Archive for December 2012

 

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Some Christmas Goodies

30 December 2012

Guess Rose Gold Watch

My mum and dad gave me a pretty new watch. It was both a Christmas present and thank you present (for looking after their chickens while they were away).

It is a Guess Sporty Watch (Rose Gold), and it’s really nice to wear. I’ve been wearing it non stop!

Press Here 2 by Sean

My 7yo son made me a book for Christmas! It was so clever and cute, that I promised to take a photo of it and show it off on my blog :)

He was inspired by the book “Press Here” by Herve Tullet. It’s a very simple, engaging and fun book, that is “interactive”, using only flat printed pages. It is perfect for kids with big imaginations, and my 7yo certainly loves it.

Press Here 2 by Sean

My son thought up and drew up 8 pages of brand new interesting and hilarious things to do with a flat surface and some coloured dots. Such a clever and funny kid!

Rebecca Minkoff

And lastly, I bought this for myself, as um, a Christmas present… a Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac Clutch.

I love the size, the simple design, the gold hardware and that it’s perfect to take anywhere, day or night.

It also comes in 10 different colours (I’m stalking the almond colour one next!).

(Ok I did get a few more things this Christmas, but I’ll take photos of them some other time!)


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Day To Night With Airflex (And Win A Free Pair Of Shoes!)

28 December 2012

To celebrate the launch of the new Airflex Online Shop, the Airflex team are offering 5 of my readers the chance to win a free pair of shoes! Please scroll down for details.

They also sent me a pair of shoes (that I chose) and gave me a challenge: to style the shoes in a day time and a night time outfit.

Day to Night with Airflex

I gladly accepted the challenge and I selected the Cochella Sandals (yes they are named after the famous music festival).

I could have chosen a pair of nude patent leather pumps to style from Day to Night – but that would have been too easy :)

I was keen for a styling challenge! And sandals are a bit tricky!

Can you really wear sandals from day to night? Sandals to the beach, music festival, cafe lunch, yes yes yes. But to an evening cocktail party? After work drinks at a bar? Hmmm.

Anyway, I chose this pair because they were a bit different to the typical horizontal-strap sandals. And I also hoped that the silver made them more suitable for a night time event.

Day to Night with Airflex

This is what I came up with!

For Day, I went for a more “smart casual outfit” and wore something that I’d be happy to wear while doing a bit of shopping in the city, or going out for lunch.

I’m wearing a cotton tank from Cotton On, a khaki mini skirt from Sportsgirl, leather jacket from Nabi.

For Night, I wore a slinky one-shoulder dress and channeled a bit of Grecian goddess. The shoes felt very right with the dress. I think it looked pretty good, especially when I matched it with silver accessories.

I would definitely wear these sandals with a dress to a bar/restaurant in summer. And I certainly would wear them from day to night because they are very comfortable and soft.

Best thing about the Airflex shoe brand – quality materials (leather uppers and linings), the shoes are designed for comfort and the price is quite affordable (for leather shoes).

They also have a nice range of fashionable styles and colours, for work and play.

Day to Night with Airflex

Ok here are the competition details.

WIN 1 x PAIR OF SHOES FROM AIRFLEX

What do you win?
Each winner will get to choose the exact Airflex style, colour and size that they want. You have two options… you can either make your selection online and Airflex will arrange to send them to you, or if you wish, you can visit one Airflex store to choose their pair.

How to enter?
1) Go to the Airflex Online Shop, scroll to the bottom and sign up to the Airflex Newletter.
2) LIKE the Airflex Facebook page
3) Send an email to me at airflex@karencheng.com.au and let me know your full name and your contact email address.

I will be selecting 5 winners randomly using a random number generator. And will be contacting all the winners by email.

Who can enter:
Only Australian and New Zealand residents over the age of 14.
(Sorry to all my international readers!)

Giveaway Ends:
Giveaway runs for 14 days and closes: Thursday, 10 January 2013, 5pm AEST

Good luck to everyone!

xxx


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Cycling Like a Normal Person

27 December 2012

Cycling like a normal person

This morning I woke up early in the morning and took my 3yo out for a little bike ride to the river.

