Archive for October 2013

 

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What’s Happening in Syria? A two-minute summary and how to help.

31 October 2013

Syria Crisis Oct 2013 - UNICEF, by Alessio Romenzi.
Photo courtesy of UNICEF, by Alessio Romenzi.

A week ago, I was contacted by UNICEF for a new blog project. The email title certainly stuck out from the others in my inbox, which are more typically “One Day Sale!” and “Next Seasons Hottest Trends!!”

I was asked if I could talk about the plight of children in the Syrian crisis and to suggest to my readers to donate to the Syria Crisis Appeal.

I don’t know much about the Syrian crisis, only that there is a civil war going on. And I don’t know much about UNICEF, only that they help children around the world.

So I said yes, as a kind of education for myself.

I dived into the research (feeling like a high school student working on an assignment!), reading dozens of articles, special features, photo journals, online videos…

And after spending about 3 hours working on it… I am sitting here in front of my computer, trembling with anger and helplessness, with tears uncontrollably running down my face.

Gaaah, there’s some bad stuff going on in this world.

So here are the major points, because I know your time is limited.

1) Syria is in the Middle East. It sits between Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. It has a population of 22.5 million people. Capital city is Damascus.

Syria Crisis Oct 2013 - Image Google Maps

2) How did the civil war start? In early 2011, protesters against the government were met with violence. Subsequent protests resulted in massacres, and people were captured, beaten and tortured.

A group of Syrian army officers turned against the government and formed the Free Syrian Army. And since then, tanks and snipers have been used against protesters, air strikes have been made on hospitals, and chemical weapons have been used on civilians.

Syria Crisis Oct 2013 - Photo: AP / Aleppo Media Center AMC
Photo: AP / Aleppo Media Center AMC

3) Millions of innocent Syrians have been caught in between. The UN estimates 100,000 people have been killed. 4.5 million Syrians have been displaced and forced to move. 3/4 of refugees are women and children.

2 million have fled Syria to neighbouring countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, and these countries do not have the capacity to support them.

Syria Crisis Oct 2013 - UNICEF, by Alessio Romenzi.
Photo courtesy of UNICEF, by Alessio Romenzi.

4) Syrians are living wherever they can find shelter – sheds, stables, crowded apartments and makeshift camps and tents made from plastic sheets. Conditions are atrocious. Winter is coming.

Millions of children need water, food, medical supplies and warmth.

The pictures and stories on the internet jolted through my spine. Of course, I feel guilty, living in a country where my biggest drama for today was whether to cook chicken or lamb for dinner.

I also feel angry. This is wrong. This should not be happening to human beings. This is not fair. Not right.

I immediately want to help. But I feel so helpless and outraged at the same time.

I told my older children about all this – as a way to rant and clarify my thoughts. They asked big questions, like WHY would a government treat its people like that? WHERE will all the people live now? HOW will they survive? WHY do these things happen? WHY isn’t the rest of the world doing anything?

Good questions.

Now here’s a bit of info about UNICEF.

UNICEF is the United Nations Children’s Fund.

It is the world’s leading advocate for children and the largest organisation specifically focusing on children’s development and rights.

They work in over 190 countries to protect the rights of children. They provide vaccines, support child health, nutrition, clean water, sanitation, education and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and HIV.

Last year, UNICEF delivered warm clothes, blankets and other supplies like plastic mats and cooking stoves to more than 260,000 vulnerable people in Syria.

UNICEF provided food, medicine, immunisation, sanitation, child-friendly spaces, trauma counselling and schooling to Syrians living as refugees in neighbouring countries. And they need more money to help kids THIS WINTER. Like…NOW!

So, apart from telling you about this, obviously in hope you will donate. I have just made my own $100, tax deductible donation.

You can make a once off donation to the UNICEF Syrian Crisis Appeal here.

A few other articles you might like to read (that will put your own struggles into perspective).

Syrian Crisis Basics
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/29/syria-the-very-very-basics/

http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/syria-dashboard/index.html

The Historic Scale of Syria’s Refugee Crisis
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/10/16/world/middleeast/syrian-refugee-crisis-photos.html?ref=syria&_r=0

Horrors and Violence against Women in Syria
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/26/syria-peace-talks-women-raped

Lebanon suffers under the strain of a refugee crisis now out of control
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/26/syria-refugees-lebanon-save-the-children


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Halloween Skeleton Biscuits

30 October 2013

Halloween Skeleton Biscuits

Hey hey! Look what I made!

I have been working on a new project with IGA and cooking up a storm in my kitchen.

Head on over to the IGA Recipe Page to check out my Halloween Skeleton Biscuit Recipe.

After 4-5 trails, I changed a few chocolate biscuit recipes (much to the delight of my children) to come up with a super-simple recipe, with easy to handle dough.

Enjoy!!


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The Accessory Report – Necklaces

29 October 2013

Hi everyone!

I’d love to introduce you all to my new blog sponsors, The Accessory Report.

With FREE international shipping, an AMAZING collection of drool-worthy jewellery, all at super-affordable prices (Around US$20-35)… I really hope you like their stuff as much as I do!

They asked me to pick out a few to try… and eeks, I didn’t know where to start! There were so many to choose from.

