Archive for December 2013

 

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Wish you were here!

30 December 2013

Dwellingup Trees

I’m sitting with a laptop on my lap, in a rusty tractor, parked in an old metal shed, on top of a hill, in the middle of a paddock, on a farm, in the South West region of Western Australia.

Why? Well, I’m on a holiday trip with my family, and I am using this opportunity to literally road test a Telstra 4G high speed mobile broadband device, that can provide wireless connections for multiple devices at once. I have agreed to review it for Telstra, and this holiday, where we are in multiple remote-ish locations over the course of a week, is the perfect opportunity.

I hear the sweet, rich sounds of the bush. The birds singing, the crickets chirping, the trees and wind echoing through the valley… it’s simply beautiful and breathtaking.

And we are 30 kms from nearest town – which is why I am in the tractor shed… it is on top of the hill, so it gets the signal over that distance, and over the ZILLIONS of trees around here.

Wish you were here!

xxx


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Hello Summer!

27 December 2013

Matilda Bay

Nothing beats having a picnic and paddle with friends by the river!


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Set The Pudding On Fire

26 December 2013

Our both-sides-of-the-family Christmas Eve dinner was a huge success! We didn’t focus on EXCESS and ABUNDANCE, which is very easy to do during this time of year. We also didn’t over eat and go overboard with food, which was another success for us.

Christmas Eve Dinner 2013

So instead of a large multicultural buffet of Christmas turkey, lamb chops, prawn cocktails and chicken curry (which is what my side of the family have every year), we decided to have a more restrained, modest, formal, sit down dinner with entree, traditional mains and dessert courses, which is what my husband’s side of the family have traditionally had.

Christmas Eve Dinner 2013

We created this fruit entree based on my husband’s very foggy memory of a dessert his own late mother made 20 years ago.

They looked quite cute! We didn’t have enough glass entree bowls so unfortunately they looked a bit like cocktails.

Christmas Eve Dinner 2013

My husband INSISTED that the melon balls of his memory were a *certain size*… and he was not happy with the *large size* of my melon balls. He popped over to his dad’s house and found his mother’s 30 year old double ended melon baller! Two sizes! What do you know, he was right after all. I thought he was going mad!

Christmas Eve Dinner 2013

For dessert, my 10 year old (and my 81 yr old father in law) made a Christmas fruit cake… and my 4 year old decorated it with plastic holly and Lego. It was insanely cute, but Santa looked a bit creepy in my opinion.

Christmas Eve Dinner 2013

For dessert part two, my 8 year old and my father in law made the Christmas pudding. It was made using real suet and took 8 hours to steam!

We ceremoniously lit up a large spoon full of brandy and poured it over the pudding, watching the blue flames dance over the top and fall down the sides. This tradition is something my husband’s family has done for the past 50 or so years. But my mum, dad, aunties and uncles had never seen it before, so it was really nice to share it with them.

Christmas Eve Dinner 2013

This is my father in law and I, laughing with delight as the children watched the burning pudding with wide eye wonder.

It was a really lovely evening, made of genuinely happy memories of Christmas, family, laughter and all that good stuff!


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My Red Headed Elf

25 December 2013

Christmas Day 2013

I know this sounds so cliched, but it really is soooo much more fun to give presents and to see the pure joy splashed across my children’s face.

My 4 year old Liam handed out all the presents from under the tree this morning… wearing a silly Santa hat of course. We had such a crazy happy morning!

Wishing you all a wonderful day with your loved ones!


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Christmas Culture Surprise

24 December 2013

Christmas Surprise

So what is this?

It is the mould/yeast thingy that I found growing on the top of my yoghurt about an hour ago. Very beautiful… and totally unwelcome! I found it while I was playing Tetris with all the stuff in my fridge.

ARRGh!

I am… right now, rushing around preparing a formal, sit down Christmas Eve meal for 30 members of BOTH sides of my family, and to make it more interesting, it will be traditional to my husband’s side. So, here is our traditional Scottish / English menu.

Melon balls in pineapple juice appetizer – this is being made from the collective memory in my hubby’s family. It was a favorite of his late mother, but it hasn’t been made in like 20 years, and nobody has the actual recipe… so we are sort of making it up as we go!

Then:

Turkey, ham, roasted potatoes, broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, bread sauce, cranberry sauce.