I rode on my old, rusty, 20kg mountain bike, with a 13kg kid sitting in the child seat. I wore my old Converse Chucks, dirty black skinny jeans and I carried a backpack full of preschooler snacks and bottled water.

I looked like a normal person on a bike, with a kid.

But 20 minutes of THIS KIND OF CYCLING – holy crap I almost freaking DIED FROM PAIN!!!

The bike was so heavy, my muscles were screaming in pain, my heart rate was off the charts, and I almost fainted from dizziness!

To think that (only 12 weeks ago!) I used to cycle 100km distances in ONE MORNING!! And still have enough energy for the rest of the day to go for a short run, maybe a swim at the beach, do some gardening, manage the children, and then cook and host an entire dinner party!

Sheesh.

I hope to be back on my bike in the new year and start getting fitter again!

(Oh and there’s a lot to be said for carbon frame road bikes people.)


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Tis The Season For Stupid Cake

24 December 2012

I hosted a modest dinner party at my place for Christmas Eve.

It was such a pleasure to make so much fancy food, to decorate the house, to decorate the table setting and to get my children involved.

Christmas 2012

While I was painstakingly preparing the Christmas ham, my 3 year old walked up to it and called it a “Stupid Cake”!!!

Haha it made me laugh so much.

I took a step back and realised that, yes, it does look rather stupid.

However, it tasted MAGNIFICENT!!

Christmas 2012

I also made Yorkshire pudding, with the turkey drippings, and we ate it with hot gravy. OMG it tasted freaking divine!!!

For those who haven’t tasted them before, they are like pancake muffins – a bit cakey and doughy on the inside, but sizzling and crispy (in a buttery way) on the outside. Perfect to eat with meat and gravy.

My mother used to make these all the time with her roast beef dinners, and this was the first time I made it. I’ll post up the recipe at a later date.

Christmas 2012

This was the whole Christmas spread!

We had a Christmas ham, roast turkey, Yorkshire pudding, prawns, roast potato and pumpkin, and a leafy green salad, a fancy coleslaw and char-grilled asparagus + broccoli + green beans.

Christmas 2012

My father-in-law got my 9yo and 7yo to help him make his traditional Christmas pudding from scratch.

He used suet (raw beef fat) instead of butter, mixed with sultanas, raisins, currents, mixed peel, flour etc… and boiled it for 8 hours. The result was amazing. Usually I haaaaaate fruit cake, or anything with cooked sultanas (bleh!) but this was soooooo goood. The sugars in the dried fruit mellowed out and it was like eating a sweet and mild merlot. Mmmm delicious.

The highlight for everyone was when we set the pudding on fire!

My father-in-law warmed up a tablespoon of brandy over a candle flame, then as he poured the hot brandy over the pudding, one of my children lit a match and set the brandy on fire. The whole top of the pudding caught on fire and was covered with with beautiful blue flame that burned for a few seconds.

It was mesmerising and so lovely to watch. We did it quite a few times, because the kids were really bad at lighting the matches – but we had to stop because we ran out of brandy haha!

Christmas 2012

Anyway, I really hope that you all have a wonderful and special Christmas, surrounded by family and loved ones!!


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The Christmas Card Sweatshop

23 December 2012

We’re pretty serious about The Making of Christmas Cards in our house.

And by “we” I mean “me”.

Usually I think of the card concept (Watercolour stars? Christmas tree cut-outs? Paper snow flakes? Satin ribbon patterns?) and then I instruct the kids on what THEY can do to help ME make the cards.

This year, I gave the Art Direction responsibility to my 9 year old son.

His idea: Oil pastel Christmas illustrations drawn by a preschooler.

I told him it was a great idea and that he had my approval to make it happen.

Little did I know, my 9 year old used this as an excuse to become an oppressive creative dictator.

He stood over and harassed my 3 year old into drawing these illustrations. I’m not exactly sure of the extent of the oppression, but to his credit (and my 3yo), the pictures turned out fabulous!

Christmas Card Sweatshop 2012

(It did make me ponder over my own behaviour – surely I’m NOT THAT BAD when I’m instructing my children on our art projects haha!!)

Anyway, I scanned in the drawings, cleaned them up a little in photoshop, I turned them into back-and-front printable cards, then I printed them out… and this was the result!

