Archive for April 2012


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Kayak Picnic

30 April 2012


We had a picnic by the river with friends… and one family arrived by kayak!

They kindly let us borrow them, and we spent a *glorious* 5 hours picnicking and paddling in the river. Everyone had a go!

I had a solo paddle.

My husband took our 3 year old out too far from shore, and I was a bit grumpy at him for doing that.

The bigger boys had pirate fights and races.

My husband and I went out as a pair. And I’d love to tell you we were as graceful and as synchronised as a couple of mating swans… but we were actually rather clumsy and crashed into each other a lot. It was calming, sweet, romantic, and… harmonising.  So by the time we came back in, I wasn’t grumpy at him any more.

Kayaking on the river

And this is my biggest boy – being very clever – using his kayak as a stand-up paddle board.

We all had sooooo much fun.

I just love being outdoors!

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Winner of $1000 Shopthemag Giveaway

29 April 2012

Thank you to everyone for supporting and entering this giveaway!!

The lucky winner, by random selection, is Qi En from Singapore.

A great big congratulations to you Qi En, I hope you find something amazing :)

For the rest of my readers… I have another giveaway that goes live on Tuesday ~ all the best!

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My Roadmap to Ice Cream

28 April 2012

Recently I’ve been using a smart phone app called SportsTracker to log all my walking and cycling exercise.

It’s been really handy to actually plot and track my cycling routes on a google map, and keep a record of the distances and my speed etc.

But sometimes I forget to pause it – when I’m not exercising – and it still records all my movements.

And when I am reviewing my activities, I can see exactly where I’ve been!

For example, this is me going for an evening walk to my local shops. (I erased out all the street names.)

My Roadmap to Ice Cream

This is after a long, crappy, frustrating day with the kids. They have finally been put to bed, and one of them has been put to bed several times. I realise I have run out of milk, and so to clear my head, I decide to walk to the shops, rather than drive.

By the time I get to the shops, I am feeling a little better. But only a little.

You can see me cross the street on the right, go into the store, and walk to the back of the store to pick up some milk.

I walk all the way back down the store to the checkout. It’s Friday night, I’m feeling crappy, so I decide to back track to the confectionery aisle to buy some chocolate. Then I go back to the checkout.

THEN I feel guilty, because I am trying to be healthy, so I put the chocolate back, and head BACK to the check out. Now I feel all righteous, but while I’m waiting for my turn at the checkout, I think – OH OK WHY NOT!

So at the last minute I go to the ice cream freezer and snatch some double-choc ice cream, and walk out the store with a spring in my step.

And look, the whole thing took me 31:22 minutes.

I hope I never accidentally record an *indecisive dress shopping* expedition in the city haha!!

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Shopthemag $1000 Giveaway Ends Friday!

25 April 2012

Yes, my amazing, exclusive $1000 Shopthemag Giveaway is coming to a close soon. Friday!

It ends 5pm, Friday 27 April 2012 (GMT +8).

So if you’re thinking about entering… go go go! Details are at the bottom!

Last week I chose some items and outfits from Shopthemag that caught my eye. This week, I got to test them out, so here they are!

STM 1000
Check out this Asymmetric Zebra Print Dress by Blackheart. It’s super hot! With a high skirt-spilt, a plunging neckline, and wild print… this dress will definitely turn some heads. It’s perfect for a glamorous night out!

Blackheart is a new label, by designer Maria Agnes, with a tough, bold and sexy style. I like it!

See more clothes by Blackheart.

STM 1000

This Belted Silk Toga Dress by Burgundy is DIVINE!

The silk is amazing to wear – lusciously fluid, super soft and so comfortable. I slipped it on and it just felt amazing.

It comes with a “distressed” brown leather belt, which gives the dress a more casual look, but I decided to wear it with gold accessories, to maximize the glam potential!

The label, Burgundy, do a lot of gorgeous silk dresses, tops, jumpsuits and playsuits. Looking at all of the range, I could do with silk maxi dresses and a toga body suit (love!)

View whole collection from Burgundy.

STM 1000

This necklace is by Alldressedup, one of my favourite Singaporean fashion labels! It’s the Raiwe Silk Wrap Beaded necklace.

View whole collection from Alldressedup.

I love these bib style necklaces because they are like an instant embellishment to the entire outfit. You can wear them with a crisp white tee, or a simple black singlet top, or with a dress.

The Colour Block Drape Silk Top by Khoon Hoi, is a gorgeous top that is elegant, timeless and yet modern (minimal design, asymmetrical, yet features drapes and cap shoulders). I think it goes perfectly with my leather skirt.

View the whole collection from Khoon Hoi.


This giveaway is now closed!

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Holiday adventures, starring my feet.

24 April 2012

It is the end of the school holidays here in Perth and I’ve been taking my kids out… A LOT.

We’ve been out every day, meeting friends, enjoying the autumn sunshine, having soooo many relaxing and fantastic outings. We’ve visited parks, water parks, fun parks, playgrounds, beaches, riversides, cafes, museums, libraries, shops, movies and more.

It really is a sweet life. I look around myself so often and think that me, my family, my friends, our society… we live like royalty. It’s truly amazing. And I feel so grateful.

Ice Blocking
The other day some friends invited us to go “ice blocking“.

