Archive for June 2014


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The Everyday Boot

30 June 2014

I’ve been looking for a pair of simple black boots with a bit of heel. Not a stiletto heel, not a wedge heel, not a platform heel.

I wanted a moderately chunky heel… that’s not TOO chunky or square.

Plus I didn’t want any buckles or straps or studs either. Just a simple, everyday boot, with a bit of height.

Vangoh Boots AW14

Say hello to my new babies from Vangoh Shoes.

They sit perfectly between looking elegant and casual. They are so comfortable and easy to wear too.

I’ve been wearing them with my skinny jeans, other times with black leggings, or with chunky grey socks. The extra bit of height makes my outfits look just that little bit more dressed up and ready to conquer my day.

Here’s to a brand new week of boot weather!

( 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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Simple Vegetarian Dinner: Grilled Zucchini and Pesto

29 June 2014

Grilled Zucchini

I had a delicious, quick and simple vegetarian dinner the other day.

This is what I did…

I sliced up some red onions + spring onions and soaked them in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar + olive oil for a few minutes.

I thickly sliced half a zucchini into thirds and threw them onto a hot griddle pan. Threw other random veggies (beans, broccoli, mushrooms) on the pan too.

(Here’s a tip: Don’t leave the veggies on the pan for too long. You don’t want to over cook them.)

I smeared zucchini slices with bought pesto in a bottle (I used sundried tomato pesto).

Then drizzled the onion dressing over everything.


So quick and easy. I love my griddle pan!

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How to remove stains, and your sanity.

27 June 2014

Everyone loves a BEFORE AND AFTER shot. And everyone loves a home renovation story too.

So let me present to you what I have been doing for the past week.

I’ve been cleaning up our bathroom.

Tile Clean

Before: The grout was stained yellowed and patchy brown. It was NOT a good look.

It looked like 20 years of accumulated dirt, crusty chemical build-up and general wear and tear had seeped into the grout. Lovely right?

Tile Clean

After: Sparkling white grout! I am a genius. I know.

But, let me tell you people, it was such paaaaainful and agonisingly slow work.

This is how the whole process started –

My husband and I decided that we were NOT going to spend $7000 on a new bathroom renovation. And although he can do the tiling himself, he was unavailable. You know, the whole “I have a full time job” excuse followed by the whole “I have to be a happy parent to 3 young boys”. Yeah OK, I let him off on this one.

So if I wanted a clean looking bathroom, I had to clean it myself. Hmph.

First I tried an organic home cleaner (what a joke!), then a normal heavy duty cleaner, Jiff, bleach, sugar soap, proper grout cleaner, oxygenated whitening cleaners and cleaning acids. NOTHING worked. I was so desperate, I was going to try whitening toothpaste. But I decided that that was such a stupid idea!

Absolutely nothing removed the yellow and brown stains from the white grout. I was SO ANNOYED! All that experimenting took me 3 hours.

Then I bought a tile rake. It’s a metal scraper that grinds off the top layer of grout. Like sand paper. It took me about 3 hours to scrape all the grout back. And guess what. After digging down into the grout, I discovered that the stains were not just on the surface of the grout… they went deep.

Then I used a grout paint.

Tile Clean

That’s right. I freaking HAND PAINTED the whole grout grid, with white paint, using AN ARTIST BRUSH!!

It was a bloody masterpiece I tell you. I bet Michaelangelo didn’t have to do this crap.

All that hand painting took me about 4 hours.

The label on the paint bottle said that the dried paint could easily be rubbed off tiled surfaces. I should have tested it first. Because for my first coat, I painted the grout in big messy lines and let the paint splash up onto the tiles. Big mistake. BIG mistake. Because the excess paint on the tiles was NOT easy to remove. So now I had to scrape all the dried paint OFF the tiles, which subsequently messed up my first coat of paint IN the grout (where I actually wanted it). That took me another 4 freaking hours.

Then I painted the grout with a second coat of white paint. 2 hours.

Seal the paint with grout sealer. 2 hours.

Grand total of 18 hours, spread out over 1 week.

It looks great now, but holy freaking crap it was painful!

