. So I was very surprised to discover a muddy pond in the middle of the Perth Cultural Centre – deliberately created by the city, called “Perth Wetlands”.

Liam at the pond

The kids played on the boardwalk surrounding the lake, collected stones and bits of wood, pretended to go fishing with reeds, stomped in the swampy beach bits, and they skipped around the edge of the water, hoping to “accidentally” fall in, as an excuse to have permission to wade in the water.

They were like pigs in mud. In their element.

All the while I was keeping a very close eye on my toddler, Liam. Being 2.5 years old, he was very keen to be with his older brothers, and do all the dangerous, dirty, reckless things they were doing.

I was trying to make sure he didn’t go too near to the edge of the boardwalk. But after some time, it was plainly obvious that I wasn’t making much difference. He really wanted to be there. The edge is, after all, something you have to be on… if you want to get to the water.

The water wasn’t very deep. Probably ankle high. Everyday, he sits in a bathtub full of water deeper than that. He’s a big boy now.

What the hell, let him fall in. After all, that is what happens if you live on the edge. At worst, he could fall in, bump his head, get soaked, stand-up by himself and fill the Perth Cultural Centre with an indignant, echoing howl.

And if he DID fall in? Well, of course, I would go in after him. But I would pause to take my shoes off first.

Am I a bad mother? Hell yeah!

Liam at the pond
Look at my kid’s crazy red hair! Look at my crazy gold shoes!

My more relaxed attitude to his “safety” suddenly made me realise that he was developing so fast, and soon, I won’t need to follow him around, step by step.

I had a slow moment of sadness. A feeling that time was slipping through my fingers. My last baby was growing up faster than I could believe. I am near the end of me being the source and focus of this amazing guy’s life, and of him being the purpose of mine. I am near the end of the hormonal, emotional roller-coaster it has been to bring three humans into the world.

Sigh. I love my kids. And I love being a mother.

(However, I don’t particularly like finding out that one of my little darlings had filled my handbag with algae-covered sticks.)

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The Lady is a Vamp, a Diva and a Lifesaver

25 October 2011

I love the idea behind GlamRockChic – shoes for the women who want statement, designer heels, made from quality materials, that are comfortable, and most importantly… affordable!

I also love their brand new range online, behold!

GlamRockChic Shoes

How hot do these look!? They are definitely a pair of knock-out, statement heels!

They are called Super Diva Mustard – with mustard yellow, zebra print, studs, and cool diagonal lines, you can’t really go wrong with them. They will just look great with a multitude of outfits – skirts, pants, jeans.

They come in a black version too – which is probably a more versatile investment.

This shoe was my favourite because of their design. Interestingly it doesn’t look like a “trendy statement” shoe that will quickly go out of fashion. I feel they look “classic statement” in that they will always look glamorous and stand out… if you get what I mean. I will be rocking them and loving them for a long time indeed.

GlamRockChic Shoes

These shoes are called Vamp, in grey. A most excellent alternative to boring black heels! I love the texture and colour!

Believe it or not, but they have been specially designed with comfort in mind. I was wearing them for 7 – 8 hours straight during fashion week and didn’t get a blister or sore feet. I didn’t even notice the time of night… until my girlfriends were walking more slowly and sitting down every 10 minutes.

GlamRockChic Shoes

Another shoe designed with comfort and style in mind is the Lifesaver.

It’s a more posh chic, for an effortless cool look. They’re soooo comfortable to wear. When I slip them on it’s like they are giving my feet a snugly hug.

Sarah, the designer behind the brand tells on her blog some fascinating stories of how she developed her shoes, testing them herself, using quality materials, pushing her manufacturers. It’s very interesting to discover how shoe designers work.

Do check out the whole GlamRockChic collection online!

Happy shopping!

( 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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Blood, Brains and Jelly Beans

24 October 2011

I was standing in the kitchen, cooking dinner. It was 4pm, the end of a long day. The children had finished their homework and were now playing in the other side of the house.

I couldn’t see them, and I couldn’t hear them. Just how I like it at this time of day.

I threw some chopped onions into a pan and took a sip from my glass of wine.

Then I heard a blood curling scream pierce through the air. It came from one of the bedrooms.

I dropped my spatula and ran.

It was a senseless and terrifying few seconds of running. Where your brain, heart and breathing all seem to stop. Where you see everything, but don’t process anything. Where you feel like you’re moving in slow motion.

I reached the bedroom and saw one of my sons (the middle one, of course) standing in the middle of the room, screaming, with blood pouring from his forehead.

His forehead had been slashed open, and blood oozed down over his eyes, down along his nose all over his cheeks and chin. Added to his screaming in real fear, it made for a real life horror show.

I grabbed a dirty t-shirt from the floor and slapped it over his forehead to stop the bleeding. I gathered him into my arms and held him while he screamed and shook.

