Mar 29, 2013

Easter Downtime. Feeling the Love For Chunky Choc Mint Kit Kats.

If you have a choice about which long weekend of the year to get a cold over, Easter would be the 'best'. As a four day weekend, there's hopefully enough time to make a full recovery.

The pantry is also conveniently stocked with the kinds of food you need to both ease the pain of being ill as well as tempting your taste buds to kick start the appetite your virus tried to rob you of. All that chocolate and all those hot cross buns I ate today were so effective, I'm going to be repeating the prescrith tomorrow. Just to make sure I really knock this thing on its head.



As an aside, if you haven't tried a chunky choc mint Kit Kat, I think you need to address this post haste. For a start, they don't really taste like a Kit Kat, they've just borrowed the look. Each segment if the bar is made of a different choc mint combination. I like the crunchy mint variation the best. Then the fudge. And then the gooey sauce. No, on second thought, it's a three way tie. I love them all. How thoughtful of Nestlé to have all three in the one bar. I'm not usually a chocolate bar fan but this has won me over.

I know it's a ridiculous thing to be complaining about but I wish this hot weather would just go away like it's meant to. My body is craving cooler sleeping weather and softer sunlight. It's insane having to dig out sunscreen rather than my winter knits and boots. Insane.


Easter napping with the Seed wooden bunny rattle.


Despite the warm weather, it's been a good nap day here at SSG Manor. Too good, perhaps. Today's afternoon nap finished at 9pm for both the baby and I. We're going to be partying hard with my back catalogue of Foxtel iQ tonight.


I hope you and your family are having a lovely Easter break full of rest and reflection, as well as the food and that extra 'going out' night.

Mar 28, 2013

Gym Junkie Mornings. Livin' La Vida Loca In Australia.

Mornings have a special look about them in the final days before daylight saving ends for another summer.



If your usual weekday wake up time is around 5am, it is depressing to be greeted by a pitch black morning. Come 7am, however, the morning light finally decides to appear with conviction. It doesn't look like much but when you're walking through it, you can feel summer passing the baton over to autumn. The heat and humidity of summer slowly giving way to a cooler, drier kind of morning.


I've only been paying attention to all of this because I've been going to the gym first thing in the morning this week instead of my usual early evening work out time. I'm loving the change in time slot, actually. Sure, it physically hurts sometimes to keep my eyelids open, open the front door and put my running shoes on but the pay off is worth the agony. After my hour in the gym, I'm ready to face whatever the day brings me - the good, the bad and everything in between. The walk home is my time to mentally prepare for another day at Baby HQ.


Personal training has been going well. Having a programme that combines weights and core stability exercises with my usual cardio has been a huge factor in my actually looking forward to each day's gym session. Working with different pieces of equipment makes the hour go by faster. The challenge of using my body in different ways keeps me mentally engaged with what I'm doing. I'm guilty of going into auto pilot with my usual longish jogs.

I'm still in the lighter weight categories all the weights I'm using but I'm adding a few kilos here and there every other week. It's the kind of weight gain I'm pretty proud of!


In non gym junkie news, I was reading the April 2013 issue of The Australian Women's Weekly over a mid morning skinny cap the other day. Guess who's going a judge in the new season of our version of The Voice? Ricky Martin! These days Ricky is a contented father of twin boys and in a long term relationship with a hunky financier who looks very much like him in the hair stakes. The AWW interview brought a smile to my face. Not only because of it revealing Ricky's The Voice role but also because one of Australia's most read and trusted women's magazines respects its readership enough to recognise that all kinds of families make up our world.


Mar 27, 2013

Finding Sanctuary With Ayurituel At Chi Spa.

Top - marni at H&M, London 2012, rings and things - T&Co, sparkly shower screen - Windex and me.

I like to call this 'Dress Code - Me Time'. Sleeves that hit the bottom of my fingers, dry clean only fabrics, a high neckline accessorised with an art installation .... there's not a ruche or flash of wash and wear stretch cotton blend to be seen.


