Archive for March 2016


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Fitness Update: Running Essentials

30 March 2016


A few of my running essentials: Water, tunes, running watch and running fuel. I tend to drive to a nice running spot, so I can leave all my bits and pieces in my car. Adidas Originals Sneakers from here.

Monday: Nothing!

Tuesday: 6km run

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: Nothing!

Friday: Practice yoga at home

Saturday: 30 minute HIIT workout at home

Sunday: Practice yoga at home


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GoTidy Packing Set and A Leather Overnighter Bag

29 March 2016

Brought to you by CiaoBella Travel

I have a few overseas trips coming up this year and I’m super excited for a bit of a getaway!

While I’m not a frequent jet-setter who travels around the world every month – I do have a few pearls of wisdom to share.

One of my travelling peeves is:  having messy luggage.

Argh I can’t stand it! I’ve tried to separate my clothes with zip lock bags, dry-cleaning plastic clothes bags, drawstring cloth bags, even paper shopping bags to keep them tidy.

But it never works. My nice, fragile, delicate clothes always get messed up with my casual/stinky clothes.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

Enter the Go Travel 3 Piece Organising Set.

I have been itching to get my hands on this product for my upcoming trip :)

Especially since I’m going to an overseas wedding and I have several delicate garments to pack.

I was the one who initiated this blog post. I hunted it down, found it online, tested it out and now I’m dying to share how cool it is!

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

The pack comes with 3 little rectangular cases.

They have a depth, like a box, but they are made from a breathable, nylon cloth, with a zip and have a little plastic window each.

They are not hard and stiff like a cosmetics case. They are cloth-like bags and compress nicely with the rest of my clothes.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

They are perfect for my silk dresses, my delicate lace dresses, sequin skirts, soft fabrics, fine knits and more.

The smaller case would be great for lingerie, ties, silk camisoles, even shoes.

The small case is 23cm long, the medium is 28cm long and the large is 45cm long.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

The large case is perfect for business shirts, silk shirts or even a small jacket.

I’d say that the large case can comfortably fit 3 business shirts.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

I like that my clothes are all neatly secured in these cases.

I like that if my luggage gets tossed around, my clothes won’t churn around and end up so they snag on the luggage zip. Or if my luggage springs open, my delicate clothes won’t end up on the floor.

Case Tidy from CiaoBella Travel

I love that they zip up into rectangles too. So neat and tidy! It makes my inner neat-freak happy.

The cases also come in white, blue and violet.

Check out the Go Travel 3 Piece Organising Set here.

(Get 15% off your order with my discount code below.)


Manzoni Leather Luggage from CiaoBella Travel

This next item is something that has been on my wishlist for a long time: A Leather Overnighter Bag

This is the Manzoni Overnighter Bag and this one is in Tan.

While I adore handbags and totes, I’ve found that it’s pretty difficult to find one suitable for travelling.

Basically I wanted a sturdy, carry-on bag for the airplane. I wanted one big enough to fit all my carry-on requirements. And I wanted it in leather.

This bag has been perfect for me!

Manzoni Leather Luggage from CiaoBella Travel

You see, during my last few airplane trips, I realised that I needed a much bigger and better carry on bag.

I realised that like to travel with lots of stuff – cardigan, book, water bottle, snacks, toiletries bag, camera, purse, phone, iPad, notebook, document wallet. And that’s just my stuff. Being a mum means I have to carry stuff for some of my kids too.

Anyway, I know lots of girls who love their Longchamp Le Pliage or Country Road Canvas Duffle Bag and use them for travelling, but for me, because the sides are nylon or canvas, I feel that they don’t offer enough protection. They are just too floppy and I don’t feel good about putting my camera and devices in them.

I love that this bag is made from a lovely soft grain leather. It is strong, thick, relaxed leather and not stiff and hard. It doesn’t stink too.

The craftsmanship is lovely. The zips are smooth. The handles and base are strong.

The bag is sturdy yet looks slightly slouchy. It really is a quality bag.