I had a good think about what I already have in my wardrobe. I have lots of statement necklaces that are better suited to wearing with cocktails dresses and evening gowns.

What I have been lacking… were necklaces that would go with “everyday outfits”… like a crisp white shirt, a grey t-shirt, a white tank top and jeans, a blue denim shirt. But the necklace would still have to look stunning and stylish.

The Accessory Report

So I picked out these two, and I can’t stop wearing them! They are fantastic! They seem to go with everything. And it’s funny, because I would have never thought of buying styles like these in a shop.

Left is the Victoria Necklace in Navy (it is currently sold out, but you can put yourself on a waiting list for when they are restocked). The Grey version is still available though.

On the right is the Odelia Necklace.

If you follow my Instagram and Facebook, you may have seen me wearing them in the last couple of weeks. They are just soooo easy to wear and add a fantastic pop to my outfits.

The Accessory Report

The is me wearing smart casual outfits with the Odelia Necklace. See? It doesn’t look too over-the-top or too blingy!

It looks great and add a finished and polished touch to my outfits.

The Accessory Report

These two outfits are very simple and just a little more dressed up for a night time occasion.

Once again the Victoria Necklace adds the perfect finishing touch.

These are some other necklaces that caught my eye… and have made me very tempted to buy :)

The Accessory Report

This is the Collette Necklace and the Emili Necklace.

The Accessory Report

This is the Monroe Necklace and the Eleanor Necklace.

The Accessory Report

And yes, these are a lot more sparkly, statement and stunning!!

Left is the Petite Kaleidoscope Necklace and the Ruxena Necklace (approx US$30-40).

As for the quality, they match the costume jewellery sold in Diva, Lovisa, Collette, and high street fashion stores like Forever New, Zara, Topshop, and Sportsgirl.

They also stock pretty earrings, bracelets and clutches.

Free international shipping on all orders makes online shopping very sweet indeed :)

Hope you find something you like!

Happy shopping 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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The Sandbar at Point Walter

28 October 2013

Hi everyone!!

My husband and I took the kids out for a little adventure. The stormy weather had cleared up and we were keen to soak up some of the delicious sunshine.

We headed over to Point Walter Reserve, in Bicton, where there is a sandbar that stretches out for about 1km into the river.

It’s a good walk for the kids. And my big bigger boys and I took the opportunity to run too.

Point Walter Oct 2013

The sandbar is only a couple of metres wide, so it was very cool to have water splashing on both sides.

We stopped to build sand castles, pick up shells, dig a trench from one side of the sand bar to the other, and examine the slight difference in water temperature on either sides.

Point Walter Oct 2013

There were even parts of the of the sandbar that were covered with water.

We gave the kids a big lesson about the rising and falling tide… and possibly getting stuck “out at sea”. Always check the weather radar and tide charts before heading out on “sea adventures” kids!

However, my 4 year old took our lesson the wrong way, and decided that WE WERE ALL GOING TO DIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

WAVES WERE GOING TO SWALLOW US ALL UP AND WE WERE GOING TO SINK TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN.

Naturally, my two older children couldn’t help themselves and made up stories about terrible disasters that could befall them while out at sea… like giant squid monsters with sticky tentacles that wrap around the ankles of little children and hold them down underwater so they can’t escape.

They were actually very funny, entertaining, and they delivered the stories with theatrical flair. Like a duo comedy act.

However before I could stop them, the damage was done. My 4 year old was suddenly terrified of the double-beached sandbar.

He threw a HUGE TANTRUM and refused to walk. He demanded to be carried! He demanded that we all turn around and go home! He demanded that we all stop having fun!

It took a long time for him to calm down.

Point Walter Oct 2013

Anyway, after all that, I took my two comedians for a run in the sand… and we swished happily through the water and reached the end of the sandbar.

Look at my boys lifting up their shorts to wade in the water! That image alone sums up much of my childhood. As a kid, I too would tuck my skirt into my knickers when I was playing at the beach.

We all finished the morning walk with takeaway coffee and ice cream.

We didn’t get swallowed up by the ocean. And we didn’t meet any giant squid monsters. It was a good day.

Hope you all have a fantastic week ahead!

xxx


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Holster Hotness in Turquoise

27 October 2013

I’m a big fan of Holster Sandals!

I already own one pair of “glam” Holsters. I wore them whilst holidaying in Singapore and spent up to 8 hours in them, walking around Sentosa, with no pain to complain of at all.

Holster Sandals

I was sent a new pair from Holster’s latest collection to try out – these Seychelles Jelly Wedge in Turquoise.

I love LOVE the sparkly bling!

I also love that they can get wet and dirty, and you can just wash them lightly and they still look amazing.

I used to dislike “jelly sandals”. I owned a Melissa pair, but when I walked on hot pavement, they would get sooo hot and sticky and felt gross on the soles of my feet.

Holster Sandals

But these are super comfy, they don’t get sticky or make my feet feel gross. They are SO much more affordable. Plus they look fantastic :)

Head on over to check out the latest Holster range, and feel free to use my special discount code!

Use this code at your checkout: ZAN15KQ
Expires: Nov 5th. 2013

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 Secret To Buying Swimwear

25 October 2013

Buying swimwear is a bitch.