The only challenge with being bold with a print top is what to wear on your bottom half. I went with white skinny jeans - while the weather is still up for it. It's autumn already and before you know it winter will be here and dark bottoms will be the order of the day. And you thought tho white jeans would be the just the excuse I needed to whip up another Lizard Hurley soon to be Warne analogy.
I was dressed up all 'Me Time' for a reason. I was lucky enough to be invited to Palmolive's launch of a new range of Ayurituel body washes at the Chi Spa in the Shangri-la Hotel, Sydney.
Ayurituel is a range of three body washes that are each fragranced with scents inspired by ancient Indian Ayuverdic traditions. The aim of Ayurituel is to enable you to find that inner sanctuary under the shower with the flick of a lid and the turning on of a tap. Peace and quiet can be so hard to find in the times we live in and often the only time a girl has on her own is under the shower.
The body washes come in 400ml bottles with a distinctive gold flip top cap. They retail for a very friendly $6.79 and will be available at Coles, Woolworths and Priceline as well as other selected outlets.
The fragrances available are:
Joyous - a delicate floral scent with Indian mulberry and lotus flower extracts
Energy - an energising and invigorating blend of ginger and sandalwood
Tranquility - a relaxing woody scent containing rosemary and patchouli fragrances.
I wish I could have lay down and curled up on the massage bed for a very, very long time....
Joyous is my favourite of the three but just to make sure I'd made the right decision, Palmolive kindly arranged for me to have a spa treatment based on the Joyous body wash.
How I survived without foot massages, I''ll never know...
After a deeply soothing Joyous foot and neck massage, I'm pretty sure I made the right choice. The body washes have a luxuriously thick consistency and rich and complex, long lasting scent that is worlds away from what everything else on the supermarket shelf has to offer.
Leaving the spa with a spring in my step and a deliciously cold fruit cocktail.

I'd like to thank Palmolive and Magnum for their kind invitation to the launch as well as for supplying their product for this review.

Mar 26, 2013

The Early Noughties In Clothes and Shoes. The Timbers.

Do you remember the time when Jennifer Lopez was JLo? It was the early 2000s and I was extremely susceptible to the prevailing winds of celebrity fashion. Jenny From the Block was her on stage persona and man wise, they were the PDiddy years. Cargo pants in parachute silk and cut 'down to there' green Gucci dresses were the height of fashion for the likes of Ms Lopez.

source: thedresscodecdc


While the rest of us were in awe of Sienna Miller's boho style. With mixed results. I never found anything as beautiful and flattering in any of the thrift shops I visited during the height of boho. Wearing crochet over anything made me look like a sofa.




Or perhaps you had more body confidence and Jessica Simpson with her Daisy Dukes was more your thing. Full points to you if you teamed your denim cutoffs with a red bikini to wash your car before heading out for a spot of boot scooting with Willy Nelson.


But back to JLo.

If I could define the JLo years with a shoe, it would have to be these Timberland boot inspired heels by Manolo Blahnik. Do you remember them? Google tells me Beyonce wore them in her Bonnie and Clyde video as well but JLo was photographed in hers more often, I think. I was so in awe of the heels, I remember buying a high street knock off pair. There were very comfortable during the 5 step walk I made in them on the store's soft carpet. In the real world however, they pinched my feet with envy crab like step I took in them. I barely lasted an hour as a wannabe girl from the block.

In 2012, Manolo Blahnik reissued these heels but to me, their relevance is lost in the present day. The JLo days of gangsta rap, bling and home girl fashion belong back in 2003. They've had their time in both popular culture and in Ms Lopez's life.

Any talk of Timberland fashion always reminds me of the 'Timbers' of the music world - namely Justin Timberlake and Timbaland.

JT's career just keeps going from strength to strength these days. From solid performances in films like The Social Network and Friends With Benefits, to his comeback in the music world with Suit and Tie, he's made the transition from child star to adult megastar without the very public crises and breakdowns of some of his fellow Mouseketeers. He's also managed to age better than a few of them as well.


