Attack of the Mighty Green Blobs

One of my children had a classroom survey, where they were asked – “What’s your LEAST favourite food?”

My son said to me, “What should I write? I like all foods! Oh I’ll just write brussels sprouts.”

I laughed. “But you’ve never tried brussels sprouts. How can you say you don’t like it?”

“Oh that’s just what everyone else says.”

My other boy’s ears perked up and he joined the conversation, “Yeah, I’ve read they are slimy and really disgusting!”

“Apparently they are the grossest things in the WORLD mum!” says my first boy.

I said, “You know what? I’ve never eaten brussels sprouts either. Let’s go to the shops and buy some. I’ll cook them up and you guys can decide for yourself.”

They were SO EXCITED.

Sheesh. Are we, like, the kookiest family ever or what?

brusslesprouts01

According to many popular children’s story books, brussels sprouts are THE MOST HORRIBLE, AWFUL, AND DISGUSTING THINGS EVER!!!

But we all thought they looked kinda cute.

Like baby lettuce.

My boys also thought they looked like glowing green, “power-up” blobs in a computer game, where you have to collect them and shoot them at the bad guys haha.

brusslesprouts02

I boiled them for 4 minutes.

Drained them and let them roll around in a tiny bit of butter (because let’s face it, everything tastes better with butter!)

The verdict… the outer leaves were lovely and had a nice crunch to them, like bok choy or some other leafy green Asian vegetable.

But the inside stalk was pretty bitter. Even I winced.

I think I’d have to cut them up first, and cook them harder to get rid of the bitterness. But if I cook them harder and longer, I’ll destroy the vitamins and nutients, which defeats the whole point of eating a vegetable really.

So no, I don’t think I’ll be cooking these up anytime soon.

I’m just going to stick with our “mini trees”!

(Broccoli.)

**Edit! Way hey – I received about 10 messages from readers… suggesting brussels sprouts recipes, tips on ways to make them taste better and how to get rid of the bitterness.This website about  “Understanding the Brussels Sprouts gave a nice explanation and some nice recipes. So I might give them another go! Thanks guys! xxx

Eileen Kirby Dresses from Frockaholics

Last week, due to an annoying email glitch, I found out – at the last minute – that I was attending a formal, black-tie FASHION AWARDS NIGHT! AAAKK!

Well, when I say “last minute” it was actually 11 days.

So if you think about it, I actually did have enough time to find something to wear. However I left it really late. So of course, I found myself… 3 days before the event, with nothing to wear!

And in those 3 days, I had full schedule of work, mummy duties, meetings, and lunch dates… and no time to visit any boutiques to find a dress.

All I can say is this – THANK GOODNESS FOR ONLINE SHOPPING.

If you find a small online boutique with impeccable customer service, my tip: Stick With Them!

If they answer their emails within 24hours, specially pull an item out of their stock for you, and mail it to you in an express postbag, and YOU RECEIVE IT THE NEXT DAY… then omg you know you’ve found gold.

One of my favourite online stores is Frockaholics. They stock hundreds of designer mini dresses, knee length dresses, cocktail dresses, maxi, gowns and much more.

In my search for something to wear, I found this gorgeous dress by Australian designer, Eileen Kirby:

Dress from Frockaholics

I loved the lace and tulle. And I LOVED the back of the dress!

I wanted to get the long version of the dress, but I knew that – me being very short – I probably would need to alter it and take the hem up, so it wouldn’t drag on the floor as I walked. And since I didn’t have much time to spare… the short dress it was.

(Not to mention, if i show off a bit of leg, I tend to look taller.)

The dress arrived in 1.5 days! And oh my goodness it was utterly gorgeous and it fit perfectly.

Dress from Frockaholics

I slipped it on and felt all gushy and like I needed to make a teary Oscar speech haha.

Because it was backless, I had to wear an adhesive sticky bra for some ahem, support.

Ah what can I say… I felt sexy and amazing in it.

Check out the other pretty dresses by Eileen Kirby.

Thank you Frockalholics!

xxx

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my

Nikon AW100 – A Waterproof and Shockproof Camera

A few weekends ago, I went Stand Up Paddle-Boarding and I asked Nikon if I could borrow an underwater camera so I could take some cool water photos for my blog.

They said SURE!

They actually have an newer model coming out soon (AW110), one that can be taken down to 18m (great for scuba divers) and it can withstand -10°C (great for ski and snowboarders). It can also withstand being dropped from heights of 2m (great for um, parents?) and it has built-in wifi capability.

But I was happy to trial the AW100. This model can be taken down to 10m underwater, withstand -10°C and can be dropped from 1.5m without being damaged.

Now… I’m a bit old school with my cameras. When I used to scuba dive regularly (about 10 years ago), only the insanely rich, or the insanely hardcore professionals had cameras with underwater housing… like this:

Ikelite Housing for Nikon D-5000
Image from www.ikelite.com

The equipment was huge, complicated and looked like you were going on a mission to Mars.

Back then, there was NO WAY I could ever take photos of all the coral I saw, all beautiful little fish I swam with while snorkeling, the ship wrecks I’ve dived, and all the other amazing underwater wildlife I had seen, like seals, turtles, cod fish, sharks and whale sharks. I couldn’t even take photos of us at the beach splashing in the waves :(

Nikon AW100 - Underwaer Camera

But now, look at this!!

As I held this camera in my hand, I was utterly stunned by the advances of modern technology! I could take this camera down to 10 meters?! For real?!

Anyway. Unfortunately (or fortunately) while I was stand-up paddle boarding, I DIDN’T fall into the water. And thus I didn’t have any cool watery photos to share from that experience.