You can buy a large block of ice (with handle already frozen in) for $12… find a grassy slope, throw a towel over the ice, and kids can spend hours sliding down the hill, having a hootingly good time.

It was so much fun!

 School Holidays April 2012 - Kings Park Naturescape
Another day, we spent half the day at the Naturescape in Kings Park. Created as a natural playground for children, the park has a flowing creek, little lakes, climbing trees, board walks, tunnels and huts.

Children can make dams out of rocks, make potions with water/sand/leaves, climb ropes and lots of other stuff.

It’s a beautiful concept and my kids loved it. They rated it 10/10 for fun and entertainment.

(The week before they went to Adventure World – water slides and rollercoasters… and it only got 9/10!)

School Holidays April 2012 - Cultural Centre Wetlands
Last week, we stumbled across a “Children’s Science Activity” at the Wetlands in the Perth Cultural Centre.

Kids were allowed to take water samples of the wetlands, test its acidity, visibility and look for creatures living in the “swamp”.

School Holidays April 2012 - Heathcoate
One of the many parks we went to… This was Heathcoate Reserve Playground which has an amazingly large (multi storey) wooden playground and a million dollar view over the river!

But you’ll have to settle for a picture of my feet on the path.

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Liam Turns Three

23 April 2012

Liam turns 3
My little baby turned THREE a few weeks ago.

Liam at 2
This is what he looked like at TWO years old.

Liam at 1
This is when he was a ONE year old.

Liam at 7months
This is him at 7 months.

Liam at 4months
And this was him at 4 months.

Gah, it makes my heart weep to scroll through these photos. Because that’s how fast the years seemed to have flown by – ZOOM.

Anyway, turning THREE was a very exciting moment for Liam. We have been talking about the BIG THREE, for months. We talked up all the cool things that would happen to him.

On the day of his actual birthday, I made him whatever he wanted to eat for dinner.

Meatballs and Jam
It turned out to be meatballs and jam.

Which ain’t so bad. Nutritionally, it could have been worse, like toffee popcorn and fish fingers? Or mud pies and bubblegum?

Pink Dinosaurs
Speaking about nutritional disasters. I bought him a mini dinosaur cake to have that evening (we were going to hold a huge birthday celebration, with a big-ass ice cream cake, on another date).

It wasn’t actually a cake… they were two dino-donuts in his favourite colours (pink and blue). At $2.80 each it was the best birthday cake ever. Ha!

You cannot believe how sparkly-eyed-and-twinkly-toed-excited he was about these dinosaurs!

He was sooooooo happy. He blew out the candles, shouted “THE BLUE ONE IS MINE!!”, grabbed the blue one, and chomped off his head in 2 seconds flat.

I was very quick to laugh at myself – Ahhh, I believe my first and second children had cakes made by me, from scratch, with all organic ingredients, and with no artificial food colourings.

They were lovingly cut and shaped into a creative 3D form (a duck, a plane, a train, spiderman) and painstakingly decorated the night before. And my poor third child? He gets pre-made meatballs and some counter-bought donuts for his birthday… *Chuckle*

Starting School

Liam has been itching to turn 3 so that he could go to school, just like his older brothers.

But now that he is finally 3, he FRICKING HATES SCHOOL.

Trying to *get* to his pre-kindergarten session is a huge drama. He wails and screams at home. He rolls on the floor and flops his body over bits of furniture. He throws his head and arms about as I change him into his kindy clothes. Shoes and socks are impossible. The sight of his Kindy drink bottle makes him howl like you won’t believe.


He fully does the whole spider monkey trick when I’m trying to take him out of the car – wrapping his arms, fingers, legs and toes around anything that he can grab. And I have to pry off his fingers off various objects, one at a time.

Then he has his hands and legs extended out and flapping around like a crazy starfish while I walk, which makes it impossible to move gracefully into the school building.

All the other mums in the car park look at me empathetically. They all have nice and encouraging things to say, that make me feel a little better.

The teachers are WONDERFULLY nice too. My kid is screaming and shouting at the top of his lungs FOR THEM TO GO TO HELL and yet they scoop him kindly into their arms, while I say bye and make a run for it.

Sigh. It is *such* a horrible feeling. I am completely filled with self-doubt. Maybe I got it all wrong, maybe he really is too young? Maybe he is better off at home? Maybe all those parenting experts are right about kids staying home longer? Maybe we’ll wait one more term until he’s a bit older? Or more mature? You’d think that –me– after having 2 other kids, I would know how to handle all this. Nup. I just feel like shit.

Having said that…

When I go pick him up AFTER pre-kindy, he’s like all best buddies with the teachers, telling jokes with them, smiling, giggling, and he is happy as can be. He skips into my arms with the biggest, proudest and happiest smile on his face ever. He has stories to tell me, craft to show me and paintings to explain to me.

So he IS actually having a good and valuable time there. And this pre-kindergarten is one of the best in the area, with excellent teachers and wonderful facilities. So I guess deep down, I DO feel good about it, and I DO feel that I’ve made the best decision for my son. I just wish he didn’t have to string me along his emotional episodes!

Overall… Liam is still super active, super mischievous, super talkative and super loud. And yet he is a sweet little kid and always soooo adorable and funny. Liam has a big personality and I love him dearly!

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Reminder: Win $1000 to Spend at Shopthemag!