On the upside, I listened to my whole iphone playlist, which I’ve never done before. It turns out that I have excellent taste in music… for cleaning grout :)

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Equipment Signature Silk Shirt and a $3 Coat

26 June 2014

My classic white shirt is a bit of a wardrobe champion. It never goes out of style!

Whether I wore it during the summer of 2003 with denim sorts and sandals, or winter of 2010 with black pants and stilettos… it’s one of my favourite wardrobe items that is always in fashion. Casual or dressed up, it always looks current, stylish and polished.

I have had many white shirts over the years. I experimented with round collars, embellishments, embroidery, epaulettes, extra pockets, fitted cuts, 3/4 sleeves… and various fabrics like cotton, silk, linen, and polyester blends.

But my favourite style has to be the plain, loose-fitting and slightly man-ish version. Much like a man’s business shirt!

I have ONE white shirt (from Korea) in this classic style. I’ve had it for ages and I wear it to death. It’s made from a mix cotton/polyester fabric (I’m not entirely sure, because the label is in Korean!), but it feels so lovely and smooth, it looks like silk and flows like silk, and if I were to fault it, I’d say that it’s a tiny weeny bit big for my petite frame.

Anyway, I finally bought myself a new, beautiful silk shirt, the very popular Equipment Signature Silk shirt to be exact.

Equipment Signature Silk Shirt

This one fits me beautifully! The length is better for me, it’s a good fit across my shoulders, and a bit slimmer in the body… yet it still has a nice loose-fitting shape. OK perhaps the sleeves are a bit long, so it bunches up at my wrist a little bit, but I always roll up my sleeves anyway. I’m soooo happy!

The silk is top quality and gorgeously luxurious! Yet it doesn’t feel too delicate and fragile, as if it will tear or pull if I walked too close to a… fence?

Equipment Signature Silk Shirt

My other purchase for the month is this AMAZING, speckled grey wool coat.

It seriously looks like a collarless coat by Balenciaga that I spied on ShopStyle a few weeks ago. But I did not buy this online…

I got it from a SECONDHAND SHOP!

It was priced at $5, but when I got to the checkout, the lady said it was on sale for $3!!

I couldn’t believe my luck, I handed her the $5 and insisted that she kept the change.

It fit me PERFECTLY across the shoulders and the length of the arms were spot on. I usually have a problem with the arm length of the coats, because I’m an in-between size. Size 4 is a bit too small, and size 6 is a bit too big. The coat is also nice and roomy in the body, so I can layer up comfortably with sweaters and shirts.

Anyway, I was SO lucky with this purchase, I don’t know which item I’m more excited about… the once-in-a-lifetime-investment silk shirt or the $3 coat haha!!

(Oh, I did have to pay $30 to dry clean the coat.)

I’m also wearing lace shorts from Stephieshop, nude heels from ASOS, gold watch from Guess and necklace by Wanderlust + Co.

You can buy Equipment shirts from 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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Suddenly I’m back at high school

25 June 2014

Highschool Feet

The other day, my husband and I attended an orientation for my eldest son to go to high school!!

Yup. My son turns 12 next year and he’ll be in Grade 7, the first year of junior high school.

Sigh, my baby boy is all grown up!

I sat there, in the meeting room, holding a sample student’s timetable, thinking – I remember this.

I remember excitedly pouring over my new high school timetable. Comparing it with my girlfriend’s timetable. Groaning that PE class was first thing on Monday morning. Cheering that I had art class on Friday afternoons. Such great memories!

I hope he has a great time in high school.

And I hope I don’t FREAK OUT too much!

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Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

24 June 2014

One chilly morning, my girlfriend and I met up at Harvest Espresso, in Victoria Park.

Over a cup of hot coffee and breakfast we gossiped about our great loves… kids, fitness and food.

Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

The cafe is nestled between a used car yard, a boxing studio and a tattoo parlour along Albany Highway. It only has 8 small tables that sit 2 or 3 people, and there was not much room to stand – it was pretty small.

