Archive for July 2014

 

day of week

PANDORA’s Letters, Numbers and Symbols

31 July 2014

Brought to you by Nuffnang and PANDORA

I’m so excited to be sharing about PANDORA’s latest range of charms on my blog today!

I have borrowed a whole bunch of different bracelets, rings and a selection of charms to play with and style up. And at the end of my loan, I’ll be able to pick a few to keep. You can check out my picks below.

PANDORA has been around for over 30 years, but it was only in 2000 that the Danish company launched its charm bracelet concept. The idea is pretty simple: you can create customised and personalised jewellery by choosing from a range of charms, beads, and crystals that are symbolic and meaningful to you.

This week, PANDORA is launching a new range of 14ct rose gold and sterling silver charms of letters, numbers and symbols.

PANDORA’s Letters, Numbers and Symbols

These are some of the charms that I really liked.

You know, when I first got into creating my own charm bracelets (last year?), I used to struggle with the indecision of trying to choose a charm collection that personifies my character and interests. There were charm designs of cats, dogs, owls, love hearts, musical notes, hobbies, natures, flowers, special occasions… and more. It was quite tricky to start the process of choosing.

Obviously, with the new letters and numbers charms, it’s much easier to create a meaningful collection of charms (especially for indecisive people like me).

I chose my initials “K” and the “C”. And I’m thinking next time I’ll get the first letter of my husband’s name and each of my kids too… K, A, C, S, L.

But I’ll have to make sure I put them in the right order, or I could end up wearing “SLACK” or “LACKS” on my wrist haha!

PANDORA’s Letters, Numbers and Symbols

I adore the colour of the rose gold charms, especially with a bit of extra sparkle from the cubic zirconias. And I think they look great when worn with the silver charms to create a modern, mixed metal look.

I really liked the symbols too. The key was my favourite. To me it represents the unlocking of doors – future doors, doors of opportunity, doors of happiness, doors of success. And I also like the clover that expresses good luck – but I see it more as a symbol of “good blessings”… because I have many to be thankful for.

I’m super pleased with my final choices!

PANDORA’s Letters, Numbers and Symbols

The mixed metal look, the sparkly charms, the shiny silver bangle and the white leather bracelet wrap … they all fit really well with my style. I really enjoyed wearing them.

I’ve styled them here with my faux fur coat by Shinn (Korea), blush silk shirt by Sarah (Korea), black needle jeans by Acne Studios, gold stud heels from Boohoo, crossbody bag by Alexander Wang, rings by Wanderlust + Co.

The new range is in store now. Or you can check them out on the PANDORA website.

Enter to Win!

There is also a competition to go with the launch!

Express your own personal style when you #sayitwithPANDORA and enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 bangles with letter, number and symbol charms in 14ct rose gold and sterling silver. Head over to the PANDORA website here to check it out!

xxx


day of week

Being a Book Nerd, at Northside Books

30 July 2014

The other evening, I found myself right smack bang in the middle of the city with 3 hours to kill.

It was 4:30pm, I had just finished a meeting and I was going to have dinner with some girlfriends, nearby at 7:30pm.

OMG what am I going to do with 3 whole hours?! It was such a rare and extraordinary moment that I had no idea what to do with myself!

I decided to pop into Northbridge, to visit a friend who owns a café and another friend who owns a fashion boutique. I thought I would do a bit of shopping and wander around to discover some new shops in the area. Who knows what treasures I would find?

But I didn’t make it to the fashion stores.

I wandered into a book store, planning to have a quick look… and I didn’t leave until the very last minute!

Northside Books, Northbridge

Oh my I was in literary heaven. I haven’t stepped into an independent specialty bookstore in YEARS! There was such a diverse range of classics, modern literature, art, design, architecture, cooking, history, children’s books, cards and more. It was such a great little bookstore, tantalising with the promise of treasure that I was craving for.

I have a mental list of “Books I Want Read” in my brain which went into overdrive. So many books I need to buy! I was quivering with excitement! Where do I start?!

The guy who owns the bookstore (James) was exceedingly helpful. He was friendly and charming, full of excellent suggestions, and not judgemental at all haha! He was such a quirky, book nerd (sorry James!) but exactly the kind of person for a bit of fun, bookish chat… especially if you’re like me, a closet book nerd.