Ok what do I do now?

In that moment, I suddenly felt like a helpless child.

Although I was THE MOTHER of the three helpless children in the room, I wanted someone to tell me what to do. I wanted someone to swoop in and to fix everything. I wanted all the make-it-all-right events to magically happen, just like in the movies, and for the story to unfold and everything to work out in the end.

But of course, I was here, in reality. With my bleeding son in my arms. And I was the only grown up in the room and I had to decide what to do.

Dozen things flew around my brain. I swear to god, I aged 10 years in 2 minutes.

Ambulance. Blood loss. My son is not dead. So much blood on the floor. How am I going to get my son to a hospital? Telephone. Husband. Burning onions. The smoke alarm will go off soon. Calm down. One thing at a time. Be strong. You are the grown up. Older child. Younger child. What happened?

Apparently they were playing on the floor when Sean spun around and cracked his head on the CORNER EDGE of his clothes dresser, slicing himself open.

I took a look under the dirty t-shirt.

The slash was DEEP, and with the pressure off, it welled up with blood in an instant. I slapped the t-shirt back on, partly to stop the bleeding, but also because I just didn’t want to see all that blood! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!

I instructed my older child, who is 8 years old, to get me the phone, turn off the stove, get a frozen pack from the freezer, and to run across the road to my neighbour, who is a nurse. He did it all with ease.

I called my husband. Home in 20 minutes.

My neighbour and her daughter came over. Luckily, both nurses. They have seen it all before, and much, much worse. They had a look at Sean’s wound, put some special sticky tape across it, and agreed that it would need “a few stitches”. I felt somewhat calmed. No brain damage then. No lost eye. Just a scar. No big deal.

I was feeling thankful. But screaming inside with adrenalin and fear .

We were sitting in the waiting room. Sean had a cracking headache. I was trying to be all cool and calm. This shit happens all the time, right? I’m a big girl.

The doctor saw us. He injected a big fat needle of anesthetic, twice, into Sean’s forehead.

A nurse held Sean’s head. The doctor taped little pads over Sean’s eyes to stop anything dropping in. I was instructed to hold Sean’s hands – for comfort AND restraint.

The doctor went in, with his tiny needle and thread, to pull the swollen, ugly gash back together. Despite the anesthetic, Sean was twitching, gritting his teeth and hissing with pain.

I saw everything happen in slow motion. In the warm spotlight of that surgery room, I watched the doctor sew up the layers of flesh and fat and muscle congealed with blood and fluid and god knows what else was dried onto my son’s forehead, while he twisted in pain under my arms.

So what did I do?

I fainted.

I felt the blood drain from my face. My eyes closed. And it was kind of a slow collapse heading towards the floor. The doctor helped keep my head from hitting the floor with one hand while he held the needle and thread in mid stitch with the other hand.

New nurses rushed in, picked me off the floor, gave me a cold towel for my head, pressed a glass of water to my lips, and fed jelly beans into my mouth.

I was like a rag-doll. Oh the shame.

Doctors and nurses, they were all laughing at me. Ha Ha, Mum fainted.

My son, with his eyes sticky-taped shut and still being sewn up, said, “Mum can I have a jellybean too? Save a red one for me, yeah?”

So much for being the grown up!

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Snap snap!!

23 October 2011

I’m looking after 5 children today! You might think my house is all crazy and hectic – with me tearing my hair out and screaming at the kids and their cousins – but I’m actually having a very quiet and blissful Sunday.

How, you might ask? We pitched an old tent in our backyard, one of those old school HUGE canvas ones, with 3 separate rooms and an outdoor veranda… and I haven’t heard a peep from the kids all morning.

So I’ve danced around the house and taken little snaps of some exciting bits and pieces to share with you.

Poloroid Camera

I’m getting involved with The Impossible Project – a movement celebrating the very old school Polaroid camera, with newly produced instant film for the vintage cameras, which you can buy online.

They sent me a Polaroid camera to keep, some black & white film and colour film to play with!

I’ll be uploading a few of my favourite snaps to the Impossible Project Facebook Page – keep a look out for my entries.

Leather Skirt

This leather skirt from YesStyle is my new wardrobe staple :)

It is a pencil-style mini skirt, which is figure hugging cut and perfectly short for my height. Looks great and feels great. Can’t wait to wear it more in this gorgeous Spring weather were having in Australia right now.

Summer Sandals from Ecco

The team at Ecco kindly sent me a beeeautiful pair of Milano leather sandals for summer. A classic style, lovely mid-heel wedge and in a versatile tan leather.

These are called Kolin. And they are just so comfortable and luxurious on my feet. Will definitely be wearing it with lots of summery skirts and colourful shorts.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! xxx

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Enjoying the Ride

20 October 2011

Bright Blue Perth Sky

This morning I woke up, looked out my window and OMG it was such a beautiful day! For cycling! Or going to the beach!