21 April 2012

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all having a fabulous weekend so far!

It’s Saturday morning, I’m catching up on some news and blogs with a cup of tea, and thought some of you might like a reminder to enter my exclusive $1000 Shopthemag giveaway. Please go have a peek!

Pop over to the giveaway details on this blogpost.

I wanted to share a pic of this gorgeous, colourful cuff by Disaya, from Shopthemag. I am so in love with it!! It looks amazing when mixed up with other arm party goodies – definitely a must have for the new season.

Shopthemag Giveaway

Here I wore it with a watch by Guess (left) and a bracelet by Wanderlust + Co (middle).

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The fine art of seed spitting

20 April 2012


We picked some fresh pomegranates from my mother’s garden.

They were gorgeously sweet and juicy.

My children and I sat in our backyard ripping them open with our fingers, with juices flowing down our arms, chomping on them hungrily.

I taught them how to spray the seeds from their mouths – machine gun style – just like I used to, when I was 10.

Have you ever tried to play music on tin cans by spitting seeds?

It’s a bit gross. But hella fun.

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Flying High with Mrs Pukeface!

19 April 2012

Last week I had a “30 Minute Hands-On Trial Flight” courtesy of Red Balloon.

I booked in for an 8am flight, meaning I had to wake up at 6am, get my family organised and drive over to the air field by 7:45am. Yup! My husband and 3 sons were going to watch me “fly” a plane!

Amazingly, we arrived really early, so we sat in the car park waiting for the flight center to get started up for the day. Unfortunately, this gave me time to get quite nervous.

I noticed that the car park was filling up with cars. And getting out of some of the cars were lots of guys, young and old, all wearing pilot’s uniforms.

The older pilots looked like they were the most serious guys in the world. Experienced, steady, old enough to have some grey hair, but not so old they needed a walking stick and a hearing aid…these were the pilots you like to imagine are going to pilot your plane.

But some of the young ones looked *really* young… like the age of my teenage cousins! They looked like they might’ve drinking a few beers and playing video games the night before, and this morning they were miraculously transformed into pilots with nothing more than a nice tie and a white shirt.

Then it was time to go in. My husband took the kids up to the observation deck to go “Wow! Look at that 1974 twin engined something-or-other!” while I checked in.

The place was immediately calming. It was so well organised and everyone so polite and professional, it had a very calming effect on me.

And yes, the whole place was FULL of dashing young men in uniform! Hello there! Looks like a fine day already!

Plane Fight 2012

While I was waiting for my pilot, I wondered outside to look at an old fashion plane (called a Tiger Moth) sitting on the runway. You can buy flight experiences with these planes, which includes aerobatics (upside-down barrel loops in the sky! Eeep!). Apparently it’s one of their most popular gift experiences.

I met my pilot, Chris. He was about my age, but he did not smell of beer, or have any signs of a hangover. So far so good.

He led me over to “our plane” – a Cesna 152. I was told that it was about 30 years old and its design was from the 1960s. But Chris reassured me that it was a very, very solid plane.

Plane Fight 2012

I have never seen, flown or sat inside a small aircraft before.

I must admit, I was surprised by how LITTLE it was. I always think of commercial jet planes as being humungous mechanical beasts of the sky. But this little plane reminded me of… a large pet rhino. Sorry, a bit random.

I thought a “light aircraft” would weigh as much as a car. But it actually weighed about as much as a double bed mattress. I know this, because when I bumped into the plane with my hip, and it wobbled a bit, just like a mattress. So then I was nervous again, and I felt a little nauseous.

Now… I may as well say this….I’m a famous vomiter.

Someone can spin me around once on an office chair… and I’ll fall flat on the floor, with sickening waves of nausea crashing into my head… and no amount of vomiting can make it stop. It’s not a pretty sight.

Hence, I was getting quite anxious about being in the small plane and being hit with motion sickness, and then spray painting the whole inside of the plane (and Chris’s nice white shirt) with my partly digested breakfast. 30 minutes of vomiting! Won’t THAT be a story to tell the kids!

But, I was very excited at the same time. Nauseous AND excited!

Plane Fight 2012

We strapped into the plane and it was TINY. I felt like I was inside a golf cart! I was sitting shoulder to shoulder next to pilot Chris (who smelt rather nice).

Chris gave me a quick briefing. The plane had “his and her’s” dual controls  – phew! He pointed out the other controls. The fuel. Height above sea level. Speed in knots. Level of plane. Other stuff I don’t remember. There were like 15 dials to look at. I blurred out with overload.

Ok, time to set off.

He swiftly fiddled with lots of buttons, knobs and switches, and checked all the dials and other things. I was very impressed with his multi-tasking abilities. He even reached between our legs and fiddled around with something (totally innocent though. See photo above).

Anyway, he was an awesome instructor. He explained everything nice and simply. He let me know a few minutes ahead, what was about to happen. He spoke clearly, calmly and confidently. I had a heart-sinking feeling that I was now putty in his hands. I was – literally – trusting this guy with my life. But he seemed trust-worthy. And he smelt nice.

He explained that we were going to taxi out to the runway. And that I was going to push the throttle all the way down, then I was going to pull the hand controls up and we were going to take off!