And THEN…

Christmas steamed fruit pudding, made real old school by my 82 year old father in law. It will be set on fire with brandy, and then drizzled with yellow custard sauce.

And FINALLY…. assorted chocolate indulgences, from er, the shops.

I’ve never done all this before, and certainly not for 30 people… but I am sure it will all be okay.

I’ll show the pics later!

So, now off to the shops for new yoghurt… and a million other things!!!

Zooom!!


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Summer in the City

23 December 2013

With the weather warming up towards an Australian Christmas, I’m not particularly inspired to dress interestingly. I just want to wear a top + shorts + thongs!

But the other day I was off to a festive meeting in the city so I thought I should put some fashiony effort into my outfit.

Ruffle Skirt + Nude Shoes

I decided on a print on print outfit.

I’m wearing a semi-sheer, print top by AL&ALICIA, and I put a knot in it to make it cropped at the waist, because hey, it’s summer.

This ruffle hem print skirt is by Korean brand, Coolhada. Ruffle hems are definitely the ‘IT’ trend at the moment… so I thought I’d give it a go, and turns out that I really like the style and it suits my petite body shape. It has a fun and flirty look that I adore. I bought the skirt from YesStyle, which has tonnes of cute ruffle hem skirts, in hundreds of colours, patterns, and sizes. Worth a look!

My felt hat is from ASOS. You might remember I wrote about felt hats a few months ago. Well this one has a more structured brim which I preferred over its floppy-brimmed cousin.

My wristwear pieces and necklace are from Wanderlust + Co.

My bag is by Alldressedup from Shopthemag.

The chair was some treasure I found, that was buried under a pile of household junk on someone’s verge.

Ruffle Skirt + Nude Shoes

And lastly, I’m wearing a new pair of shoes from Korean brand Nanning. They are genuine leather, open-toe, lace up booties… and they are divine! They are buttery soft and so so comfortable.

I chose them because the style was quite unique and I don’t own a pair of open-toe booties. Ok they were possibly a bit too bootish to wear on a hot day, but haha they matched my top, they looked great and they amped up my outfit very nicely!

I will definitely be wearing them more when the weather cools down.

Happy Festive Season 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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The Making of The Candy Cane Coffin

20 December 2013

It seems like my life as a parent has inadvertently turned into my life as an amateur costume designer.

Like the time I had to build a Lego man’s head for my son. Or when I helped my kids make zombie costumes for Halloween. And my most recent task of sewing up a sexy nurse costume (for myself) in 45 minutes.

Well, for my next adventure… I had to help my 10 year old son make a candy cane costume for his end-of-year school play!

Candy Cane Craft

He drew up some ideas, which were fantastic.

I helped him through some factors that we had to take into consideration. For example, we had to make sure it wasn’t too top-heavy, that he could wear it comfortably for 10 minutes, that he could run in it, that he could breathe in it, that it would stay rigid and upright etc.

Candy Cane Craft

I don’t know about you, but 10 year old boys with cutting tools make me nervous.

I showed him how to use a cutting knife, how to be safe with it, and how NOT to cut with it… then I sat back to let him work out the rest.

I believe in letting kids just get on with the task on hand, without hovering over them like pain in the ass.

I held my breath throughout his cutting process and almost passed out from the stress. Can you say JITTERY and JUMPY?!?

Candy Cane Craft

But… look at our two beautiful and identical J pieces!

Candy Cane Craft

Then I taught him how to use a hot glue gun.

Guns and glue. There were so many ways this could go wrong.

Candy Cane Craft

But again I sat back.

And I watched him glue his fingers together. Of course!

Candy Cane Craft

We moulded the sides and glued everything together.

As it took shape, I was a little horrified that our candy cane looked like a strange coffin.

Candy Cane Craft

I cut up a canvas shopping bag and stuck the handles on the inside to act as shoulder straps.

We cut arm holes and lastly a face hole.

Oh gosh, I was so proud of our creation. Even though it looked like… a coffin.

candy Cane

But, once it was painted, it looked a lot less like a coffin, thankfully.

The kid’s play was a Christmas adaptation of “The Gingerbread Man”, where my son had to run around in costume shouting “Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me I’m the CANDY CANE MAN!!”

Oh boy, I had a strange mixture of pride and embarrassment as I watched him on stage.