I love shopping, but I find buying swimwear to be such a hassle and it’s just sooo annoying!

For me, it’s hard to find a style that I like, in my size, at a good price.

When I go shopping for swimwear, I have to strip down to my undies in the change room… so I only want to do the “stripping down bit” JUST ONCE THANKS. But it never happens that way. I always find myself changing in and out of my clothes, getting in and out of the change rooms, calling for the store person to help with sizing, waiting, standing there getting cold, looking funny in the change room lights. I always find there are none of the styles in my size. None in the colour I want. None on sale. And I always end up with my third preference swimsuit, the one I didn’t *actually* like as much, but it was the only one available :P

It takes up soooooo much time. One shopping trip took 3 HOURS of trying on swimwear and I came away with NOTHING.

So I guess, I was keen to try buying swimwear online. I buy almost all my clothes online, why should swimwear be any different?

I decided to test out Zodee, a huge online store that sells swimwear, bras, underwear and more. They have big name brands like Elle Macpherson, Pleasure State, Triumph, Bonds, Berlei. They have lots of styles, stock, and sizes.

They are based in Australia, but they offer FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on orders over $50. That’s pretty damn cool.

Plus they have a free returns policy, so you can buy LOTS of items in different sizes, try them all in the comfort of your home, and then send back the ones you don’t want, you get a refund no questions asked. Omg how good is that? I’m totally converted now.

So there’s my big secret…

1) Buy Swimwear Online.

Zodee Swimwear

My second secret is more of a tip…

2) Buy a larger size up!

Ok I’m being a bit presumptuous, so this may not apply to everyone – as everyone has a different body shape and proportions.

I’m a standard size 6. And by that, I mean, I can buy Size 6 (XS or Size 0) regular clothes from lots of big name brands, and the items will fit 95% of the time.

But with swimwear? I buy size 10. Crazy huh?

If I try on Size 6 swimwear, it’s as if I’m trying on a child’s swimsuit. It’s so tight, so small and so wrong for me.

If you look above at the navy blue swimsuit, I’m trying on a Size 8. It looks ok, but it still feels a bit tight on me.

It’s a lovely and flattering swimsuit (by Moontide), with high quality materials and gorgeous rouching, but it’s just the wrong size. It is pinching me at my shoulders and my thighs. The length of it is squeezing like an accordion… so it feels like my boobs might pop out at any minute :P

It’s NOT just THIS swimsuit. Every single Size 8 swimsuit I’ve tried on is too tight for me, digs into my skin and gives me fleshy lumps!

Zodee Swimwear

Now this is another Moontide swimsuit, called the Moontide Contours Overlay, featuring a nice criss-cross detail at the front. (The brand does some nice one-piece designs, see here).

I’m wearing a Size 10 and I’m MUCH happier in this one. It’s not tight or squeezey. It doesn’t dig into my skin. The material feels gorgeous, strong and it’s so comfortable to wear.

I feel reeeeally relaxed and confident in this one. I feel like I could sit around in this all day, dipping in and out of the pool and lounge around comfortably by the pool side.

Great colour too!

Zodee Swimwear

This is the Heaven Botanical One Piece swimsuit, also a Size 10 and is much more affordable.

Don’t know if you can tell by the smile on my face, but I really, really adore this one!! I feel super relaxed, confident, young and flirty in this one haha!

Again, it is super comfortable and a great fit for me. It doesn’t feel suffocating nor is it squeezing me too tight under my arms or thighs.

I just love the bright colours and the print. This is the winner for me.

See more One Piece Swimsuits here.

Zodee Swimwear

Yup I also tried a two piece! And here’s me showing off my one-pack all in the name of fashion reviewing.

This one is by Baku, the bikini top is a Size 10, but the bottom is a Size 8.

The bikini top is the Amalfi Moulded Bra Top with a bit of padding and an underwire for support. I prefer this kind of bikini top, because it gives me a bit more “shape”. Whereas halter swimsuit tops have a very “flattening” effect on me.

I also thought the polka-dot pattern was super cute, and that I could wear it under a regular tank top.

Lastly, as I mentioned before, my next secret to buying swimwear, is to…

3) Buy several sizes at once.

Find a website that does free shipping and free returns. Find a style that you like, buy a few pieces, in several sizes up. And then return the ones you don’t need. The initial cost may look scary (like 3 times scary!), but it will save you time in the end, AND you get that extra cost back in the end.

Anyway, I hope that helped and has inspired you to get out there and try on a new swimsuit for the new season!

Happy shopping and have a great weekend!!

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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Mum, We’ve Lost The Plastic Poo

24 October 2013

Trashed Car

This is the backseat of my car, after I took my children to the Perth Royal Show.

The kids bought a few showbags with their pocket money and they received a lot of free goodies too.

Somewhere in there, I was guaranteed to find – two sticky eye balls, some fake vomit, plastic ants, a toy toilet and one lump of plastic poo. How lovely.

Oh ho ho. My kids bought a disgusting joke set and were enjoying the sheer pleasure of upsetting their mother.

When I saw this explosion, I laughed out loud.

