Archive for February 2012

 

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The Low Down Hairy Gossip, Part 1

29 February 2012

Karen's Hair Portrait

On behalf of Dove, Nuffnang (my advertising sponsors) have asked me to write about my hair… AS IT IS RIGHT NOW.

Later on, I’ll also be testing out some Dove hair products and keeping a kind of hair diary. So for those who like a low down on hair, do look out for my future posts about this.

My Hair Lifestyle

I am pretty lucky with my hair. It is naturally thick, strong, and healthy. In fact, my hair is so thick that many hairdressers complain that I make their scissors blunt.

My hair also tends to be on the oily side.

And I love having very long hair!

So long, thick hair PLUS OIL = a maintenance headache.

I do lots of gardening. I play with my toddler in sandpits. I go swimming once or twice a week (beach and pool). I hit the gym. I cycle a few times a week, making for several hours of my head being in a sweaty helmet.

Basically, my hair is a filter cleaner for environmental pollution. It collects dirt better than an expensive vacuum cleaner. A blue whale in an algae bloom.

It gets dirty and gross very quickly.

I live in a bit of a cycle. The after I wash my hair, I like to wear it down, so I can feel it rolling sensually over my skin as I move. But by the end of day three, it is so oily, heavy and icky, that I am so ashamed of it, I wear it wrapped up in a bun so no one can see it.

Cleaning

I wash my hair every 2-3 days, in the evenings. I towel-dry, then blow-dry my hair.

I use 3 different brands of shampoos and conditioners (which are pretty good brands, costing me somewhere between $25-$40 per bottle). I use them on a rotation of 2 weeks, because of the product build-up.

I use quite a few hair care products, which I use sparingly – strengthening serums, hair oils, heat protection creams. These products are from the more expensive salon brands, as I like to buy the good stuff (and I do receive a lot of salon samples).

Preening

I don’t use any gels, mousse, or hair spray.

I don’t brush my hair. I use a wide-tooth comb.

I’ve never permed or chemically straightened my hair.

I straighten my hair with a straightening iron once a week, and maybe curl it once a month.

Because my hair is long and straight, I can get away without having it cut so often. I have one every 6-8 months. Right now, I haven’t coloured or cut my hair in 6 months. I haven’t had a hair treatment in ages! My ends are splitting, wispy and dry.

I was due to have a hair cut last month. But with Christmas, New Year and the school holidays… I just couldn’t find any time.

And at the moment, I’m trying to grow my hair longer. Hence my reluctance to go to a hair dresser.

Not to mention, I am lazy.

Overall

I am feeling pretty bleh about my hair.

Basically, I think my hair is in pretty good condition. But It could be much, much better though!

I probably do need to give it a bit more loving.

I don’t believe there is *one miracle hair product* that can make your hair look like magic. I think it’s a combination of good health, good habits, good maintenance, good products and a bloody good hair stylist!

But in saying that, there are some fabulous products out there, and unfortunately you have to do a bit of trail and error, to find the ones that suit you and your lifestyle.

So, in my never-ending quest to keep my long, thick, and black hair in good shape, I’m quite interested to test out the new Dove product (Dove Nutri-Oil Serum, “a weightless blend of oils that are rapidly absorbed to give instant smoothness and shine”), which claims to be just like Moroccan Oil, without the high price tag.

We shall see!


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50% off shoes from Gorge

28 February 2012

I was sent a few shoes from Gorge (short for Gorgeous) and they asked me to see what I think, and give them a bit of a test drive.

They certainly are bold, sexy and uniquely designed shoes made from lovely materials – great for girls who want to make a statement. They are eye-catching and comfortable too.

The shoes are priced around $250 – $350.

But they are currently having a 50% off the whole collection, so they are now $120 – $175 which is quite cool if you’re looking for high quality statement shoes.

Also international shipping and delivery is FREE.

Gorge Shoes

This is ENVY – two toned leather heels, with teal suede and metal embellishments.

Obviously these shoes are very “look at me” and they will go with bold, brightly coloured outfits. But they can look great with a simple outfit too – worn with a simple black cocktail dress, or a plain white party dress.