Instead, I gathered my kids and we went to swim in my neighbour’s pool.

We had SO. MUCH. FUN.

Because the camera was “Drop Proof” I was completely happy to let my kids hold it, swim with it and take photos.Nikon AW100 - Underwaer Camera

This was me trying to show my son how to blow a lot of bubbles without getting them up your nose.

My 9 year old and my 7 year old, picked up the camera and worked it with ease.

They switched modes. They played with the settings. They completely melded with it, as only youngsters can these days.

In fact, my boys asked me, “What does the ‘2 Sec’ and ‘10 Sec’ mean?”

And I said, “Oh it’s a self timer…”

And without having to explain anything else, they were doing really clever things like leaving it at the bottom of the pool, with the 10 second timer on and swimming over it to capture an action swimming shot.

Nikon AW100 - Underwaer Camera

My two boys practiced doing “bombies” into the water for me.

The bubbles were so cool!

Nikon AW100 - Underwaer Camera

And here my boys were making really funny underwater movies.

I have to admit that my boys dropped the camera on the poolside paving TWICE.

It just slipped out of their hands because they forgot to put the wrist strap on. And each time it went DONK on the bricks, my heart stopped, my temper seethed and I wanted to scream bloody murder.

But lucky for them, it was indeed DROP PROOF.

And because of that… it is THE best compact camera for me to have in my house.

The AW100 now sits on my “camera shelf”, and when my children find something cool they want to photograph, they are allowed to take it and use it. They can make little movie clips, record their Lego creations and take photos for their school projects. It’s fantastic.

I seriously can’t wait to take it to the beach and to go snorkelling!!

Check out more details about the Nikon AW100, or the soon to be released Nikon AW110.

3 Ways to Wear Due (The New Ballet Flat by FitFlop)

I was given the opportunity to road test the latest shoe from FitFlop, called Dué.

It’s a ballerina pump – so it looks like a ballet flat, but it has this incredibly cushioned sole. It also has a bit of height and made from top notch materials and leather.

FitFlop Due - Patent

They come in black leather, black patent, cherry red patent and ink blue patent.

I chose the Black Patent Due, because I wanted to try a very, very versatile shoe. One that you could wear for school drop offs, lunch dates, and working in an office. They are retailed at $199.95 for patent and $219.95 for leather, so you do want them to be versatile and last a long time.

When I received them I thought they looked a bit chunky. I’m used to my ballet flats, being VERY flat! And I admit they looked a bit plain. I’m used to wearing “statement flats” with leopard print, or studs or beige snakeskin! But I find that I don’t wear these statement flats when I know I will be walking on pavement/rough paths, because I don’t want them to wear out.

Anyway I gave the  Dués a good go. I wore them around for a week or so, and holy cow, they are really comfortable.

One day, I walked 2km in them to take my children to school, then I did some grocery shopping, went to the library, sat in a cafe for lunch, did some chores at home, then walked 2kms again to pick up my children… and I never took them off!

In fact, several people commented on them and asked me where I got them from. And I also found myself standing in the school yard, surrounded by a bunch of mums getting excited about my shoes haha. Women who spent all day on their feet, seemed to “get it”.

Best thing about them – Comfortable and they look great.

I put together 3 looks to show how the Dué can be styled to suit different occasions.

3 Ways - Due Fitflops

1) With Jeans
Whether you’re wearing your favourite slouchy blue jeans, or skinny statement red jeans… this ballet flat is made for jeans.

2) Sporty
Walking, doing errands, zipping in and out of the car. The comfort and quality of this shoe makes you feel like you could go all day in them.

3) Evening
The patent finish makes this shoe look smart and polished. It looks very cute paired with a simple dress, or a nice skirt and top,

4) Work – not pictured
Of course, you can’t go wrong wearing pants, blouse and classic ballet flats at the office. Or if you are working on your feet all day – these are just perfect.

Yes I’m a fan of them now! I recommend them for someone who wants a high quality flat and are on their feet a lot.

The Dué is on sale right now. Check the FitFlop Website for stockists and where to buy.

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

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

Our Very Hungry Caterpillar

The other day I walked into my 3 year old’s bedroom and I saw this peeking out from under his beside his bed:

A Chinese takeaway container, with a little DIY ecosystem. UH OH.

I gave myself a facepalm and wondered what poor creature my son had tortured this time.

Caterpillar

Turns out that he caught a green caterpillar.

He gathered some vegetable leaves from the garden… he found a bit of wood for it to climb on, a bit of bark for a “caterpillar bed” and he also found some “caterpillar toys” (a rock and a gum nut) which I thought was very sweet of him.

When I inspected the container, I saw that the caterpillar had eaten 2 bok choy leaves and 1 small lettuce leaf.

How did the story go again?

Caterpillar

However my son had sealed the container, it was a very hot day and the caterpillar looked really sluggish.

(Pun intended)

I thought that it had died and stuck itself on the lid.

I scolded my 3 year old and gave him a lecture about not capturing creatures in airtight containers, NOT keeping creatures in the house and certainly NOT keeping them under his bed.

I growled at him and said we will have to bury it in the garden tomorrow afternoon.

Caterpillar

However the next day, I found the caterpillar like this!

Whoa it’s a chrysalis!

Sigh, so now I feel all OBLIGED to keep the darn thing and give him a lesson about life cycles or something.

And guess what? My son is really excited to see the butterfly, all brightly coloured and with a big smiley face, just like in the book.

But I suspect that this caterpillar is just going to be a grey moth.

And I also suspect that I’m going to “have” to release it back into the wild, where it will no doubt lay eggs on my bok choy. Cycle of life indeed!