Northside Books, Northbridge

I have found my next book, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize. Can’t wait to start!

In 2000, I used to work in the city, near a speciality bookstore. Every couple of weeks I would pop in and say “Please sell me some great literature!” The store owner would pass something to me (any age, any size, any genre), and I would devour it gleefully. Looks like I will be restarting this old habit again. I haven’t been *this* thrilled to read literature in years.

Back then I made a little goal – to read one Man Booker Literary Prize Winner every year. I think I only have read 3. Oh the disappointment. What have I been doing all those years? I have lots of catching up to do. It kind of made me regret reading the whole Twilight series. *Face palm*

Northside Books, Northbridge

I also did something else.

I asked if he could recommend a book for my 11 year old son, something that will hopefully inspire him to read more literature.

You see, my son reads a lot. He’s read all the popular novels and book series aimed at young boys, like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, Eragon, Hunger Games, Ranger’s Apprentice, Orson Scott Card, Assassin’s Creed, Matthew Riley, Dan Brown… and many, many more. So much so, he’s moving away from young boy fiction and headed towards adult action/thriller/military/mystery fiction?! The kid is unstoppable. He’ll read anything “interesting”. Which is why I want to throw some literary classics at him.

Yeah ok, I’m half boasting, but I’m also utterly terrified about all this. In the beginning, I tried to censor the books he read, but I couldn’t keep up with him! I take 3 weeks to get though a book and he takes 3 days. Puts me to shame.

So while James the bookstore owner was recommending me some books… two other very well-read gentlemen in the store (who were just random customers) overheard me and started to drop some suggestions into our conversation too.

Frankenstein, Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Of Mice and Men, Jasper Jones, Cloud Street, Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn, Treasure Island…

Soon the 4 of us – an unlikely combination of complete strangers 1) book nerd bookshop owner 2) mature gentleman 3) young hipster dude 4) Asian fashion blogger/mother – were standing around talking about all the classic books of the past that we’ve read as young folk. And throwing around our 2-5 word verdict on whether the book would suit my son! Too dark. Too slow moving. Not enough action. Language isn’t modern enough. More of a romance. Bit too sad.

It was such a refreshing, weirdly enjoyable and totally unexpected experience for me. Haha who would have thought I would spend my free 3 hours doing this??

I settled on Animal Farm by George Orwell (which I read when I was 13?), Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (adventure/action), Of Mice and Men (which I’ve always wanted to read), and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep By Philip K. Dick (again, I’ve always wanted to read this book, and I’m not sure if I bought this book for myself or my son!).

Northside Books, Northbridge

Anyway, James doesn’t know I’m writing about his bookstore on my blog. I thought I’d surprise him. It’s a ridiculously hard time for bookstore owners!

I kinda feel bad for all the times I bought my books online for $5 less. Or even drove all the way to Kmart to buy it for $2 less. I love love LOVE the old fashion feel of holding a book in my hand, I adored my trips to hip, indie bookstores in the past – so here’s my support to them!

The name of the bookstore is Northside Books, Northbridge.

They even have a little café inside (with snacks!), places where you can sit inside the bookstore and café tables to sit on the footpath outside.

It’s on 212 William Street, Northbridge, almost on the corner of James Street, opposite the famous Brass Monkey Hotel.

So if you happen to be a closet book nerd (like me) and if you happen to be passing by, do pop in and say hi!

(And check out a couple of Charles Dickens books on his sale racks for $5!)

Or pop into their Northside Books Facebook page!

 


day of week

Looking up, looking down, looking forward

29 July 2014

Margaret River 2014

While were we in Margaret River, we took the kids on a wintery bush walk somewhere off Carters Road.

It was so peaceful and beautiful! The colours of the trees were singing out with life in the soft forest light.

Margaret River 2014

I looked up and was mesmerised by the black and grey masterpiece printed in the sky.

A light sprinkle of rain fell. And occasionally, a burst of sunshine spilled little coins of light onto the forest floor.

Margaret River 2014

The mud stuck to our boots, but it didn’t stop us from following the track into town.

The children ran ahead and disappeared out of sight. Their shouts of laughter seemed muted in the thickness of the bush.

Us adults strolled slowly, hand in hand with our loved ones, through the cathedral of trees that made us feel like kings and queens.

