Feeling Summery

Summer Outfit Jan 2014

Before the kids head back to school next week, we squeezed in a trip to the beach (again!) for one last spell of salt and sand.

Usually I wear long-sleeve, button-down shirts to the beach to protect my skin from the sun. But it was so hot and humid, that I decided to lather myself with suncream and wear my off-shoulder top instead.

Honestly I don’t think that my exposed skin cooled me down any more than if I had just brought an umbrella and sat in the shade. However, when we sat in an air conditioned cafe later on for lunch, I was a happy girl indeed.

You can’t really go wrong with floppy white shirt, cut off denim shorts and tan sandals for a summery outfit!

Top from Sportsgirl, shorts are my comfy old favourites from Just Jeans, sandals from Ecco, tote from Jeanswest.

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”531339″]

Have a fantastic weekend and happy shopping!

Our Big, Wobbly, Blue Thing

When we bought our house (many years ago), there was a swimming pool in the backyard.

While it’s quite common to find pools in suburban backyards in Australia, this pool was really old (and ugly) and it was not very well looked after by the previous owners. So we would have needed to spend something like $7,000 – $10,000 to refurbish and fix it.

The pool was also right smack bang in the middle of the backyard; it was all fenced up and it pretty much took up the WHOLE backyard. There was no where for our kids to run around or play.

Added to that, both my husband and I have lived in homes with swimming pools and we knew the time and cost associated with keeping a pool. AND for 7-8 months of the year in Perth, the weather gets a little too cold for swimming, which means we have to look after the pool even though we’re not swimming in it for most of the year.

So basically, after long deliberation… my husband and I decided to get rid of the pool.

Fast forward to the present… boy do we we regret that decision!

Ok we don’t REGRET-regret it. We just feel a little annoyed every time we have to pay $22.40 for our whole family to visit the local swimming pool.

I suppose swimming at the beach and river is FREE. But trips to the beach or river is usually a 3-4 hour day trip, plus money spent on lunch/coffee/ice creams. Which is fine, really. If we want to save money, we just have to be more organised to pack a healthy lunch and snacks. However, it’s a little trickier to organise a QUICK swim at the beach during the school term. And it’s a bit annoying when you make all that effort to go to the beach and the kids only spend 30 minutes in the water.

Oh my god! Listen to me whinge and complain about my first world problems!

I should have just started this post with – LOOK AT OUR NEW POOL!

Paddel Pool

We got an above ground pool, which is about 5m x 5m round! It’s huge!

My husband and I – having grown up with REAL swimming pools – did not think very highly of above ground pools. (Because ahem, they looked like oversized paddle pools for toddlers!)

Nonetheless, we set it up under our patio (in the shade), filled it to a depth of 60cm, and we put a special pool cover over it so we can get the temperature to stay at a gorgeous 28C – 30C.

IT IS AMAAAZING! The kids are in and out of the pool 3 or 4 times a day. They can invite their friends over and they ALL play happily for hours. They are so happy. I AM SO HAPPY.

My 5 year old, who, before Christmas was terrified of putting his head underwater and used to wrap his arms around my neck like a scared koala whenever he was in water, is now a confident swimmer who happily duck dives for coins off the bottom of the pool! He made ALL that progress in 2 weeks!

Paddle Pool

And of course I had to take a selfie of myself in the pool! Wayhey!

Yes I’m still wearing my day makeup and earrings, and everything looks very nice and peaceful in the setting sun. But I should have turned the camera around and taken a photo of my kids… who were standing on the other side of the camera aiming their water pistols at me!!

I made a deal with them; if they let me take a few photos, and I put the camera away safely without getting it wet, then they could make a whirlpool and squirt me with their water guns :P

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

I made a Vietnamese-style rice noodle salad for an Australia Day BBQ with friends! Nothing says Australia Day like a table full of cuisines spanning from all over the globe!

Australia Day 2014

I served the salad with crushed peanuts on the side, as I wasn’t sure if there were kids at the party with nut allergies. I also left out the chilli because I wanted it to be kid-friendly.

There is a LOT of slicing with this recipe!

In fact, there is so much slicing that I wouldn’t have made this salad if I did not have my julienne peelers.