Aside from the cute alliteration of their surnames, Timberlake and Timbaland have made one pretty fine music together.


Give It To Me is right up there for me. It definitely gets me going on the treadmill after all these years.


Baby SSG's will be getting his Timberland on this winter. His sweaters and trousers from OzSale arrived this week.

Perhaps I should put more vintage JT and less Wiggles on our morning tummy time playlist to fully immerse him in the power of the Timbers.

Mar 25, 2013

Mindful Living.

Having some time to think over life isn't something that happens often enough for me. Usually, my spare time is spent 'doing' rather than 'thinking'. One activity or goal leads to another, the time in between flies past on auto pilot and before you know it, you find yourself being a detached bystander watching your life unfold. It's as if your life is something that just happens to you.

These days, I find myself 'thinking' more than 'doing'. The commotion of my old life has been turned off. The silence and stillness that now exists (in my mind, at least) has been the perfect environment for a bit of old fashioned self discovery and analysis.


Ironically, for someone who blogs, good old fashioned pen and paper has been my preferred medium. The act of picking up a pen and filling pages with thoughts and goals, strengths and weaknesses has been both cathartic and empowering. Besides, nothing on a computer can beat the feeling of defiantly crossing through your writing with a slash of black ink.


Each bullet point gets committed to memory. Each page of writing represents progress on my journey. Each blank page is a fresh start, the indentations from the previous pages of writing anchoring the future with the past.


So, my mind reset is in progress. I'll be ready to press the button soon. Armed with new goals and attitudes, I am sure every moment and interaction of each day will benefit from the more active approach I'm taking to life.


Here's to mindful living!

Mar 22, 2013

A Pseudo Spill and A Sorry. The Elusive Notebook.

Well, that was a whole lot of drama for drama's sake. Yesterday's leadership spill that stopped a nation (whilst sending twitter into overdrive) saw PM Gillard retain her position unopposed despite her ex-boss's name being put forward for the contest (without his consent). I dontp't think I'll be alone in not voting Labor this September based on the series of disasters that have been their term of office. Scandals, corruption, failed policies and the pervasive influence of the faceless men - was this term in power purposely spent in 'made for television' mode? However, despite all of this, Julia Gillard has somehow managed to survive the last two years with her wits and dignity intact.

All the hot air wasted on the leadership issue had the unfortunate result of deflecting media attention from what I thought was the more meaningful moment of history being made yesterday. A formal apology was made by both sides of politics to the hundreds of Australians affected by forced adoptions in the 1950s to 1970s. It frightens me that the often illegal processes were still taking place so recently, in my lifetime. And I never really knew about any of it until news of the apology broke. I'd always assumed that forced adoptions were only pushed on unwed mothers in the pre 1950s world.

Julia Gillard opened her address as follows, "Today, this Parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering." Over 800 victims were present and there was also news that funding was being made available to help those in need of support as well as to assist them in finding their birth parents. Tony Abbott echoed these words as the whole government took responsibility for the past and the "unimaginable grief" these actions inflicted on innocent children and their parents.

Oh dear, this is a rather sombre post for a Friday, isn't it? Time to introduce a bit of light relief, I think.


Will this cup of tea and mini Easter eggs I had to have the other day do? It was in response to my not being able to find The Notebook at my local DVD store. I looked everywhere under the only categories Video Ezy divides mainstream release films under - drama, comedy and sci fi. Can you believe that the whole of Hollywood can be neatly divided into only three genres?



Yeah, I know. I'm the only woman in the world to have not seen the film or read the book. I don't know how I've still been able to function all this time. What do you think? Did the film change your life? Were there butterflies in your stomach watching a young Ryan Gosling? Was he the only reason you watched the film?Should I persist in looking for the DVD on next weeks tight arse Tuesday? Or should I move on? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.

Mar 19, 2013

Politics. A Real Housewife Writes.