Simple holiday pleasures, which cost close to nothing, are definitely the best!


day of week

Just go for it, girl

28 July 2014

Crop Top + Jeans

When it comes to finding my own personal style and dressing for my body shape, after many years of experimenting, I think I’ve finally figured out what works best for me.

I have a very petite, hourglass figure – which lets me get away with a lot – but I have short legs.

If I wear a long top, a long tunic, a pelplum top, a drop waist top, or even a shirt that ends below the waist, I always feel overly elongated and visually “top heavy”. This may or may not be an accurate certainty… but fashion is all about how it makes one feel right?

So I’ve learnt several tricks. I tuck my tops into my bottoms in order to highlight my waist. I tie knots into my t-shirts. I wear belts over shapeless dresses to highlight my waist. I wear short shorts to elongate my legs.

And most recently I’ve found the ultimate optical illusion for short people like me… the crop top! Yes, it’s not for everyone. And as I keep saying, if you’ve got the goods (whatever they are), just go for it girl!

Making your waist look like it starts higher than it really does, the crop top is a short-legged person’s best friend.

I have recently picked up a loose fitting crop t-shirt in white, black and grey – all in preparation for the warm summer months.

I love wearing them with high waisted jeans and tropical print pencil skirts.

Black crop top from The Iconic, Check shirt by Tokyo Fashion, White jeans by JCrew, white sneakers by Converse (Surfstitch), Crossbody bag from Witchery, Diver watch by Rotary.

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


day of week

A birthday of bagpipe farts

25 July 2014

For my birthday, my husband and I planned to go out for a fancy, romantic, degustation dinner. In fact, I was so organised that I booked the restaurant about 6 weeks earlier. It was at a restaurant that I have been dying to visit… and finally I had an excuse to spend hundreds of dollars on a meal there!

So on the day of my birthday, my family made me breakfast: Bacon, eggs, mushrooms and spinach.

It was just how I liked it. So much love right there.

My Birthday 2014

In the afternoon, I went out to lunch with my parents.

We shared a huge bowl of delicious nachos. I had my usual soy flat white.

My Birthday 2014

After lunch, we chatted and did a bit of shopping. Then I went to pick up my kids from school, brought them home and fed them a snack.

Since my husband and I were going out for dinner that evening, all 3 of my kids were going to have a sleep-over at my parent’s house. Yay! Like I said, I was super organised.

I grabbed their ready-packed clothes and drove over to my parents house. I dropped them off and zoomed home by 4:30pm… giving myself HEAPS of time to have a shower, wash my hair, put on my makeup, style my hair, and put together an evening outfit for a hot Friday night date with my husband.

But on the way home…I started to feel…unsettled. And the feeling grew. A sense of anxiety came over me.

By the time I reached my house, I realised I was feeling sick, and the feeling was growing fast.

There was a sudden pain in my stomach. I felt swollen with sickness. I wanted to throw up. My head was spinning. I felt so freaking bad that I had to lie down on my bed.

I curled up into a fetal position, squeezed my eyes shut and my head spun into a pit of swirling darkness.

I laid there, fully dressed and still wearing my makeup and shoes… and I blacked out.

At 5:30pm, I opened one eye.

OMG I was still in agony. I looked down at my stomach and I couldn’t believe it. It was huge, swollen and round and I looked like I was 6 months pregnant!!! WHAT THE HELL DID I EAT???

I reached behind me, my hands clumsily slapping the bed sheets, looking for my handbag. I found my phone and I called my husband.

The conversation went something like: URNGH. I’m sick. I ate something bad. I feel like shit. Not going out tonight. Cancel the restaurant booking. I’m staying bed.

I passed out again.

My husband came home, checked that I was still breathing, put a bucket next to my bedside table and left me sleeping.

At 9:30pm, I opened one eye again.

My necklaces were tangled in my hair. One earring was wedged into my ear. I smudged makeup and lipstick all over my pillow and sheets. I had one shoe off and one shoe on. My body was aching. My head was still dizzy. My stomach was still swollen, and I was still in pain.

Yeah, Happy Birthday Karen.

I got out of bed, took off all my jewellery, changed into my pajamas, washed my face… and tenderly staggered out into the lounge room where my husband was watching TV and enjoying his lonely Friday night “man” dinner – toast.