Christmas Card Sweatshop 2012

I was so proud of my boys… I think!


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What are you wearing for Christmas?

21 December 2012

A few weeks ago, I picked out two dresses to wear to my Christmas and New Year celebrations.

These are from Beauties Closet, an online shop specialising in popular fashion styles from Korea.

I reviewed this online shop a few months ago in this blog post, and I share a few tips on Korean fashion and the best ways to shop on the site.

I also have a special 15% off discount code for all my readers that will help out with the shipping cost. Scroll below for details.

Anyway, here are the dresses. They are so pretty!

Christmas Dresses from Beauties Closet

This Sequin Feminine Dress is really adorable. In real life, wearing the dress to a candlelit dinner party, surrounded by sparkling fairy lights, I seriously felt like a twinkly angel.

It is a well made, nicely tailored dress, but I have to admit, the sequins are a little delicate. And yeah ok it’s a little pricey too, but I would definitely wear it more than once.

However, considering that most people would buy a $160 dress from a department store to wear to an event, this price is not far off, for a dress that’s a little bit different.

It’s a pretty, floaty dress, great for spring and summer.

I’d wear it to dinner parties, outdoor summer evening events, a day and night wedding reception etc etc.

Christmas Dresses from Beauties Closet

This Elbow Sleeves Lace Dress is romantic and a true classic.

Yes the dress style is quite common, but what I like about this dress is that the material is soft and stretchy. There is no zip, I just slip it on and it fits wonderfully. It’s always really nice to wear such a simple dress, because I feel so comfortable in it. It doesn’t ride up when I walk, or create static, or scrunch when I sit, or scratch my skin and make me itchy.

The dress comes in a black or white… and the styling possibilities are endless.

I have worn nude shoes, with black crystal earrings and a watermelon clutch to add a bit of colour and contrast. But you can wear the dress with bright blues, or yellows, or reds. It’s a nice way to show off your statement accessories, or your brightly coloured trench coat or your classic leather tote.

Again, this is a lovely dress that I’m very happy to add to my wardrobe. I love my Korean fashion! (Hmm, I’m tempted to get the black one now…)

*Special Discount Code*

Use the code “BCKC15″ at the checkout to receive 15% OFF your order. This offer starts 21 December and will end on 31 December 2012, 11:59 GMT8+.

And if you’d like to keep up to date with new arrivals, check out the Beauties Closet Facebook Page.

Have a fun 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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Christmas Star Cookies and Teacher’s Gifts

20 December 2012

This year, I’ve been very organised with my Christmas gifts :)

I baked a huge pile of Christmas Star Cookies for friends and family.

I would have loved to say “I made them with my kids” but I didn’t.

I made them at night, over a few days, when the kids were asleep. This is because (after years and years of chaotic cooking with kids) I simply CAN’T STAND to give out mutilated, wonky, broken, misshapen biscuits anymore – with uneven, drippy icing, with smudged finger prints and crazy sprinkles that don’t match!

I don’t care how cute and “homemade” they look, I’ve had enough!!

I just want to make nice looking Christmas biscuits for once dammit! :)

This is the recipe I used, which I have posted on my site before. However, I have since moved house, and my new oven works differently. So I had to change my oven temperature and time.

Simple Butter Cookie Recipe

150g butter
¼ tsp vanilla essence
½ cup castor sugar
1 egg yolk separated
2 Tbsp milk
2 cups plain flour

Oven at 180ºC. Cream butter, essence, sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg yolk and milk. Then stir in flour til firm. Roll. Cut.
Bake 20-30 minutes until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Christmas 2012 - Stars for Baking

This recipe made about 30 small stars.

The dough is quite brittle, so it is easier to handle if you put the dough in the fridge for a few minutes.

The resulting cookie is delicious. It has a great crunch, it’s not brittle, not too sugary and not too buttery. Also they keep really well for a few days in an air tight container. And they don’t break when you put them in cellophane bags.

Christmas 2012 - Finished Star Biscuits

I mixed up a yummy lemon icing to decorate the cookies.

I don’t have the exact recipe, because it’s kind of simple. You just mix lemon juice (1 tablespoon maybe?) into lots of icing sugar (1 cup maybe?). And make sure it’s thick and creamy, not runny.