With just under 6 months until the federal election, I'm really feeling for the bookmakers at places like Centrebet. Potential nominees for the ALP leadership seem to be appearing every other week. One week you think you've got a complete list of names from which to calculate individual odds and the next, someone else needs to be added. It's a Gillard / Rudd / Crean race at the moment but who knows if there's a few more wild card entrants waiting in the wings. It's all very Masterchef at times only without the food and ith the nations future at stake.


Added to the mix has been the proposed new media laws relating to self regulation of the industry and the proposal to appoint a Public Interest Media Advocate to watch over things. There's desperation in the air as the government seems hell bent on getting something done during their term in office. The bills are meant to be passed this week. Having already had confrontations with the banking and mining sectors already, perhaps it will be third industry lucky with these proposed media bills? Actually, that's quite a few major business groups to have had run ins with this close to an election.


Anyway. While we all wait with baited breath on the outcomes of all of the above, there's news that Australia may be getting our own Real Housewives franchise. The worrying thing is that this may be the only issue from this blog post to gain significant traction and actually happen without much blood being spilled.


To get you ready for our own Real Housewives, may I suggest some pre reading from the pen of a Beverley Hills housewife, Brandi Glanville? Her memoir is called 'Drinking & Tweeting and Other Brandi Blunders. It's pretty earthy and one of those part memoir, part lessons in life advice kind of books. With bonus hash tags as per the title.
Before her turn in RHOBH, Brandi was the happily married wife of actor Eddie Cibrian who's career is mainly in television. Brandi gave up her career as a model to be a stay at home mother (SAHM then seeing as I started the paragraph with an acronym) to the couple's two sons. Then LeAnn Rimes happened and following that, the bitter fall out that gave the US gossip magazines enough content for months.


'Drinking & Tweeting' doesn't cover any new ground in the 'picking yourself up after being publicly humiliated by your husband' stakes but it is very funny. Brandi isn't one to shy from anything in her past and she tells all on her issues with depression, plastic surgery, substance dependence as well as her take on LeAnn and Eddie. The book reads like an NW article - but without the paparazzi photos or the subtle editing of a magazine's legal team. It would be good for the Easter long weekend or sooner if you're post an ugly relationship breakdown.


I will temper that last paragraph by saying that for every paragraph that Brandi disses her ex husband and LeAnn for what they did to the perfect family life she thought she had, she also manages to balance the bitchiness with the positive things that LeAnn and Eddie have done with regard to raising Brandi and Eddie's two sons. As for making her peace with LeAnn, Brandi now refers to her as the Bonus Mom and the three appear to have reached a place where they're all able to put the boys' best interests ahead of any tensions they may have amongst each other.All this Real Housewives / Hollywood talk has me craving a bit of trash for dinner actually. Just as well we've got leftovers from Mr SSG's cheap Tuesday KFC run in the fridge. That large mash potato and gravy has my name written all over it. After I go to the gym, of course.



Crisp Autumn Mornings. Small Paul. The Polar Fleece Fold.

It's not just the latest editions of the food magazines that are saying it but the weather is as well. Autumn has arrived.



There's a crispness to the mornings these days and having something hot to drink in the morning is a necessity as well as a ritual.

Another thing that means the start of autumn to me is getting the flu vaccine. I hope you've got plans to get your vaccine or else have done so already because a bad flu season is anticipated this year. Subway sandwiches do not give you the flu but Subway was what I had for lunch today after Mr SSG and I went to get our needles. Of all the food court choices, it had to be a foot long for me. Something to do with it being forbidden fruit whilst I was pregnant and having to walk past the outlet art work twice a day for months and only being able to order an occasional soft drink from it.


Chilling out with a good book ,,,



I was hoping to post one of those mummy and me outfit shots today. I had it planned for 9.59 am, actually. We were just about to get into the car in our matching dark denim skinnies (from Sussan and Cotton On Baby respectively) and I was all set to take the photo. Then one of us had a nappy malfunction and needed a complete outfit change and here we are both in blue, just not both in denim.