So if you want to perk up some of the dresses in your wardrobe into a fresh outfit… statement shoes and accessories are a great way to go.

Gorge Shoes

I’m wearing PINK SPICE – all leather, with a sexy chrome anklet chain and a little jewel detail on the heel.

These were comfortable too. I wore them for 5 hours straight without any complaints.

They felt very minimal, which was nice, but still had enough bling to make my feet feel sexy and girly.

Gorge Shoes

Lastly, these white loafers SIGNORINA, are a little different to the rest of the collection, but still look fresh, smart and stylish.

Loafers are very popular at the moment, and I think this style (with added pleats details and the silver buckle) will last for many seasons.

They were a *tiny* bit big, but I slipped in an insertable shoe sole and it was all good.

I’m wearing size 36 for all these shoes. I’m usually a EU 35.5 – 36, or size AUS & US 5 – 6 or UK 3.

You can check out their whole collection on the Gorge Website.

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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My White Table

27 February 2012

My White Table

I found this little white table about 3 years ago.

Someone was throwing it out and left it next to their driveway. I picked it up, carried it home, got rid of all the spiders and gave it a good clean.

It’s my favourite little table now, and one of my extra-special corners in my home. Filled with objects that only I’m allowed to place there.

I love the mix of white-washed neutral colours and natural textures.

I love the objects filled with memories – the little bird nest, the beautiful piece of driftwood, the special candle holder.

It makes me smile – every day.


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Florals, Leopard and Pastels

24 February 2012

Outfit: Floral pants

This new season, printed pants have become very popular. I reckon it’s an awesome trend, because it’s so bold, daring and FUN!!

Check these babies out! They are floral pants from ASOS, and they scream SPRIIIING!!

Pants: ASOS
Tank: Rick Owens from The Outnet
Ring: Diva and Wanderlust and Co
Shoes: ASOS

Outfit: Leopard pants

I’ve had these skinny leopard print pants for a while now (since last August?). They kind of got lost in my wardrobe, and I recently rediscovered them again. Looking forward to giving them a better run around when the weather cools down.

Pants: Yesstyle
Tee: T by Alexander Wang from shopbop.com
Shoes: Sportsgirl

Outfit: Pastels

I also dug up another treasure!

I bought a lilac Prada silk top age while ago from ebay, I wore it a few times, but then it got lost beneath my brighter coloured tops.

I pulled it out again, because I wanted to wear it with my rose pink tulip skirt.

Camisole: Prada
Skirt: Forever New
Rings: Wanderlust and Co
Snake bracelet: Forever New
Leopard shoes: Nude

( 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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I Want Swim Toilet

23 February 2012

My husband and I are attempting to teach our kids how to speak Mandarin Chinese. The problem is that we don’t speak it ourselves.

Progress has been slooooooow… until my husband decided to “incentivise” the boys’ efforts. They no longer get pocket money for doing their household jobs – putting out the rubbish, folding the laundry, or cleaning the toilet. They still do those jobs, but now it’s for love (or to get dinner!)

Instead, they can only make money by speaking a Chinese phrases.

They get a $1 for the first three times they use a new word, and then they get another $1 for the first three times they use it in a new phrase. The system is a bit complicated, but it works for us. They are happy and we are happy.

Plus, all the money goes into a piggy bank, as they are saving up for some kind of digital device.

We’ve started with simple words and phrases, that we use all the time, like:

Goodbye, good night, thank you, excuse me. I like school. This is RED. I want to go for a swim. I want to go to the toilet. Can I have some ice cream?

However, desperate for more money, my boys started to get clever AND desperate with what little they knew. And strung together a few of their own phrases.

“I want swim toilet”

“I want eat toilet!”

“May we play with Mummy’s car?”

And even:

“Mummy may we eat little brother?”.

I guess it is progress – of a kind.

My husband likes to reward the kids for their ingenuity, but I’m not so impressed.

I’m not looking forward to the moment when they learn the Chinese words for various toilet activities and private body parts.

That’s all I need!

Bum jokes in grammatically incorrect Mandarin, spoken with a strong Australian accent!


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All In The Details

21 February 2012

Berrybow is an online store for women, based in Malaysia, specilising in fashion made in Korea.