Manzoni Leather Luggage from CiaoBella Travel

I went to all the big department stores and a few specialty luggage stores to see how this Manzoni bag compared to others in the market.

The verdict: Excellent! Which is why I’m doing this review!

Duffle travel bags are not very stylish (here’s an example). It’s difficult to find one in a nice minimal style in leather. The nice leather ones are super expensive and priced over $400!!

So this Overnighter Bag is MUCH more affordable, excellent value and stylish.

It is a fabulous size too.

Manzoni Leather Luggage from CiaoBella Travel

Currently the Black version is on sale. Which means with my discount below, it only costs $204 (without shipping). Err, you can’t even buy a leather handbag at Witchery for that price.

It also comes in red, orange, navy and dark brown, check them all out here.

Im so, so pleased with my bag and again, I can’t wait to use it on the plane for my next trip!

Get 15% off your TOTAL order from CiaoBella Travel

Simply use the code “KAREN15″ at the checkout to receive the discount.

Promotion expires on 31st May 2016.

Happy shopping everyone!

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New Lettuce

26 March 2016

Lettuce Harvest

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve kept a vegetable garden.

I’ve had endless problems with ants, rats, fruit flies, old reticulation… so much so, I needed to take a break from growing my usual run of snow peas, tomatoes, beans, zucchini and broccoli.

(I do keep  5-6 herbs though, because they are so simple to keep.)

However a few weeks ago, I found half an old wooden barrel and I just had to put some potting mix and lettuce together!

Now every few days I get a lovely bunch of fresh baby lettuce leaves to toss into a salad. Just like my old organic gardening days!

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Crushing: Simple Evening Outfits

25 March 2016

My husband and I have been going out on regular summer date nights, without the kids!

Whenever we go out, I always wear something simple and elegant – not too dressy or fancy or glamourous or over-the-top.

And while I’m out, I always check out what other women are wearing on their date nights. It’s always so refreshing to see what real women are wearing. No surprise, I’m always drawn to the simple and elegant outfits.

Here’s what I’m crushing at the moment: This dress by Diane von Furstenberg.

Diane Von Furstenberg dress and accessories

Diane von Furstenberg Fleurette Dress – Super pretty, silk and it also comes in a nude colour.

GAS Bijoux Huichol Flores Earrings – love a touch of boho style for day or night

Diane von Furstenberg Shimmer Embossed Clutch – need a nude clutch to go with everything

Diane von Furstenberg Florence City Sandals – mid heel thanks

What are you crushing at the moment?

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What We Wore: Emoji Costume Party

24 March 2016

Recently we were invited to an Emoji Themed Birthday Party!

It was the birthday of my two gorgeous cousins, turning 18 and 21. Naturally they chose something uber-cool and millennial haha. They invited friends and family, all my aunties, uncles, my parents and grandparents… and most people made a fab effort to dress up.

We spent a week on our costumes – planning, sourcing props and creating them. It was heaps of fun.

This is what we wore!

Emoji Costume Party

I was the haircut girl!

I was going to lacquer my hair to make it stiff and flat, but I couldn’t get it right. So I decided to make a cardboard wig instead. It looked so silly. But authentic.

I also found a little girl’s pink top for $3.

Emoji Costume Party

My husband was too busy with work to get involved with any planning or creation of a costume.

So I made one for him – The “Frustrated Face”. Very apt, I thought haha.

Check out my mad painting skills. I even painted it up with a gradient and all!

Emoji Costume Party

My oldest boy chose to go as a money bag.

I bought some cloth, sewed up the sides like an upside-down pillowcase, then he painted a $ sign on it. We filled it up with balloons so it would look bulky and full.

He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts underneath, but the moneybag covered his clothes, so it looked a bit weird, like he was naked?!

He also made some little wads of bills, that he gave out to people and left in little piles lying around around the party.

Emoji Costume Party

My middle boy was a chocolate donut. So cute!

We made two cardboard donuts and strapped them together to his front and back.