I plopped down next to him on the couch.

And then it happened.

I let out the BIGGEST FART of my life.

It started out resembling a big brass tuba blasting through the cushions of the couch. There was such a change in air pressure I think my ear drums popped. Then it became like a bagpipe belting out morse code. DOT DOT DAAAASH. It wouldn’t stop. Oh my god, I had to leave the room to try and save the last shreds of my dignity. My husband laughed as I fled, jet propelled.

(Mercifully, the pain in my stomach slowly subsided throughout the rest of the night. The “flatulence” did not. And every few minutes, I had a little wind instrument explosions from down below.)

I rang my mum to see if she was feeling ok (we both ate the bowl of nachos) and she was just fine, so it was not something that I ate. And then it hit me… my soy flat white tasted a bit different than usual. Damn it… they probably put REAL milk in my coffee! Grr.

My husband was very supportive. After his initial laughter, he didn’t mention my musical bottom at all. Bless him.

When we finally went to bed, he bravely spooned me and gave me a birthday cuddle in bed, being careful not to squeeze me too tight.

He said: “You know, Honey, even after all these years together, you are still full of surprises.”

And that is how we keep the romance alive! :P


day of week

Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

24 July 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

The other day I had some left over waffle batter in the fridge. I don’t know how was that even possible, because we LOVE eating waffles.

Anyway, the batter was all thick and gluggy, so I added a bit of water to it and then it became a bit too watery.

I cooked it up in my waffle maker anyway. They didn’t rise very well, but OH MY the results tasted a bit like crispy, crunchy pancakes with that soft, spongy moistness.

They were incredible to eat.

I ate like 4 (!!), which is more than I’ve ever eaten in one sitting.

My waffle batter recipe has no added sugar to it, but that’s kind of pointless since I ended up sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top haha!

Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

My Basic Waffle Recipe

65g of butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water
2 cups of SR Flour
pinch of bicarb soda
pinch of salt

I used to separate the eggs and beat them separately. But now I can’t be bothered.

So I literally just mix all the wet ingredients.

Then stir in all the dry ingredients, until smooth. Takes 2 minutes.

My waffle pans take ¼ cup of waffle batter. Cook them up until golden brown.

Cinnamon Sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top while hot, and my god, try not to eat too many!

Enjoy!


day of week

What I Wore: Girl’s Night Outs

22 July 2014

This year I promised myself that I was going to go out and see more of my girlfriends.

I know it sounds like such a simple and unambitious resolution to make (it’s something I should be doing anyway!) but hey, it’s July and half the year is gone already! If I don’t keep myself organised and mindful of these things, they usually just slip away and before I know it, the end of the year approaches far too soon.

So when I go out with my girlfriends… we don’t go clubbing. We don’t go dancing. We don’t go to bars to listen to live music. In fact, we try very hard to stay away from all those noisy places.

We just like to sit and talk, have a nice dinner, drinks, dessert and just catch up haha!

As long as there are no husbands and kids, we’re very happy!

Girls Night Out

I managed to take a quick phone snap of what I wore for my last 4 dinner dates. They are all simple and black outfits :)

Left:
Top is actually a dress by In Good Company
Leather pants from Topshop
Boots from Vangoh Shoes
Earrings by Mezi

Right:
Top by Splendid, from Shopbop
Leather pants from Topshop
Faux fur jacket by Sarah (Korea)
Necklace by Wanderlust & Co
Black heels by Acne Studios from Forward By Elyse Walker

Girls Night Out

Coincidentally, for the photo on the left, I took this picture before I went out and before I put on my bracelets and rings.

And on the right, I took the photo after I came home, and after I took off my bracelets and rings :P

Funny how the colour of my bathroom changes my skin tone depending on what time of day it is!

Left:
Lace dress by Lily Whyt
Heels by Habbot Studios
Black blazer from ClubCouture

Right:
Sparkle dress from Forever New
Earrings by Alister Yiap
Black 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.


day of week

Hello Margaret River!

18 July 2014

Hello hello! I have just returned from two weeks of school holidays. This time we headed down to visit the beautiful South West Region of Western Australia, centered on a town called Margaret River.
Margaret River 2014

It’s the region famous for it’s wines, beaches, forests and caves.

Not surprisingly I have have hundreds of photos to be edited, so here are a few highlights of my trip.