In my opinion, most of the collection is perfect for work in an office environment, with elegant details, at a good price.

There is a large selection of blouses (with lovely details on the collars, shoulders and cuffs) and lots of skirts (in office styles, peplum, pencils, tulips, flares). Nothing too showy or eye-raisingly “young”.

These details (especially the embellished collars) are quite on-trend at the moment, and it all has a very vintage, sophisticated “Madmen” 50’s style.

There’s lots of mixing and matching to be done there!

Check out the New Arrivals Section.

There is also lot of opportunity use the pieces in a non-office environment as well, which is great, because a good wardrobe is versatile.

Berrybow Fashion

This is a woven fitted dress in maroon. It fits me SO well (UK6). I’m so happy I picked it. In fact, it probably ranks as one of my current favourite dresses to wear. It’s hot!

It’s got a good stretch, the material is like a heavy wool-blend and it has lining. It’s comfy, easy to move around in and a good length for my [short] height. It’s got a bit of a sparkle in the fabric too.

Great dress to wear on a night out in the town! Unfortunately it’s sold out, but there’s another in navy.

Berrybow

Next up is a cool metallic skirt. It’s a full circle skirt, so it’s tight at the waist and puffs out at the bottom, a bit like a ballerina tutu. It’s very cute.

Pair it with a camisole or singlet top for a party look.

Or with a luxe silk top and a blazer for a more glam daytime event.

Berrybow

Lastly, I chose these scallop hemmed navy shorts – as I said earlier, well-made, simple item with a very nice detail. It’s sold out in navy, but available in blush.

I also tried something new… I have a vintage silk scarf (not Hermes!) and turned it into a handkerchief top. Yes it’s just a square scarf, and it wrapped around perfectly (didn’t show my bra) plus it went well with the shorts. Super cute!

International shipping rates are reasonable, considering that the price of the clothing is affordable and the quality is good.

The maroon dress was A$42.70 + A$12.50 = A$55.20 … very worth it! You’d pay A$79 -$99 for something like that in TopShop or Zara.

The skirt was A$39.63 + A$12.50 = $52.13. Again something similar in the high-street stores would cost more.

Current promotion
Berrybow have a promotion on right now, if you sign up to be a member, you can receive a RM30 (USD$9) shopping voucher and 20% off on your birthday month.

Enjoy shopping 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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Blueberry Pancakes with Ice Cream

20 February 2012

Blueberry Pancakes with Ice Cream

My 6 year old and I made these pancakes on the weekend! Haha they were not very healthy, but they were *a very yummy treat* for the kids on a Sunday morning.

They were the best and easiest berry + pancake recipe I’ve tried to date.

I’ve modified it to suit my own taste, of course!

Blueberry Pancakes with Ice Cream

1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1.5 cups of milk (or 375ml)
2 cups of self raising flour
¼ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of blueberries, or raspberries, or mixed berries
1 knob of butter for frying

1) Whisk together egg, vanilla essence and milk.
2) In another bowl, sift flour and bicarb soda.
3) Pour egg and milk mixture into flour mixture. Then add berries.
4) Stir until *just combined*
5) Heat butter in the pan, and fry up until golden brown on both sides.

Makes about 12 (when each pancake is about 10cm across)

If you eat it with ice cream, you definitely don’t need any sugar added to the mixture.

But if like to eat them by themselves, then add ¼ cup of sugar.


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Sparkling it up at the WA Fashion Awards 2012

18 February 2012

Thursday evening was the night of nights for the West Australian fashion industry!

Several hundred designers, models, sponsors, retailers, media and fashionistas hit the GPO Building in the city and celebrated in style!

Those affiliated with the Perth Fashion Festival were able to peer-vote for the year’s most innovative designer, best runway model, accessory designer, best fashion creative, best boutique, best fashion blogger and more.

Sparkling it up at the WA Fashion Awards 2012

Usually, this annual event is a sit-down dinner, ball style, where everyone sits in tables of 10. But this year was a bit different, as they decorated the venue in lovely French chic style, with antique furniture, chandeliers, birdcages, roses, velvets and fur rugs. It was very pretty and unusual.