In my primary school days, I was so shy and awkward that I would have been paralysed by embarrassment and UTTERLY MORTIFIED if my parents made me a candy cane costume and I had to be on stage, wearing it in front of people!!

But my son seemed to have NO problems with being on stage, wearing an oversized candy cane, being like a hyperactive confectionery, and speaking in a false, high pitched voice. I guess the difference is that it was all HIS idea…

So I guess I’m very pleased and proud that I have such a cool kid.


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What is SMASHED PAVLOVA?

18 December 2013

Hi everyone!

Woolworths are sponsoring me to chat about their new Gold range on my blog. So to test out some of the products in the range, I decided to throw a kick-ass, super-special, Christmas high tea for my girlfriends – a total girl party!

I particularly wanted to make the classic Australian dish – the pavlova (named after a Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova!).

Woolworths Gold

The Gold range featured this pre-made pavlova base – a hand-finished Vanilla Bean Pavlova. This was going to be the centerpiece for my Christmas table.

Woolworths Gold

These were some other indulgent items I bought: After Dinner Chocolate Collection, the Truffle Salami and the Smoked Wagu Beef.

Woolworths Gold

After a few hours of being a DOMESTIC GODDESS… my Christmas high tea party was about to begin.

(I didn’t actually have to do much cooking. I just had to do a lot of “putting things together”, which was perfect for a big, party spread.)

My girlfriends and their children arrived, and we all sat down to a fabulous party!

Woolworths Gold

This was my antipasto platter with cold meats, olives, soft cheese and crackers.

Woolworths Gold

I made little chocolate mud cupcakes and decorated them with the After Dinner Chocolates. I found the cute little cupcake cups from a specialty cake decorating shop.

Woolworths Gold

I put together a huge platter of summer fruits. Too easy.

Woolworths Gold

And ta da – my crowning glory! This was the vanilla bean pavlova, topped with fresh figs, strawberries and pistachios. I got the inspiration from the “serving suggestion” photo on the box!

It looked totally indulgent and incredible :)

I also had some boring ham and cheese sandwiches and sausage rolls for the kids, but that plate didn’t make it to my fancy table spread haha.

Anyway, not long after the party started, the kids were SO SO SO excited about all the free chocolate on the table that… one particularly hyperactive kid (my 4 year old!!) reached across the table aaaaaaand…

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Woolworths Gold

MY SON knocked over the cake stand and SMASHED MY PAVLOVA!!!

It was as if the music of life had screeched to a terrifying stop. All the children were horrified. Their little eyes widened like dinner plates and they slowly crept backwards out of the room.

It was tragic, but it was also soooo funny. I had to bite my tongue and stop myself from laughing, and then I DID laugh. Then my girlfriends also laughed, and everything was okay again.

I rushed to grab my camera to capture the wreckage. I thought it was quite beautiful and artistic in a strange, accidental way.

We carefully scooped it all up, and someone said “We can still eat it, right?”

So we did. And it tasted just great! The fresh, sweet, fruit flavours and textures, with the popping pistachios chunks, the silky whipped cream, and the soft, long crunch of the meringue. Yummy!

The children were still so scared that they might get into trouble, that they didn’t bother us for the rest of the tea party. Everyone had a great time.

So that’s my contribution to the great summer pavlova tradition – smashed pav!

All Woolworths Gold products are currently in store or you can purchase from the website here.


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Summer sandals to wear while eating watermelon!

17 December 2013

Scorching hot sandal weather is finally here! Time to crack open the watermelon, pineapples and mango icy poles!

Then make sure you drag out your foot cream, give yourself a splash of nail colour and show off your summery toes :)

I took a peek at the summer sandal collection at Vangoh Shoes (who are currently having an Up To 75% of shoes, bags and accessories) and these are my favourites:

Vangoh Shoes

These are the Pazia Flat Sandals, comes in black and green.

Simple, elegant and sophisticated. Perfect for everyday wear for a city girl. Plus they are on sale!

Vangoh Shoes

These are the Spring Agra Sandals, in aqua, orange, nude and black.

I love a good pair of comfy sandals. They slip on and off, no need to fuss with buckles or straps. They look great and feature a bit of bling too.

Vangoh Shoes

I like that the whole summer collection features a range of modern and sophisticated styles, that are perfect for everyday wear and don’t cost the earth.