I then put 6-8 star cookies in some clear cellophane bags, and tied them up with a turquoise satin ribbon.

Christmas 2012 - KikkiK Pens

Another thing I did during the week… was to prepare some teacher’s gifts.

I have been quite pleased with all my children’s teachers, that I really wanted to show a bit of thanks and gratitude. Most years I have given chocolates to them (they must get so much chocolate!), so this year I found some cute pens to give them.

These are from Kikki.K. The wrapping paper is from a generic gift shop.

Christmas 2012 - Gifts for Teachers

My 3.5 year old and I made gift tags and tied little satin ribbons on the gifts.

We presented them to his teachers (with a little cuddle too) on the last day of school, and while my little one didn’t understand the significance of “final goodbyes”, I think I shared a tear or two with his teachers.

It’s been a good year of school for my kids. There’s definitely a lot to be thankful for.


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Fashion Textures: Croc ‘n’ Fur

18 December 2012

Texture mixing is big in this new season.

If you love playing with new styles, try combinations of textures such as: faux fur, metallic embroidery, lace, faux snake and crocodile skins, leathers, feathers, jewelled fabrics, beads and crystals. Mix with jewel tones and metallic colours (I’m loving bronze and rose gold at the moment).

I chose a couple of items from YesStyle, and they arrived in the mail a few days ago.

I was so excited to wear them straight away and share on the blog, because they are totally rad!

YesStyle Croc Bag

This faux crocodile skin bag (by Korean brand Redopin), is hot!

It has a great structured shape, good quality weight to it, made from lovely materials, it has some cool hardware, a nice long strap, as well as a decorative chain that can be a smaller handle too.

I will definitely use it as my quick, go-to evening bag… whenever I’m wearing black (which is quite often).

YesStyle - Black Fur Coat

The weather has been a bit crazy here in Perth, with bouts of rain, storms and cool nights.

But this meant I was so so happy to take this SARAH Faux-fur Cropped Jacket out its first night out.

I’ve got a white faux fur jacket, which feels sophisticated and elegant. But black fur feels so much more edgy, moody, glam and a bit gothic. I LOVE! I think it’s one of my best wardrobe additions (in the jacket department) in a long time.

For the rest of my outfit, I’m wearing…
Sparkle Knit Top by Stylestalker from The Iconic
Faux Leather Pants from Topshop
Patent Leather shoes by GlamRockChic
Sunglasses by Chloe

Have fun!

( 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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Going Paleo and Eating Like a Caveman

17 December 2012

I get lots of emails from people asking me about “how do I stay in shape?” and “what do I eat everyday?”… so I thought I’d share a bit about what and how I eat.

These past few months I’ve changed what I eat – and it’s been absolutely incredible for me.

My eating is based on the “Paleolithic Diet”, which suggests that we should be eating like our ancestors before the agricultural revolution. Basically we should be eating like cavemen.

There’s a whole science, chemistry, research, and a crazy community of die hard fans out there… and if you’re interested, here’s a bit of information from some Expert Paleo Dude.

But me? I’m not extreme about it. My eating is loosely based on it. It just means that I’m eating lots of vegetables, lots of meat and eggs, nuts, seeds, and fruit. That’s about it.

No dairy, no wheat, no oats, no rice.

When I mention this, everyone flips out and thinks I’m mad!

But I’m finding it really easy to do. So I don’t *feel* like I’m a crazed health nut. It just feels simple, no fuss, and no big deal to drop those ingredients from my diet.

I think I stick to this way of eating about 90% of the time now.

My digestion has improved, I’m feeling so much better without gluten in my system, my tummy feels less bloated without the diary, I still have lots of energy, I don’t have any cravings for cakes/muffins/sweets/desserts, I feel really healthy and lean, plus I still love eating and cooking yummy food.

My only exceptions are that I eat chocolate or ice cream (sometimes both) when I’m feeling shitty and hormonal. I drink coffee and tea everyday. I eat sushi once a week with my girlfriends. And I have protein powder added to my fruit smoothies (made with almond milk).