Speaking of blue, Baby SSG got more stuff today. It's just one of those facts of life these days that I can't walk into either Big W or Target and then leave empty handed. More often than not it's baby stuff. I just find them both to be on the money in terms of value and style. Never fear though, I'm slowly finding my shopping for me mojo now that I can squeeze into my pre pregnancy jeans again....


The swing tags for the range feature a message from Julius!


But back to today's shopping haul. Paul Frank has released a line for the little ones at Big W. With the cute abd clever name of Small Paul, nothing is over $20 and there are items for both girls and boys. Sizes go up to toddlers from what I saw today. The bodysuit and leggings in my photo were $11.84 each. There's also a tracky top and long sleeved T in the range. I'm kicking myself for not getting the track top. Will have to go back for it, I think.


Fleece top - $7, fleece wraps - $9.96 for a 2 pack, waffle wraps - $12.96 for a 2 pack. All from Big W.


You know that I'm a value priced polar fleece fan from way back, it's my active wear for the cooler months. Well, the time has come to welcome the baby to the fleece fold. He's got his own zip top and wraps to keep him toasty. I've also done a few large online orders for him at Cotton On and OzSale so I think he's all set for a cosy winter out and about. Now to get myself sorted out.



Mar 17, 2013

Mothercare Memories. Sunday Treats.

Gee, autumn has been kind to us in Sydney.



It was another gloriously sunny Sunday today. The laundry on the line was bone dry by mid afternoon and I drove home from my swim with the sun on my arms. It's going to be so hard to say that inevitable goodbye to this weather in a few weeks.


I am happy, though, to be saying hello to hot cross buns. I've held out for as long as I could but with under two weeks to go, the time was right to start my annual bunfest.

It's been in the news recently that Mothercare Australia has gone into administration and has had receivers appointed. Things don't look promising with regard to their brand having a continued presence here. I've read stories in the press about gift cards and laybys not being honoured. The Mothercare store in my local shopping centre was looking pretty tired this week with half it's shelves bare and fittings already being removed from its walls.

I've had waves of Mothercare related nostalgia since hearing the news. My parents went to London on a holiday together and my brother and I stayed with my Aunty in Singapore whilst they were gone. We returned to Perth together with a suitcase of Mothercare items my mum bought on her travels.

My favourite toy from her haul (overseas shopping hauls run down the maternal line in my family) was a Mothercare Wendy house. It looked a little like this more contemporary style I found on google only less pink nod girly. Mine had a very late seventies bright orange roof. It was much like a tent to assemble. The foundation was a series if black pipes that clicked together and the 'house' was printed PVC that slipped over. The door was a simple flap and I think there were clear front window panels.


And the clothes! I had a puffed blue parka that was a true investment piece. I imagined myself to be Little Blue Riding Hood every time I wore it to run through the rain and its puddles in the winter. My ever practical mother bought a larger size and I got several years' wear out of it.


I think this has been the second time Mothercare has tried to break into the Australian market and I will be sorry to see the stores go. But before Mothercare disappears from our shores, I managed to stock up on these cotton onesies for Baby SSG. They're a pretty good make. The cotton is super soft and they wash well.

Before I go, I'm going to leave you with some virtual chocolate. The best kind this close to Easter with its buns and long weekend of food and beverage indulgences. I was luck enough to be given these by my brother and sister law this weekend.
These are from Princess Coco in the Sydney CBD. Unfortunately their website appears to be down at the moment so I've included the urbanspoon link in this post with address details for the store.
What can I say? They are definitely the chocolates you need when your inner princess needs pampering. The flavours are rich and the chocolate melts in your mouth. These little gems are as delectable as they look.
I have it on good authority that the Princess Coco hot chocolates are to die for and I plan to investigate this for myself as soon as I can.

Princess Coco Chocolaterie on Urbanspoon

I hope you have a lovely evening. I'm debating whether or not to watch the new season debut of The Biggest Loser. It's focussing on families this year, parents and young adult children. I hope it doesn't all end in tears.




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