Again, check out their sale section for some Christmas bargains and their bag section for clutches in every colour of the rainbow.

Happy shopping and I hope you find something you like!

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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Hasta Barista Baby!

16 December 2013

Recently, I had the pleasure of taking a Premium Barista Course, courtesy of Red Balloon.

It was an introductory course called “Espresso Foundations, Level 1″, where I was going to learn about the science and art of espresso making.

Now, I have to say this – I am NOT a coffee snob, and I have NO interest in being a coffee snob.

I mean, I drink instant coffee! With soy or almond milk! And I always get teased whenever I’m with my connoisseur coffee friends.

However, I was interested to why some cafe coffees that I drink are soooooooo good and others are soooooooo hideously bad. I have had so many awful coffees that were burnt, sour, thin, or in some other way disgusting… and I wanted to know WHY.

JUST HOW HARD IS IT TO MAKE A GOOD COFFEE???

Barista Course

I stepped into the little workshop with 2 other barista-wannabees, and I immediately perked up just from the SMELL of coffee.

Our instructor, and lets call him Mr Barista, was very passionate about coffee. He told us a bit about the coffee bean history, roasting, grinding and coffee basics.

Mr Barista let us hold some raw, dried coffee beans… and I popped one into my mouth (like a sneaky child in a lolly shop). It tasted terrible! BLERGH! They were like raw, hard, dried up, wood chips! There was NO nice aroma and NO bitter flavour whatsoever.

He then showed us how to grind the coffee beans, and then how to make an espresso.

Barista Course

Then I had a go. Yup, I pulled my first espresso and it was really easy, hooray!

Mr Barista poured some frothed milk into my espresso… and HOLY COW it was the most amazing coffee I had ever tasted! So smooth, so clean, so creamy. It was heavenly.

But Mr Barista said that it was so easy, because of the way he had set up the machine and the grinder –  apparently it’s really difficult to set it up right.

He adjusted the coffee grinder (just by moving the grinding dial a few notches) to create slightly large coffee grains. He put it through the espresso machine, I tasted it and… it was horrible! Then he purposely ground the coffee slightly too fine… again it was disgusting.

Our task was to adjust the grinder to make that perfect espresso.

Mr Barista then paused dramatically, and told us thatcoffee is sensitive.

(I rolled my eyes dramatically at the thought of the little emo coffee beans getting upset by disrespectful treatment. )

Apparently, the sensitive coffee beans absorb moisture from the air and their texture and consistency are affected by the current temperature, the humidity, the age of the bean, the kind of roast, the blend…  so the barista has to compensate for the combined effect of ALL of these variables by changing the settings of the grinder to produce a coarser or finer coffee. So, a lot like being married with kids, right?

And there were other factors, like how well you compacted the coffee once it was ground, how much coffee you put into the basket, how much water you put through the coffee, and probably the relative position of the planet Jupiter to the constellation of Alpha Centuri.

Not to mention, we had to heat and froth the milk correctly. Omg it was so haaard!

Barista Course

Each time we made a coffee, we could see that the oil that stuck to the basket was the wrong oiliness, or the sponginess of the ground coffee was too spongy, or the flow was too flowy, or the colour was the wrong kind of coffee colour, and each time it took a little bit of tweaking here and there… it took us like 8 TO 9 TIMES and we still couldn’t get it right.

I was shocked (and annoyed) to discover that he was right – coffee is so damn sensitive!

On my 10th go, I finally did it – I made a delicious, smooth, creamy flat white.

I was so proud of myself.

I now really appreciated the fine art of coffee making and the skills of a barista.

Barista Course

The end result was so freaking good.

And here is the bad news. I’ve tasted the good stuff and I can’t go back.

Now, whenever I am in a cafe, I derail the conversation I am having, just to complain about how the coffee is not as good as it could be.

I think I’ve turned into one of those annoying coffee snobs haha!

I absolutely recommend this course for anyone who likes to drink coffee. It was was a very enjoyable and valuable experience.

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

Receive $20 off when you spend $79 or more on any RedBalloon experience!

Visit Red Balloon and enter the code REDBLOG14 at the checkout to receive your discount.

Code can only be used once per person. Expires: 31/12/2014. All purchases are subject to RedBalloon T&Cs, for full details read here.


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Push it like you STOLE it!

