Aug 27, 2016


All it took to turn today's weather around was me squeezing some limes in the kitchen for my salad dressing this morning.

I mean seriously, after all the rain we've had this week coupled with the ominous grey clouds already in the sky as I started juicing, how else can we explain the 360 degree turnaround to the beautiful day we're currently enjoying?

We departed slightly from our usual Saturday morning routine to cross the tunnel and the ANZAC Bridge over to Broadway.  You technically don't have to cross the bridge to get there but it's the only way I know that gets me to the inner west.  Broadway is one of those typically Sydney shopping centres with the most complicated parking arrangements in the western world.  Coloured arrows siphon you from the entry point to wherever you want to park close to.  Then you go up a series of steep ramps to get to your chosen level, turn up some one way only lanes and hopefully after all of that, you'll find yourself  a parking spot.  My tip is to get there as close to opening time as you can on the weekend.

It's been years since I've last visited the shopping centre and its had a major facelift in the interim.  The cinema exits into a whole floor of eating and shopping options separate to the retailers of the main shopping centre.  Everything's interconnected with escalators but the cinema level of shops has a distinct 'entertainment' feel to it with its dark tiled pillars, mood lighting, arty installations and dining areas decorated to match the food outlets they support.

I love these rose gold wire chairs at Passion Tree Velvet of the high tea and macaron fame.

I checked into the nearby Sephora.  It's spacious and well stocked however I think my all time favourite Sephora Collection eyeliner, the 12 hour contour eye pencil is no longer stocked in the South East Asian arm of the chain.  There wasn't even an empty portion of the display unit to give  me hope that they will be restocked.  It's like they never even existed at Sephora, every last trace of them has been removed completely from the stores and they're listed as 'out of stock' on the website.  As good a sign as any that I need to keep up my annual Stateside vacations.

The possible uses for disposable plastic cups are endless.  Here they are being used as single serve, refillable and unbreakable cinema snack holders.  They actually worked really well because Preschooler SSG and his friends found them easy to hold and they weren't so big that it was difficult to find what they wanted to snack on next.  It was also a nice way to share some relatively healthy snacks from home.

Did you know that Hoyts Jr is a thing?  Selected Hoyts Cinemas run preschooler and toddler friendly new release films at family friendly times of the day with all tickets costing $9.  Even for parents.

 The three train mad friends were at the cinema to see the latest Thomas film, 'The Great Race'.
Us mums where there for the novelty factor of trying to spot Shane the new Australian train created for the movie.  My friend spotted his small, non speaking cameo while I spent the whole movie trying to listen for the train with a Steve Irwin voice.  Don't know why it was Steve Irwin in my mind, actually...

The boys had a great time at the movie but all that running up and down reading seat row letters and numbers was hungry work and we went straight to lunch after the film.  In Preschooler SSG's opinion, you can't catch a movie with friends without sharing a few baskets of dumplings for lunch afterwards.

I went next door for my classic pork Banh Mi with extra chilli and a dash of soy fix.

There was time for a quick walk past Target on the way to the pay station before heading for home.

Couldn't resist coming back and editing today's post to include a mention of our walk this afternoon.  I've come home relaxed, slightly sun kissed (as much as you can be through a scarf, sweater and jeans) and ready for the official start of spring in a mere 4 days.

The sun made the previously formidable flights of stairs that dot our suburb look more approachable.  We did them at a leisurely weekend pace to match the weather.

It also added some warm gold to the leaves of the creeper style 'hedges' that adorn quite a few walls in the area.  A special mention goes to the precisely trimmed leaves that border No. 1.

Are you a regular at Broadway?  What's your favourite place for coffee there?  I saw an interesting looking cafe across from Target.  Forgotten the name already but it was grey and white and very minimalist in appearance.  Any idea what it's called?

Aug 25, 2016

Suburban Zen.

I'm very comfortable with the fact that it's going to be Friday tomorrow.  The weekend is also in my sights.  We're catching up with our good friends from mothers group on Saturday and Sunday is going to be proudly brought to you by the words 'low' and 'activity'.

Today, meanwhile, was all about finding the zen wherever I could.

It was there when I stood for a moment in the shopping centre car park around 5pm.  I'd survived the extreme driving and parking conditions of said car park during the afternoon rush and various things had managed to get done in the effervescent but extreme risk taking company of Preschooler SSG.  The air was cool and crisp, the sky a fading blue.  I was standing on and surrounded by concrete but the bare winter trees were in my line of sight.  It was quiet and still and what else can a girl do when faced with all of this but sneak a few minutes of deep breathing and mind clearing on the exhale?