It surprised me. I thought I would have groaned with despair. Or screamed with irritation.

But nope.

I was completely amused and somehow I was – strangely – happy.

It was like stumbling across the happiness of Christmas morning. Minus the fake poo.

It seemed to capture the essence of a child’s experience of a carnival. Buzzing with stories, delight, exhaustion and bliss.

People don’t say this much these days… but I think we had the best school holidays yet.


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1000 Dresses For under $100

23 October 2013

Hey everyone!

After *all that* cycling, I’m back to reviewing new season fashion goodies YAY.

Birdsnest Online continues to be one of my favourite online stores… offering a huge range of women’s clothes.

There are like… THOUSANDS of dresses under $100. Most of them are familiar brands like Wish, Fate, Esprit, Ladakh, Mink Pink, Sacha Drake, and even Collette by Collette Dinnigan.

Dress from Birdsnest Online

This is a Mink Pink coral dress that I picked out.

I have 2 or 3 simple, short, summer dresses from Birdsnest (see my old post here) and over the years, I have been surprised by how often I wear them. Going out to lunch with girlfriends, day time play dates, lunching with my parents… going to casual places where I don’t need to dress up too much, but I still like to look like I’ve put in some effort :)

This coral dress is not your average plain jersey skater dress, as it has a soft cotton lace overlay, giving it some texture and a nice feel.

It’s super cute, bright, soft, fun, summery, and needs no ironing! WIN!

Dress from Birdsnest Online

Birdsnest have also launched their own label called, “That Bird Label”… and wanted me to try out one of their styles. The collection features 20 spring dresses, specially designed in-house, after significant surveys and research on what modern Australian women love to wear.

They cater to all shapes and sizes, and flatter lots of different body shapes. Their sizes go from 8 – 16. The dresses don’t come in size 6, which was a bit tricky, because I’m a size 6!

Nonetheless, I chose this pretty Maggie Wrap Dress and it still fit quite nicely. However a part of me thinks that the dress would have looked much nicer if I had a few more curves and was fuller in the bust. I had to wear my super-push-up bra to “fill it out” haha.

It has a lovely, ladylike shape, accentuating the hour-glass figure, and features a fun pattern and vibrant colours. It is made from very nice and soft cotton material too. Very nice dress!

Top from Birdsnest Online

Lastly, I chose this loose fitting cotton tunic with contrast embroidery detail, called the “Moroccan Magic Top”.

It’s light, comfy and a bit see through… which is perfect for wearing this summer, over your swimwear. I’m wearing a size 8.

And if you need more shopping or styling inspiration, check out this massive gallery of outfits!

Happy shopping!

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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Breakfast at Lo Quay

22 October 2013

This morning, I skipped off by myself to enjoyed a simple (and solitary) breakfast at a little cafe called Lo Quay River Cafe.

Nestled right next to the Canning River in the southern suburbs, about 15 minutes away from the city, the cafe has gorgeous views of the sparkling water.

There is an indoor seating area, which gets really loud and busy most times. There is an outdoor area, with tables under fancy umbrellas. And there is another outdoor area, with plastic picnic tables on the grass, under the trees and right next to the playground.

Lo Quay

After months of training rides and increasing my calorie intake – it’s nice to “eat light” again!

I ordered a simple bruschetta, with tomatoes, avocado and parmesan on crusty bread.

It looked great, but it didn’t taste amazing. It was much too simple and plain for the price.

It was, however, a very nice change to what I had been eating in the past few weeks.

Lo Quay

This is my soy flay white. Bleh, it looks terrible!

I haven’t found many cafes in Perth who can create a good looking soy foam head. So this is the sight I usually have to put up with around here ;)

But the coffee was actually quite good. I was shocked. The blend and grind was surprisingly smooth. And it tasted fantastic. I was tempted to order another one.

I will definitely be back, with my kids, because the river view is just gorgeous.

But I might pack my own food, sit on the grass, order takeaway coffee and buy a few ice creams for the kids.

Lo Quay River Cafe
215 Fern Road
Wilson, WA 6107

Lo Quay River Cafe on Urbanspoon


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At The Finish Line

21 October 2013

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013 - Finish Line

Akkk I did it!! This is me at the finish line of my big ride!!

What an epic weekend – in total I rode 220kms in two days.

Altogether, there were 1336  riders, raising an amazing $5.2million for cancer research.

I’m so proud to be a part of such a successful and worthwhile cause.

A huge and heartfelt Thank You to everyone for your support.

I’ll be writing up my whole experience soon!

xxx


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Boyfriend Jeans and Checks

19 October 2013

Ripped up boyfriend jeans are very cool at the moment.

Do you have a pair? They are really comfy and they absolutely point to the effortless, slouchy, off-duty, street-cool look (which I totally dig).

I love the look of my slouchy black pants… so wearing slouchy boyfriend jeans was an obvious appeal to me.

But I wouldn’t pay $250+ for a pair of NEWLY ripped jeans, no matter who designed them. In fact I’m firmly against it!

Please slash up a pair of old jeans from the bottom of your drawer, or buy one for $5 from an op shop.

Speaking of old jeans, look at these!

Boyfriend Jeans and Checks

These are my comfy as hell, 10 year old Lee jeans. But now they are old, dirty, and they have a few rips in them.