11 December 2013

I live in a nice suburb.

Not too rich, not too poor. Everyone is doing okay.

Shopping Trolley

So, I was a little unhappy when this shopping trolley appeared in the park near my house. I associate abandoned roadside shopping trolleys with places where nobody seems to care about litter, broken down cars, roaming wild dogs, garbage bins on fire etc. And the shopping trolley was stolen property, right? This is illegal, right?

I waited a whole two weeks for the police, or some other government authority, to come around and remove the shopping trolley before drug dealers set up a shop in it, but nothing happened. It just sat there. Everyone seemed to ignore it. And it seemed very lonely and unloved.

HELLO was I the only person concerned about the decay of society?

I decided that I would do something about it myself – I told my husband to return it.

But his blank look showed me that he could think of a million other things that were more important. So then we discussed HOW we could remove the shopping trolley from our suburban heaven. It was too big to go in the car. He didn’t want to go to the trouble of borrowing a friend’s car.

Finally, late one afternoon, we decided to modify our usual walk in the park (with our three kids) into a bike ride and a trolley push mission to return the trolley to the shopping centre – two kilometers away!

Now, I like to keep fit and although I was going to be embarrassed to be seen pushing a shopping trolley for two kilometers through my home suburb, I thought it would be quite easy… especially since someone else had obviously pushed it all the way to the park near my house.

My youngest, of course, wanted to ride IN the trolley, rather than walk.

Shopping Trolley

As I started to push, I looked down and saw this warning.

Shopping Trolley

Um… maybe that only applies INSIDE the shopping centre? Can I lose my driving license for having an unrestrained kid in a stolen shopping trolley? Oh well… we put his helmet on, at least!

The bad news is that a shopping trolley is a nightmare to push on a park pathway. Even on the smoothest of paths, it was awful, with vibrations and noise. On the rougher parts, it was shaking so hard, even at walking pace, that it made my arms sore.

My other two boys and my boy-like-husband were on their bikes, and of course, our walk quickly turned into a race.

Shopping Trolley

Go FASTER MUM!!

At even a slight run, the metal trolley made a constant crashing sound that was so loud I literally couldn’t hear myself shouting. Luckily, it was impossible to push any faster… at a certain speed, the wheels began to vibrate so much they became like brakes, and the trolley slowed down! I am guessing that this is a deliberate part of their design… so they will not be stolen by boys, and used for going down hills?

The noise and discomfort of the shopping trolly was so bad that we had to stop at every little park and swing set along the way, to take a break.

Eventually, and very, very slowly, we made it to the shopping centre.

Shopping Trolley

And we found the place where our shopping trolley could cuddle up with all the other shopping trolleys at the end of the day, back home where it belonged. Yay!

Shopping Trolley

All I can say is… it ISN’T EASY pushing a shopping trolley 2km, so no wonder they are not stolen more often.

Two days later, my arms and legs still ache!


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Ants That Ate My Christmas Tree

10 December 2013

One afternoon, while my children were at school, I thought I’d surprise them by setting up the Christmas tree (just the tree) so that when they arrived home, I would shrill something like “IIIIIII-IT’S CHRISTMAS TREE TIIIIIIME!”… then we would all start decorating the tree straight away. Ho ho ho, it would be so much fun.

Christmas Ants

So I went into my shed and dragged out the Christmas tree box. But something was wrong.

The box was rotten, damp, eaten away and moldy – I was NOT HAPPY.

I’ve had this Christmas Tree for 11 years! It was the tree I had bought when my husband and I got married and shared our first Christmas together.

I’ve kept it in pristine condition, in its original box, with all the small parts in a zip lock bag… and to see it eaten away like this made me really emotional.

Christmas Ants

Then I flipped the lid open and — OH MY GOD!

The box was CRAWLING WITH ANTS! I thought maybe a rat crawled into the box and died inside, so the ants were feasting on the dead rat?

Or someone left a Christmas cookie stuck to the tree (from last Christmas)?

Nope. There were no reason for the ants to be there, except that the Christmas tree box was cool, dry and dark. It was ant heaven!

Upon further inspection, I found this…

Christmas Tree 2013

AIIIIEEEEEE!

I was so disgusted and flabbergasted, but I was also intrigued. I had never seen ant eggs before.They looked like little grains of rice, or little white jelly beans. They were so gross, but so cute.