I chose to cycle. So I dropped my 2 kids off at school, stuck my toddler in the bike seat and cycled 10kms (in about 45 minutes). Which is pretty good considering that my toddler weighs about 10kgs and I was carrying an extra 2kgs of toddler paraphernalia, including water and snacks.

I always feel fantastic when I get some exercise in the morning.

I’ve been on a health kick lately – trying to eat better, exercise hard, tone up, live healthy and enjoy the process.

Liam and Karen

Another thing I’ve been enjoying… is hanging out with my toddler.

Now at 2.5 years old, Liam is very transportable, loves to see new things and he doesn’t get too cranky if he misses his nap. I take him everywhere now. We sit down at cafes and restaurants and have a meal together. We even eat dim sum together!

He has this very “proper” personality which makes our daily conversations quite funny.

The other day we were in the car and he said, “Oh no mum! I’m wearing my pyjama pants and we’re going out! What if someone sees me? You need to do a U turn and go home right now so I can put my jeans on!”

And I’m all, “Oh man, really? Neh that’s ok. You’re a little kid. Little kids are supposed to wear pyjama pants to the shops. We’re just going to grab some milk. We’ll go fast so no one will see you…”

“Actually mum, I’m s’posed to be wearing jeans. Pyjama pants are for sleeping. And the lady at the checkout will see me. And please don’t go too fast or you might drop the milk…”

The kid’s not even 3 years old and I can’t trick him anymore.

And then the other OTHER day, I was at the meat section at the supermarket, looking to buy something for dinner. I stopped a guy who was dressed like a butcher and asked him about lamb chops.

He replied with the *DREAMIEST* Irish accent, and I was all “UH HUH, and can you explain what the difference between this cut and that cut is? And what about this one?”

I was 3 questions in, and having a very interesting conversation about meat preservatives, when Liam gave me this eye rolling look of Oh come! and he said “Stop talking to the man and buy the lamb chops mum!!”

Liam Taking off his socks (2.5 yo)

And lastly here’s my little genius at the park, taking off his socks with his teeth.

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10 Designer Items Under $100

18 October 2011

I was looking online for some new sunglasses and found myself at It’s a site created and owned by that sells shoes, accessories, jewellery, bags – it’s huge and it’s been around since 2006.

But this was the first time I took a long slow browse. I examined their whole range, compared products and prices with other sites… and their found that HOLY COW they have so much good stuff at such good prices.

And worldwide shipping is free over $100.

Now I think I have 20+ items sitting in my Shopping Cart, including sunglasses, sneakers, high heels, jewellery, accessories – and haha I’m too nervous to go back and have a look.

I thought I’d put together and share a list of 10 designer items that I would LOVE to have, that are under $100.

10 Designer Items Under $100

House of Harlow – Cary Sunglasses – $91.95
I’m currently looking for a beige pair of sunglasses with a cute /unique shape – and these look perfect! Ooh I just can’t decide between these and the ones below.

10 Designer Items Under $100

Marc by Marc Jacobs Sunglasses – Red/Turquoise Frame – $98
Like I said. Can’t decide. Ok yes I may have too many sunnies,  but the leopard + teal is just too cool.

10 Designer Items Under $100

Marc by Marc Jacobs Sunglasses – Blue Ruthenium – $85
You can’t go wrong with a large pair of Marc Jacobs shades. And at this price, you won’t feel so bad if you accidentally sit on them.

10 Designer Items Under $100

Steve Madden Platform Pump – Turquoise Suede -$89.95
These are just stunning. The suede, the colour teal and the price makes this very, very tempting indeed.

10 Designer Items Under $100

Nine West Platform Pump – Black Suede – $99
These are just so pretty! The chunky heel will be in fashion for a few more seasons… so they’ll be great for autumn, winter and spring. Not to mention they look quite similar to Prada’s current suede chunky heels.

10 Designer Items Under $100

Calvin Klein Rudie Sandal – Grey – $59.95
Ok I picked these out for a friend of mine who is going to a wedding and needs shoes to match with a grey/silver dress. Pretty, simple, elegant, medium heel, and a nice grey that matches most grey dresses!

10 Designer Items Under $100

Kate Spade New York – Lynx Bracelet – $98
How yummy is this bracelet? Worn with a smart casual outfit (like tee, jeans and blazer), or with florals, or an outfit with leopard print details.

10 Designer Items Under $100

House of Harlow 1960 – Cut Out Cuff Bracelet – $85
I wasn’t too fond of House of Harlow when it first came out. But all the following collections have really grown on me and I really like the look of the label now. Love this bracelet!