The whole floor was set up with little lounge areas, where people could hang out and mingle.

Some people commented that the setting was too informal for such an important occasion, but I REALLY liked it. I think it made for a more enjoyable time. It allowed us to move around and mingle A LOT.

I actually had a bit of wardrobe drama over this event.

In my heart of hearts I wanted to wear something by a local designer, or buy something from a local boutique to support the WA industry. But I was so bloody busy leading up to the event that I didn’t have time to find one.

As a backup, I was going to wear a FABULOUS designer dress I had ordered online, but it didn’t arrive on time!! I was pacing around my house in the late afternoon before the event, thinking that maybe the postman might just be running late?! But he never showed up!

ARGH! Thankfully I had a “backup backup” dress!

This sparkle dress, which was already in my wardrobe.

Sparkling it up at the WA Fashion Awards 2012

This is myself and Zara Bryson, winner for the Best Dressed Boutique, standing under the stars outside the GPO Building alongside the red carpet.

We were the only two guests dressed head-to-knee in mega-bling sparkles… so we just *had* to take a photo together. I was a little scared that our dresses would merge into one big shimmer, and that we would be stuck together all night. Like braces?

I felt a *little* guilty for wearing this dress, because everyone else was wearing something far more expensive, fashionista-ish and designery. But holy crap, my dress looked AMAZING!!

So many people walked up to me, complimented me, took my photo and asked me where it was from, or who it was by. And everyone’s mouth dropped open when I saidASOS. Ha! I heart ASOS.

Sparkling it up at the WA Fashion Awards 2012

I didn’t get a chance to take photos with everyone I knew, because my camera battery went flat half way through the night. Silly me.

The evening was great! There were delicious martinis, flowing champagne, a free makeup touch-up service, a live band, tasty nibbles, and gushing award winners.

The only disappointment of the evening was when a couple of hunky firemen popped in (why HELLO there!), and all of us girls hooted with excitement, thinking they were part of the entertainment, and hoped they were about to strip off!

Alas, they were REAL firemen, here because a smoke machine from the stage show that had set off the fire alarm. They turned their backs on hundreds of excited women, and went off to save lives somewhere else. Talk about committed to the job!

Sparkling it up at the WA Fashion Awards 2012

This isn’t actually my drink I am holding. I passed my camera to my friend to take this photo, and she handed me her drink to hold (thanks Lisa!). I was driving, and thus NOT drinking. But I was still intoxicated by the fab night and the company of a whole bunch of gorgeous fashion friends! xxx


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Misty

16 February 2012

Misty Morning By The River

I’ve been doing lots of cycling. Lots of getting up at 5:30am and leaving the house at 6am.

I go 2 or 3 times a week now.

The world is so different – and beautiful – at that time of day.

It’s funny.

I used to call myself a night owl.

Always preferring to work late into the night. Always reveling in the stillness and silence of 2am. I was energized by it.

But now I’m not so sure.

There’s something about dawn… that makes me feel alive.

Really, truly alive.


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70% Off at The Dreamery

14 February 2012

The Dreamery

Whoa! The-Dreamery is one helluva online shop, well-stocked for uber-current Australian designer labels. From Camilla, to Ellery, Aurelio Costarella, Gary Bigeni, Sara Phillips, Therese Rawsthorne, Josh Goot, Megan Park, Limedrop… and more.

There’s an Up To 70% Sale on at the moment – full of spring summer styles. And a $50 Sale Rack for those who like to nab a bargain. Do check it out.

Wanted to share some new items I picked out!!

This mint blouse by Gary Bigeni is just gorgeous – especially the colour. The fabric is lovely too.

The blouse has a boyfriend-ish, loose cut. Perfect for wearing open over a singlet top and shorts, in a casual outfit.

But here I was dressing it up a little and wore it cropped, knotted and low cut!

The Dreamery

The dusty pink pencil skirt is by Sara Phillips and it is perfect for work, or play. It’s made from silk but it has this jersey-robust tailoring to it, making it comfy, easy to wear and move around in. It was also 70% off.

Cuff is by Rachael Ruddick.

Rings are my own.

And I had to I just had to wear both items with my denim shirt by Beige. I loved the colour combination!