But during the party, he collected up a few of the emoji props and added them to his costume.

Emoji Costume Party

My youngest boy wanted to go as a lollypop.

He also explained to me in great detail, WHAT his costume was going to consist of, and HOW he was going to wear it. He just wanted to print out the emoji and sticky tape it to his t-shirt.

It seemed too simple and quite frankly… inferior and substandard as a costume.

At first, I said “NO it has to be a 3D costume”, “It has to match all of our 3D costumes!”

We were going as a family and we all had to match!

I was completely happy to make him a huge, AWESOME cardboard lollypop that he could carry around, or wear on his head or body. But he refused.

I fought with him for 4 DAYS, arguing and negotiating, sweetly trying to convince him, involve him. I also tried using emotional blackmail… but nup. He wouldn’t budge on the issue.

So in the end I gave in. Humph.

Other costumes for the night – Someone dressed up as a poo emoji, a toilet, the dancing girls, my little nephews went as 3 matching sushi (salmon, tuna and prawn, so cute!), a dolphin, a city building, lots of faces, lots of girls in pink!

It was such a fun party!!

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Diva Drape for Swimwear Cover-Up

22 March 2016

Brought to you by CiaoBella Travel

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

Hey hey everyone! I’m going to Bali in a few weeks – for the first time!

In preparation for the hours of poolside lounging and cocktail sipping, I’m testing out this Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel.

Yes there are a lot of photos of ME in this post, standing in exactly the same pose, with the exact same smile. So if that creeps you out, feel free to scroll on by, haha.

I also have a 15% off discount code to share, so again, feel free to scroll to the end to grab the code.

What is it:

The Diva Drape is a versatile drape that can be worn 10 ways or more.

It’s a made from a light weight, quick-dry, crinkle chiffon, so you don’t have to iron it. You can just roll it up and pop it into your bag, or tie it in a knot on your handbag handle like a scarf, or just wear it as a scarf on the plane. It’s pretty cool!

I thought it might look a bit daggy as a kaftan… but it’s actually quite sexy and looks great!

Here are some of my favourite ways to wear it:

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

The drape is actually two bits of soft fabric held together with some metal studs.

You can pop your head through it and the drape becomes a shawl top.

I’d be very happy to wear it like this, over my swimsuit. But I guess you could wear it as a top – with jeans and a tank top underneath.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

If you turn it the other way, it becomes a kaftan.

I really like this one and would definitely wear it like this.

I like that that is it sheer enough to see my bikini, but *just* enough to cover up too.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

I really like this version too!

The drape becomes a strapless dress. I just tied a double knot at my chest, and it felt secure and comfortable.

Because the fabric is thin, the knot wasn’t bulky and it was easy to move around in.

Again the fabric is just sheer enough to show off a bit of my swimsuit.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

The drape also turns into a sarong.

I like this version because it’s so simple, comfortable and easy to tie up and go.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

Hey look, I made this version up!

It’s kind of a halter neck dress and it just needed a small double knot behind my neck.

It looks quite stylish! You’ll definitely see me wearing this by the pool with a book and cup of tea!

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

This one was quite nice too. It’s a bolero robe style and it was just so effortless.

If I was wearing a tank, with jeans or a skirt, I would be happy to pop this over as a cardi / shawl thing.

Diva Drape from CiaoBella Travel

Lastly, I like that when I fold the drape lengthwise, it becomes a scarf.

It’s not bulky, heavy or itchy. It’s versatile and lightweight.

Despite all the folding, draping and tying, the textured fabric still looks great. No need to iron!

This drape design also come in other colours. It is also made in Silk, or a Spandex Mesh material. So it depends on what you prefer.

I was tempted to try this Diva Drape in Black Silk or this Red, but I thought that the Champagne would be a nicer for daytime and compliment my floral swimsuits better. See all the Diva Drapes here.

Overall, I love versatility of it and can’t wait to try it out when I go to Bali!!

Get 15% off your total order from CiaoBella Travel

Simply use the code “KAREN15″ at the checkout to receive the discount.