10 Designer Items Under $100

Kenneth Cole – Analog Pink Dial Watch – $65
I am a very watchy person. And there is always room in my life for a new brightly coloured watch.

10 Designer Items Under $100

Juicy Couture – Gold BFF Duo Necklace – $58
This is very sweet, especially as a gift too. You get two necklaces, and yes, you’re supposed to give one to your best friend.

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Like A Dream of Flying

17 October 2011


I was invited to have an experience by Red Balloon – a website offering a huge range of experiences you can buy for yourself, or for someone else.  You can choose to go surfing, sky diving, take a wine tour, a cooking workshop, do aerobatics in an old plane, or have a day spa massage (there is seriously so much stuff on that site!).

For me, I chose something similar to flying – ballooning!! I was really looking forward to it as I rang the ballooning centre to book a specific date.

But then, the details started to emerge. And it started to seem like a secret military operation.

Firstly, ballooning happens in Northam, which is 1.5 hours drive away from the city. And I had to be at Northam airfield at 4.30 AM. Yes, that’s 4.30 in the morning, which is still the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT as far as I am concerned. And then the lady I was talking to on the phone asked me how much I weighed. Weird.  Why would they need to know that?

The day arrived, and this is what Northam airfield looks like at 4.30am in the morning.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

It was insanely spooky (for me, a city girl) to drive in complete darkness, with no lights anywhere, except from our car. It was like a scene from a horror movie.

We found the Windward Ballooning Centre and met 30 other bleary-eyed, nervous looking people. We made our way into the briefing room, and all had a wake-up cup of coffee or tea.

Then we were introduced to our balloon ground crew, and had a little briefing. Basically, all I remember of the briefing was that:

a. The walls of the briefing room were covered with beautiful pictures of balloons, and…

b. The guy giving the briefing said THREE TIMES that there were no bathroom facilities for the next two hours, and I suddenly wished I hadn’t drunk the big cup of coffee. Oh crap!

Then we were led onto a bus, and headed out into the big, black darkness where, somewhere, our balloon was waiting for us. Exciting!

Now at this point – I have to say that I knew NOTHING about ballooning. I assumed that the balloon would be already inflated, gently tugging on its ropes, and that we were simply going to step gracefully into a basket and fly off, with the cabin crew saying “Welcome aboard Madam, would you care for a glass of champagne”. Just like in the movies, yeah?

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

But when we arrived at the launch point, in the first light, and still well before dawn, the balloon was still IN A BAG when we arrived. We watched the ground crew unroll the balloon, like a giant sleeping bag, and lay it out flat on the grass. Great. I was going flying in an aircraft that hadn’t been assembled yet. But the crew took only minutes to get things happening.

If you look carefully in the photo above, you might be able to see that the passenger basket was tipped over on it’s side and the balloon was fastened to the basket. Then the crew pointed some high powered fans and pushed air into the open mouth of the balloon. The noise of the petrol engines driving the fans was DEAFENING. And once the balloon was partly inflated, the pilot used the gas burner to pump hot air into it. This sounded like an explosion, and threw off an eerie blue light. The balloon got bigger and bigger, and started to rise up. It was HUUUUUUUGE!!!!

The pilot explained that each person’s position in the basket was determined by how much they had told the lady on the phone that they weighed – because it would keep the basket balanced for safety. I suddenly hoped nobody else had lied about their weight as much as I had.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

So the next step required us to CRAWL into the tipped-over basket and LIE DOWN in our designated position. That’s right! I had to crawl – like an animal – into my position, then lie on my back – like a DEAD animal – while holding on to some handles on the side of the basket.

However, while I was crawling into position, I almost freaked out… because my hair was untied, I had my sunglasses perched on my head, my scarf was flapping around, I had 1 camera around my neck and one small one around my wrist and I had to crawl right past the high powered fan. I was an accident waiting to happen!

There were 15 of us lying on our backs, crouching into something that looked like a massive picnic hamper. It was a very strange experience so far, and it redefined my sense of personal space. Imagine a very crowded lift – but much more crowded. And the lift is on its side. And on fire. Can you see me in the photo above going “WHAT THE HELL?”

The pilot was really working the gas burner with long blasts, and I was getting hot from the heat it was radiating. I was seriously scared that the product in my hair would catch fire from this giant hair drier. But then our balloon reached a certain point of fullness, and then suddenly, the whole basket was lifted UPRIGHT and PHEW – I survived.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

Look at me. Big, brave smile!!

As awkward as it was (the crawling-like-an-animal bit), I realized I was enjoying the adrenalin rush!! And it was pretty impressive to see the smoothness with which the crew were working.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

Check out that beautiful blue flame against the dusky morning sky. The burner was very loud, but when it stopped, there was no sound at all. Total silence.