My 4pm coffee was paradoxically calming despite its caffeine load.

I sipped at it as we tackled my shopping list.  And I sipped at it some more as Preschooler SSG took charge of the self check out.  He's great at identifying what he's scanning from the fruit and veg tabs but you do need to make sure he doesn't weigh himself with the 50 grams of $20/kg fresh ginger you're buying.  

Have you ever toasted sesame seeds over the stove?  I tried this method with a cast iron frying pan lined with baking paper.  It only takes a few minutes and gently stirring those smooth white seeds was, you guessed it, meditative.

How's this week been treating you?  Have you had a chance to be still and present today?

Aug 24, 2016

East Cost Lows. Urban Decay Naked Love and News.

Heeeelllllloooooooooo!!!!!!  I'm bellowing because it's raining so hard around here I don't think you'd be able to hear (okay, read) me otherwise.

We're in the midst of another east coast low and pops of colour in the landscape of grey black skies and inky puddled roads are few, far between and savoured when they're chanced upon.

The papers are full of department store ambassadors looking flawless in nautical two piece swimsuits one minute and like perfection the next dressed in floral frocks with deconstructed bouquets woven through their hair.  Here in the world of women with a limited fashion vocabulary (I've written in bold italics the extent of mine) it's been another week of tall black boots and sturdy monochromatic pencil skirts.  The boots were a recent find from Ozsale, a mere $125 postage included.  I'm having a dangerously successful run with Ozsale right now: everything I've ordered in recent months fits like a glove.  The cycle needs to be broken soon....

The SSG bathroom cabinet is loving Urban Decay's Naked 3 something chronic this week.  It's only Wednesday but the love is real.

You might remember that back in March, L'Oreal's La Palette Nude in Rose had the title of MVP in my eye shadow collection.  

Five months is a long time in the world of eye shadow.  L'Oreal's rose themed palette is a sold performer for its price but over the months, I've noticed that colour pay off is moderate and colours tend to get a bit muddy and indistinct when blended together.  They also tended to go a bit chalky on my skin after a few hours.  The months that I've used the rose palette confirmed that the colour family is one that works for my skin tone and wardrobe I just needed to find an excuse to splash some cash on some Urban Decay.

My birthday came and went, several long days and nights of work and parenting were survived with relatively good grace and voila, the need for some new eyeshadow in my life was created.

The eye shadows in Naked 3 look pink, rose gold, mid brown and egg plant purple on my skin while La Palette Nude Rose ran pink, taupe and grey toned purple on me.  

Performance wise, I'm going to have say that you get what you pay for with these palettes.  Urban Decay applies true to the shade in the pan and there's more colour pay off.  The finish, while shimmery, doesn't look frosty when colours are applied with a heavy hand.  I also find Urban Decay easier to blend into something that looks vaguely professional at the hands of a novice.  The smoked up eye liner look for day I love (black or similar eye pencil with a dark shimmery eye shadow smudged over the top) definitely looks the business with shades like UD's Darkside or Blackheart from Naked 3 while results can be unpredictable with L'Oreal.

Despite all this almost evangelical Naked 3 love, I still have a place in my heart for good old La Palette Nude Rose and her sister in Beige.  The LPNs are great for travelling with and they already have reserved parking in my suitcase for me next trip.  That reminds me.  I need to plan another trip.  Somewhere, anywhere.  I've just got my wanderlust back.

It's not often I've got the scoop on major beauty news but when I think I do, I like to link and share....
Prepare yourselves emotionally because Urban Decay is debuting a new addition to the Naked family this September (US release date, fingers crossed Mecca Maxima jumps on board soon after).  It's called Naked Ultimate Basics and is a collection of twelve all new matte eye shadows.  I've suddenly realised at the ripe old age of 41 that my frost and shimmer days are seriously numbered so I will be following this release with great interest.
Here are some press release photos of the new colours thanks to the interwebs.

Are you and Urban Decay Naked fan? Which is your favourite so far or do you try not to play favourites?  Liking the new all matte direction the series is taking?

Aug 23, 2016

Top Drawer Mondays and Day Off Tuesdays.

Yesterday was definitely a top drawer Monday.