The Dreamery

This is another beauty by Sara Phillips – a jersey wrap dress, with shoulder pads that make the dress go bang! The colour is pretty hot, as is the sale price, at $96 (from $320).

Its so very comfy and easy to wear too.

Earrings by Mezi (their collection of designs are right up my alley)

Leopard print scarf is my own, by Redopin.

Competition – Win a $100 Voucher

If you’re interested, the-dreamery is running a competition… offering 5 lucky people the opportunity to win a $100 voucher each! Check out the details here!

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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Thomas the Effing Tank Engine

13 February 2012

Liam loves watching Thomas the Tank Engine on TV.

And if you’re not familiar with the children’s TV show… Thomas is a train who hangs with a bunch of his train friends, and there’s a big dude who looks after them all, called “The Fat Controller”.

He’s the station master, or manager, or something like that.

Liam, unfortunately, is terrified of The Fat Controller.

And when Liam is terrified, he often gets his tongue tied. He mispronounces things.

So whenever Thomas the Tank Engine is on TV… I guarantee that 5 minutes into the show, Liam will run out of the TV room, screaming – “TURN THE FUKINGTROLLER OFF!!

It used to be funny, but not anymore.

Now, I don’t bat an eye. I don’t chuckle. I just comply.

And hope that my mother is never around when he watches Thomas the Tank Engine.


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I’m not a beauty junkie, really!

10 February 2012

Chanel Loot

I’m not addicted to beauty products as I am to clothes.

There are some people who buy 5-6 new products a week – well, that’s not me!

I like to stick with my usual moisturiser, my favourite foundation, my favourite eye liner and colour palette, my usual blush colours. I have a handful of lip colours, which I’ll update *every so often*.

Over many years of experimenting with products, I think I’ve found all my favourites.

Recently, I ran out of a few items and had restock.

And coincidentally, my most of my recent beauty products were all Chanel…

Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation – I bought this bottle from Strawberry.net.

Nail Colour – Lily Beige from David Jones. One of my favourite everyday nail colours. The colour that I use when I’m not wearing bright nail colours.

Le Crayon Khol, Noir – I love this eye liner. It’s so smooth, intense and lots of pigment. I bought this from YesStyle Beauty.


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Milk Shakes and Spaghetti, Buns and Chicken Feet

9 February 2012

Here are my foodie highlights of the week.

Monday
Growing up as a kid, drinking chocolate milk shakes on a hot day after school – was such a treat!
Milo Milkshakes
So – on hot days – I love doing the same thing with my boys. Usually we experiment with berries, bananas, mango smoothies.

But you can’t beat a chocolate milk shake, with extra ice, so they turn out more like chocolate slushies, with Milo sprinkled on top. It’s heaven :)

Tuesday
We eat spaghetti bolognese once a week. On special occasions, my husband makes a special family treasure Maltese bolognese recipe (passed down from his Scottish mother!) – which he makes precisely and unwaveringly as stated in the recipe. And of course it turns out *perfect* every time.

Spaghetti Bolognese - Vegetarian

But for me, I like to mix things up a bit. I don’t use recipes. I just throw in a little bit of this and that, whatever is in the fridge. It’s an amazing surprise all the time :)

This week was SNEAKY spag bog – it had lentils, cabbage, mushrooms and spinach hidden inside.

No one seemed to complain. Or even notice!

Wednesday
I made multi-grain rolls for dinner, which turned out really well. Multi-grain bread

But it took me HOURS to knead, wait, knead, wait, knead – and then to finally bake. Sure they were delicious, lovely and fresh – but ugh! To think you can buy a packet of buns for $3 at a supermarket.

Thursday
Today, I was having a BAD day. So I brought my toddler out to my favourite Asian food cafe and treated myself to an indulgent lunch treat – chicken feet noodles.

Chickenfeet Noodles

We shared it. It felt so nice to see my toddler enjoying it as much as I was. Of course, he didn’t know it was chicken feet.

The very best part? My husband (and my other kids) were not there to turn pale at the sight of me spitting out the chicken feet bones!


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Palms Trees and Flamingos!

7 February 2012

Palm Trees and Flamingos!