I was going to say something stupid like – I THOUGHT YOU WERE THE PILOT AND THAT WAS YOUR JOB!

But I just nodded my head. And melted into a nervous puddle of goo.

We taxied to the take-off position on the runway. As instructed, I pushed the throttle all the way down and the plane sped until I was bouncing around on my seat. We were speeding along really, really fast! Like speeding along in a golf cart, on a really bumpy golf course!!

Then I pulled the hand controls slowly towards me… and holy shit the plane started to lift. I held my breath.

The sound and friction of the wheels on the bitumen got softer and lighter. My feet felt light. The plane angled upwards. My heart felt floaty. And the plane took off! I was soaring over trees and houses!!

Plane Fight 2012


There’s Chris looking all cool in his aviator sunglasses. I should have worn mine. Would have felt more like a pilot.

Plane Fight 2012

This is me steering the plane with my knee while I text messaged my husband and took photos on my iphone.


Chris was cruising along, while I lapped up gorgeous views of the city and river.

Plane Fight 2012

This is the famous Cottesloe Beach from above. It was a spectacular day for flying!!

When we were over the ocean, Chris handed the controls over to me and said I can do what ever I liked with the plane. In fact his words were, “There’s nothing you can do that I can’t fix.”

It took me a few moments to understand his phrase… and my mind instantly replayed crazy plane scenes from movies… kamikaze nose dives, ballerina figure 8s in the clouds, hurtling towards a cliff face (or waterfall), weaving between sky scraper buildings and waving at the office workers! No thanks. I was happy with gentle, easy cruising.

I wasn’t very creative. I just decided to slowly turn left. Then slowly turn right. But after all the slow swaying left to right, I was itching to do something a bit more *interesting*.

At that moment I *wished* I had the 45 minute session where there was enough time for the pilot to do some aerobatic tricks!

Yes! Me, Mrs Pukeface! Wanted to do upside-down loops! The desire to have an amazing experience was all too tempting.

And I realised I had absolutely no motion sickness, or feeling of nausea. I felt… freeeee!

Anyway, all too soon, we had to head back to the airport. It was just so cruisey and so cool.

Chris did a perfect landing (as far as I could tell) and we jumped out. He gave me a certificate and said if I ever wanted to learn how to fly, this hands-on trial flight was actually my very first flying lesson! Cool!

I was completely buzzed by the whole experience. I was drunk with satisfaction.

(A big thank you to Chris!)

When I retold my story to my husband, he was oozing with jealousy. He absolutely loves planes, and was grumpy that I described the take-off as “speeding along in a golf cart”. Ha ha!

It was definitely a fantastic experience that was totally worth it!


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

If you would like to give this gift to someone, or buy it for yourself, or any other gift from Red Balloon you can…

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

To redeem: Visit and enter the promotional code REDKC12 at the checkout to receive your discount.

Terms and Conditions: Offer valid until 31/12/12. 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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Shopthemag Exclusive $1000 BAD Giveaway

17 April 2012

I have an AMAZING, EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY for all my readers!!

Here’s your chance to win $1000 worth of designer clothes and accessories to spend at Shopthemag!

Shopthemag is the world’s first luxury fashion website that is dedicated entirely to showcasing the top fashion names in Asia. These include Singapore’s Koonhor and alldressedup; Thailand’s The Only Son and Disaya; India’s Manish Arora and Japan’s Akira Naka.

They recently launched a B.A.D. Campaign – Backing Asian Designers – aimed to bring new awareness to the growing list of premium designers and movers and shakers in Asia’s fashion industry.

And as part of the BAD campaign, they are running THIS exclusive giveaway for readers of Karen Cheng only – that’s YOU! :)

So let’s be BAAAAAAD and support the amazing fashion talent of Asia – scroll down for the giveaway details.

These are my picks of designer items that I’d LOVE to buy… if I won $1000!

Shopthemag 1000

Khoon Hooi, Off-Shoulder Asymmetric Cocktail Dress – S$645.00
Disaya, Glistening Nightfall Ring – S$199.00
Frank, Triple-wrap Leather Bracelet – S$129.00

Shopthemag 1000

Blackheart, Faux Fur Coat, S$399.00
Burgundy, Cross-back Silk Maxi Dress – S$389.00
Disaya, Cameo Ring – S$199.00

Shopthemag 1000

Tangram, Waisted Silk Skirt with Drapes in Fuchsia – S$259.00
Song, Double Collar Convertible Cotton Poplin Shirt – S$169.00
Tan & Brown, Catharina Cheetah-print Mini Case – S$566.00

Shopthemag 1000

Chai Gold Label, Knotted Sleeve Dress, S$599.00
Alldressedup, Maxim Printed Jersey Cross-drape Dress, S$389.00

But what do YOU like?!


Win a SG$1000 voucher from Shopthemag

This giveaway is now closed!

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Homemade Sausage Rolls

15 April 2012

Homemade Sausage Rolls

My favourite dish to share at a picnic – homemade mini sausage rolls.

Most times, I often wrap up pesto, cheese and spinach in puff pastry.

Or sun-dried tomato, feta and spinach.

Or cheery tomatoes and basil.

Or vegemite and cheese.

Today I made traditional sausage meat, with mince, onions, carrots, cheese. Ok and I snuck in some chopped spinach too.

The kids gobbled them up like you wouldn’t believe!