Margaret River 2014

The coastline was just gorgeous. We went fishing off the rocks of Gracetown (near Margaret River). Well… all the boys went fishing. They didn’t catch anything, but it was fun just to be there and walk along the coast.

I spent most of my time watching all the hot local surfers, and wishing I could surf!

Margaret River 2014

The surrounding forest area was stunning! The light, the colours, the sounds, the smells – oh it was all simply breathtaking. It looked like a movie set for a blockbuster fantasy.

My husband and I (and the kids) have all vowed to return for a longer bush walking and camping trip.

Margaret River 2014

We went for several bush walks. And as we were walking along, the floor of the forest suddenly seemed to open up to reveal a HUGE cave amongst the trees! It was amazing! Like another movie set!

But seriously… the caves were well signed and we followed a clear track to find this entrance. So it wasn’t like we were going to simply fall into one.

The actual cave was only accessible by joining an accredited abseiling group. We watched a bunch of abseilers drop 45m into the bottom of the cave entrance, and that was when we realised just how big it was. It looked like so much fun. This was definitely another must do for us!

I have lots more photos to share, so do pop back next week!

xxx


day of week

Right, left, right, left… Do you love Body Combat too?

14 July 2014

I’ve been going to a few Body Combat classes lately.

It’s kind of fun. A bunch of ladies punching at the air, while a fitness instructor shouts at us over the roaring music. It feels a bit silly.

But after the class, my biceps, triceps and muscles on my shoulders and back GLOW with a pain that promises my arms to look like Michelle Bridges, so that makes it worth looking silly, right?

The last time I tried Body Combat was 10 years ago. I was horrifically unfit and halfway into the class, I wanted to curl over and puke. But this time I am much fitter, so I manage to keep up pretty well.

I go at it pretty hard. There’s no point in doing weak pathetic punches, so I try to give my punches some power.

My coordination is so bad though!

Geez I’m terrible at the steps, the fancy foot work and trying to remember the routines.

I managed to PUNCH MYSELF IN THE FACE during the class! Who does that?!

Right jab, left jab, right jab, left hook, right hook, left upper-cut, right upper-cut… TRICKY RIGHT?

I got my right upper-cut mixed up with a right hook, so I klonked myself in the cheek.

I stood there for a moment, imaging cartoon stars coming out of my left ear.

I’m sure the instructor saw me.

Then I spent the rest of the class trying not to laugh.. at MYSELF!

I guess I need to practice my WAX ON and WAX OFF technique :P


day of week

Gorgeous Apple Pie (with no refined sugar)

11 July 2014

Apple Pie

I have been experimenting with different pastry recipes over the last few months… and I have found my winner!

I’m no pastry expert, but this one ticks all of my boxes:

It is easy to prepare, easy to roll, robust and elastic, it cooks well, it has a gorgeous buttery taste, and it has a lovely crunch!

Plus when I pile on tonnes of fruit, it doesn’t get gluggy and remain uncooked where the fruit sits on the pastry.

I have since made 4 or 5 pies/tarts with this recipe and the pastry always turns out perfect!

The recipe is based on a Donna Hay recipe, but I have omitted all the sugar. Still tastes amazing! Especially when it is filly with stewed fruit, which is crazy sweet!

Green Apples

Apple Pie Filling
10 green apples, cored and quartered
1/2 cup of dried cranberries, chopped

I grated all the apples in my food processor. Actually my 9yo son did it. It took him 3 minutes!

I put the apples and cranberries into a pot and simmered on low/medium heat for 30 minutes while I made the pastry.

The resulting apple mush should be dry and you shouldn’t be able to see pools of liquid at the bottom of the pot.

Rinse out your food processor.

Basic Vanilla Pastry
270g of cold butter, chopped
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/4 cup of ice water
2 1/2 cups (225g) of plain flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder

Extras:
Extra butter for greasing your pastry dish
1 whisked egg for brushing on top of the pie

(I think you are supposed to process the butter and flour first. Then add water + vanilla. But I’m not very precious with my pastry.)

1. Throw all the ingredients into the food processor (with pastry blade) and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Let it mix some more until it starts to clump together.