A few more short, precise blasts of hot air and the balloon lifted off the ground. But we did not go straight up.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

Our pilot deliberately flew the balloon and basket so low over the field of long grass that the ends of the grass tickled the bottom of the basket with a gorgeous, gentle SSSHHHHHHHHHHH sound – oh my, it was magical.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

We rose higher and drifted gently over trees and fields.

Have you ever dreamed that you were flying? Flying like a superhero, without any jets or wings, just your body, floating high up over cities and fields?

Well this was exactly what it felt like. Just like in my dreams.

I felt weightless. Rising up slowly, then gliding, leisurely and silently over the whole world. It felt so natural. It was smooth and gentle. I felt like I could reach out and pluck the leaves from the trees.

It was AMAZING!!!

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

There were 2 balloons going out that morning. We had 15 people in our balloon, and I think there were 10 people in the other one.

We flew side by side and sometimes going up and over each other. It was so pretty and peaceful and serene.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

The sun slowly rose. The colours of the world below started to emerge from all the different shades of grey. I loved watching the sun rise. The pilot told us all about ballooning.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

We were in the Avon Valley, which is shaped like a big bowl in the landscape. The bowl traps the cold, still night air, which creates perfect weather conditions for ballooning in the early morning. The pilot steers the balloon just by going up and down into slightly different directions of wind.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

Our whole flight was guided by just occasional blasts of hot air. Usually a balloon flight takes about 45 – 60 minutes. But we were in the air for about 80 minutes. And I will admit, by that time, I was regretting the big cup of coffee.

We touched down gently, smoothly and precisely, landing only a few meters from the ground crew’s vehicles. We all climbed out of the basket with no gracefulness at all, and then watched the balloon slowly deflate like a big, friendly  giant lying down to sleep.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

Everyone had to help roll up the balloon and stuff it back into its bag.

Embarrassingly, I was too busy taking photos of the whole process and I felt a little bad that I wasn’t helping with the hard work. Everyone must’ve thought I was some ditzy, princess tourist who was too over the top with all her camera gear  (which is obviously pretty much true!).

And then we were back in the bus, and finished the experience with a champagne breakfast at a local restaurant.

Red Balloon and Windward Ballooning

I was so hungry that I ate several plates of fruit, pastries and scones, before discovering that there was also a hot breakfast. This was my plate and I ate ALL of it. I am a pig.

The whole ballooning experience certainly took me out of my daily routine. It was grand, spectacular and quite romantic.

A big thank you to Damien from Windward Ballooning for the excellent piloting.


The team at Red Balloon are offering my readers a special promotion!

Receive $30 off when you spend $129 or more any experience.

To redeem: Visit and enter the promotional code REDKC01 at the checkout to receive your discount.

Terms and Conditions: Offer valid until 10/01/12. Promotional Code can only be used once per person. All purchases are subject to RedBalloon T&Cs, for full details read here.

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Beauty Products I’m Loving – October 2011

14 October 2011

Beauty Products I'm Loving - Oct 2011

MAC Prep and Prime Skin Brightening Serum
I received a bottle of this as a sample, and have bought it again because it is a fantastic primer. It gives me the perfect amount of moisture and hydration, it glides on, feels light, smells lovely and smoothes my skin without feeling greasy or cloggy.

I use this primer whenever I go out at night. Just primer, a bit of concealer and foundation.

Burt’s Bees Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub
This product seems to have a very polarising effect on all who use it (according to all the beauty forums) – people either love it or hate it.

For me, I absolutely love it. I’d say it was my best beauty secret for fighting the drying conditions of Australian weather (winter and summer).

I don’t actually use it as a deep pore scrub. I use it as a daily moisturising wash in the morning. I find it leaves my skin soft, smooth, and with a layer of natural moisturising oils which gives me extra moisture boost.

I never thought there would be a time when I would comb OIL through my hair. I have been using this for a couple of years now and yes, I still love it. Just when my ends are starting to look a bit dry and gross, a little bit of this stuff works like magic.

Clinique Chubby Stick (Lip Balm)
This lip balm is just lovely! I love that it is fragrance free, not sticky, and gives a smudge of colour that looks natural. I dislike yucky sugary stuff that makes my lips sticky.

This colour is 01 – Richer Raisin. I feel so glam and polished every time I swipe this over my lips, even when I’m popping out to the shops :)

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A Thing for Pink Things

13 October 2011

Liam's Pink Collection

My 2.5 year old toddler loves the colour pink.

Yes, he’s a boy and he is obsessed with PINK PINK PINK!

The other day I found a little box under my son’s bed – full of pink things that he had collected.

It was so adorable.

Not to mention, it was an impressive collection, considering we are a family of three boys (we have nothing pink around here!).

My heart melted.

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Oh Bella! Oh Bella!