I’m not strict or socially painful with this way of eating. If I’m at a dinner party, or if I’m out in a restaurant with friends, or if someone else is hosting lunch… I won’t refuse food, or bring my own meal, or insist that they cook something special for my “dietary requirements”. I’ll happily eat a pasta salad and a slice of home made chocolate cake!

So here’s an idea of what I eat.

Paleo Diet Meal

My breakfast usually looks like this.

2 egg whites, a handful of spinach leaves and smoked salmon.

Or egg whites, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Or egg whites, spring onions and chives.

Paleo Diet Meal

I love Snacking

Most times I eat fruit and nuts. I love blueberries. I love almonds and pistachios.

I also like munching on raw green beans. And lightly steamed broccoli. Haha yes I love snacking on broccoli!

I fill my pantry up with lots of nuts and seeds to snack on.

Paleo Diet Meal

Lunch is a really simple and yummy formula. Salad + some kind of meat.

Usually it’s a can of tuna and lots of salad.

Or a slice of chicken breast and salad.

Sometimes I buy in bulk a large packet of frozen fresh salmon, and I slowly let it defrost in the back of my fridge throughout the week. Each day I knock a bit off the frozen chunk and throw it into a pan for lunch. Its’ amazing :)

In fact, my mouth waters every time I think about pan-fried salmon and I can’t wait for lunch to come around again haha.

Paleo Diet Meal

My dinner formula should really be simple, just like my lunch formula.

But dinner is a bit tricker for me, because I have to cook for my whole family, and I usually have to cook something that my kids like to eat. Plus I like to sit down with them and look like I’m eating the same food as them (but that’s just me).

So by the time it’s dinner time (6pm) I’m soooooooooo freaking hungry that I just scoff down whatever I cooked for everyone’s dinner. And if it happened to be lasagne, then oops I just ate some wheat and cheese.

Usually I eat a variation of what I cooked for my family’s dinner.

So if I cook spaghetti bolognaise, then I’ll eat the meat sauce with vegetables (pictured above!).

If I cook a stir fry, I simply don’t eat the rice or noodles.

If I cook roast meat and vegetables, I just leave out the potatoes.

If I cook a casserole or curry, I just don’t eat the pasta/rice portion. I just swap it for veges.

If I cook pizza, well, I just cave in and eat 1 slice of pizza with my salad – because heck, I make awesome bacon pizzas.

In fact, over the last few weeks, I’ve been serving up less portions of pasta/rice/bread and more side vegetables for my family…. muahaha soon they will be eating like me!

We’ll be a FAMILY OF CAVEMEN!

(Then again, with my 3 feral children, we’re almost there…)


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New Undies Are The Perfect Gift!

14 December 2012

This Christmas, one of my favourite online boutiques Birdsnest.com.au has partnered with a wonderful UK charity Smalls For All to donate Christmas gifts to women in Africa that many of us take for granted – UNDERWEAR!

Birdsnest is helping this cause by offering a special new “lucky dip” Surprise Gift worth $29.95.

For each gift purchased, Birdsnest will donate 3 new pairs of knickers to Smalls For All.

Their target is 10,000 pairs of knickers! And I was wondering if you would like to help?

Buy a Birdsnest Surprise Gift here.

The cute and fun thing about this gift, is that it is a complete surprise. Each gift is categorised by the kind of fashion “personality” that you or your girlfriend/sister/mother/aunty are. And you get to choose from:
– Classic Woman
– Party Mood
– Corporate Girl
– Yummy Mummy
– Designer Attitude
– Study Girl
– Naturally Active

I managed to get my hands on TWO Surprise Gift packs.

For the first gift, I chose “Classic Woman” and this is what I received in the mail a few days later.

Birdsnest Smalls For All

Each gift is wrapped and presented beautifully!

Birdsnest Smalls For All

I got a lovely scarf. It’s so pretty! It’s the perfect colour for my wardrobe of classic blacks, whites, camels and stripes. It will definitely get a lot of wear.

Birsdnest Smalls For All

Secondly I chose “Party Mood“.

Birsdnest Smalls For All

And this is what I received! How gorgeous is that colour? It has already found its way to my nails. I love Butter colours!

But of course, you might be getting something different, or maybe the same? Who knows, because it’s a surprise!