Promotion expires on 31st May 2016.

Happy shopping everyone!

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Nachos for Dinner

21 March 2016


This is what we do with our left over spaghetti bolognese sauce!

We eat it with corn chips and salad.

Easiest dinner ever :)

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Fitness Update: With a bit of swimming

20 March 2016


Here’s an update of my fitness activities from last week.

I haven’t been as active as usual, but hey, whatever.

Monday – Played a game of netball

Tuesday – Went Swimming!

For the first time in forever, I headed over to my local swimming pool to do some laps! I did 10 laps, which is 500m, but I struggled with the last 2 laps and had to stop midway to catch my breath. I was completely exhausted but I felt awesome :)

Wednesday – Yoga

Thursday – Ran 2km in the evening.

Friday – Camping with my family (Swimming, paddling, walking along the beach, sand boarding and climbing sand dunes)

Saturday – Camping

Sunday – Camping

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What I Wore: Blush Off Shoulder Top

17 March 2016

ASOS Off Shoulder Top

Hellooo everyone!

What have you been up to this week? I went out to dinner with a girlfriend the other night. We ate Argentinean BBQ food in a tapas style and it was deeelicious! Plus I didn’t spill anything on myself haha.

It was also the first time I wore this pretty, new top I bought – Off Shoulder Top with Ruffle Sleeve from ASOS (on sale!).

ASOS Off Shoulder Top

I absolutely love LOVE the nude/blush colour, the ruffle bell sleeve, the length of the top and the whole  off-shoulder look.

I took a hunch and bought a size 8 (usually I wear size 6) but I wanted to have a bit more room to move in my shoulders… and it was a perfect fit.

The top comes in a gold style, a slightly different pale blue style and a slightly different white style too.

Are you sick of the off should look yet? Personally I think it’ll hang around for one more summer, so I’ve been stocking up on a nice variety of colours. I’ve got 2 whites, 2 black, 1 blue, 1 stripe and now this blush top… so I think I’m about done heh.

I’m also wearing:

Frame Jeans from Shopbop

Tony Bianco shoes from The Iconic

Alexander Wang Marion handbag (I bought it 2 years ago, preloved)

Have a marvellous weekend! We’re celebrating more birthdays on Saturday and Sunday :)

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Liam Turns 7!

16 March 2016

My youngest little boy, Liam turned 7 the other day!

We held a kids party (with pool and bouncy castle) for him, so leading up to it, there was lots to prepare. We spent a week cleaning the house and moving furniture out of the way.

And on the day of the party, I woke up to Liam’s To Do list. The kid loves lists!

Liam Turns 7

The other exciting thing was… we engaged the help of Organised Chaos Kids Party Hire, who specialise in themed party packages that are super affordable and stress free.

The business is owned by lovely (and talented!) friends of mine; they offer the CUTEST Frozen themes, Superhero themes, dinosaur themes, mermaid, construction, pirate and car themes, and they are all soooooooo adorable that I wanted to have more babies just so I could choose the “Garden Escape Party“!!

Liam Turns 7

We invited 10 kids to the party, and Liam chose the “Chaos Wars Party” package. He loves Star Wars at the moment.

I assumed that I would have to borrow a larger car to fit all the hire gear, but it turned out that the whole package was really compact and it fit into my car just fine. It was very convenient.

Liam was so excited when the box arrived. I pretty much sat back and let him organise everything! Ok not really. But with the supplied instructions, photos of the set up, it was all very easy to understand and put together.

Organised Chaos Party Hire

Ta da! It was soooooo cute!

One of my friends is an ex-graphic designer, so their included sign boards are specially made to add that personal touch to the party.

All the seat covers are handmade, using hardy materials. The table cover was a good quality vinyl fabric (not a cheap plastic table cloth) that withstood many spills and was easy to wipe down.

Liam Turns 7

All the kids WOWED when they saw the setting.

The figurines, the Darth Vader and Yoda heads, and the light sabres looked amazing as table decorations to set the scene.