They are so crappy that a few years ago I down-graded them to my “C” team jeans.

Yep they are my gardening jeans. They are the pair I wear while I’m pulling out weeds!

I gave them a good wash before wearing them out in this outfit. And all the stains and dirt came out surprisingly well.

I wear them out with a huge smile on my face thinking about how many litres of worm compost and sheep manure I have shovelled while wearing these jeans. Haha!

Oh and I thought the farmer-flannel, check shirt around my waist was a nice touch.

Fashion is such fun!

Boyfriend Jeans and Checks

Outfit:
Red Top by In Good Company
Check Shirt from YesStyle
Bag by Marc by Marc Jacobs, similar at my-wardrobe.com.
Sandals by Vangoh Shoes

Have a great weekend 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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Ready. Set. Go!!!

18 October 2013

Ride to Conquer Cancer
TOMORROW is my big 200km fundraising ride everyone!

Eeeek I’m super-duper excited!

I’ll be heading to bed early tonight, to wake up at 4am, to be at the starting line at 5am.

Please follow me on Instagram @karenlycheng and I’ll be posting my pics throughout the weekend.

Please head over here to donate towards my cause, if you haven’t already *wink wink nudge nudge*

See you on the other side of the weekend!!

xxx


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Va-va-voom

17 October 2013

So I recently bought a little electric shaver thingy, for ladies.

It’s not very exciting. It’s just a delicate trimmer for sensitive areas like your eyebrows, legs, armpits, bikini line or any kind of face or body hair.

For when you need a trim, like NOW.

Stickers

But it came with all this extra crap, like washable cutting heads in 2 different sizes, a precision cutter, a brush, a protective cap, a little drawstring bag… I was quite annoyed with the unnecessary “accessories” … and these stickers! WTF is going on with these stickers??

I was so innocent (and stupid) that I thought – Why on earth did they include stickers, OBVIOUSLY FOR LITTLE GIRLS, in a shaving pack obviously for women with body hair issues??

I was going to toss them into the bin, but I thought my son would like them instead (he loves stickers).

So I gave them to my 4 year old and he loved them… and stuck them all over his door.

That night I put him to bed, and I walked passed his door.

I thought, What an odd selection of sticker shapes… A heart? A crown? Lips? A keyhole? A pussycat? – OH.  HANG ON A MINUTE.  SHIT! I gave my son pubic hair shaving stickers!! OMG! OMG!

The next morning, I had to convince my 4 year old that he can’t have the stickers on his door anymore.

I tried to put together a compelling case, without you know, using the words ‘Pubic Hair’ –

1) Because they are actually rubbish and rubbish needs to be in the bin.
2) Because they are pink and pink things are for girls.
3) Because they actually belonged to someone else and I have to give it back to them?
4) Because if your friends come over they will laugh at you, because you know, the stickers are pink. And like, you’re a boy?

But they all sounded like “stupid parent lies” and I knew he would not accept such statements, he’d become angry, rebellious and he’d refuse to give them up. And worse, he’d cause such a commotion that my older children will want to know what they are. Then I’ll really have some explaining to do. Good grief.

So I decided to tell this lie instead, which I knew he would accept –

5) Because the stickers were actually mine. I’ve changed my mind. I liked them so much that I want them on MY bathroom mirror where I can see them everyday and enjoy them!

Straight to the heart! What a lie!

My brilliant parental wit has saved the day!

SO NOW I HAVE PUBIC HAIR SHAVING STICKERS ON MY BATHROOM MIRROR PEOPLE!!!

OMG!!!!


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3 Ways To Wear a Crop Top

15 October 2013

(This is part of my 3 Ways To Wear Series… but yes, there are 4 outfits today!)

So apparently a couple of 90’s fashion trends have arrived into recent fashion circulation – think crop tops, overalls, and flat platform (flatform) shoes.

Now, I am erring with caution, because used to wear all those things as a teenager!

But I do believe it is possible to wear those items in a tasteful and grown-up way.

Firstly, the crop top! It’s not for everyone. Sure you have to have a nice tummy to pull it off. But hey, if you have the goods then go for it girlfriend!

3 Ways Crop Tops

This white crop top is from ASOS, featuring a cute sweetheart neckline.

The best way to look a bit more grown-up is to pair it with a modest, tailored piece to add some polish to the outfit. A good pair of pants, or a pencil skirt is a good start.

Wear it with high-waisted bottoms… and it’ll look like a fitted top that has been tucked into your pants. A bit like a bodysuit.

Left Outfit:
Pants are from Portmans (old)
Shoes from Vangoh Shoes
Bracelets by Samantha Wills from Frockaholics

Right Outfit:
Origami Peplum Skirt by Marni Skillings
Shoes by Koo

3 Ways Crop Tops

Here’s me being a bit more playful with my styling and showing off a bit more skin!

Basically, I’ve styled the outfit so that the crop top is “secondary”. It is already 1) low cut 2) figure hugging 3) and cropped short… so I didn’t want to give it any more focus. Therefore I chose bottoms that are extra eye-catching.

