Jan 31, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year. Miracle Babies.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! 

www.123newyear.com


Happy Chinese New Year!  

May you and yours be blessed with prosperity, good health and good fortune this year.

It's the year of the horse and apparently this will translate to a year of high energy.  So look out for all kinds of excitement and high adventure this year.  And not just on this year's season of My Kitchen Rules.  I haven't quite gotten around to watching it but the twittersphere tells me that MKR is already embracing the theme of volatility the year of the horse brings.

In the background, another of my pairs of Sambags.

I've started the new year as I mean to continue - with a good cup of coffee in my hand and a comfortable pair of shoes on my feet.

Top - $7 bargain from Target.  Necklace - RPE.


You also need a bit of gold today and here is mine courtesy of Red Phoenix Emporium.

Calvin Klein Jeans - $39.95 at Costco.

In keeping with tradition, I'm wearing an outfit that is both new and red.  Say hello to my new skinny crop jeans from Calvin Klein Jeans via Costco.  Any item of clothing promising power, stretch and skinny is obviously an item of clothing I have to own.



In duplicate.  This is the pair I own in a vibrant green.


Toddler SSG is all set for today as well.  He's got a new red polo and to go with his tropical print boardies from Cotton On Kids.  It's a Chinese tradition that on the morning of New Year's Day, parents spend a quiet moment with their children to both give a red packet and bestow upon their child their hopes for the coming year.  Toddler SSG was asleep as I left for work this morning but we had our little moment all the same and I tucked his red packet under his blankie.

www.cottonon.com
The boys' Ts are $19.95 each and there are a variety of old school bands available - The Ramones, The Beatles...


He's all American prepster this year because it appears that Cotton On have completely sold out of size one Rolling Stones Ts.  Oh well, he'll be all set for watching the Super Bowl this weekend.  The game is in New Jersey this year but I have heard that New York City has 'taken over' festivities.  I'm planning to track down this year's half time ads on YouTube this weekend.



The good thing about Chinese New Year being at the end of January is that I've had a month to 'practice' my new year's resolutions and work out how realistic they actually are.  I'm happy to report that because I set pretty reachable fitness goals, I've managed to stay on track but at the same time still have some kind of challenge in what I do so I don't get bored.

That being said, I have to admit that my fitness goals are pretty self serving.  To get stronger and fitter, to have more energy, to get back into my pre-pregnancy wardrobe (but still be able to breathe and move), to be able to hold my head up when walking past a Lorna or Lulu store....



Which is why I've been touched and inspired by what my colleague Morgan and her two training partners have undertaken.  The three mums are running the New York City Marathon in November this year to raise funds for the Miracle Babies Foundation.  Miracle Babies is an Australian organization that helps premature and sick infants as well as their families as they navigate the rocky period of their hospital treatment (often in Neonatal Intensive Care Units) and then the nerve wracking transition of going home.

In Australia, we are truly blessed to have such ready access to NICUs across the country and that the beds of these units are both state of the art and freely available to every baby in Australia should they need one.  Miracle Babies adds to this service by looking after needs and concerns that arise for families outside the care their baby is receiving in hospital.

Morgan with her husband and baby Chloe.


Morgan and her running mates have all been personally touched by Miracle Babies.  Morgan is aiming to raise $10 000 by running the marathon.  There are a number of fundraisers that have been organized but you can also donate directly to Morgan's fund via this link.  I'm going to put a link up on the sidebar of the blog and leave it up until marathon day in November.  I really hope Morgan reaches her target and maybe even exceed it.



Jan 28, 2014

The Australia Day Long Weekend In Coffees.

Well, that was a lovely long weekend, wasn't it?  Somehow, Australia Day weekends aren't as stressful to plan for as the other 'major' celebrations on the calender.  You do make plans to get out and about and so on but it's not with the same 'has to be absolutely perfect' sense of urgency as say Christmas or New Year.  A bit special but a whole lot of laid back, that's how I feel about our national day.

Having said that, it was a busy weekend for me.  I had a whole list of errands and little jobs to tackle and there was just enough time over the three days to get them all ticked off.

At the panel beaters.  What else to do while waiting for the person in front of you talks major car remodelling than a random selfie?  Harems - Mix Apparel, Birkis and Mulberry Bayswater.  