2. Pour the dough out onto your counter top and give it a good knead. 2 minutes is long enough for me.

3. Throw it into the fridge (just in a bowl with a plate on top, why waste plastic cling wrap?) while you clean up your counter top. I only ever leave it in there for 5 minutes tops.

4. Halve the dough. Roll it out between one or two sheets of baking paper. One half is for the pie base and the other is for the pie top.

5. Grease a 24cm diameter pie dish with a bit of butter. Place pastry base into the dish. Work the pastry base so it looks nice.

6. Pour the apple filling into the base and spread it out evenly. Cut up the other rolled pastry into 1.5 cms strips and place neatly over the apple filling.

7. I like to brush the top pastry with whisked egg, to give it that golden glow.

8. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 180C. Or until golden brown!

Eat while hot, with ice cream!

Enjoy xxx


day of week

Running With My Boys

10 July 2014

I have been doing a bit of running with my boys, aged 11 and 9.

They seem to like running, and I like running. So it works for all of us.

Basically, I see it as a fun, free and easy way to entertaining the kids (and wear them out), while I get a good workout too haha!

I take them out to random and fun places to run… we call it “training”. I tell them that one day we are all going to run a marathon together in Paris or London. I don’t think they really know what that means, but they like the idea anyway.

Running 4 Feet

While running, or preparing to run, I like to talk to them about running techniques, enjoying the run, working on your own personal best times, setting goals, working towards your goals and doing a little bit more day by day. But I almost never talk about winning.

I feel that I shouldn’t fill them up with false hope or set any unrealistic dreams or expectations.

You see, my kids are short. Like, really short. With short legs. I don’t expect them to win running races.

There are SO MANY kids that are taller, stronger, fitter, and who have longer legs… which give them a huge advantage over my kids.

So when my boys say they want to try out for a running race, or join a running team. I’m so nonchalant and casual about it, I just shrug, “Oh ok. That’s cool. Have fun. Try your best.”

And that’s about all I’ll ever say to them. I don’t want them to have unreasonable expectations that get crushed.

Champion Boy Cross Country

Anyway, can you imagine my utter shock (bordering on disbelief) when my eldest son came home with this?!?

He won first place in his school’s Cross Country event. And he received a Champion Boy medal for Year 6!

Whoa!!

My other son came in 5th place for his year group, which was equally impressive!

I was *bursting* with pride for the both of them!!

They have certainly taught me a lesson… that limits are in the mind (in this case, mine), as much as in the legs. :)


day of week

What I Wore: Rose and Lace

9 July 2014

Rose and Lace

For my birthday, I splurged a little and bought myself a very cute + cool, Alexander Wang Marion cross body bag.

I’ve been eyeing this bag for a while (but in black), and eventually bought it online through a private sale at 80% off! I’m so in love with it!

I don’t have many designer bags, and that is mostly by choice.

After all, I have to save up for more important things like… future dental work for ALL THREE of my children!! :P

Rose and Lace

The days have been slightly warmer, so it’s been nice to walk around in shorts and a light coat.

My shorts were actually Sass and Bide jeans, which I bought at a clearance sale. I didn’t really need more jeans, but who could resist a pair of S&Bs for $30?

Anyway, I decided that I have too many pairs of jeans, so I armed myself with some scissors and a sewing machine and turned them into shorts. Can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear them more often!

Have a fabulous day!

Rose pink jacket by AL&ALICIA
Lace tunic from Korea
Denim shorts by Sass and Bide
Boots by Vangoh Shoes

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


day of week

Master Presents and Masterchefs

7 July 2014

It was my birthday on the weekend and…

Here are the presents my boys gave me! In my last post, I mentioned that I was training my boys to be thoughtful and creative when buying gifts. This is because they will have to go out, find a wife, and keep her happy… so they had better be good at proving they understand her! After all, I want LOTS of grandchildren haha!

Since it was their first time buying serious presents for a woman, I gave them a LOT of hints.

First up, I asked them to buy me a scarf and it had to be a monochrome pattern. I loved their pick!

Karen's Birthday 2014

Then I gave them a wishlist of books and asked them to chose one.

Lastly, I asked for something I could grow. I got something to look at, AND something to eat! Excellent!

They were lovely gifts. I’m super happy!

However, I think my husband won the most points for thoughtfulness and romance with his gift.