My¬†julienne peelers look like simple potato peelers, and they cut vegetables into fine matchsticks at a quick swipe of my wrist! I don’t think my salad would have looked the same if I had “finely sliced them into matchsticks” with a knife. I don’t have enough patience!

I bought my peelers in Asia (3 different sizes at $3 each). Unfortunately I can’t find any Australian stockists of julienne peelers… so I found these similar Titan Peelers (from the US) which ship to Australia for free – you might have to wait a few weeks for the delivery though! Same goes for these Zyliss Julienne Peelers or Tovolo Julienne Peelers.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Dressing
1/4 cup of lime juice
1/4 cup of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons of ginger, grated
2 teaspoons of finely chopped chilli

250gm of rice noodle, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, drained
1 large cucumber, remove seeds, finely sliced
1 medium carrot, finely sliced
1/4 of a small white cabbage, finely sliced
1/4 of small lettuce, finely sliced
1/4 of small red onion, finely sliced
big bunch of coriander, pluck leaves and chop roughly
1/2 cup of mint, chopped roughly
3 cups of bean sprouts
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, roasted, chopped roughly
1/2 cup of Asian fried shallots

1. Mix dressing ingredients together.

2. Toss all the noodle ingredients and vegetables in a very large bowl. Keep aside a small bunch of coriander and mint for garnish. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly.

3. Place noodle salad in a nice serving dish. Scatter garnish, fried onions, crushed peanuts on top and serve!

Enjoy!

xxx

 

Hello Parry and Isabel Marant

Hello Parry and Isabel Marant

I’m so pleased to introduce this online boutique to all my lovely readers!

Hello Parry is an online fashion store featuring some great new styles, with a stylish, understated, cool vibe – which I like a lot!

The store is based in Australia, and they have easy domestic shipping rates and fuss-free, flat-rate International shipping.

Things I like about the shop:

1) Quality for Price

The first question that came to mind was, why would I shop here instead of ASOS, Zalora, or an Asian-based blogshop… where you can buy similar looking dresses for $45 and skirts for $25. Well after checking out a whole stack of Hello Parry clothes, I can say that the quality is FAR better than something you’d buy from those other stores.

The quality matches that of global high street brands like Zara, French Connection and Topshop (sometimes better); but unlike those brands, you don’t have to worry that everyone else will be wearing the same thing as you!

2) I like the styles

Hello Parry stocks a nice range of ‘classic pieces’ with an edge. I like that the styles are ‘young and edgy looking’ but they also are suitable for a bit of grown up, lady-like dressing!

3) I love this top (pictured)!

This sleeveless Obira Layer Top comes in black and white. I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but after wearing it a few times, I’ve decided that it’s fabulous!

The sleeve design comes away from the shoulders, like a racer-back top style, so it looks modern, sleek and sexy. It is slightly textured and a bit like a shell top for office wear (it has similar material to a blazer) so it looks smart, polished and stylish. It also has a bit of structure to it and it keeps its shape, so it is not clingy.

It’s a bit cropped, so if I don’t want to flash my belly button, I just wear something high-waisted with them.

Hello Parry and Isabel Marant

I’ve already worn the top a couple of times so far, and this particular day I wore it to a meeting in the city.

I paired it with a new “investment piece” – this Isabel Marant Ponte Mini Skirt from The Outnet.

Shoes are Senso Rhiannon from The Iconic.

Saint Laurent Bold 1 Sunglasses from Vision Direct

Chain quilted bag from YesStyle.

I have a few more posts about Hello Parry goodies, so stay tuned!

Happy shopping xxx

 

Beachin’ and Loving Life

Karen and Liam at Coogee Beach, WA

Life has been pretty damn good lately!

We’ve been hanging out at the beach a lot. We usually organise to go with 5 or 6 families from school.

Happy kids, of all ages. Laughter, smiling and playing wonderfully. Beach cricket. Beach soccer. Body boards. Sandcastles. Watermelon. Berries. Sandy beach towels. Chips and dips.

I’m a big believer that a simple life, family and friends, and a sense of community… is the answer to happiness, gratefulness, contentment and success.

I love that all this is around me and I’m living some of the happiest days of my life!

Wishing you all an amazing day!