The couple sitting at the table next to us were so close to us (like 30cms!) that I didn’t dare to tell my girlfriend my hilarious story about “one of my children puking on the floor”, in case I put the couple sitting to us off their breakfast. It was a shame, because my girlfriend, as a mother, would have appreciated that story and possibly topped it with a better one!

Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

Anyway, yes the place was pretty squishy.

But you know what… I LOVED the intimacy, the quirkiness, the warmth, the attention to detail, the understated casual atmosphere, the sense of uniqueness that you don’t find in large, cold, echoing, global franchise cafes.

These cafe owners were certainly doing something a little bit different. And doing it WELL.

So for me, there was a bit of the whole “I have to suffer for my amazing coffee and food” attitude!

Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

These fresh banana breads were calling out to me like tiny swaddled babies in a nursery. Pick me pick me!

Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

I have to come back to try one of these! My eyeballs are licking the screen as I type this.

Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

My soy flat white arrived. It didn’t look pretty… but then again, frothy soy NEVER looks pretty.

It tasted great, that was the main thing!

Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

I ordered the House-cured salmon gravlax – two poached eggs, watercress, potato hash, yuzu kosho hollandaise, togarashi croutons ($22.50)

Gravlax is a Nordic dish made from sliced raw salmon, a kind of sauce and served with bread or potatoes. It have tried it before, when I was Copenhagen, but it was nothing like this! Harvest’s interpretation of the dish, using fresh, local WA produce and some Japanese flavours… was simply delicious.

The salmon was beautifully fresh. The potato hash was yummy and rounded the dish off. I loved the watercress. And oh my, the hollandaise sauce was the hero that brought it all to a whole new level.

Such simple, unfussy food was a real joy to eat.

Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

My girlfriend ordered the Seasonal winter vegetables – Pan roasted beetroot, squash, beans, fennel and radish, two poached eggs, walnut pesto ($19.50)

Just when I thought that it was a potentially boring dish, she let me have a spoonful and I swooned. The veggies were warmed and cooked to perfection, and were doing magic things to my tongue with the walnut pesto. I almost had a When Harry Met Sally moment. That would have really upset the couple sitting next to us, or possibly have made their day?

We left with happy bellies, caffeine and a good dose of girlfriend therapy… it was such a fabulous start to the morning.

Harvest launches a new menu every season, which is a great idea, because it means I will definitely make an effort to come back at least 4 times a year :)

Harvest Espresso
629 Albany Hwy
Victoria Park
(08) 9355 5884
Open Tuesday to Sunday 7:00AM – 4:00PM

Check them out on their website or stalk them on Facebook

Harvest Espresso on Urbanspoon

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History of the Modern Calendar

20 June 2014

My son came home one day and blurted, “Did you know that the first ever calendar only had 10 months??”

(I actually didn’t know that, but I acted all cool about it…)

He wanted to know more about ancient calendars and how our modern day calendar came about… and he was very annoyed that I didn’t know the answers RIGHT NOW AND OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD.

Thanks buddy. I’m already the resident cook, house cleaner, personal taxi driver and the best person for cuddles in the whole family… and now I have to be a freaking walking encyclopaedia?!

So we jumped online and the results were so interesting, that I’ve decided to share it with you all!

Calendar Animals

(I also decided that these little critters are my favourite embodiment of a modern day calendar haha!)

Our modern day calendar is essentially the Gregorian Calendar, which is a tweak of the Julian Calendar, which in turn was a tweak of the Early Roman Calendar, which was essentially based on a lunar calendar. Of course the Mayans, Egyptians, Babylonians, Chinese had their own calendars too, also based on the lunar cycles.

It seems there were a lot of TRICKY MATHS and astronomy involved in calendar making… so over the history of time, there was a lot of calendar tweaking.

The Early Roman Calendar had 304 days in the year, with only 10 months, and the year started in March (or Martius) in honour of Mars. So there was no January or February. This is why the names of our months seem a bit off… September is our 9th month, but septem means seven; October is our 10th month, but octo means eight; November is our 11th month, but novem means nine, and December is our 12th month, but decem means ten. Now you know why!

Around 713 BC, a new Roman king shuffled things around to create a calendar year consisting of 355 days, and added two new months, January and February.