The pack also came with balloons and paper ball lanterns (that looked like planets) so we hung them up, with a whole lot of streamers I had from previous parties.

Liam Turns 7

I loved that all the little bits and pieces were all included in the package – I didn’t have to do any party shopping at all!

I also loved that $5 of each party package hired goes to Heartkids WA, as the Organised Chaos team have a special connection with the charity.

Liam Turns 7

As for the rest of the party, the kids had a blast playing in the pool and the bouncy castle.

They just ran around like crazy kids!

Liam Turns 7

Then, without having to ask them, my two bigger boys, snuck off, dressed up in costume, pranced around entertaining everyone and led the party kids through some party games!

They are such wonderful and creative big brothers when they want to be :)

Oh and my Darth Vader boy didn’t have a red light saber, so he decided to use “The Sauce” (*roll eyes*).  Liam Turns 7

I’m not sure what the kids were playing here, but my big boys had the Star Wars Imperial March Song blasting in the background and it was just hilarious watching the kids march around!

Liam Turns 7

I set up a separate table (using my own cheap plastic table cloth!) to hold the cake and presents.

Before food time, I decided to remove ALL the figurines and light savers from the kid’s table, because I knew that the kids would start fighting with them and I didn’t want them to get damaged. I placed the whole lot on the cake table and they were great as props for photos.

Overall it was one of my easiest kid’s party yet!

We all had such a great time (except my husband, who got a bit of a headache after!) and I’m so thankful to all of my son’s friends who could join in to celebrate his special day.

Also big heartfelt thank you to Organised Chaos for sponsoring us with a party package.

Do check out their super cute website or Facebook page.

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That Blue!

15 March 2016

Moore River, Guilderton, Feb 2016

On the weekend, our family went on a quick camping trip to Guilderton and camped at the mouth of Moore River where it (almost) meets the ocean.

We just spent 2 days chilling out together, going for walks, swimming, sand boarding and eating lots of icy poles.

It was absolutely glorious to be unplugged, away from the city, and drinking up all the big blue skies!

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Big Dreams For My Family

13 March 2016

Brought to you by Lotterywest

Big Dreams For My Family

In 2002, my husband and I travelled around Scotland and England for our honeymoon. We spent 4 weeks climbing mountains, exploring castles, looking for loch monsters, discovering quaint little towns, and visiting my husband’s birthplace.

We were newly married, with no kids – it was glorious! Big Dreams For My Family

Now, 14 years later, with three kids in tow, one of my biggest dreams for my family is to travel back to Scotland. I’d love for my children to explore and experience it too.

Big Dreams For My Family


However, I don’t want to just have a quick tour of Scotland, I’d love to buy a little house and live there for while. 3 months? 6 months? Ah one can dream!

Added to that, I would love to travel to China and visit the places of my ancestors too.

Big Dreams For My Family

My mother’s family is from a little village called Kaiping in Guangdong (Canton), Southern China. Apparently my great grandfather has a memorial built in his honour, because he protected his village from bandits and was hailed a hero.

The village is also known for it’s unique, historic architecture and was the setting for one of China’s highest grossing films, staring Chow Yun Fat!

Big Dreams For My Family

My mother took these photos when she visited the Guangdong region in 1994. Her album is full of travel happy snaps, sparking in me a flame of adventure and discovering my roots. Ah, how I would love to do a long hiking, trekking, kayaking and cycling tour around Southern China with my family! Am I crazy? Maybe.

But that’s what big dreams are all about, right?

In collaboration with Lotterywest I’m inspiring a bit of grand, wishful dreaming and to remind everyone about this weekend’s $21 Million Superdraw!

Part of me feels a little embarrassed to share these big family aspirations. But hey, everyone has a Lotto dream… so here’s to life goals, epic family adventures and dreaming a little bigger!

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Crushing On: Nude Watches

10 March 2016

Nude watches by The Horse

These nude beauties are by The Horse from SurfStitch and are priced at AUD$139 each.