11 October 2011

AL&ALICIA - Porcelain and Chinadolls

How gorgeous are these Bella Skirts from AL&ALICIA! This kind of skirt is called a full skirt, and I think I’ve found my fave-fave-favourite item for the new season.

Super cute, super flirty, it gathers at the waist and puffs out at the hips. I’m loving the new silhouette for my wardrobe – worn with simple tops for an effortlessly cool look.

On the left I’m wearing Small Dot Bella Skirt – it has little polka dots on them (very cute!). And the top is the Chinadoll Shirt Dress, worn tucked in.

The right is the Striped Bella Skirt which I wore with my Rebecca Minkoff Slouchy Top, and Betts Suede Heels.

AL&ALICIA - Porcelain and Chinadolls

I tried the skirts with all my favourite tops in my wardrobe, and I liked this slightly contrasting look with my denim shirt, suede boots and a Stacey Spotted Coat (from AL&ALICA). More spots!

Then on the right, I’m wearing it with my Jigsaw red top, Habbot Gold shoes, and Lace Trimmed Blazer (from AL&ALICA).

They are just fab for the warm weather, because they don’t cling to your legs. They just puff out and I walk around feeling fabulous – like prancing and dancing!

Check out the whole new collection from AL&ALICIA.


( 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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My Workout Routine (Apparently)

10 October 2011

The West, 4 Oct 2011 - My Workout

A few weeks ago I did a fun little interview about my workout routine, and it appeared in The West Newspaper last week.

The journalist did a great job condensing all my waffling into a couple of paragraphs. It makes me sound really active and sporty! Haha!

If you’d like to read the article as published, click on the image, I have it uploaded in my Facebook albums (you might have to Like My Karen Cheng Page first?).

But since this is my blog, you have the pleasure of reading all my un-edited waffling!

How do you keep in shape? How often do you try to exercise?

I eat really well – lots of vegetables, grains, pulses, fish and lean meats. I am pretty good at restricting sugar, carbs, fatty and oily foods. I snack a lot (on fruit, nuts, popcorn) so I don’t tend to over eat during meal times.

I try to do something active everyday. Most of the time I walk or cycle. I try to do muscle workouts and stretches in the evening.

What are your favourite ways to exercise?

I love cycling. I love the rush, the speed, the cardio workout, the muscle toning and the satisfying feeling after a long ride!

You’re a mother of three little boys and work, blogging and other commitments also keep you busy – how do you manage to find time to exercise?

My days are pretty busy, and I don’t have large blocks of regular time to go to a gym. Basically I have to make time to get little blocks of exercise done throughout the day.

I also try to get extra exercise through other daily activities when I’m with my children. Such as, walking to our primary school, playing soccer in the park after school, playing tennis on the street.

A child seat for my bicycle has been my best exercise investment. My 2 year old accompanies me for most of my weekly cycling!

How do you like to de-stress?

I have lots of favourite ways to de-stress – shopping, reading, catching up with friends, walking along the beach. I also find gardening, baking and cooking to be very therapeutic.

Why is health and looking after yourself important to you?

As a mother of 3 young children, I want to look after my health and well being first. I can’t be a happy mother, or a loving wife, or a caring friend… if my health is poor or if I’m feel tired and cranky all the time.

Exercising, eating well, getting some me-time, having date nights with my husband, keeping up with my girl friends, exploring my interests… are all part of me trying to maintain a balanced and fulfilling life.

Also my husband was diagnosed with cancer some years ago, and thankfully he is all clear now. After that, we both decided to live a healthy lifestyle and make choices to reduce the stress in our lives.

What are your favourite places in Perth to exercise and why?

I love being around the South Perth river foreshore. Perth has such a pretty skyline and river. I also love Cottesloe Beach.

Do you prefer to exercise on your own or with a friend (and why?)

Admittedly, I prefer to exercise on my own. I like to be focused on what I’m doing, and enjoy the feeling of exercising. I also like the quiet time it gives me. It’s a kind of meditation.

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Trying to look hotter than a plucked chicken

7 October 2011

Recently I went to 7 nights of glamorous fashion events, in 7 different outfits, at the Perth Fashion Festival.  Sounds considerably glamorous right? Such is the life of a fashionista, right? Ha!

Sadly, it is not always so.

If only I didn’t have to make dinner, wrangle kids into the bath, pick up their smelly socks, and clean tomato sauce from the walls… before I dashed out to these events.

The result is that I arrive at fashion events still in domestic-slave mode, and I have to mingle among the VIP gliterati, whose whole life is dedicated to looking glamorous.

Big tip. No one at a fashion event wants to know that you had to clean the green boogers from your toddler’s nose before you left the house. And that maybe you forgot to wash your hands afterwards.

Anyway, at risk of sounding like an ungrateful drama queen – I have to say that it’s really hard work to find 7 amazing, different, stylish and fashionable outfits to wear. And what is even harder than that is… to make sure your hair looks great for 7 consecutive days. Close to impossible.