I bought some Surface to Air silk shorts from ASOS, and they arrived this week!

I’m totally in love with them :)

I love the tailoring, the cut, the fit, the lush silk, and I dig the print of palm trees, flamingos and speckles!!

They were $324, but I got them on sale for $81.

Surface to Air are a Paris-based creative group producing award-winning collaborations (with musicians, artists, filmmakers) and acclaimed for their ready to wear collections. I’ve been loving their edgy designs, I’ve kept an eye on their recent collections, and I was stoked when ASOS was having a sale.

I also discovered that ASOS stocks brands like:

~ Sonia Rykiel – super cute, bold, colourful designs with a French flavour
~ Wheels and Dollbaby – a cult Australian rock-luxe label – I interviewed the designer, she’s from my hometown!
~ Spanx – haha everyone needs a bit of body shaping!
~ Elle Macpherson Intimates – so much cheaper and more range than the department stores
~ There’s always a great range of swimwear that is always well priced.
~ And you have to love the OUTLET 70% off section!

……………………………………………………………………………….

Oh oh oh! ASOS have some special deals!

1) I have something SUPER-SPECIAL for my Singapore readers!
Go to the ASOS Singapore Site and get 20% off your shopping cart by using this code – KAREN20

(Limit to one use per customer, maximum spend of £500, excludes sale items, Singapore deliveries only.)
Valid from 7 Feb to 12 Feb 2012.

2) For my Australian readers
Click here to access Womenswear: Sale now on. Up to 70% off

3) And for my readers in the rest of the world
Click here for Final clearance! 50% – 70% off womenswear

Happy Shopping!!

Outfit Details
Shorts – Surface to Air via ASOS
Button down – Witchery
Knit – Sportgirl
Bag – Alldressedup via ShopTheMag
Booties – Habbot Studios

( 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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The Problem with Dragon Dancers

6 February 2012

Dragon Dance 2012

We watched *yet another* Chinese Dragon Dance this week.

My kids just love them. The drums. The dragons. The costumes. The buff kung-fu guys dancing around. It’s all very cool for them.

But for me? I get a little bored.

Don’t get me wrong. I like a bit of dragon dancing action. It’s just that I’ve seen it a LOT of them since I was a kid.

Dragon Dance 2012

So I found myself wondering (and my mind wandering)… yawn, how could this be more interesting?

AH HA!

It would keep my attention a lot longer if the dancing guys were wearing a lot less clothes.

Do you think the idea will take off? Is that un-Chinese of me?


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Chinese New Year: Red All Over

3 February 2012

Last week, my husband and I attended a grand Chinese New Year Ball, held at the glitzy Burswood Resort and Casino.

Admittedly, we have been to quite a few gala balls held by the local Chinese community. Sometimes we go twice a year.

But hey, I love going to balls! I love the dressing up. I love the large ballroom filled with people wearing beautiful clothing. I love the food. And I especially love it when I know a lot of people there and get to chat to everyone. Oh and I do love to dance at the end of the night too!

On the other hand, for my dear husband, it is a bit of a chore. Firstly, he has little choice about his attire. He wears his same black suit every year (sometimes twice a year), with the same white shirt, with the same black shoes, and when I can’t stand it, I might go out and buy him a new tie.

Secondly, he’s deadly allergic to crustaceans – prawns, crab, lobster, oysters, mussels, abalone… and honestly, the biggest feature of a grand 10-course Chinese banquet is THE SEAFOOD. Everything is laced with seafood! The soup has crab! The spring rolls have prawns! The pork has shrimp paste! The vegetables have oyster sauce! The mushrooms have sliced abalone!

The only thing he can eat is the roast duck.

However, we never complain!

We always smile and laugh. In fact, we always make it our total and utter mission to enjoy the evening no matter what. Even if the music is bad. Even if the speeches are long and boring. Even if a waiter spills crab soup on my dress… we always have a good time, because we’re together AT A $200pp BALL!!

Chinese New Year Ball 2012

I wore my Pia Gladys Perey dress from Gosh Celebrity Fashion, which I wrote about in this post. It is such a beautiful dress to wear!

And my Vamp heels from GlamRockChic.