OK so what do I do now?

I was tempted to just THROW THE WHOLE TREE INTO THE BIN and then go out to the shops to buy another one. No one would notice except me.

But I was struck by my sensible, sentimental reasoning, and the fact that I don’t really like to waste things.

So I carefully set up the tree on the lawn.

It was swarming with ants and it was covered in the tiny white ant eggs.

Ironically, from afar, the tree looked as if it was covered in a light dusting of white snow that gently sprinkled onto the ground every time I knocked it slightly. How lovely.

I turned on the hose and I blasted the tree with water. I washed all the ants and eggs off the tree and I decided to let nature sort them out.

I even used a bit of pine scented soap (oh the irony!) and after that… the tree was good as new!

Here’s to another year of Christmas!

xxx


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The Colour of Angry Accessories

9 December 2013

The Colour of Anger

GGGRRRRR!

Like my hat? Bright red accessories are so in!

Red Heels and Red Bag

Since the arrival of my sexy red shoes (from Styletread), I seem to be matching them with other red accessories, just for that extra punch of colour.

Same idea goes for blue shoes + blue handbag. Silver + silver. Bam, bam! Double punch!

I didn’t actually wear the Angry Bird Hat with my outfit. Maybe I should have… then maybe I would have been snapped by some street style blogger? :)

Outfit Details:
Camisole top – Portmans (old)
Skater skirt – ASOS
Heels – Robert Robert heels from Styletread
Handbag – Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar at Shopbop)

( 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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Change My Race

5 December 2013

What?

REALLY?

Uh…I don’t think so, ACTUALLY.

A few nights ago, a TV station in Australia (where I live) showed a documentary that explored the idea that young Asian Australian women feel pressure to undergo facial surgery, in order to “change their race” – to take on “white” characteristics to appear beautiful.

Since I am interested in beauty and fashion and am both ethnically and culturally Asian, I was obviously interested. I was especially interested since the show was hosted by a very attractive Australian Asian woman about my own age – Anna Choy (below), who is a well known TV personality, and who, in my opinion looks simply beautiful.

Change My Race

But to be honest, I couldn’t accept what the show was saying about Asian Australian women in Australia.

I felt that the documentary was misleading viewers to think that ALL Australian Asian women feel the pressure to look “white”. It implied that ALL of us feel out of place, that we all feel that we don’t belong, and deep down we actually want to change how we look to fit in. The show made Australia seem like a scary, unwelcoming place for Asians.

An Asian Australian girlfriend of mine also watched the documentary, was concerned about it, and said so on social media. Realising that others have also been concerned is what moved me to write about this show.

Let me state this clearly – I’ve have lived in Australia for 30 years, and I have never, ever been racial abused, verbally or physically. I’ve also never thought that I needed to look “white” in order to fit in, or be accepted. I went to school, university, got a job, volunteered, am part of several different communities, and have friends of all shapes, sizes and colours. I was ONCE teased about my flat Asian nose by my white boyfriend, and he married me!

Sure, I live in Australia, where the commercial media very strongly projects images of the supposedly ideal Australian girl – rich, white, tall, thin, blonde and tanned – just like in America. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 12% of Australian are of some kind of Asian ethnic background. These figures are not very definite though, because in Australia, the government does not record any information about an individual’s race, which I think is really nice – race is OFFICIALLY not important.

With over 80% of people in Australia being white(ish), of course advertising is going to try and reach them with images of beautiful white people. These images are everywhere, on billboard posters, magazines, TV commercials, fashion catwalks, websites and they DO create a feeling of “that’s what you should look like”.

But this is not a RACIAL issue. This stereotype, which is pushed on us by the media, affects ALL women, Asian or not. The fantasy women portrayed in these images are a zillion miles from any human being I have ever met. Almost EVERY woman is going to have some big or small insecurity about their looks, their body shape, parts of their body. Everyone is going to wish for something they don’t have. It’s a HUMAN issue.

Having an Asian face in a mostly white society does create some amusing and interesting experiences, I admit. Because my kids look more white than Asian, I have twice been thought to be the nanny of my kids, not their mother. Both times, this mistake was made by older white people who had come to Australia from countries where inter-racial marriages are very rare. Man, they were so embarrassed when they realised their mistake. Very awkward. And twice, I have been mistaken for a prostitute when in the company of my older, white husband… both times, while on holiday in Asia, once by an Asian man, and once by a white tourist. Very funny when we showed them our matching wedding rings (though it has caused me to wonder if I should dress differently when in Asia).