When choosing your outfits, the first hurdle you have to resolve is to decide whether you want to have a bit of fun and DRESS TO STAND OUT or to just dress in your own personal style (which to all fashionistas, means you have to DRESS TO STAND OUT).

I don’t usually wear all black outfits to fashion events. It’s a bit boring and predictable. But this VIP event was celebrating Aurelio Costarella’s first big fashion show in Perth, so I chose to wear my only Costarella dress – a gorgeous ruffled, silk dress with an asymmetric hem. I felt it was an easy way to pass off my lack-of-glam as a homage to Costarella.

Perth Fashion Festival - Day 1

But as soon as I walked into the venue, I met Kee, a flamboyant fashion blogger from Malaysia. I didn’t *just* look drab next to him…I almost disappeared altogether. No one bothered to look at me. I clearly was a plain, dull, non-fashionista.

So I disguised my drabness by trying to be a very interesting, witty and intelligent person… and struck a conversation with this Kee fellow. He was good fun. I told him his outfit was chickenesque. You know, just a few feathers left over on a plucked chicken. Oh the wit!

I asked if I could take a photo of his crotch, because he had a painting of his own face between his legs, on his ass, and on both his shoes. But then I realised that I was going to have to get down on my knees in front of him to get the correct angle. For so many reasons – I had just met him, we were in public, it was way too early in the evening for that sort of thing – I changed my mind and converted the photo-opportunity into a more conventional side by side.

Throughout the festival Kee wore red, blue, black versions of this same outfit, and would you believe that even strategically placed feathers and a glittery crotch can look a bit dull after Day 4?

Such is the high standard and pressure of being a fashionista.

As for the rest of my outfit… my bag was not small, nor statement, nor an easily recognisable brand. It didn’t even hint at any of the trendy colour blocking or snakeskin detail that is popular right now. I grabbed it quickly on the way out the door, because it was big and it had to fit 2 cameras. Later on, I realised I had a baby change nappy kit in there as well.

Bag: All Dressed Up from Shopthemag, Shoes: GlamRockChic, Necklace: House of Harlow, Bracelet: House of Baulch


As you can tell, I’m not usually into attention-seeking fashion stunts.  Fashion is fun to look at, but for me I just like to dress in my own style. Polished and practical. I dislike being cold I and dislike being uncomfortable.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. At least I remembered one of the golden rules of being a fashion model – if you don’t have something in your hand, put your hand on your hip.

Perth Fashion Festival - Day 2

Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of the other rules, hence, I don’t look like a fashion model. I just look like me, with my hand on my hip.

I’m wearing a lime tank, digital print chiffon skirt from Ginger and Smart (from Frockaholics) and an amazing mustard/zebra heels from GlamRockChic.

At the after party, in some drunken-photo-taking episode, someone spilled champagne all down the back of my skirt. Veeeeery glamorous. Oh well.


By now, my care factor was beginning to wane. All my fashion friends and I were comparing hairy legs and feet blisters.

Perth Fashion Festival - Day 3

I surprisingly had no blisters. Yay for quality shoes that look hot.

Top: Joveeba. Skirt: Redopin. Shoes: GlamRockChic.


By Day 4, my Fashion Show Standard for grooming had pretty much dropped to zero.

My nails were chipped and twice painted over, my back was aching, my legs were stubbly, my skin was crap – and I couldn’t give a damn about the clothes I was wearing. I just wanted to see the clothes on the catwalk.

So I put on a nice and simple, favourite ASOS dress and hoped that it would make me feel better. And it did. A little. (A very little).

Perth Fashion Festival - Day 4

Here I am with fashion illustrator Pippa McManus and fashion designer Lisa Chau. Pippa is tall and fabulously arty, and Lisa dresses so edgy and hot that she is frequently mentioned in the newspapers. Me? Hey at least I remembered to put my hand on my hip!

A lot of guys walked up to me and said how gorgeous I looked. In any other context, this would have enormously inflated my ego. But at a fashion show, let face it, the guys are all gay, have a too-keen fashion sense, so I think they were just taking pity on me.


I was feeling so tired that I decided to spend the night at home. Which was a nice way of saying – I was pretty much over it. I needed a break from the this whole fashion fiasco.

I spent the evening with my husband, watching TV, which should’ve been lovely. But then I noticed that I was critically examining the clothes worn by the actors in car commercials. And I knew I needed to get a life.


It was a great show, but I didn’t even bother to take pictures of what I wore!

I just went into the venue, sat down, saw fashion, then left.

Now I understand why those people from the super-famous fashion elite seem so aloof and quickly leave after every show. They’re not going to the secret after-party. They just want to go home and watch TV!