Left outfit:
Printed Pants from Sportsgirl
Mirror Silver shoes from ASOS
I wore this out with a black blazer.

Right outfit:
Printed Stylestalker Skirt from Beginning Boutique
Nine West Wedges from The Iconic

Have fun 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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This is Why

14 October 2013

This is the hand print of my youngest son.

Handprint

On the weekend, I went out for my final training ride… before my 200km Ride To Conquer Cancer fundraiser.

I returned home in the afternoon and found my husband and my three boys in the backyard, happily doing odd jobs in the garden, and generally messing around in the cool, spring sunshine.

The youngest of my children is Liam, who is 4.5 years old. He was making a huge mess with crunched up blue chalk and a puddle of water, and he proudly showed me how he was making hand prints all over the paving in the backyard.

I was very struck by his hand print.  Because on my long, quiet ride, I was thinking about WHY I am raising funds for cancer research.

His hand print said, “I am here! I am alive!”

My son  and I, and my whole family, are so FULL of life.

We are doing stuff. Loving, eating, arguing, questioning, explaining, playing, laughing, growing older and wiser. And we can do all of this because we have such good health. This is what life is about. Being. Being together, and having a new opportunity to have more BEING each new day.

My husband has almost died of cancer twice, and survived each time only because of the research that had been done into cancer treatments. He and my family are BEING each day because of that research.

So… This is WHY I am riding.

This is my hand print on the world. I am saying to the universe… ” I am alive, and thank you for that!”

And I know that the money that you and I have raised is going to help some mum, dad, son or daughter, keep on BEING somewhere, sometime in the future.

My ride is this weekend (5 more days!)!

You can still make your own gift to the cause here.

Thanks so much!


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Seriously. Cool. Sandals.

11 October 2013

Oooh lookie what I came home with the other day!

Luxe leather, white leopard print, ankle strap sandals… designed to perfection!

Vangoh Shoes Collection 24

I was invited to check out the latest Spring / Summer Collection at Vangoh Shoes, called Collection 24, because there are only 24 exclusive pairs of each shoe style available.

I stepped into the Subiaco store and these Lexi sandals (White Leopard) jumped out at me and screamed PICK ME PICK ME!!

Yep, just like that. They flew across the room, wrestled me to the ground and magically slipped onto my feet and wouldn’t come off. Stuck. Forever. Till the end of summer.

Vangoh Shoes Collection 24

This is the black Lexi sandal.

Vangoh Shoes Collection 24

Then I saw these Laurenzi loafers and I thought… Oh geez, these Vangoh people are making it hard for me :P

Vangoh Shoes Collection 24

I wandered around a bit more and spotted these peachy / coral coloured Lela Sandals and I knew they’d go really well with all white summer outfits.

Sweet and simple, with a pop of colour. And most of all, comfortable.

Vangoh Shoes Collection 24

These Lydia wedges were also very comfortable and wearable. But I was looking for flat sandals :)

Vangoh Shoes Collection 24

So after dragging every shoe off the shelf, trying everything on and turning the shoe shop upside down… I settled on the Lexi sandals in White Leopard.

Vangoh Shoes Collection 24

And the Lela Sandals in Peach!

They matched my nails, so it was meant to be.

Which do you like?

( 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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Don’t Forget Your Toilet Paper

10 October 2013

Camping Sept 2013

We recently went outback camping. And it was REAL CAMPING IN THE BUSH.

There was no running water. No toilets. No showers.

So when we needed TO GO… we had to pick up our tools… walk off into the bush… find an unused spot… and dig our own hole.

It wasn’t exactly glamourous.

It was a bit eew.

Especially when the flies didn’t leave you alone.

Camping Sept 2013

The other annoying thing about outback camping was… bathing.

(Actually the bathing part was tolerable. It was the fact that none of the boys/men thought it was necessary to bathe at all, which irritated me!)

Since we had to bring our own water to the camp… water was precious. For drinking, cooking and cleaning. So cleaning our bodies with the precious water was considered a luxury.

We were very fortunate that there were several pools of fresh water that we could use nearby.

We knew that the water was clean and uncontaminated, because there were 8 DIFFERENT KINDS OF WATER BUGS LIVING HAPPILY IN THE POND!

There were creatures that looked like beetles, transparent sluggy things, tadpoles, teeny tiny swimming ticks. Eeeew!

So if any of you are NOT familiar with pond water washing, let me fill you in.

First you have to (1) splash water on yourself, (2) soap up your body and hair, (3) scoop up a container full of water, (4) walk AWAY from the pond… (5) then pour the water over yourself to wash… so that the soapy water does not flow back into the pond.

Oh you also have to CLOSE YOUR EYES, so you don’t see any water creatures you’ve scooped up in your container of water!!

I went to bathe with a few other women.

We were not completely nude. We were not frolicking in the pool like water nymphs with flowers in our hair. And we did not stand on the top of the hill in our naked glory shouting HELLO WORLD!

We were in our swimsuits and I had a sarong. It was very civilised.

It was lovely and refreshing to be clean and to smell clean while bush camping.

Unlike the boys and men… who stunk to the high heavens. No wonder we had a fly problem!


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Win a $500 Shopping Spree at Ae’lkemi – Reminder

8 October 2013

Hello hello! Just a friendly reminder here!