Usually I’m really fussy with MY presents bought with his/my/our money. I have told him absolutely straight – don’t buy me jewellery, bags, purses, underwear, clothes. Please. Just don’t. I am so particular with what I wear and carry. And he is terrible at guessing what I want (which changes month by month, or even hour to hour) but hey, he’s fabulous in almost every other way. So I’m definitely keeping him :) But this year…

Karen's Birthday 2014

He gave me a cherry blossom tree!

I love it! I’m so excited!

I’ve always wanted one in my garden. It is currently a dead-looking twig stuck into a bag at the moment haha. But hopefully it will bloom for us this spring, which is in September in Australia.

Anyway, as well as the gifts, my boys surprised me with a secret Masterchef style, 3 course dinner!

They designed the dinner menu, bought all the ingredients, cooked everything (with help from my husband) and presented it to me in a fancy restaurant style.

Karen's Birthday 2014

This is what the table looked like at 5pm. The boys (and my husband) were all cooking up a storm in the kitchen, while I sat back with a cup of tea and painted my nails. Loved it already!

Karen's Birthday 2014

Finally dinner started at 6:30pm. I was presented with the entree, mushroom soup. My favourite! It was made entirely by my 9 year old.

It was actually delicious. I was a bit shocked at how good it was.

It was made from butter, 1 onion, 1 leek, 1L of chicken stock, 500g of mushrooms, some cream and fresh chives. So simple and soooooo yummy!

I raved about it, and my 9 yr old went all shy, “Aww mum, you’re just saying that to encourage me to cook more…”

“No, really, I mean it! It’s very yummy! Yes it was probably a good recipe, but you executed it really well. So well done buddy!”

I had two bowls of it.

Karen's Birthday 2014

For the main course, I was presented with homemade bread sticks and homemade dips. I was going to point out that bread sticks were usually served as an entree, but I kept my mouth shut instead.

I was told that one of the three dips was a pre-made dip, bought from the shop. And part of the dinner entertainment was to guess which was homemade and which was pre-made. How funny!

It was easy to guess, because the herb + cream cheese dip and the herb + oil dip were both amazing! And the shop bought humus was – well, bland by comparison.

Karen's Birthday 2014

My 11 year old was the mastermind behind the main dish and the dessert.

The dessert platter consisted of vanilla ice cream (bought) drizzled with homemade toffee + passion fruit pulp, strawberries dipped in chocolate, handmade coconut balls, and a slice of mango.

Later on, it turned out that my 11yo had planned to  make homemade churros too! The kid definitely gets points for ambition!

But it was getting late, and hubby wisely cancelled the dish. The idea of three excited kids squeezing churro dough into 4L of boiling vegetable oil at 8:45pm at night, was not very wise.

I can’t believe my husband agreed to all this craziness! Just one dessert would have been fine!

Ah, I was so loved up by the end of it all.

It was the most adorable thing ever. I am so in love with my family!!

My boys certainly impressed the socks off me for both their thoughtfulness and creativity :)

(I am the luckiest MUMMY in the world!)


day of week

A Lesson on Gift Giving

4 July 2014

Roses from the Garden

My children asked me what I wanted for my birthday this month.

In the past, I’ve just said stuff along the lines of, “Aww, I’ll love anything you give me. Just put some thought into it!”

So I would get handmade cards, lop sided cakes, popstick craft, pasta necklaces, and bunches of hand-picked mangled flowers/weeds from the garden. Oh how I loved all those innocent, unconditional, adorable, sweet and simple acts of kindness!

But now that my two big boys are a bit older (age 11 and 9), their own ideas about what constitutes a good gift has evolved. They themselves would rather receive money, itunes gift cards, books, computer games, digital devices and gadget paraphernalia. Extremely efficient and practical gifts, but not very thoughtful. Even they would agree to that.

So as the only female in the house, I feel it’s my duty to push the whole idea of being thoughtful, creative, romantic, and generous when it comes to gift giving.

I do feel a bit sorry for them. They’ll have YEARS ahead of them where they will be stumped as to what to buy their girlfriends, wives, sister and mother in laws. Who can possibly know the way to a woman’s heart?

Haha I guess I am happy to give them a few years of training, starting with MY BIRTHDAY!

And since it’s their first year doing this… I’ve given them a few simple guidelines. A few big, fat clues.

