My Perfect £1 Miu Miu Jacket

A few months ago, online designer discount boutique The OutNet had a special birthday sale with designer products selling for 1 British pound, which is about 2 Australian dollars.

The Outnet is a sister site to Net-A-Porter, and they use the OutNet to sell their unsold stock from last season. And I love buying last season’s stuff for a bargain, because if you choose the right pieces – it doesn’t look like last season.

There was a special RSVP list, a secret start time and when the day finally arrived, there was a whole lot of online drama – crashing servers, grinding load times, error pages and grumpy tweets.

I was one of the lucky few, who happened to be sitting at my desk when the email popped in. I quickly went to the website, picked something in my size, and went straight to the check out. It was really a crazy online lottery.

There was a selection of dresses, skirts, tops, accessories, but I had my heart set on an investment piece, something I would love to have, that I could wear again and again, but wouldn’t actually spend thousands of dollars on.

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In this case, a Miu Miu metallic blazer. It was in a classic style, a tailored piece, in a heavy fabric.

It looked awesome in the photo!

It arrived, and it was very lovely indeed.

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But, as you can see, it was way too big for me! HUGE! I felt like I was trapped in a parachute!  Or like I was a big, grey, lizard shedding its old skin! I was walking around in a radioactive tent!

I swear it said Italian Size 38 (which is US 2, UK 6, AUS 6) when I clicked to buy it. But I can’t remember now. Mistakes are often made in the excitement of a sale. Oh well. These thing occasionally happen with online shopping.

To solve this problem, I went to my precious seamstress lady and told her the whole story.

“YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHAT I BOUGHT!!” I shrieked.

And she was like – “OMG!! A MIU MIU JACKET FOR $2!?”

Anyway, she altered it a bit here and there, and made the jacket the same shape and size as I am, which is of course exactly how your clothes should be. It looks great now! She did a wonderful job!

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So, jacket ($2) and shipping ($17) and alterations ($30) = $49! And this jacket was on sale last year for around a thousand dollars. And the thousand dollar version wouldn’t have fitted me this well.

Happy Karen!!

I can’t wait to mix it up with some layers.

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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

Kick-Ass Vegetarian: Spinach and Chickpea Curry

A few months ago, I was very inspired by a friend of mine to try to be more “vegetarian”.

My reasons – for my long term health, for environmental sustainability, and hopefully to look and feel better (skin, body, and energy).

So twice a week I’ve been cooking vegetarian meals.

Spinach and Chickpea Curry

I made this curry in 20 minutes, using stuff I already had in the pantry and fridge. And omg it was so yummy, we practically licked our plates and pots clean.

Spinach and Chickpea Curry

Half an onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of oil
¼ cup of bottled curry paste
300mL of water
400g can of chickpeas, drained
1 cup of red lentils
400g can of whole tomatoes, juice drained1 big handful of fresh spinach chopped, or a 40g portion of (defrosted) chopped frozen spinach
basmati rice
natural yoghurt to garnish

1. Heat oil in a pan, on slow medium heat cook onions for 5-7 minutes, until very soft and golden.

2. While doing that, boil some water in another pot, and boil lentils for 10 minutes and drain.

3. Stir in curry paste ad cook for 3 minutes.

4. Add drained chickpeas, drained lentils, drained tomatoes and give it a good stir. I like to break up the whole tomatoes too. Add about 300mL of water. Turn up to medium-high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes.

5. Add chopped spinach. Stir for 1 minute.

6. Turn off heat, and serve hot with basmati rice, yoghurt and bright green vegetables.

Notes –

For the curry paste, I used Pataks , which you can buy at any supermarket.

I used tikka masala flavour this time, but you can use ANY BRAND and ANY TYPE of curry paste for this recipe. I like to use balti or rogan josh curry pastes too.

The “F” Word

I admit that I am SO NOT ready to talk to my 7 and 5 year old boys about sex.

*They are too young!*

Right???

I grew up in a very conservative Chinese Christian environment. And my parents certainly never sat me down and explained the birds and the bees to me. I just worked it out from playground gossip, health education lessons at school and girly magazines.

So I guess I’ve grown up believing that, when people get together and talk, you’re not supposed to talk openly about sex!

But my husband was raised very differently. He grew up believing that kids should be very well informed with all the nitty gritty details about sex, drugs and alcohol by their parents. Especially before they are taught these things by their friends, media and other people in their lives.

Which, yes, is my view now.

So since he is more practiced at it, he got the job of talking to the kids about it!

But how much information is too much?

He decided to answer their questions fully, but not to go beyond that.

Walking home from school one day, one my kids said the “F” word, which they had learned from other kids in school, and my husband reminded him that he is not allowed to say it.

This is kind of how the conversation went.

SON: “Sorry Dad.”

HUBBY: “That’s okay… just remember not to say it again, especially not to your teachers, and not to Mum, and ESPECIALLY not to your grandmother!

A long silence.

SON: “Dad, what does “F##K” actually mean anyway?”

HUBBY: “Well, it means the same as sex. It’s a rude word for sex.”

SON: “Oh.”

A long silence.

HUBBY: “Do you know what sex is?”

SON: “Of course!”

A long silence.

HUBBY: “Well, what do you think sex is?”

SON: “It’s what mum looks at on her computer all the time.”

HUBBY: “REALLY?!!”

SON: “Yes, she is always looking a those people with no clothes on, in their underwear. And in those magazines she has.”

HUBBY: “Oh! No, that’s not sex. That’s just fashion.”

SON: “But they haven’t got any clothes on!”

HUBBY: “Um. Um. Er… Um. When you haven’t got many clothes on, that’s not sex, it’s just being naked.”