That stayed around until 46BC, then Julius Caesar created the Julian Calendar where each year has 365 days, with a leap day added to February every 4 years.

His predecessor, Augustus the emperor of Rome, changed a couple of the month names in honour of Julius (July) and himself (August).

Well the Julian Calendar sounds exactly like the modern calendar right?

Apparently, if we follow this Julian rule, then every 400 years, we would GAIN 3 DAYS…  all our seasons would be out of whack, our sun and moon would not be in the right place and our crops will fail.

So in 1582 the Gregorian Calendar added a 0.002% correction to the year… and came up with the rule:

Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. (from Wikipedia)

Whatever. Like I said. Tricky. Maths. Involved.

The new Gregorian calendar wasn’t widely accepted when it was first proposed. It was only until 1752, that Britain and the US adopted it, by which time they were 11 days ahead and out of sync with the seasons. So they had to correct it ALL by having the day 2 September 1752 followed by 14 September 1752. 11 days were taken away just like that! Lots of people were unhappy and against the new change, claiming the Catholic Church was stealing their days.

How funny!

So interesting right?

I wish someone would steal my days.

I want it to be summer already! (It is winter here in Australia.)

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Motivation is a Bitch

19 June 2014

I’m trying! I’m really trying to work at this exercise thing!

Most evenings I go to bed thinking, “OK! Tomorrow is the day! I’m going to run in the morning!”

I lay out my running clothes, my socks and shoes and everything.

Alarm rings at 6am, do I get out of bed? Nope. Nadda. Not happening.

It’s too cold. It’s raining. I have a meeting in the morning. My lower back is a bit sore. I stayed up too late last night.

Repeat for 5 days, and I end up feeling incredibly shitty with myself.

I know I’ll feel better after a run. I know it’ll make me happy. I just have to get up and do it!

But do I?!

Running Biatch

Well, today was finally the day.

It was 5pm in the late afternoon. It was cold, it was raining, it was windy, I had a slight headache, I spent all day in front of the computer, I was feeling stiff and sore, I had period cramps, and feeling fragile and emo. Yet somehow my self-loathing / self-motivation trumped big time and slapped me across the face. I smashed out a quick 5km while my kids were at after school sport.

Omg I felt so happy. SO SO SOOOOO happy.


I felt so good about myself. I even went home, ate really well and felt so fresh and energetic for the rest of the day.

Now if only I can do this more regularly…!

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4 Ways to Wear – A Tropical Print Top

17 June 2014

Tropical prints are pretty popular at the moment and will be in for a couple more seasons. Think palm leaves, palm trees, pineapples, watermelons, lemons, and other big floral prints.

These prints usually say: casual beach wear, lazy picnics, sunshine, fun and “I’m a bit quirky”.

But what if you want to look a bit more polished and sophisticated, and less like a tropical beach bum?

Here are some tips:

Tropical Top 4 ways

Wear it with white. Keep your look sharp and tailored. Pair with bottoms that are modest in length, so you don’t look like you’re going to hit the beach.

Distressed white jeans by Jcrew from The Outnet
Slip on shoes from Topshop
Straw fedora from Kmart

Sharpen the look with a crisp white skirt, white blazer or white tailored pants.

White skirt from Beauties Closet.
Shoes by Koo (Yesstyle)

Tropical Top 4 Ways

Wear with more pattern.

For a stand-out, party look with a bit of clash, I love mixing pattern on pattern :) If blue lace is not for you, then try wearing it with a black lace skirt.

Shorts by Cameo
Shoes by Koo (Yesstyle)

Try a monochrome print with a less-busy print. Then throw on a black blazer to tie it altogether.

Shorts by Surface to Air from ASOS
Black blazer from ClubCouture
Heels by Acne Studios from Forward By Elyse Walker

( 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 Herbs Are Watching

16 June 2014

I have 3 black pots that sit on my kitchen window sill, in which I usually grow spring onion, basil and mint. I look at them everyday. They make me smile. I always pluck a few leaves here and there to use in my cooking and as garnish on top of my dishes.

The other day I realised that I don’t use my mint very often AND I wanted to have chives instead.