Here’s a tip: If you sign up to their newsletter you can received $20 off your next order and buy it for $119, which is a pretty excellent deal for a good quality, minimalist fashion watch.

I already own The Classic Unisex Leather Watch, which has a slightly smaller face and a black strap, for $189 (but I bought mine for $169).

Happy shopping!


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Reading The Classics: Anna Karenina

9 March 2016

Hi everyone!

I’m on a quest to read some of the most popular literary classics before I die.

It’s a bit tricky, because between my blogging interests, fitness, shopping, cooking, and being a mum… um, I don’t really have much time to fit it in.

But just like exercise, if I want it done, I have to schedule it in and just do it.

Classic Titles

I borrowed these utterly magical editions from my father-in-law. He has a whole WALL of leather bound editions, in immaculate, drop-dead-amazing condition, that make me squirm with envy.

I asked if I could borrow a few books to photograph and I picked out some titles I have read and want to read –

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (read)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (read)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (read)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (want to read)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (want to read)

Anna Karenina

I recently read Anna Karenina (my own copy, not this edition) and absolutely loved the language, the depth of characters, the immersion into 19th Century Russian society.

It was like Pride and Prejudice, but deeper, less-girly, with more drama and tragedy.

I wasn’t too crazy about Anna’s character though (I wanted to slap her! Get a grip woman!) but Tolstoy’s writing was just delightful and marvellous. His characters were amazing!

Anna Karenina

I was rather thrilled (more like, moved to silence) while pawing through this edition.

Either I really like books, or there’s something universally appealing of an old, beautifully bound book in perfect condition.

Anna Karenina

As I mentioned, I didn’t read this edition, but perhaps I should have. It would added a bit more magic to my reading.

Next up, I’m reading Great Expectations (my own copy, as I’m a bit too scared I might ruin my father in law’s copy!)

Check out my reading list on Goodreads.

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Ray-Ban Aviators in Pink and Gold

8 March 2016

Ray-bans Gold and Pink

I love my aviators sunglasses and I wear them all the time!

I find them slightly dressier than my plastic frame sunglasses; and I find that the gold frames (bling!) go really well when I wear delicate or fine jewellery.

I already have a pair of aviators with gold frame with green lenses and so I recently picked up a pair of gold frame with pink lenses.

Ray-Ban 3025 Aviator Gold

These are the Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses (3025) and they are size 55mm (Small). I have tried on the 58mm (Medium) and they are OK fit for me, but I just prefer the Small Size.

SunglassesShop have given my readers a 15% off discount on all orders, from today until the 22 March 2016.

Use the code at the checkout: KAREN15



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My No Fitness Update

6 March 2016


We had a kids party last weekend and I ate waaaay too much crappy, party food.

So I came down with a bit of food poisoning (actually it was just diarrhoea SORRY TOO MUCH INFO!!), I felt totally drained and tired all week and I did pretty much NOTHING exercisey.

Sunday: Prepping for a kids party all day. The running around after 10 kids! No actual exercising though.

Monday: Felt bad all day. I played a netball game in the evening. The other team had only 5 players against our 7, so we won 33 to 4 points. Terrible game. No one tried very hard. I hardly worked up a sweat. So after the game I went to a local sports field and tried to do a standard 5km run. I could only handle 2kms of slow, weak plodding because I felt so bad/drained. I felt angry, pissed off and SO frustrated with my body. I even had a bit of a cry because I felt so crappy!

Tuesday: Nothing

Wednesday: Nothing

Thursday: Nothing

Friday: Nothing

Saturday: Nothing

Sunday (today): Nothing!

On the up side, my weight went down haha! There’s nothing like a bit of gastro to flush out my system :P

Time to reset my eating then ease back into the fitness.

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A Calculator Doesn’t Talk Back

4 March 2016

Without trying to sound like an annoyingly proud parent, I wanted to share a mind-boggling moment I had with my 6 year old, Liam. Oh what the heck, this is obviously an annoying proud parent story, so feel free to roll your eyes.