These gift packs are such a lovely idea for a Christmas gift – knowing that you’re giving a little bit to charity at the same time.

You can find out more about the Birdsnest X Smalls For All collaboration here.

Or head on over to the Birdsnest site to order a Surprise Gift here.

Happy shopping :)

( See all my Daily Outfits here )


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4 Great Items from Stephie’s Shop

13 December 2012

This time of year, I’m always so attracted to fun party dresses to wear during the festive season.

But when the TIME ACTUALLY ARRIVES for me to dress up, I usually wished I bought clothes which were a bit more sensible and practical :)

You see, we get invited to a lot of casual family events such as… a picnic in the park, or a beach-side barbecue dinner, or a casual family pot luck dinner. I just want to look smart and casual. I don’t want to turn up looking like I’m going to a bar for some drinking and dancing!

So I found a few items from Stephie’s Shop, a cute boutique with stylish and playful clothes at affordable prices.

Stephie's Shop

This is the Dipped Hem Dress in Crimson. I adore the classic and ladylike style of the dress. It has a high boat neckline, a fitted waist and a slightly longer hem at the back giving the skirt a nice flare.

It’s made from a heavy cotton so it’s comfortable and it hardly needed any ironing. It’s fab.

I’m wearing a size SMALL, and I’m usually a UK6, AUD 6 or XS.

See more Dresses from Stephie’s Shop.

Stephie's Shop

The second item I chose, was a sheer sleeveless blouse, called the Buenos Aires Top.

Basically I was looking for a simple top that looked dressy and smart, that I could wear in the warm weather, and that could be worn with the ZILLIONS of colourful skirts, shorts, pants and jeans that I own.

This one was perfect! I consider it to be one of those brilliant items that instantly refreshes my whole wardrobe.

Stephie's Shop

On the left is a Classic Playsuit specially designed by the team at Stephie’s Shop. It also comes in a lovely deep blue.

You can’t really go wrong with a black romper, especially one as cute as this. It is a button down (like a shirt) and has a drawstring so you can fit it to your waist.

It looks great for day to night casual party wear, as it is easy to dress up or down.

On the right is the Alabama Top in Black.

I chose this top because it was a bit more “on trend” with it’s peplum hem and brocade print. And I particularly chose it because the shine looked a bit like leather and it had a bit of texture to it… which are all features for the new season :)

So there you have it, 4 great items that went straight into my wardrobe, which I’ve started to wear and are now on weekly rotation!

Hope you find something you like too!

xxx

( 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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Getting Ready for Christmas!

11 December 2012

Over the weekend, I decided to distract the children (and myself) by setting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house for the festive season.

However, the truth is, the kids woke me up at 5:30am one morning and they were driving me crazy so I said, RIGHT! WE’RE SETTING UP THE TREE RIGHT NOW AND ANYONE WHO DOESN’T BEHAVE NICELY HAS TO SIT OUTSIDE AND MISS OUT! HA!

As a result, they were angels.

Christmas Decorations 2012

Every year we give our Christmas Tree a “colour scheme”… this is because I am anal about having a nice looking Christmas Tree.

And this year the colours were decided by my 3.5 year old – pink and blue – his favourite colours.

Christmas Decorations 2012

I printed out some vintage Christmas bunting shapes to hang around our house.

The kids cut them out and sticky taped them to a piece of string (after I arranged them by colour and spaced them out equally). I also had to glu-tack them to the wall so that they sat flat.

I downloaded the decorations from here!

Christmas Decorations 2012

We got Mr Reindeer out of his box, set him up on my vintage table with some driftwood, gumtree branches and mirrored glass stars.

I also have some lovely Christmas table cloths (that my mother bought for me in Belgium!).

Christmas Decorations 2012

Each year I have bought something new to add to my Christmas decoration collection… hoping to create some new traditions for my children.

This year I found a cute wooden Christmas tree with 30 tiny Christmas characters (from Bed, Bath and Table) – it’s sooo cute! And this year I let my 2nd boy set it up, because my 1st boy got to hang the star on top of the tree.

By the way, I was hoping to find a beautiful wooden nativity scene too, but I couldn’t seem to find one. (Do you have a nice one, and where did you buy it?) I guess I’ll have to wait until next Christmas for it!