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Rapping It Like Cuba

12 April 2012

One sunny morning, I took my 3 year old to a busy playground.

I was spread out and lazing on the grass, when I noticed that Liam had picked something up.

I immediately asked him what he had found. You know, it’s my job to know what he picks up.

He said, “I found some MONEY!!”

“OH WOW! Can I see it?”

I wanted to check that it was actually money, or maybe it was something else. Like someone else’s half eaten lollypop. Or something sharp and dangerous.

But he curled his fingers over it and hid it behind his back – “NOPE!”

“Awww please? Can I see it?” I asked.

He giggled and scooted off, still clutching his fist tightly. I thought that maybe he was lying about the whole thing, so I started to get a little annoyed.

I asked to see it a few more times, after which I refused to play his game any longer.

Then he said, “I’ll show you, but you have to take a picture of it, ok?”

I sighed. I was moving up to QUITE IRRITATED now.

I shuffled over to my handbag, reached in, and took out my phone. I heaved myself up from the grass, stood up, dusted the grass off my ass and positioned myself to take a photo of him.

I started to snap away and sang out, “OK I’m taking photos now, you can show me the money now.”

Liam and his money

But as you can see the little rascal was playing me. A bit like his father does on occasions… and I don’t like it from either of them.

He refused to show it to me. He kept his hand hidden behind his back and laughed at me. He was outright taunting me now.

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO!!”


“LIAM!” I said, “Please show me the money!!”

“Hehehe nooooooo I’m not going to show yoooooou!”


I suddenly realise that I’m standing there in a playground, surrounded by other parents and kids, shouting loudly at my toddler to “SHOW!! ME!! THE MONEY!!” and I’m both growling with anger and half pissing my pants with laughter. I really didn’t know if I should tackle him to the ground, or to keep on rapping it like in the Tom Cruise movie Jerry Maguire.

Very. Strange. Parenting. Moment.

Liam and his money

(In the end, I did nothing, and Liam got bored. I then took a stealthy sniper pic of him and his money. Ha! I WIN! And he found 20 cents!)

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How to Throw an Arm Party!

10 April 2012

You’ve probably seen the trend of stacking multiple bracelets and bangles on your wrists, which are called “arm parties”.

It’s wonderfully fun to wear and gives your outfit a sexy, playful edge. Well the team from Wanderlust + Co asked me to share how I put my arms parties together.

They have also given all my readers a special 20% discount code! Please scroll down for details.

Honestly, there is no rule for arm parties – just stack heaps of your favourite bangles and bracelets together – whatever best reflects your personality and mood at the moment!

However sometimes – even I can admit – that the haphazard stacking can look a bit crazy and messy (which is fine when you are in a “crazy and messy mood”).

But when you want to look a bit more “put together”…. here are a few visual design tips.

1) Try just one large chunky item – your favourite watch, a big-colourful bangle, a sparkly-spiky bracelet.

2) Team it with one statement piece that compliments (or boldly contrasts) your outfit. If you’re wearing black, try a bold orange or neon piece!

3) Select 2-3 smaller bracelets that each compliment at least one other item already chosen!

4) Stick to one metallic tone for all pieces. Eg gold, silver, rose gold.

5) Stock up on white, black, nudes and neutral bracelets, because they are so versatile!

6) Experiment and be playful with you colour combinations!

Here some arm party inspirations, featuring pieces from the mouth-watering wrist collection from Wanderlust + Co.

Wanderlust + Co - Arm Party!

Top – Redophin; Skirt – LClothes; Shoes – Gucci replicas.

Wanderlust + Co - Arm Party!

Wanderlust + Co Sunburst Navy Leather Wrap, Snake cuff from Forever New, Multi-stud Silver Nude Wrap, Watch from Guess, Blue Chain Toggle Bracelet.

Wanderlust + Co - Arm Party!

Top – Alexander Wang; Leather skirt – YesStyle; Shoes – ASOS.

Wanderlust + Co - Arm Party!

Wanderlust + Co Multi-Stud Silver Nude Wrap, White Cuff from Sportsgirl, Multi-Bar Gold Camel Bracelet, Sunburst Navy Leather Wrap.

Wanderlust + Co - Arm Party!

Top – Prada; Pants – ASOS; Heels – Sportsgirl.

Wanderlust + Co - Arm Party!

Silver Braid Cuff – Sportsgirl, Wanderlust + Co XL DLink Gold Turquoise Bracelet, Rainbow Braid from Dressonomy, Multi-bar Gold Camel Bracelet.

The W+Co team is offering all my readers a discount code of 20% everything!

Just use the code “karen20” at check out. Valid for 5 days, until the end of 14 April.

Hope you find something you love!!

( 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 AM the Easter Bunny

9 April 2012

I organised an Easter Saturday morning get together for some friends. Really a picnic in the park. But of course, it was Easter, and so the repressed party hostess in me wanted this to become an “Easter Egg Hunt”. I bought a big bag of very small chocolate eggs, and planned to hide them around the little park before anyone turned up.

Easter 2012

But of course, as it always seems to be, I ended up being quite late due to a whole series of minor domestic realities. You know, toddler tantrums, spilt milk, a grazed knee, a phone call. By the time I got off the phone with my favorite Auntie, I had literally only minutes before the official start time. I left my kids with my husband at the house, and ran over to the park with the bag of eggs.