After school, I took Liam to a stationery shop to buy some highlighters for school.

We walked over to the highlighter section and looked at our options.

We could buy them individually for $1.70 each, or in packs of 6 for $8.95. He needed to buy four.

At this point, my brain went into shutdown.

It was 3:10pm, I had been a bit sick all week, I was hungry, I needed a nap, I needed to get home to cook dinner and I was very low on patience.

Cannot. Compute. Maths. Cannot work out the best price/value for highlighters.

So I asked my son, “What’s 4 times 1.7?”

He replied, “What’s 3.4 times 2?”

(My son talks like that. Using riddles. And smart-ass backchat. It is quite annoying.)

“That’s not what I said. I said 4 times 1.7.”

“Yeah well, if you just tell me what is 3.4 times 2… you’d realise that the answer was 6.8.”

“Is that THE answer? 4 times 1.7? Stop messing with me!”

“Duh mum.”

“Don’t duh mum me! I’m the one paying for your highlighters -”

“OKok! Sorry sorry! 6 highlighters would be 10 something, so let’s just buy 4.”

Sheesh. What the hell? He’s a human calculator! The kid is 6!

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Nude Equipment Silk Shirt

3 March 2016

Equipment Silk Shirt

I took advantage of the recent Shopbop Sale (which is still on!) and picked up this gorgeous Equipment silk shirt, courtesy of Shopbop.

This is the Slim Signature Blouse in Nude (XS). It is a perfect fit for me as I am usually a size UK6 and US2. I think if i bought the XXS, it would be too tight across the back and shoulders.

I already have a Signature Blouse in Natural White (XS) and it has a slightly relaxed fit, which is lovely too.

They are absolutely classic in style, tailored, very versatile and work so well with jeans or dressed up a bit.

Equipment Silk Shirt

Yes they are a bit pricey, but I think the silk is worth it. It is amazing quality, feels super soft, not see-through, not thin and it’s nice, comfortable and hardy, so that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to tear if you suddenly stretch your arms up or something.

Here’s me hoping that it will never go out of style and it’ll last me years and years!


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Marumo Japanese Fine Dining, Nedlands

2 March 2016

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of eating at the elusive Marumo in Nedlands.

According to all the online and offline chatter, Marumo seems to be one of Perth’s most sought after and best value restaurants for Japanese fine dining.

Apparently they are fully booked out for several months in advanced; and to manage the overwhelming demand, they now release a month’s worth of online reservations (two months out) on a first come first serve basis. I’ve also heard those bookings sell out so quickly (minutes!) that slow mouse-clickers are often disappointed.

For me, I was invited to join someone else’s dinner booking, a friend of a friend, who couldn’t make it at the last minute.

Anyway despite all the fanfare, I arrived and there was absolutely no sense of a pretentious, pompous, self congratulating “We are SO highly sought after, therefore YOU should be SO lucky to dine here” vibe.

The atmosphere was humble, simple, minimal and modern.

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Marumo offers a 7-course Omakase menu, which means you leave everything up to the chef and he carefully selects and showcases his loving creations in a set menu, based on the freshest seasonal produce.

You turn up at 7pm and the whole sitting takes about 3 hours.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE that idea. I have no special dietary requirements, only that I want to eat really good food. I like to try a bit of everything and most times I don’t know what to choose… so I am absolutely happy to trust the chef and eat whatever he creates.

For $60 per person and BYO alcohol, I’ve never heard of a place that does anything similar.

First up was a Pickled Squid Salad thing (that’s right, I’m not a pro food critic, so I am completely happy to call dishes a “salad thing”).

It was light, tangy, salty and bursting with flavour. It was a great start to the evening and I wanted to eat more!

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Chilled Edamame Soup

At first, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a cream soup to start. I don’t usually like heavy, creamy soups. I have a slight intolerance to milk and cream, which leaves me feeling a bit full and bloated. I probably should have mentioned this to the chef?