Chinese New Year Ball 2012

This is me showing off my golden nails and bling (from a mixture of brands). But the ones to note, which I’m wearing out for the first time, are my sparkly bracelet and knot ring from this post.

Chinese New Year Ball 2012

During the evening, (when the prawns were being served) my husband went for a walk to stretch his legs and discovered that there was going to be an exclusive fireworks show, put on by the casino.

So we snuck out of the ball, followed some signs and joined a small crowd of people being ushered towards the car park. We found ourselves walking across a grassy field, in the dark and beside a small lake! The fireworks suddenly began, blasting into the air, just across the lake and a little beyond a row of cars! As you can see from the photo, it was a very busy fireworks display, and it went on for a LOOONG time. It was incredible!

Chinese New Year Ball 2012

We came back. I got a bit drunk. And I arranged various red things around my table for fun. Red much? We thought we were so funny. Well, you should have seen my RED face *flush* from drinking too much alcohol!

The very, very, VERY best thing about the whole evening… was that all our children were sleeping over my sister-in-law’s place… so my husband and I got to sleep in the next morning till 8am.

IT’S WAS FREAKING AMAZING!


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Baby 3: Liam at 2 years and 10 months

2 February 2012

Here’s an update of Liam’s development, as he hurtles towards being 3 years old!

Liam - 2 years 10 Months

Behaviour and Environment

During the school terms, his older brothers go to school, and Liam gets to hang out with me all day. We have our little routines. We have our weekly grocery runs, coffee dates, play dates, gym classes, story time sessions, outings and activities. We have snacks, lunches at home or while we’re out. It’s just him and me.

He’s really pleasant, easy, fun to be with, ok sometimes he’s demanding, but I know his quirks and I know how to work around him… so basically we have a happy little groove between us.

But during the recent 7 week summer holidays, he has had to play and compete with his older brothers – all day, every day.

As a result, my summary of him seems a little harsh, yet it’s all part of his life experience, and what makes him who he is.

Liam has been naughty, difficult, noisy and his behaviour has been awful. It’s such a hard thing to deal with, because I can see what’s driving him. I can see he just wants some attention.

He’s frustrated because his two big brothers will spend hours building intricate lego structures or playing an elaborate board game, and he wants to play too. Instead… he smashes everything onto the floor and steals the important pieces of the game, just so that they will play with him.

Or they will be lazing in bed reading a book or working on a puzzle, and he will come along and rip posters of their walls and tip their shelves over, just so that they will play with him.

It always ends in meltdowns, tears and fights. From everyone! Including me!

So in a way, he’s not really being naughty. He’s just trying to communicate his needs… and well, it’s been a tough couple of months trying to keep everything balanced.

Because, he’s not the only child who needs some attention. There are two others. Not to mention there are two adults in the family who needs some loving. So yes. Balance is the key.

We take things as a week-by-week balancing act. One day I might spend a couple of hours with my oldest boy. While my husband will hang out with the younger two. And the next day my husband will take the middle boy, and I’ll have the other two. And then during the next session I’ll have the youngest one and so on.

This keeps everything quite peaceful.

And it’s worked so well because my husband was on leave for a little bit over the Christmas and new year period.

When it’s just me looking after the kids, most days, they will all play happily for a couple of hours. But after that, they get bored and will need some direction. I either have to do an activity that makes all 3 kids happy. Or I have to send one kid into another room to work on something (nothing too special or the other 2 will get jealous) while I do something with the other 2 kids.

Or I just take them to the beach. And everyone is happy. Including me.

Liam - 2 years 10 Months

“Education”

Liam can identify lots of letters, numbers from 0-12, colours, shapes and symbols. Drawing and writing is an activity he just loves. And I believe he finds a lot of comfort in it. I take a little scribble pad and pencils wherever we go, and he enjoys looking at my past drawings and reading out the letters and numbers.

He has shown keen interest to write letters, so I have been teaching him to write his name. And while I’m at it, I’m trying to teach him to read simple words – not because I’m trying to get him ahead academically – because he just really enjoys it!