As part of the TV show, Anna Choy also took the viewers of the show to the streets of South Korea, which now has the world’s highest per capita rate of cosmetic plastic surgery. She introduced us to the world of nose jobs, double eyelid surgery, and dangerous jaw reconstruction in order to get the “V line” babydoll face shape. She showed us a subway station full of billboards with shocking before and after surgery photos, with the promise of success, love and a happier life.

Change My Race

Like a lot of people, I feel bad that any woman would risk their health, and their unique appearance, to look like some media generated “ideal”. But I just don’t think it is very fair, or useful, to compare a multicultural society like Australia with various Asian countries. Asia is a very big, diverse place, with very different countries, each with their own different beauty ideals and trends, unique to their society, with different levels of influence from Western culture. So I don’t judge these Korean women, since I can’t possibly understand the forces that motivate them.

My conclusion is that TV shows like this are carefully designed to shock, stir people up and to create a conversation. And I guess it worked! Here I am, stirred up and being part of that conversation. But I regret that the TV show was so alarmist in tone.

I consider myself very lucky to be a HUMAN BEING living in Australia, and having an Asian face just makes it even more interesting for me, and everyone one I meet. Just think… only 12% of Australians have an Asian face. I’m THAT special!

Women, please love yourself, love your uniqueness, love being who you are! And remember, the most important part of your beauty regime is to keep a smile on your face, what ever your race.


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Very. Hard. Firemen.

2 December 2013

I’d never been in a room full of hot, muscled, super fit EXCITED men with almost no clothes on – until now.

Firefighter 2014 Calendar Party

I went to a night club to support the Perth Fire Fighters as they launched their 2014 Calendar to raise funds for the Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital Total Burns Unit.

I wasn’t exactly delighted to be going, to be honest. I’m a happily married wife and mother of 3 kids, living in a quiet, modest suburban house… what on earth was I doing going to a “ladies’ night” in a NIGHTCLUB? I get enough loud noises and bad behavior at home from my three sons and one husband! Not to mention the theme of the evening was “Doctor’s and Nurses”! You can see my battle with getting an appropriate costume here.

Am I getting old?

But, I was sure it would be… interesting. After all, it was going to be young, hard men taking their clothes off. I may be getting old, but I am still a woman. And these guys were going to take their clothes off for the best of causes.

When I arrived outside the nightclub, I saw a couple of hundred women queuing up to get in…and also that NONE of them were wearing a nurse’s costume. So how stupid did I feel? Oh Well!

I met up with my media contact (also NOT dressed in a medical theme, dammit!) and we discussed a few of the technical aspects of the evening, about when the guys would come out, and where I could stand to get photos, etc.

And then I said to her “Hey, how about we go backstage before the show, and I meet the guys?”

I wanted to really check out the facts, and make sure everything was what it claimed to be. I was suspicious because, having seen the calendar, they all seemed to be far too good looking to be normal human beings. I wouldn’t want you to buy a calender that wasn’t what it seemed. What if these guys were actually professional models and dancers, and not real firemen?

The media person said “Okay”.

So I was taken backstage to meet the currently twelve hottest guys in my whole city.

The backstage area was large, but cluttered with backstage props, chairs, tables, clothes racks and… FIREMEN! When I first saw the guys, it was a little… awkward… for me. Some of them were in their ordinary clothes, some of them were already in their first costume… and some of them were in between. I was blushing a little, but I suspected that these guys could be professional performers… because they didn’t seem AT ALL shy about me being there while they were changing. There were few other women there in nurse’s uniform’s, and it occurred to me that maybe that kind of dedication to a theme was what it took to “get backstage”.

firemen2013-06

This is me with Dan (Mr August) and Tom (Mr March). Notice that they are wearing braces to hold their pants up, not belts. This means that their pants gape open a little at the top, and since they don’t have any belly bulge, I was tempted to quickly glance down and see if they were wearing fireproof underwear.

I started to feel a bit warm and… flustered. There were so many hard guys around. There was no denying it.  They were all very good looking with striking, angular features, and intense, kind eyes that you could get lost in. Their bodies were very impressive. The effort these guys must put into building this kind of physique was amazing. But were they real?