So there I was, skipping around the park like an Easter Bunny, sprinkling little foil wrapped eggs around the swings, the trees, the benches, and along the little creek.

But, I don’t want you to imagine I was skipping gracefully around, like a magical creature from a fairytale.

I was running around like a MAD WOMAN! I was muttering to myself, tripping over, spilling eggs, picking them all up again, swearing as I stood on some, etc. Totally ungraceful.

And then it occurred to me that I was actually littering in the park. Doh!

I felt so guilty as I left the park.

I returned only a few minutes later with my family, and then other families arrived, and when the kids started to notice the eggs, they went crazy!

The Hunt was on!

But then it went wrong. In only the few minutes the eggs had been lying on the grass, the sun had melted them into a soft mush, and the little kids were grabbing their egg collections so hard the chocolate was squishing out onto their hands and clothes.

Double Doh!

So there were some disappointed kids, and I felt pretty embarrassed, but the other mums, God love them, were just like ” Well, lets just wipe your hands clean shall we darling?”…and pretty soon everyone was eating food and chatting and kicking balls and playing chasey. And as one Dad pointed out to me…it wasn’t like any of the kids were actually going to suffer from chocolate deprivation this weekend.

Okay, emergency over. I relaxed, and had a great time sitting talking with the other Mums about the Dads, who stood in a group a little way away, kicking balls and talking about the Mums.

So it all worked out well in the end!

(But I did make my husband walk around the park picking up all of the squished eggs before we left.)

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Hit Me Up With Some Lemon and Mint

7 April 2012

These are some fab items I picked up from YesStyle.

Yesstyle - Yellow Pea Coat

I’m getting ready for the cool weather with this gorgeous yellow wool pea coat.

I thought a yellow would be a nice way to inject some colour and sunshine into dreary cold days. It’s a bit different to your regular black, grey, navy and camel coloured coats, and it certainly makes a happy statement.

This jacket is by Angel Love, a label full of feminine lace skirts, chiffon blouses , pleated skirts, and crocheted tops.

Yesstyle - Mint Shirt

This chiffon mint shirt, with cut-out shoulders, is super hot! I can’t wait to style it soon. It’s breezy and easy, effortless and sexy – I really like a lot!

It’s from one of my favourite Korean labels, Redopin. They have some really cool mint / light green items (tops, jackets, knits) in their latest release, if you want to check it out.

Yesstyle - Yellow Jeans

I’ve been wanting a pair of yellow jeans for ages! And now I’ve already been wearing these to death :)
(Unfortunately these have been sold out.)

Oh and these are some labels I wanted to mention, as they currently have some great stuff on sale.

Stylementor from Korea has a really simple and stylish look. Nice knits, on-trend office pieces (sheer blouses, printed shirts, pleated skirts, colourful blazers) that can be easily worn from work to play.

Puffy has some really nice polka dot dresses at the moment, pretty chiffon tops and stripe tops too. Worth a look if you haven’t browsed already.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


( 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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Saying Goodbye and Thank You to Claire

5 April 2012

10 days ago, my beautiful and dear friend, Claire, lost her battle with breast cancer.

I met her 8 years ago, through the local toy library – of all places. We were both young, first time mothers and we both had a young baby boy. She had such a gorgeous personality – always smiling, always friendly, warm, funny, so down-to-earth and so genuine.

I don’t know how she did it, but she always made me feel like I was special and that I had a special place in her heart. And the funny thing was, I got the sense that it was like that for everyone who talked to her. It absolutely boggled me as to what magical powers of friendliness she possessed.

I would always leave a conversation with her going, Oh my god, she is such a wonderful person, I wish I could be as nice as Claire!!

We both went on to have 3 boys each. Our boys were all similar ages, all went to the same school, some in the same classes, some best friends.

When she first got the diagnosis of breast cancer, we formed an army of school mums to help cook meals for the family, help with school pick ups, and where ever else we could. She went through various operations, chemotherapy, and other therapies and treatments. The news was always up and down.

There was always another side-effect. Another test to be done. There was always so much waiting, and so much living with uncertainty. Something I already knew too well about because of my husband’s own struggle with cancer.

Things were difficult, but she was so strong and so positive. She formed a support group for other young mothers with breast cancer, she spoke at high schools, she wrote articles for breast cancer newsletters, she was constantly writing thank you cards and buying little gifts for nurses/doctors/friends/everyone! She was one amazing woman, Claire.

She battled the cancer for 4 years, but a few weeks ago, her doctors told her that she only had months to live. And then complications emerged, and suddenly, she wasn’t there to pick up the kids from school anymore.

All of us “School Mums” saw her one last time, two weeks ago, at a school function, surrounded by her family, and she was obviously very, very ill. We planned how we would celebrate her upcoming 40th birthday in an appropriate way, given how sick she was.

Each following day, a group of us would stand around after dropping off our kids, and share what we had heard about Claire’s condition. We were all wearing sunglasses, but I could tell everyone else was crying like I was, because I could see their chins twitching, and they were sniffing their noses. There was nothing we could do to help.

And then we heard Claire had passed away at home, surrounded by her closest family.

I am so relieved that she is no longer in pain, that she is finally at peace.