Day 7

The final evening of the Fashion Festival was devoted to the 25 anniversary show of one of Perth’s most iconic designers, Wheels and Dollbaby, to be held in a spectacularly restored classic Colonial period theater. It was the most anticipated show of this year’s festival, possibly the decade, and fashionistas all over were writhing in pain because it was sold out months ago, and they had missed out.

And I had a free ticket.

But I also had a walk-in wardrobe full of nothing to wear, and my fashion appetite was ready to throw-up from over-eating.  I was scared Kee would be there, dressed in a Brazilian g-string mardi-gras peacock outfit, with his face tattooed onto his bare buttocks, and I would be dressed in a large brown paper bag.

I wanted to stay home.

My husband thought I should go. I pretended to be sick, but he took my temperature, fed me chocolate, said there nothing wrong with me, and ordered me out the door.

So I had to go. Maybe I’ll write about this amazing show one day. If I can ever bring myself to look at fashion ever again.

(Okay, it only took me 3 days before I found myself flicking through a copy of Vogue).

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Post from the Past: Hey dude, want some pizza?

6 October 2011

Oh my, 4 years on, this post still makes me crack up!


Super Heroes in the Kitchen

Hey dude, want some pizza?
21 April 2007

After his birthday party, my 4 year old was over the moon with all his new superhero toys.

There was way too much pretend fighting in the household for my liking.

So yesterday I went to my toy library and borrowed the LARGEST and PINKEST DOLL HOUSE I could find.

Which led my son to create some rather interesting scenarios.

This one was my favourite.

Apparently Spiderman wanted spaghetti for dinner, but he got angry, because you know, turtles are slow.

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House of Ernest Hair Salon, Perth

3 October 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I was getting ready to go to a whole week of events at the Perth Fashion Festival. But I wasn’t feeling good about my hair.

In fact, I wasn’t just having a bad hair day. I was having a bad hair MONTH. I had gotten into a deep rut with my hair care regime. I felt that no matter what I wore, I would feel crap because everyone else was going to have better hair than me.

My ends were dry, my layers were snapping off, it had been months since my last hair treatment. My hair was just dull, lifeless, hard to manage and very bleh. And so I felt very bleh.  I am my hair.

So on the morning the day before the first of my fashion events, I was so desperate that I pressed the “restart” button on my hair.

I called up House of Ernest, the most famous hair salon in Perth (that I have never been to! I remember girlfriends raving about it as far back as when I was at university!)

But I must confess, whenever I am feeling down about my hair, I know I am also very vulnerable

And I’m likely to be easily talked into a radical change – or whatever “interesting ideas” the stylist happens to want to do that day. So I am always scared that I might end up with hot pink highlights, or dreadlocks, or a butch looking bob – and then spend the next 5 years growing my hair back to its original length.

So House of Ernest sent me some of their styling images.

House of Ernest Salon

And I was like – YES, that’s how I want my hair to look. I was hooked. The left and middle photos are from their Autumn Winter 2011 collection, and the photo on the right is part of their new Spring Summer 2011 collection.

I fell in love with the waves and the chocolate highlights in the center photo, obviously because it was closer to my own hair colour.

The team at House of Ernest invited me to have a full hair cut, colour and treatment, THE NEXT MORNING, and I agreed that if I liked what they did, I would talk about it on my blog. I secured emergency babysitting (thanks Mum!) and the next morning I was off to my hair appointment.

House of Ernest Salon

This is what my hair looked like before my appointment. VERY BLEH.

House of Ernest Salon

I had a big chat with both the senior hair stylist and creative director. I told them what was wrong with my hair, what I wanted, the history and characteristics of my hair, they walked through exactly what treatment was best for my hair, all the things I was doing wrong (that was where I had my AH HA moment), and gave me so many great tips to keep my hair shiny and healthy.

I especially appreciated that they were not trying to convince me that their products were the best. I told them all the products that I use and love, and they made suggestions on how to get the best results from them.

I felt it was one of the most valuable, expert, honest and personalised consultations I’ve had with a hair stylist and colourist.

House of Ernest Salon

They gave me a hair cut, put highlights through my hair (carefully placed, so the regrowth will not be so obvious), gave me a treatment, colour and gloss through my hair.

And since I told them I was going to a fashion party that evening, they topped it off with an awesome wave styled with a ghd. I was very happy with the results!

House of Ernest Salon

Another thing that I liked was that I found out that the salon frequently holds styling events, training with international stylist, workshops, fashion shows – in order to keep their staff inspired, motivated, excited and in touch with all the current trends and techniques.

I really recommend them!

House of Ernest
Shop 19, Upper Hay Street,
Carillon City, Perth WA 6000
(located on the top floor of the Carillon City Arcade)

Phone: 9321 3391

House of Ernest Facebook Page