Speech

He speech is pretty impressive! He is a real chatterbox and he can talk and talk and talk, if you let him. It can be a bit exhausting, to have someone be in your face and talk at you all day. But I’m not complaining, I try to see it as his little gift.

I get him to re-tell stories of our day, just to help him gather and organise his thoughts, because they can get a bit jumbled and random most times! Kinda cute, but it’s hard to listen to hours of random, mangled sentences.

Gross Motor Skills

Liam is pretty active and coordinated. He can go for long walks, ride a 2 wheel scooter, sit on a big-kid swing, climb up a climbing frame. He can’t ride a bike yet (hasn’t worked out the peddling action).

I’d say that he’s not very daring or adventurous, in a physical sense.

He’s confident to splash around in shallow water, but he’s not brave enough to put his head underwater.

Fine Motor Skills

Really excellent here. The kid plays with big-kid lego, he can use a scissors, do a 48 piece puzzle, peel stickers, glue things, and other fine detail activities.

Sleep

He sleeps at 7:30pm, wakes up 6:00am. As long as he has one 1 hour nap in the day time, he’s fine. And he’s not fussy about when he has the nap.

Imagination Play

Every day Liam can spend 30 minutes to 1 hour playing by himself, with cars, drawing, water play, lego, blocks, or puzzles.

I’d say the biggest activity he is missing out on, is imagination play. I went to a friend’s house recently, who had a cubby house for her daughter. The little house was decorated like a real house, with a kitchen set, photo frames on the wall, tables and chairs… Liam was transfixed. He played inside for aaaaages and didn’t want to leave.

I can see how he would get a lot out of more age appropriate toys!

Social Skills and Friends

He doesn’t have many proper friends at the moment, as he’s a bit young. He prefers to hang around older children, because that’s what he’s used to at home. And he loves the company of adults.

When he is around other kids his age, he is very confident and he stands his own ground. He can be a bit bossy and loud when trying to get his point across, which scares the other kids who are a bit timid.

Separation

Since Christmas, Liam has been very clingy towards me whenever someone comes to babysit. He cries, wails, flings himself on the floor, and shouts things like “Mummy don’t go away!!!!”. He’s been cool with it for years and it just came up suddenly and we’re not sure why he’s changed in this way. We’re thinking maybe it’s just an age thing?

Liam - 2 years 10 Months

Eating

Ah. He has been a terrible eater lately! He loves cereal with milk. Apples. Any kind of sweet or salty biscuit. Noodles. Bacon. And he loves to snack on raw carrots. That’s about it.

He utterly hates pasta, curry, rice, stir-fries, casserole, potatoes, bread – sometimes he will reluctantly eat it, if I feed him.

Most days, when we sit down for a proper lunch or dinner meal… he utterly refuses to eat anything I give him. He refuses to feed himself. And he would rather put himself to bed than to eat what I give him.

But if I spoon food into his mouth, he WILL eat it, reluctantly and slowly. And just like that, he trained me to feed him.

Each mouthful is painful, full of fights, toilet breaks, whining, falling off the chair, crying. Some days I have no idea how much he has eaten, I felt so bad, yet he happily goes to sleep at the end of the day. And I tell myself, if he’s hungry, he’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll make him some warm milk and toast. But he never wakes up.

Heh it is kind of my fault too. As I go through the day, out and about, driving from one event to another, I just throw random food at him for morning or afternoon snacks, a small bag of pop corn, an apple, half a bun with melted cheese on it, a jelly snake, rice crackers, a small carrot. And by dinner time he’s not hungry and I wonder why!

So, basically, I haven’t been very disciplined with his eating!

School

Liam will go to a Pre-Kindergarten for 3 year olds in a few months (he has to turn 3 first!). This particular centre came highly recommended, and it is also a 10 minute walk from our house. He was put on a waiting list, and after months of waiting, we finally got a call and was told that Liam had a place. I was sooooo happy. I know he’ll love it!

(He has been asking when he can go to school for several months now. And he desperately wants his own lunch box.)

But of course, I am struck by that familiar bittersweet feeling – I am totally freaked out that my littlest baby is going to a school AND I am dizzily excited that as he grows older, my life (and my relationship with all my children) will grow and evolve.




meli melo Severine Collection