But it seems so terribly wrong and unfair.

I spent days fighting back the waves of tears that would randomly hit me. Driving along and having to pull over because my eyes were so teary that I couldn’t see the road. Walking down the aisle of a supermarket and bursting into sobs. Watering my roses (with a hose) with tears streaming down my face.

On the day of the funeral, I tried to make some cupcakes to share at the afternoon tea after the cremation ceremony.

I almost couldn’t manage the task of baking, as I was very dazed and distracted. The school rang to tell me I had forgotten to give my son the change of clothes he needed for after his swimming lessons. It turned out that I didn’t have any butter for the cupcakes, so I popped out to the shops, bought $100 worth of stuff, and forgot to buy the butter. When I got home and unpacked the groceries, I put the milk in the pantry and a box of tampons in the fridge… much to my husband’s surprise later in the day.

I was very teary at the funeral. I was not a picture of strength and graceful composition. I was crying so hard that my head felt like it was going to explode.

When I saw her family standing around her coffin, saying their last goodbyes, I was overwhelmed with immense sadness and… anger. My wonderful friend was being cremated on her 40th birthday, and her whole family, her husband, her 3 young boys, and her own mother and father, were there to watch. I wanted to throw up. I struggled to stay upright. My head was pounding. I was choking back sobs. I wanted to scream. I was thinking, Why isn’t anyone else screaming? Why is everyone so quiet?! Am I the only one who thinks there is something so bloody wrong with this picture?!?!

Of course I wasn’t. I know I’m not the only one who is grieving.

Obviously I’m still trying to come to terms with her passing and my own grief…and all the feelings that losing Claire has stirred in me. I know I have a lot of stuff I’m trying to deal with on a very deep and personal level, in particular with my husband’s cancer.

Stepping back a bit, I did realise that it was in fact a beautiful ceremony. Her husband gave a loving, heart-wrenching speech. Words written by her sons were read out. There were more touching readings and a slide show of photographs of her and her family. The family released white doves in remembrance of her. There were a lot of tears, yet there were smiles of strength.

Happy 40th Birthday Claire. I will always remember your warmth and smile, my beautiful friend.

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Hotness Galore at ClubCouture

4 April 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a bunch of gorgeous evening dresses :)

I picked out 4 dresses from ClubCouture and each one made me squeal with delight!

Evening Dresses from ClubCouture

This first dress is the One Shoulder Banded Bodycon Dress from the Premium range.

Its quality and construction is fantastic (much better than bandage dresses from Topshop, Zara, or ASOS). The fabric is wonderfully thick, firm and stretchy.

Personally, I feel that this dress totally rates as a high-end designer dress (without the whopping price tag).

The one shoulder style made it feel a bit more elegant for a special occasion. I wore it out to my 10th anniversary dinner with my husband and I felt amazing!!

And here is this very similar (but different) second dress. It felt so comfortable, so balanced, so perfectly snug on my whole body… I felt like I could last a whole day and evening in it.

Evening Dresses from ClubCouture

It is called the Monochrome Banded Bodycon Dress and again it is from the Premium collection.

I think this dress looks  gorgeous, in a more classic, accentuates-your-curves, safe-but-sexy way!

Again the quality and construction of this dress is great. The firm fabric and fit feels a bit like shape-wear that pulls all your curves into place :)

I can’t choose which dress I prefer. Which is to say, I love both of them!

But wait, there are more!!

Evening Dresses from ClubCouture

The black dress is called the Satin and Lace Prom Dress.

It’s $59 dollars and it’s such a cute, simple and high-impact dress! The bodice has a simple elastic at the back and it’s easy and comfortable to wear. It nips in nice and tight at the waist, and puffs out into a full circle mini skirt. It’s fun and very flirty.

The aqua dress is the Teal Bodycon Dress, just $59. This one is also a nice, simple, easy to wear dress, that you can easily dress up or down. I really liked the colour too.

The material is of a lesser quality than the first 2 bandage dresses, but it matches the quality of clothes from ASOS. Definitely a great, affordable dress.

I’m liking the whole collection at ClubCouture for their affordable clothes. There are hundreds of dress styles there. And plenty of on-trend tops – from lovely blouses to casual jersey drape tops.

Hope you find something you like!

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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Am I Lara Croft or Dirty Harry?

2 April 2012

For my husband’s birthday, I organised for him to do something he has always been keen to try. No, not a lap dance (he has already tried that, in his “before Karen” life).

I organised for him and a bunch of his friends to go to a shooting range.

I had the idea because I suspected that ALL boys liked guns… and because my husband had once made such a big deal about a BIG GUN in an old movie called “Dirty Harry”…which I wrote a post about a while ago.

My husband and his buddies are all a very nice mix of regular, white-collar professionals, boating / scuba diving types, swimming / cyclist types, doting father types, wining-and-fine-dining types. They are definitely not hardcore gun fanatics.

But I underestimated the BOY GENE. The mere mention of guns sent them into a kind of boy frenzy and they were all super SUPER excited.

Me? I was about as excited as I would be going to visit old Dr Hairy-Knuckles to get my pap test.

So I was just going to buy my husband a voucher and then meet the gang for dinner at a pub AFTER the gun-fest, where I would just nod, smile and listen to all their colourful stories about the gun being THIS BIG!!!