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Hello Yellow!

10 December 2012

There’s nothing like slipping on a BRIGHT YELLOW dress to cheer yourself up :)

To start the week of Christmas parties, I received this fabulous dress from Gosh Celebrity Fashion.

Dress from Gosh Celebrity Fashion

It’s a strapless peplum dress, with origami kind of folds.

It fits me perfectly, it’s easy to wear, comfortable, affordable and most of all I feel great in it :)

Check out more party dresses at Gosh.

So whenever I wear colourful accessories, I don’t like to be TOO MATCHY-MATCHY.

I think TWO matching accessories is the most you should put together in any one outfit. For example, you can match your earrings and shoes. Or belt and shoes. Or earrings and clutch.

But DON’T try to match your earrings, bag, belt AND shoes! It just looks like you’re 12 :)

Dress from Gosh Celebrity Fashion

Clutch from Kookai
Watch by Guess
Leather and stud wrap by Wanderlust + Co
Bangles from Sportsgirl
Shoes by Gorge

( 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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Liam’s First Christmas Concert

9 December 2012

Despite the rough couple of weeks we’ve had as a family, life has to go on.

So in the midst of all the funeral preparations… my 3.5 year old had his first Pre-Kindergarten Christmas Concert.

The event was held outdoors at the Kindergarten, in the playground, under the trees, in the late afternoon, just before sunset.

Kindy Xmas 2012

Ahhh it was so beautiful, with the pinkish sunlight caught in the trees, casting a golden glow over everyone, I couldn’t help but tear up.

The event was full of happy families sitting on rugs, lots of smiling children, big swaying trees… and the outdoor clearing was surrounded by playground equipment, a chicken coop, cockatoos, budgies and rabbits! It was really lovely.

The theme of the concert was an “Aussie Outback Christmas”.

Liam played the part of a swag man. He had a hat strung with corks and a checkered shirt. He was sooooo cute.

There were other kids dressed up as kangaroos, cockatoos, gumnut babies, jars of Vegemites, angels, and there was a Santa Claus in a hawaiian shirt driving a cardboard Holden Ute. They all sung various Christmas songs and they all had a lot of fun.

Liam Dec 2012

After the concert, Liam ran up to us to present us with a pillow that he made.

He painted a picture of himself and a cat! (We don’t have a cat, but he loves cats!)

We stayed for a shared picnic (everyone brought a plate of food to share), then sat on our picnic rug to enjoy some family time together.

The whole event was so homey, warm, accepting and loving.

There was such a lovely atmosphere in the air… that I just wanted to sit quietly, slowly soak up all the goodness into my bones… and to remember how precious life is.


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A Sad But Meaningful Day

7 December 2012

Trees Funeral


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A death in the family

6 December 2012

My 81 year old mother-in-law passed away peacefully a few days ago.

She had been ill for a long time, so it was not a shock.

It is a big relief that she is no longer in any pain or discomfort.

The very first time I met her… she told my husband to marry me.  So I liked her right away :)

She was an amazing, talented, super-woman kind of woman, who made (and decorated) my 3 tiered wedding cake in 2002, sewed her own dresses, crocheted her own blankets, cooked up a storm, did the book-keeping for her husband’s business and raised 4 children.

My husband’s entire family is here, and we are all very busy preparing for her funeral on tomorrow.

My own mum and dad are cutting short a holiday to fly back in time.

I have not had a close family member die while I have been an adult, so I don’t really know what this is going to be like.

But even so, I can feel this is going to be big.

Very big.

Talk soon.


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Styling the Miss Versatility Strand

5 December 2012

A few weeks ago, I wrote about being involved in a special blogging project, where I had the pleasure of road testing a string of pearls from Kailis Jewellery.

The pearls are called the Miss Versatility Strand. It is a long, single-strand pearl necklace designed so that you can detach sections of pearls to create different lengths of necklaces, as well as a small bracelet. You can read more about them in my blog post here!

So yes, for a few weeks, I got to take home and wear some *exquisite and luxurious jewellery* whenever I wanted – it was very special!

Outfits with the Kailis Miss Versatility Strand

Anyway, these are some outfits I wore with the pearls.