My exclusive shopping spree giveaway… ENDS WEDNESDAY 11:59pm!

You can win a $500 gift voucher to spend at Ae’lkemi, instore on online. This giveaway is open to all my readers, worldwide.

Do check out my original blog post about the giveaway, to give you more of an idea of what kind of runway ready gown you can pick from the collection.

Ae'lkemi 2013

Now this special dress is a one-off piece that I borrowed. I wore it to the Ae’lkemi Lumiere 2013 runway show at the Perth fashion Festival… and oh my, being honoured to sit front row wearing this dress, I felt very special indeed! Eek!

That ruffle hem is gorgeous!

Ae'lkemi 2013

The dress is a cross between this Raglan Scuba Dress and this Shoulders Gown. It isn’t on sale on the website, but as I said, you can check out what is on sale at the Aelkemi website.

Look at that sexy back!

Ae’lkemi Giveaway Details
Who Can Enter:
It’s open to all readers WORLDWIDE, over 18 years.

What You Win:
The winner will receive a gift voucher to the value of AUD$500, to spend at Ae’lkemi. No part of this gift voucher is transferable for cash.

Giveaway Dates:
Runs for 2 weeks. Starts on Wednesday, 25 September 2013.
Ends on Wednesday, 9 October 2013, 11:59pm (GMT +8).

How to Enter:
This competition is now closed!

All the best! Hope you win!


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Raising An Army of Slaves

7 October 2013

(Ok so I’m totally boasting here.)

What I love about having children aged 8 and 10… is that they are now capable of doing significant jobs around the house.

And you know how I’m trying to bring up solid, reliable, well-grounded, capable gentlemen?

Well my boys can do things like vacuuming! Washing dishes! Cooking dinner! Cleaning windows! Cleaning toilets! Pulling weeds! Like – ALL OF IT – in one day! Young boys have so much energy! I just have to keep shovelling food into their mouths!

Triple Choc Brownie

The other morning was the start of the school holidays. It was 8am and I set my boys to work.

By 10am, my sons had washed the dishes, vacuumed the whole house, cleaned the toilets and made triple chocolate brownies for morning tea.

OMG people. Go get yourselves knocked up right now. You too can breed an army of mini slaves. The benefits are OUT OF THIS WORLD!

I love my boys!! I am one happy mother!!


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Watercolours For A Sunny Day

6 October 2013

Freez Clothing

There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning and seeing the sun filter through my window. A sunny day is always my mood changer. And I’m always reminded of how blessed we are with beautiful weather.

I was so happy to reach for my colours and prints the other day. I had a girly catch-up by the beach and wore this lovely watercolour dress.

Floaty, silky, a little ruffle and drape. It has a relaxed and effortless yet polished feel to it.

I found at Freez, an online store offering affordable and clothing.

Lots of nice dresses, in nice prints, nice styles and nice colours!

Watercolours are my weakness. I love painterly prints. As simple as it sounds, the connection comes from my art background – all the years of sloshing paints and colours around on paper.

Enjoy the sunshine everyone!

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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His Royal Sweetness

5 October 2013

Perth Royal Show 2013

I took my kids out to the Perth Royal Show (an annual agricultural show with amusement rides) and spent 8 hours hanging out with them and having a fantastic day!

Perth Royal Show

Perth Royal Show

Perth Royal Show

My 8 yo and 10 yo were utterly thrilled by the rides, the carnival games, the showbags, animals and the crowds!

They played laser tag, did some abseiling, shooting, rope climbing, footy drills, ball throwing, commando crawling, they sat on a ghost train, a spinning ride, they rolled around in a huge inflatable ball thing, they made a grass head, and they stalked a Star Wars Storm Trooper.

We had so much fun!

Perth Royal Show 2013

And while all that was going on, my 4yo would find a quiet corner and preferred to do stuff like this…

Perth Royal Show 2013

He coloured in a free activity book. He did a maze. A word puzzle. A bit of craft. Made postcards.

And the kid wrote me a love letter!

He’s such a sweetie!


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Tropical Sunsets Around Your Neck

4 October 2013

AlibiOnline Necklaces

I spotted some super-cute rainbow necklaces over at AlibiOnline.

They remind me of tropical flowers, underwater corals and resort cocktails by the pool! Colourful and fun!

The bright, vibrant colours will go great with a white t-shirt and jeans, a slouchy grey tee, a monochrome outfit… or my favourite blue denim shirt.

AlibiOnline Necklaces

AlibiOnline Necklaces

Prices are around $30 – $45 with free standard shipping in Australia.

Hope your weekend is filled with sunshine and colour 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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3 Ways to Wear a Silk Print Top

3 October 2013

3 Ways to Wear Silk Print Top

Here’s an idea for a great wardrobe investment – a silk print top.

It is a JAG Hi-Lo Silk Tunic (Size 8) from Birdsnest Online Boutique.

Because it’s 100% silk, the top looks and feels luxurious, and it is easy to layer and tuck… therefore making it really versatile.

The top has a colourful, vibrant print, so it’s easy to wear with neutrals and mix with a splash colour.

It also looks great with a blazer or suit jacket, making it good for work.