So I asked my 9 year old son to do the job of moving the mint to a bigger pot outside, and to transplant some chives from the garden bed.

He did an OK job. He didn’t space the chives plants out very well. He didn’t put in enough soil.

But as you can see, he left me some EYES.

Herb Eyes

Why did he do this? Who knows! Just to make me laugh? To make me extra happy?

It’s pretty hilarious. And weird.

Now, every time I peek over at my herbs, I remember how much I totally love my kids and the colour they bring to my life.

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Cross Country Running

15 June 2014

Cross Country Run

I had a beautiful morning run with my big boys this weekend.

We’re exploring our own cross country running route!

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Vangoh Shoes Winter 2014 Launch

13 June 2014

I have been living in my jeans, boots and jumpers for the last 4 weeks.

So it was with much excitement that I accepted an invitation to go out to a daytime fashion event – as an excuse to get out of my house, dress up and curl my hair haha!

Digital print dress

I wore this print dress from Alibi Online, earrings from The Accessory Report.

Vangoh Shoes Winter 2014

And my shoes are new heels from Vangoh Shoes.

It wasn’t a coincidence that I wore these shoes, because the event was the launch of the Vangoh Shoes Winter Collection 2014.

You can check out their whole collection of boots, flats, bags and jewellery on their revamped website, where everything is now priced under $79.95!
Vangoh Shoes Winter 2014

They had a lovely spread of treats, champagne and drinks for their customers. The store was jam packed with people and there was a really friendly and warm vibe.

It was fantastic to be supporting a successful small local businesses!

Vangoh Shoes Winter 2014

I tried on about 6 different pairs of shoes. And I found myself talking to other customers (complete strangers!) about my shoes and their shoes.

I really LIKE talking about shoes. I hope I didn’t sound too creepy.

In fact I think I talked so much, I realised that I sounded like a crazy shoe sales lady and that I should just shut up.

Vangoh Shoes Winter 2014

I love these patterned heels. They remind me of the old mosaic tiles from Morocco.

Vangoh Shoes Winter 2014

These boots are my favourite boots from their collection. I managed to nab a pair of these too!

They offer flat rate shipping, international shipping, and free Australian shipping for orders over $100.

See the whole collection at Vangoh Shoes.

Or you can pop into their stores in Perth City or Subiaco.

By the way, if you were studying my photos, you might have noticed that I’m not wearing earrings while I was at the shop. Silly story. When I arrived at the shop, I took off my jacket, and a lock of my hair got tangled in the back of my earring clasp. I yanked at my hair, my earring fell off and smashed onto the floor. Yes it broke. A little gem fell off. But it’s nothing that a little super glue can’t fix!


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The Classic Pump

10 June 2014

The black pump (sometimes called “courts” in England) is definitely a modern day classic for any wardrobe.

With a medium height heel and a slightly pointed toe, I find myself reaching for my black pumps more than any other shoe.

Of course, I own lots and lots of black high heeled shoes, collected over the years. Many are just variations of the classic pump style (sling backs, mules, almond toe, patent, pony hair, ankle straps, block heel) and most were under the $100 mark.

But I have only owned ONE good quality, leather, classic-styled pump. They cost me around $130 (on sale) about 10 years ago, and they have finally worn out. I’ve been jamming them into too many pavement cracks and the leather on the heel point is all messed up.

So I finally bought myself some new, good quality, everyday heels.

Acne Lola Suede Pumps

They are Acne Lola Suede Pumps from Forward By Elyse Walker.

They have a classic 50’s style profile, featuring black suede uppers, 100% leather, made in Italy, 3.3 inch heel (8.4 cms). They feel beautiful and are just gorgeous to wear.

Now that I own them, I am a bit scared to wear them, in case I scuff up the heels – again!

But it did get me thinking about the history of the pump shoe. So of course, I went online to read WORDS, as opposed to just looking at pictures of shoes.

The origin of high heels (pumps) can be traced back to the 15th Century, where they were called pompes. These pompes were initially flat and worn by men, but soon heels were added for practical reasons – horse riders didn’t want their feet slipping in the horse stirrups.

High heels for men? For practical reason? Horse riding? How deliciously ironic!