I began with a sobering visit to the panel beaters for a quote for Friday's sideswipe.  Um.  It's definitely a case for insurance.  You know how it is with cars, you don't just replace the bit that fell off - there's always some major bit of panel beating involved.

Then there were all these niggly little things that I will bore you with because I'm so glad I finally got around to doing them all.  I put down rubberized mats in the car to prevent me from digging holes into the carpet with my shoes.  A large bag of old clothes went to St Vinnies.  The grout in the shower got a vigorous scrub.  Dead bits on my pot plants got trimmed.  I tracked down descaler solution for my Aldi Expressi machine.  I've yet to actually do the descale but I'm ready for when the urge arises.



It wasn't until late on Sunday that I got to sit down with a cup of tea to read the Australia Day edition of the paper.  Congratulations, Adam Goodes on being recognized as Australian of the Year for 2014.

I know people get a bit iffy when sporting stars get awarded 'serious' awards but I think Adam is a worthy recipient for so many reasons.  Aside from his work in raising awareness of domestic violence and his ongoing crusade against racism, he's a highly visible and respected example of what a man with a commanding physical presence and strength should be.  An athlete and competitor on the field and a decent human being off it.  A man who doesn't use his physical presence to coward punch the innocent outside of the sporting arena.


www.telesport.hu

I didn't follow the Australian Open this year (in keeping with tradition) but even I had to google Li Na's winning speech.  She and Pink are two women who I always think of as honorary Australians.  They are both always in fine form whenever they're here to compete or perform.

www.hollywoodreporter.com

Speaking of Pink, she nailed it at the Grammys with an energetic acrobatic sequence in her set.


For me, the other big moment of the Grammys was when Madonna, Queen Latifah and Macklemore took to the stage to celebrate equality in love for us all.

Nothing too groundbreaking happened in my neck of the woods but that's how it's supposed to be on a long weekend staycation.


What's a long weekend at home without a tour of duty of your favourite coffee haunts? Starting with a post gym almond croissant and skinny cap for breakfast on Saturday.


Followed up by a leisurely takeaway after my swim yesterday.


On Sunday, Toddler SSG and I scaled the heights of the play centre at our local Westfield.


As he chomped on Oporto chicken strips and chips (someone tell me that they're a healthier option than Maccas) afterwards, I kept the theme of colour from the playcentre going with this coffee from Chocolateria San Churro.

Eating out with a toddler has its advantages.  Namely a few hot chips to go with your salad from Sumo Salad.

Then it was onto the serious business of finding Toddler SSG some shoes to go to the pool with.  Things didn't go as planned at the Crocs store.  Firstly, being released from his pram was all the motivation he needed to race me to the entrance every time I put him down.  Then we found out that they'd run out of his size.

Not bad for $15!

I wised up by the time we went to Cotton On Kids.  With Toddler SSG firmly strapped into his pram, I managed to find some clogs in his size as well as a couple of long sleeved tops to help me win this battle with the unpredictable summer weather cycle of alternating hot and cold days we're going through right now.


There was one last stop before heading home.  Kiehl's has just released some new body cleansers ($30 per bottle) in a wide range of fragrances.  I love the cucumber version which I think has now been discontinued.  I'm looking forward to trying the Fresh Rose sample I was given.  Toddler SSG wasn't overlooked, possibly because of the racket he was making in store.  We have a sample of Nurturing Baby Cream ($28) to try.  If he'll hold still long enough for me to simultaneously tear open the sachet and squeeze out some product before he grabs the packet off me.


How was your long weekend?  Your thoughts on the Grammys, the Open or our Australia Day honours recipients?

Jan 24, 2014

Hit By A Truck. Those Trusty Flynts.

I really was planning to blog about breaking world news today.  I mean, so much has gone on with the world since last we met.  Matt (Damon) and Tony (Abbott) are at the World Economic Forum at that little ski resort in Davos.  Matt is there to be formally recognized for his work with water.org , and Tony delivered a key note speech that declared amongst other bullet points, that Australia is 'open for business' and that global economies don't need 'more governance' but instead they need 'better governance'  There's something in that for all of us.