I went out to a party with my husband and I wore a simple lace dress with a white blazer. I wanted to highlight the pearls on my neck so I  chose a strapless dress. The pearls looked and felt amazing on my bare skin :) On this occasion, I wore the Miss Versatility Strand in its long “Matinee” length and matching pearl earrings.

Outfits with the Kailis Miss Versatility Strand

On the left, I wore my magenta ruffle dress, which was a very fun, colourful, flirty style of dress. It also had a deep V neckline, so I wore the Strand in its longer “Matinee” length. It went really well with my outfit.

On the right, I wore the strand as a shorter “Collier” length necklace and bracelet with my navy one-shoulder drape dress. I didn’t think I could wear a one-shoulder dress with a short string of pearls, but it looked great!

Outfits with the Kailis Miss Versatility Strand

I also wore the pearls with smart casual outfits. These two times I wore the strand as the short “Collier”necklace.

On the left, I just wore denim shirt, white jeans and leopard heels. I loved wearing this combination – I felt fab :)  And on the right, I wore a printed silk top and bright red pants.

This is ‘smart casual’ with some ‘special’ on top.

So this is what I learned about wearing the Miss Versatility Strand:

1) Pearls are so easy and effortless. No need to think about what jewellery to wear. No need to agonise whether I should try this necklace or that necklace… will they go with this dress, will they match with earrings, and what if they clash with my accessories? Pearls just seem to work with anything, I guess because they are so naturally round and lustrous, rather than sparkly.

2) The Versatility set is so …versatile. I just put on the earrings, necklace and bracelet and… my outfit felt complete.  Just like that. I felt fabulous, and would spend the whole night feeling  confident and stylish.

3) Oooh la la, I felt expensive!

4) Pearls instantly add elegance. Not just simple, clean elegance… but super-special, timeless glamour, your royal highness, modern princess kind of elegance!

5) Be prepared for compliments. People will do double takes. People will stare. People’s eyes will bug out. Women’s eyes will light up. You’ll get a lot of – Oh my god I LOVE your pearls!!!

6) Pearls feel amazing against your skin. They warm up from the heat of your body, and take on a kind of warm organic glow, like they are alive. They feel like they are a part of you somehow. They are like happy friends around your neck :)

In the end, as much as I *loved* the experience of wearing the pearls everyday, I did have to return them.

I had a little tear and I may have held onto the box a little too tightly as I passed it back to the lady behind the desk haha.

Oh and lastly, some delightful news!

Kailis Jewellery are running a Facebook competition to Win a $1,000 Voucher towards your favourite Kailis piece. Head on over, like the page, and have a go… who knows, you might win!

(However, entry is open to residents from Australia, USA, UK & Canada only.)

Good luck!!


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Oh Almond Milk Smoothie, I Think I Love You.

3 December 2012

I drink cow’s milk in my tea, coffee, and protein shakes. And I’ve always felt “full” after drinking it.

However, lately, the feeling of “fullness” has turned into me feeling “bloated”, “heavy” and sometimes… I just feel so uncomfortable (and FULL) in my tummy that I just want to puke! Goodness knows why I have put up with it for so long!

Anyway, I recently made the switch to almond milk, and oh my, I’m never looking back.

It tastes a little like mild soy milk. But thinner and just slightly nuttier than soy milk. It doesn’t taste like almond jelly at all. I really like it :)

I have been buying unsweetened almond milk from the supermarket. But you can actually make your own – and I might give it a go next week.

This is my favourite drink so far –

Blueberry and Almond Milk Smoothie

It is so SO good. It’s been amazing for me, because I can slam down 300ml of this stuff and NOT feel yucky and heavy in my tummy after.

Almond Milk Smoothie
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Almond Milk Smoothie
1 cup of frozen blueberries

Almond Milk Smoothie
Half a banana (without the skin :P!!)

And 1 scoop of your favourite protein powder.

Almond Milk Smoothie
Whiz it all up in a blender for a minute or so.

Almond Milk Smoothie
Serve up and enjoy!

Almond Milk Smoothie
I also like to make a quick Iced Coffee with almond milk.

Just whiz 4 ice cubes, 200ml of almond milk and 1 teaspoon of instant coffee.

Delish!