High heels slowly became popular with the rich and famous, upper class… and they were worn by both men and women. It’s been documented that the famously short French Queen, Catherine d’Medici requested her shoe maker to add two inches to her wedding shoes when she married King Henry II in 1533. I hear you sister!

And apparently, the Queen Marie Antoinette was also such a fan of high heels that she was wearing a pair when she had her head chopped off during the French revolution. That is serious commitment to fashion.

Fast forward to 1953, the shoe designer for Christian Dior, Roger Viver, created the first ever stiletto high heel and they became all the rage in 50s fashion.

And in the 90s, shoe designers like Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin became fashion celebrities in their own right, by transforming the high heeled shoe into a “super accessory” and an art form.

I don’t think the high heel shoe will ever go out of fashion. But, the biggest question is… I wonder if high heels will ever come back into fashion for men??

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Basil and Cashew Pesto

6 June 2014

My basil plant was going crazy the other day and it needed a trim… so I decided to turn it into pesto!


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup lime juice


Blitz it all in a food processor.

I think you’re supposed to add the oil in gradually, but meh, I got no time for that.


Serve it up with salmon and roast vegetables. Or you can stir it through pasta, or spread it out on flat bread, garlic bread, or with bruschetta and fresh tomato salsa.

It can be stored in an air tight container for 3 days or you can freeze it for 6 months – apparently. I don’t know, because I finished it in three nights :)

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Hi Eleven

4 June 2014

My eldest boy turned 11.

We had a fun-filled water-fight birthday party in our backyard with 12 of his closest friends. There was a soapy bouncy castle, a pool, water guns, water pumps, water balloons, a hose, pizza and soft drinks. They had so much fun!
Callum Turns 11

It was great to see kids being kids, even though they all looked like teenagers and most were taller than me!

You know, I never imagined myself as a mother to teenagers. I always saw myself as a mum rolling out playdough shapes and making paper craft on the dinner table. But I never imagined me taking my kids to exams, standing around for hours to watch them play sport, or setting up their email accounts and teaching them about avatars and appropriate online behaviour.

This teenager thing seems to be creeping up on me rather quickly. It’ll be here in no time at all.

Most people assume that I’m filled with dread and I’m reeling in denial. They assume I’m completely freaked out – my kids are growing up so fast! I’m getting so old! I remember when he was just a baby! Time is moving so fast!

However, a bigger part of me is just over all of that. I’m past all the shock and trauma. Yes, yes, life moves fast. Stop whinging about it and enjoy the journey!

I guess for me, I’m glowing with excitement.

He’s going to high school next year! He’ll tackle new friendships, new social settings, need to work harder at his studies. He’s going to be challenged by responsibility, independence, decision making and self-discipline.

He’s doing very well so far. He’s maturing into a fine young man – and I’m so so proud of him.

Here’s to a great and exciting year ahead… for me AND my first born child!

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Beach Holiday vs Cleaning My House?

2 June 2014

So how do you usually spend your public holiday weekends? For us, we’re pretty boring. We usually fill it with domestic stuff like cleaning our house, mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, airing our rugs. Glamorous, no?

However, for the recent long weekend, we decided to head down to the south coast (Dunsborough) for a quick beach holiday.

Aside from our paid accommodation, we jammed in as many FREE activities as we could.

Dunsborough 2014

We went for a coastal walk, which involved scrambling over a lot of rocks.

I was wearing fashion boots (tsk tsk) which had NO grip on the rocks, so I had to take them off and climb barefoot. What a fashion fail.

Dunsborough 2014

We found rock pools with crabs and fish.

Dunsborough 2014

This is Meelup Beach. My husband taught the kids about the difference between “swell” and “waves” (otherwise known as “seas”). There was almost none of either… apparently, which is why the ocean was as flat as a pancake.

Dunsborough 2014

We saw whales and dolphins! And we explored caves, went for a beach run, ate exotic bread and ice-cream, had barbecues, toasted marshmallows, made giant sandcastles, etc etc!!

It was a fun and refreshing little trip. But now I can’t wait for this weekend, so I can mow the lawn and clean our house!!