SON: “So what IS sex?”

A long silence. Dad sighs deeply.

SON: “Well?!”

HUBBY: “Weeeeell… Sex is when two adult people take all their clothes off and have a really close cuddle, and kiss.”

SON: “That’s yuck! Why do they do that??”

HUBBY: “Because it feels nice, it’s exciting, and they want to be really nice to each other.”

SON: “Don’t they get germs?!”

HUBBY: “Yes, you can get germs. So you have to be really careful who you have sex with.”

SON: “I don’t want to do that… it’s disgusting!”

HUBBY: “ Well, yes, it is disgusting, but when you’re an adult, you’ll really want to do it.”

SON: “Why?”

HUBBY: “Let’s see… why… okay. It’s nature’s way of making babies. When a man and a woman have sex, a little bit of the man goes into the woman, and that’s how the baby starts to grow inside the woman. It’s really amazing. But you have to be very careful not to make a baby until you are sure you are ready for it. Babies are a LOT of work.”

Another long silence.

SON: “Do you and mum have sex?”

HUBBY: “Ah..well, yes, yes we… have. That’s how we got three babies. That’s where you came from!”

Another long silence.

SON: “That is soooo disgusting.”

Awkward silence.

HUBBY: “Hey, look at the cool old car!! That’s a 1964 Model S Valiant!”

SON: “Wow, COOL! Can we get one!?!”

And hubby was SO RELIEVED that the son didn’t want to know the EXACT PLUMBING DETAILS OF SEX and exactly how the little bit of the man gets into the woman.  But no doubt, that question will come soon enough.

And when the question comes, I’ll be saying…”GO ASK YOUR DAD!”.

Liam 18 Months

Liam - 18 months

My baby is 1½ years old! And he is definitely the most easy-to-look-after kid I’ve had.

He is at a SUPER CUTE age – constantly exploring the world, happy with the simplest things, full of smiles and giggles, and not old enough to talk back!

I took this photo of Liam in our backyard. We were eating an apple together and I peeled off the “Grown in WA” sticker and stuck it on his nose. He laughed and walked around the garden with it on his scrunched up little nose, snorting like a pig. Too cute.

At this age, people seem to ask me these questions.

Does he say any words?
His latest favourite thing to say is “READY GO!” Tragically, he picked it up from the computer game Super Mario Kart.

He says heaps of other words, I think 24 in total, like – daddy, mama, ball, water, down, book, draw, star, car, ear, pop corn, banana, meow, see ya, bye, poo, wow, more, gor gor (Chinese for big brother), bike ride, shoe, sock, and of course, ready and go.

Lots of people have told me that this is pretty advanced for a 18month old, so please don’t compare if you have a toddler too!

He can also point to his ears, head, mouth, nose, and belly button. And follow lots of verbal instructions.

Does he eat well?
He doesn’t drink any milk at night, formula or cow’s milk.
He can eat like there is no tomorrow, if he likes the food. He is a little fussy. He loves pasta, rice, broccoli, cauliflower, peas and corn, carrots, noddles, toast, sausages.

How many teeth does he have?
He has 16 teeth. 8 top, 8 bottom.

His sleep patterns?
He still sleeps from 6:30pm at night to 6:30am in the morning. He likes to have at least 1 hour nap sometime during the day, but he’s not too fussed WHEN he has it.

Is he active?
Hell yes.

Does he get along with his older brothers?
Yes! The other two kids are really, really good with him. They know all the rules and how to look after him. They are pretty helpful with keeping an eye on him.

Have you begun toilet training?
HA! No! But he does walk over to tell me when he’s done a poo. (He looks at me with a worried expression and pats his tummy.) It’s rather convenient.

I didn’t teach him that at all. He just does it.

Liam - 18 months

Photo: We were going to a wedding and I bought Liam a special little outfit. Shirt $2 and pants for $3 from an op shop. And just as predicted, he smeared tomato sauce over the shirt.

At this age, kids also start to pick up “weird little habits”, and they just keep doing them no matter what. It’s actually quite cute, but weird and annoying.

Weird habit #1
When he wants to eat a banana, he screams NANA-NANA-NANA!
If I peel a banana for him, he throws it on the floor, and keeps screaming NANA-NANA-NANA!
So I give him another UNPEELED banana – and he’ll sit there happily eating the banana, peel and all – starting from the middle, and tearing it open with his teeth like a monkey.

Weird Habit #2
He likes to be bare foot on his right foot. EVERY SINGLE TIME I put shoes on him, he’ll take off his right shoe and sock. He then hides the shoe and sock somewhere. So it’s impossible for me to find it, and I get so frustrated, that I just leave him with one bare foot.

And sometimes when I’m in a rush trying to head out the door, I can’t find ANY matching pairs of shoes or socks, so I feel like a dumbass dressing my son in mis-matching shoes. And he’ll still take off the right shoe + sock.

People will come up to me in the shops, and say “Are you aware your son has lost one shoe?”

(He’s happy to wear sandals on both feet though.)

Weird Habit #3
He loves drawing and shouting DRAW DRAW DRAW!
But when I give him a pencil and he munches the lead bit off. To him, pencils are a kind of fibrous snack.

Weird Habit #4
He likes to put stickers on his face. I wonder where he learned that from?

Weird Habit #5
Maybe not a “weird” habit – he sucks his thumb! We really didn’t mind it when he was little, and he only did it for a few minutes before he went to sleep.

But now he does it all the time, and it’s just a comfort and boredom thing. He sucks it so often that a few months ago, the skin on his thumb became soft (read: digested), gross red, and badly infected, and he had to be on antibiotics.

Since then, we’ve had to sew up the hands of his bed clothes, so he can’t get to it at night.