Firefighter 2014 Calendar Party

So I honed in on John, Mr December. He was lifting a few objects to warm up his chest muscles.

We chatted for a bit while he flexed his muscles, me in my nurse’s costume and him in his peek-a-boo fireman’s pants. I’ll be honest with you… I was trying to maintain eye contact, but I was distracted by his chest and abdomen and everything else he had going on. His muscles just didn’t look… REAL. So I asked if I could take a close up picture of his six pack. I kneeled down in front of him, to get the angle of the lights right for the photo. He was such a nice guy. He even smiled at me while I was kneeling there.

Yup, up-close, his muscles certainly looked real to me. Good, glad we got that sorted out!

Obviously the firemen train to operate in very hot conditions, which is probably why they did not seem to be troubled by the increasing heat backstage… but I was getting very warm, and suddenly wished I had worn the skimpier nurses costume.

I found the coverguy of the calendar, another John (Mr July) and asked him lots of questions about being a fireman. He told me that he had never done any kind of modelling or dancing or performing in front of an audience. He also quietly admitted that he was very nervous, but excited (that made two of us). It was sweet to see a big, buff fireman with a vulnerable side, but I felt I needed to do my final check that these guys were real firemen… so I asked him:

“What is the Fireman’s Lift?”

You know when you watch movies, you always see a fireman walking out of a burning building, as it explodes dramatically into flames behind him, and he is holding a maiden-in-distress in his arms.

Anyway, I wanted to know if this “Fireman’s Lift” was an ACTUAL LIFT, or was it just a myth? Do real fireman actually use this lift? Could coverguy John possibly perform this lift on ME? John knew exactly what the Fireman’s Lift was and he performed it to perfection. I could tell it really was no problem for him at all. And it was no problem for me either. He was so strong, he could have picked me up with just one arm. I imagined that he could easily have handled me AND my best friend as the same time.

Firefighter 2014 Calendar Party
Ok, I’m aware that I don’t look very distressed here. And that John also has a very big grin on his face. But I’m sure if there was a burning building behind us, it’d look very authentic.

Then someone said that it was five minutes till the show started. John put me down as gently as can be, and suddenly dropped to the floor and started doing push-ups, to really pump up his muscles. I asked him if there was anything I could do to help, and he said I could sit on his back, to stress his muscles more. I thought he was joking, until another fireman yelled out for me to do it.

So I did.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) there are no pictures of me going up and down on a fireman’s back… but I can tell you that I was riding side saddle – in this position, you don’t get to hold on with your knees, but it seems more dignified. Tragically, the media person came by and said I had to leave coverguy John, and join the crowd out the front. My only regret is that I never really got to say a proper goodbye to him.

I found my reserved spot in the front row, joining a crowd of excited women, and the show started. The firemen did short performances and dance acts with cheesy themes – fireman outfits (obviously), pilot outfits, strip trease, etc. You could tell the firemen were not professional performers – they were a bit nervous, but at the same time loving it.

Firefighter 2014 Calendar Party

The music was loud and pumping, the energy of the women in the audience was heaving. There was so much screaming, cheering, hooting and laughing. The guys on stage were flirting, grinding, tearing their clothes off. I felt quite intoxicated and energised by it all… and I joined in with the cheering and hooting until my throat was sore! It was so much fun!

Watching the guys on stage, with huge smiles on their faces, you could tell they were having a great time and that’s what made it really enjoyable – as well as the fact that they were all as HOT as can be.

But on a serious note:

Fireman actually have a real excuse for spending a part of every day building up their muscles… because they have a very particular job. They go into a building that is on FIRE, wearing very heavy protective clothing, pick up a whole human being, and carry them up and down ladders and steps and through windows and doors that are on FIRE. So they need to be super strong. And they rip open crashed cars to get people out… not using their bare hands of course, but using really heavy equipment. These are actually super fit guys who literally risk their lives to save you. Of course there is something VERY appealing about that.

At only TEN DOLLARS, the calender is a PERFECT novelty gift for several of your friends for Christmas.

All proceeds will go to support the Princess Margaret Hospital Total Burns Care Unit by funding state-of-the-art equipment and vital research.

You can buy Calendars online from the PMH Online Shop.




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