Plus, in the first outfit, I’m wearing a black singlet underneath for some added warmth, so I can wear it out at night without getting too cold.

I’m surprised the Size 8 fit me so well! I liked that it was a bit loose and roomy, creating a relaxed and flowing look. My wardrobe is happy!

Outfit 1
Necklace from Colette Hayman
Earrings from Shopbop
Black jeans by Nobody Jeans
Black heels from The Iconic

Outfit 2
Felt Hat from ASOS
Leatherette Shorts from YesStyle
Leather sandals from Vangoh Shoes

Outfit 3
Yellow Necklace from The Iconic
White jeans by Fendi
Yellow Heels from ASOS

( 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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Camping Love!

2 October 2013

The best thing about camping is… sitting around the campfire!

Camping Sept 2013

This is us at 7am, frying up some bacon, eggs, onions and mushrooms on the fire, boiling up a billy of tea, and making toast on sticks, straight over the fire.

Our kids were in heaven.

There’s something very intoxicating about simple living. It’s nice to live without all of the unnecessary crap in our lives!

Camping Sept 2013

I also loved all the exploring we did.

We enjoyed bush walking in the glorious weather and climbing over rocks. It was so cool to notice things like, the different species of trees, all the native flowers, birds, bugs and tracks in the sand.

And to just be *quiet*… without the sounds of traffic… and be able to listen to the bird calls, insects, frogs and to sound of the wind in the trees.

Camping Sept 2013

We camped near a large rock, which was actually a small hill in the landscape.

This photo is looking up towards the top of the rock.

My husband and I were taking a romantic stroll, enjoying the sunset. I almost died just watching the rock change colour in the different light, sunrise, midday and sunset – it was so beautiful!

Camping Sept 2013

Making a fire is always enjoyable too. Gathering the firewood. Starting with a match. Making warmth and light for the evenings.

I loved the experience of being mindful of our surroundings. Showing respect for the area. Being careful not to make so much rubbish. Not to leave rubbish. Making sure we don’t impact the area in a negative way. It felt very right.

Camping Sept 2013

And again – we loved sitting around the campfire, playing the guitar, singing songs, telling stories, talking about our day, and looking up at the glittering stars!

It makes me so, so happy to see my kids SO HAPPY, joyful, excited, curious and so at ease with enjoying nature. I’m so pleased my husband and I have passed this on to them.

It’s a grand feeling indeed. And nothing can seem to compete with that.


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Getting Lost. On Purpose.

1 October 2013

A few weeks ago, I joined a cycling group to do a 50km training ride along the beach!

Beach Ride, Cottesloe

This is me looking all fresh and energetic at 6:30am!

We started at Port Beach (North Fremantle), made our way up the coast, past Cottesloe Beach to Scarbourough Beach, and then back down again.

We didn’t ride ON the beach. Just along the paths… sort of.

See, I thought we would be doing more “path riding” beside the beach. I thought we’d be able to look out to where the big blue ocean meets the big blue sky and smell the salt and sand.

But instead, we just rode on the roads. Bleh.

I did not enjoy riding along the large highway. Yes, there was a dedicated bike path next to the car lanes.

But there were just SO MANY trucks and cars zooming by at 60-70km/hr. And they were like 1m away from me? Sometimes less?! Yes I know this is normal road riding. But I was really, really frazzled. I was grinding my teeth with stress the whole way. I wasn’t used to it. I couldn’t think straight. I was bound to do something stupid and get hurt. I didn’t like it.

Beach Ride, Cottesloe

So… I was riding with a friend and she and I decided to TOSS OUR MAP – to hell with the planned cycling route!

We decided to “get lost” and take the scenic route home haha.

Yep, we rode along the glorious view of the ocean and followed the path back to the finish line.

We even stopped to take a selfie at Cottesloe Beach!

Unfortunately, the path was FULL of pedestrians, runners, walkers, dogs, kids on bikes, parents pushing prams… so we had to ride reeeeeeaaallly slow to dodge them all.

We thought that we would be the LAST ones to arrive at the finish line! Thankfully we weren’t.

In fact, we felt a little embarrassed, because the whole cycling group seemed to have a lot of “serious cyclists”… and here WE were having a Sunday toodle on our bikes! Tsk tsk.

Beach Ride, Cottesloe

And to add further embarrassment, the organisers of the ride put on an incredible hot buffet breakfast for everyone’s hard work! Omg!

My friend and I are used to riding 85-100km each weekend… and it turned out that we only rode 35km in total (because we “got lost” right?) and we didn’t even feel tired, or sore, or that we had any kind of significant workout, OR that we even deserved all the free calories!

HAHA!

We were the joke of the table but we thoroughly enjoyed the cycling banter :)

Anyway, this ride was in preparation for my big 200km fundraising ride!

It’s in TWO weeks, and I was wondering if you’d like to support my ride?

Donate on my fundraising page here

Donate any amount you feel you can – $20, $50, $100, $500, $1000! You can leave a public message, or a personal message to me, or just do it anonymously. And you get a receipt, so you can claim this against your tax.

And if you’re interested, you can read the rest of my Fundraising Cycling Stories here.

Thanks so much!

xxx