Mum loves drinking tea. Mum loves scarves. Mum loves books. Mum loves candles. Mum loves vintage plates and cups. But most of all, mum loves flowers. It’s all about research and creativity, my boys.

It has stressed them out a little. What if you don’t like it? What if you already have that? What if you have something else in mind that you’d rather have?

So I say, once again… “Aww, I’ll love anything you give me.”

But what they need to learn is that what I actually mean: “It had better be something that shows you understand me!!!”


day of week

New Shelves and Old School National Geographic

3 July 2014

Things have been go go GO over here in my house. We’ve embarked on a few outstanding projects, minor renovations and epic cleaning sprees! It’s all been so inspiring!

This is our latest project.

New Shelves

When we moved into our house 3 years ago, we had always planned to have a beautiful stretch of Jarrah timber wall shelves, built into our 4m wall in our main lounge room. This would match our floorboards, because we love Jarrah.

Jarrah trees are native to Western Australia, and it is a super hard wood, with the warm colours of toffee and honey. Check out those colours and grain! But Jarrah is expensive, and it is a custom job my husband wants to do himself. So that shelving project had, quite literally, been put on the shelf.

Since then we have kept ALL of our books, magazines, albums, photo frames, precious objects… stored in boxes in our shed.

And for our 4m wall, we just kept leaning random crap against it (boxes, files, folders, random bits of furniture and a spare double bed mattress?!)

So FINALLY, we have set up an interim solution.

My husband and I set up some white chipboard shelves, given to us by my father in law. They are a bit old and crappy (they were stored in a garage, and have some water damage at the bottom)… but hey, they were free, and there’s nothing like crappy, old furniture to give the place a bit of charm :)

My husband gave me the option of painting them white, to make them look fresh and new. But that would mean possibly 5 coats of white paint with lots of drying time, which could take me over 2 weeks to do. That was just a bit too long for me to wait. I needed to get my books out of the wet weather! I decided to give them a good clean and leave them as they were.

I lugged out 14 BOXES OF STUFF from our shed. They were riddled with silverfish and spiders!

Boxes

Look at all those boxes!

New Shelves

Ta da! It looks so cool!

But this is just the first installment. I realised that I have another 2 boxes of books and objects that need to go on the shelves, so I will have to do a book cull (do I really need my uni marketing book??) and maybe put my photo frames on the wall instead.

Anyway, as I said, this is just an temporary solution. We still want our Jarrah wall shelves. But I might have to wait another 3 years for them!

Oh and we’ve got lots of beautiful old treasures that the kids have never seen before. Look at this!

New Shelves

My husband has an old collection of especially-special-to-him National Geographic magazines, the earliest one is from 1962 (before he was even born)! They are packed with amazing pictures and stories that make my toes tingle. And this is possibly one of the most famous Nat Geo covers?

It’s like there is a whole world in our living room now, and I’m so happy that our things are finally out of storage!


day of week

What I Wore: Pillowcase Chic

2 July 2014

Pillow Case Chic

I don’t like to wear shapeless clothes. It makes me feel short, it makes my legs look short (my legs ARE short), and I just feel like an out-of-proportioned dumpling.

Most times I will tuck a loose-fitting top into my skirt or pants, so I don’t look like I’m wearing a potato sack. This will highlight my waist, therefore give a visual clue as to where my body stops and my legs begin. I feel this makes my legs look longer and it best highlights my petite proportions.

While I think it’s important to dress for your body shape… I have to admit, I’ve been a bit bored with my “usual look”.  Sometimes it’s just FUN to break the rules I set for myself.

So recently I’ve decided to experiment with a different silhouette.

I went waist-less. I channeled some pillowcase chic!

I chose a top that was breezy and loose-fitting. This one has a gorgeous strap detail which balances out the flared hem nicely. (Thin straps are also very on trend at the moment!) My skirt is a mini tulip skirt with polka dots. I adore the muted, two-toned colour combination and the splash of white from my sneakers.

The ensemble is so cute and matchy, it looks like a sophisticated summer dress!

Have you played with a different silhouette recently?

Or are you a safe-dressing shorty like me?! :)

Top from In Good Company
Skirt from AL&ALICIA (from Rockstar Singapore)
Sneakers by Converse (Surfstitch)
Felt hat from ASOS