Even then, I was going to have to suffer all the sexual innuendo “My gun is bigger than your gun” or “Is that a gun in your pocket… ?” kind of jokes all evening.

However, my husband insisted that I come along to the actual gun shooting,  saying “Who’s going to take the photos?” I actually didn’t care who would take photos at all, but I kinda felt that he wanted me to be there because it was his birthday.

I reluctantly agreed to tag along. Yes, he guilted me into attending his birthday treat that I organised for him. But I was certain that I would not do any shooting.

So, on the appointed day and time, all my boys and I turned up to the shooting range. I was collectively calling my husband and his friends “my boys” for the evening, since I was the only woman in the group, and I expected to have to calm them down like seven year olds.

Shooting Range

The shooting centre, as you would expect, wasn’t classy, swish and shiny like, say… a Prada store.

It was “a little rough at the edges” – with hand scribbled signs that were sticky taped on the walls, used bullets glue-tacked onto a wooden desk, a bin spilling over full of used paper rabbit targets… but hey, it had a certain (frightening) charm. And it was BIG on rules and safety.

Shooting Range

On the wall there was a GUN MENU – organised by which gun fantasy you’d like to try. I’m not kidding! There was a 9mm Beretta (The Lethal Weapon Gun), 9mm Sig Sauer (The Rambo Gun), 9mm Glock (The Fugitive Gun), 9mm H&K USP Match (The Lara Croft Gun), CZ-SP-01 (The Mission Impossible Gun), Glock 45 (The Zombie Killer Gun), Kimber Custom .45 (The S.W.A.T. Gun), .357 Magnum Revolver (The Magnum PI Gun) and of course the .44 Magnum Revolver (The Dirty Harry Gun).

Are you still with me?

Can like, everyone just take a moment to appreciate that I bothered to type all that out? I initially wrote “a bunch of stupid guns” and then later replaced it with the list of guns that I deemed most popular, you know, in case someone who reads this might actually be interested in having a fantasy about guns (with or without Lara Croft).

My boys couldn’t choose which fantasy to go with, so they chose several, and organised to swap around. Great. Now they were fantasy swapping.

So fast forward to the action. As I said, the shooting range was big on safety. To shoot the guns, you had to be locked into a little booth, with the gun and the bullets still separated when you go in. To get out, you had to push a button for the gun range people to come and let you out, which they would only do if you had emptied the gun of bullets.

For extra safety, the guns were chained into the booth, so they could only point forward, away from people.  Safety glasses were compulsory, but ear protection was optional (WTF?).

Four of us squeezed into a booth.

I know I will sound like a grumpy, old woman who complains about loud music… but GUNS ARE SO FRICKING LOUD!! Even WITH ear protection!

When the boys started to do their thing, I had my back pressed up against the rear of the booth, clutching my ear protectors like a sissy. The explosions from the guns were terrifying! I could feel them jolting my heart out of sync! My teeth rattled! My eyeballs wobbled from the shock waves!

I watched my hubby and one of his friends fire off bullet after bullet at a paper target.

It was so unnerving. Every molecule in my body was shouting DANGER DANGER DANGER!!


After a looong while, I guess I got used to the sound of guns firing. And I decided that I was never going to have THIS opportunity to fire a gun again… so I dismissed the caution-part of my brain and embraced the whole *danger thing*.

And then I felt this rush of excitement.

So I nudged my boys out of the way, and started reloading the gun.

This is me pushing bullets into the Dirty Harry Gun. Anyone a bit excited yet?

Shooting Range

The bullets were long. And smooth. And shiny! (By the way, notice the lovely tangerine shade of my Chanel nail colour?)

Holy shit, shooting a gun was such a huge, messed up, dangerous, thrilling rush. Smoke. Flame. Explosions in your hand. Hitting the target.

Handling the bullets was excruciatingly terrifying, holding the firearm was nerve-wrecking, squeezing the trigger was horrifying, hearing the explosion was completely starling, and feeling the sound wave slam itself into my body was extremely distressing.

And do you want to know what I was thinking every time I pulled the trigger? – ARGH! ARGH! This gun could blow up in my hands and face and hurl bits of metal everywhere, blood splatter, loss of eye sight, disfigurement, amputation, death! ARGH! ARGH! ARGH!

(Yes, the cautionary side of my brain is a real wet blanket.)

Funny thing was… I did get a wave of gun fever. I wanted to try the next gun. And the next. I even tried a lever-action rifle. And I even complained when one of my boys used up some my bullets which left me with only 3 shots, hmph!

Shooting Range

Yee har cowboy!!

The bottom line was, yes, it was fun – in a totally stupid and senseless way.

Shooting Range

This is me refusing to smile. I somehow feel bad that I was a pretty good a shot.

Am I going to sign up as a gun club member and go shooting every week? No way.

Seriously, the craziest thing was… I am a tiny, little Asian girl with no interest in guns at all, and with absolutely no training, yet I could still put five out of six bullets into a chest sized target that was ten meters (thirty feet) away, using the most powerful hand held gun in the world.

And I had no problem loading that gun. It was easier than putting earrings on.

No wonder people get killed so easily. Any idiot can shoot.

So, no. I still don’t like guns.

I’ll just stick to fantasies about… Lara Croft, and with no guns at all.