While I did get to work in once piece, it was on about 4 hours sleep thanks to a sick preschooler and the fun times that are working a Sunday in late winter.

The top drawer of my desk contains a rescue remedy cocktail of bits and pieces that help me fake it 'til I make it (home to a hot shower and bed).  There's panadol, perfume, a hair brush, a bit of lippie and these bobby pins in their black mirrored case.  The pins are made in Japan and much more solid than my ones from the supermarket,  They also have this blue black sheen to them.  Don't know why but they don't look any more obvious in my black hair than regulation black pins.

Those pins held their own through a full day at work and then to a training session after work.  My hair even stayed in place through the hour of tense steering wheel gripping driving on Parramatta Road in between.  It almost felt like going home when I got to training - familiar faces, corridors, buildings.  This was the first place I worked at when I arrived in Sydney all those years ago and I know that parking lot like the back of my hand.  The trick to finding the exits to the car park, the sharp turn you need to take to making the exit with enough room to spare to swipe your card or ticket....

And here we are on day off Tuesday.  It's been a day of relaxing busyness.

Did you know about this platform outside Eastgate Shopping Centre?  It's got a deck on which you can catch some sun, little counters to eat you lunch at and its own greenery.

You probably already know about the H&M opening at Westfield BJ on Saturday.  It's not that I actually buy much at H&M these days but seeing the store and the impossibly on point models who grace their campaigns as I power walk the centre doing mum things whilst dressed in mum clothes keeps me (tenuously) connected to a lifestyle I'm more curious about than wistful over.

Speaking of mum things.  It's Book Week at the moment and Friday is preschool's dress up day.  For those of us that haven't had the foresight to Etsy or the talent to create something from Pinterest pins, may I suggest looking in at The Reject Store?  They have a range of costumes in smaller sizes than Kmart and Target for around $9 a set.

Preschooler SSG is going to be a 'Wizard' in the manner of Harry Potter.  It's been a unilateral decision on my part based on what was still available.  There was nothing Thomas related at all.  Wish me luck as I do the Harry Potter hard sell for Friday.

August 31 is going to be a big day, if you're a loyal Woolies shopper like myself.  Their reward points system looks like it's going to be a bit more generous than it's current Woolworths Dollars scheme where you can only earn a few cents per purchase of one of about 8 specially marked items in the whole store.

I couldn't wait until the end of the month to get myself a new drink bottle (apparently, this particular design is a Woolworths exclusive as per the swing tag).  These are new ones by Decor and cost $9.99.  There's quite a range of motivational wrist bands to choose from.  I should've gotten the #squadgoals one but the pink bottle had my heart.

Mainly because it's a perfect match for my current trainers.

I went for a therapeutic trip to Mecca Maxima today and picked up this bag to go with my Mecca Cosmetica care package.

Inside today's bag was this Naked 3 palette.  It's unboxed and ready to go for tomorrow's work face.

And two new 24/7 glide on eyeliners in Mushroom (taupe) and Delinquent (blackish purple shimmer).  I've been stuck in a sensible black or brown eyeliner rut for far too long....

Better get going.  I'm on Aunty duty today.  I'm a bit rusty on feeding, settling and managing the constant mouthing and pulling up on things but it's all coming back to me.

What's in the top drawer of your desk at the office?

Are you going all out, cheap and cheerful or somewhere in between for Book Week this year?

Coloured eyeliner?  Yay or nay?

Aug 21, 2016

Lovin' Life 21/8/2016: When the Sun Shines.

It's a simple lovin' life post today.  The sun is shining outside, the day ahead is free of any formal commitments and I'm sitting here in front of my computer dressed for a day of pottering and I'm just enjoying looking out through the French doors of the study and seeing sun, green leaves and the occasional shadow.  

The tea and coffee shelf is fully stocked with 'proper' ie strong tea bags from the UK and Ireland (good pick up, Anon - I've edited accordingly) because my mum and aunty are here for the weekend.  It's been so lovely having them here.  

Preschooler SSG offering everyone breakfast pastries yesterday.

Preschooler SSG loves them both to bits and has been doing little things to make his special guests feel loved.

I'm working from home today, going in tomorrow and then it's Day Off Tuesday.  Hoping the city holds on to the sunshine for me until then because we're planning to go out for lunch before mum and my aunty have to head home to Perth.

Is the sun shining where you are?


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