But it was actually lovely. The flavours were fresh and light, the consistency was smooth, but not TOO smooth. The surprise sat at the bottom of the soup, I think it was a small pile of crab flesh or prawn? I forgot to ask. Its mellow, salty seafood flavour, complimented the soup so well. It was heavenly to eat.

I’d say this was one of my favourite dishes of the night!

A real surprise for me!

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Beef, Mushroom and Bamboo Shoot

When the next dish arrived, I rubbed my hands together… YES this was exactly what I was craving! Bring on the Japanese seared meats!

The beef was soft, tender, gorgeously succulent, perfectly seared and drenched with the clear sauce, which was not too salty or overpowering. It was a tasty dish and really well done.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Soft Shell Crab and Watermelon

This was my lucky day. I’m also a huge fan of soft shell crab. The textural contrast of crunchy and soft, borders on the rapturous pleasure of crispy fried chicken. I’ve never eaten it with watermelon before though.

I adore watermelon and grilled halloumi, so I’m no stranger to an interesting mix of sweet and salty flavours. But this dish didn’t quite have the WOW factor for me, as the last three dishes did.

Having said that, the crab was indeed crispy, crunchy on the outside and full of flavour and juicy on the inside; and the watermelon was a refreshing contrast for my palate. I ate them separately, but very happily.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Chef’s Selection of Sashimi

I was so so pleased with the sashimi.

It had lovely flavour and perfect texture, it was beautifully cut, faultlessly fresh and sitting on a sheet of ice.

I think I could eat this everyday for lunch for the rest of my life thanks.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Tasmanian Salmon Belly Sushi

This was my second favourite dish for the night!

I’m usually very bored with sushi, because (please forgive me) I buy quick-and-easy, “chicken teriyaki” sushi from takeaway shops all the time, so I try not to choose it at restaurants.

However, when I took my first bite of this sushi, I think my eyes rolled to the back of my head… hello foodgasm, it was amazing!

The seared, fatty salmon belly combined with the salty bursts of salmon roe was absolutely delicious. Then mixed with the soft rice and the super crispy outer shell of the tempura prawn, it all just filled my mouth with the most ecstatic combination of creamy, crunchy, popping, salty, seaweedy textures and flavours.

The lovely staff told me that I was supposed to put the WHOLE thing in my mouth to enjoy ALL the flavours at once. It sounded good in theory.

But alas, I’m a dainty eater and I struggled with fitting each piece in my mouth… so I made a bit of a mess on my first two attempts, ha!

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Duck, Apricot and Parsnip

The duck arrived and it was a handsome and impressive looking dish. The duck meat was tender, with warming flavours that were delicate, mellow and sweet. The puree brought it all together nicely.

I was quite full at this point and struggled to finish it, but that in no way reflected how it tasted.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Dark Chocolate, Peach and Yuzu

Thankfully the dessert arrived, signalling the last of the courses. I was so full, but I always have room for dessert!

It was gorgeous. Sweet, subtle and simple. I wished that I could make such amazing chocolates.

It was such a delightful and satisfying meal.

My girlfriend told me about Chef Moe’s humble beginnings; how he arrived in Australia with almost no money; how he worked hard as a kitchen hand, doing odd jobs; his 13 years of cooking experience preparing Japanese cuisine; how Marumo first started as a tiny shop in the Southern suburbs of Perth, serving fish and chip by day and Japanese fine dining by night; the growth of his business and reputation solely through word of mouth; his dedication to quality and his passion for creating traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern twist.

It seems like all the hard work is paying off for Chef Moe and his wife, Marie. I wish them all the best!

Yep, I would go back in a snap and and would love to share the experience with my friends and family.

Who knows, hopefully I’ll be successful with the online reservations and cross my fingers that I’ll nab a booking four months from now for my birthday!

day of week

Shopbop Spring Sale

1 March 2016

Shopbop Spring 2016 Sale

Just a quick heads up, Shopbop are having a Spring Sale with some pretty cool savings!

I’ll share what I bought when it arrives :)

(Here’s a hint…)