And Justin Bieber.  Poor, Justin.  Even the BBC news website has posted a report about his being arrested for drug drag racing in Miami.  It seemed like only yesterday that Bieber Fever first hit Sydney and adult women like myself were watching the news bemused at our city centre being shut down in a wave of teenage hysteria.

My plans for a hard hitting post went out the window becuase I was literally hit by a truck today.  Literally.  I was cruising along in 'Friday before a long weekend traffic' when an interstate delivery truck took out my driver's side rearview mirror.  Fortunately no one was hurt but these things really shake you up.  Neither of us could stop safely and I doubt the truck driver felt a thing.  Reports have been made, phone calls made and all that remains is to see if duct tape can hold things together until I can get it all fixed.  

So that's my excuse for the rest of this post being frothy.  Hope your Friday has been less traumatic than mine.



I'm all set for the Australia Day long weekend.  I started on the lamingtons yesterday.



But said no to the patriotic onesies at Big W.


The scales may lie  but these SFAMs of mine never do.


You know how I'm a long time reader of the Mail Online?  Well, I really enjoyed this article about how many women have a 'skinny' item of clothing that they rely on  more than scales or tape measures to keep themselves on the straight and narrow.  I know it's hardly news but I loved reading the stories behind how each woman came to find the item of skinny clothing they use as their yardstick.

For me, it's this pair of Seven For All Mankind jeans.  They're the Flynt cut and I bought them at the start of my online shopping obsession back in 2005.  I had tried them on in Perth and baulked at the price.  Then I found them online and on sale on a US website.  The size that fit me was also a couple of sizes smaller than my usual.  Extreme vanity sizing at a bargain price, the Flynts have served me well.  I can actually fit into and do them up now, not to mention walk around in them in public.

Do you have a skinny yardstick item of clothing?



Toddler SSG has a couple of new additions to his library.  They are probably the most beautiful board books I've ever bought for him.  I found them after doing a google search for indestructible board books.  Can't find the link for you today but here are the titles:
- Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli ($23.02)
- opposites by Xavier Deneux ($15.51), part of a series that I'm thinking I'll just have to collect for Toddler SSG.
Both were from Book Depositary.

This is a photo from 'opposites'.


The cut outs of the pairs each pair of pages 'fit' into each other to illustrate the accompanying written concept.


'Alphablock' features cut out shapes of letters and the illustrations on the related pages tie up with theme of the word accompanying each letter.

I'm not game enough to leave Toddler SSG alone with either book just yet. We'll be reading them together for just a little while longer, I think.  I've already duct taped several other books in the library and my book surgery clinic is closed for the summer.



Speaking of Toddler SSG, he's discovered risotto.  That block of parmesan from the other day is really being put to good use in our kitchen.  I used this recipe from Best Recipes.  It's very easy and quite forgiving in terms of measures for ingredients.  I'm just going to have to accept the fact that everything toddler recipe I cook manages to turn out a shade of orange / yellow...

Have a lovely long weekend and stay safe!


Jan 22, 2014

2014 So Far.

Today's post is part of Nikki's 2014 So Far project over on her blog. If you'd like to be involved, just copy the template on the post and start filling in those blanks!




Can we really be 3 weeks into the year already? I feel like I've been on the go with one thing or another since New Years. On the up side, this glorious summer weather and day light saving helps me feel like there are just enough hours in the day to do what has to be done.





Making: changes and plans for the future.




Cooking: toddler food. We've finally moved on from plastic cheese. Hooray for grated Parmesan Reggiano in risottos.





Drinking: bubbles. There's been so much to celebrate over the last few weeks. But also lots of water (less exciting photo than the bubbles), endless cups of tea and the occasional takeaway coffee.



www.npr.org



Reading: Bossy Pants. Again. And I always laugh out loud at the same moments. Sometimes, I wish Tina Fey could live my life for me and then write about it so that I'd be able to laugh through the tough times.





Wanting: a little sign somewhere that I'm doing this mothering thing right. Tea leaf reading, anyone?

Looking: at the clock and wondering where this day has gone.





Playing: with Duplo! Oh, the fun of play time when I get home from work. It's very cathartic banging pieces of oversized Lego together at the end of the day.

Deciding: that there's no point looking in the rear view mirror of life all the time if you're meant to be going forward. Eyes on the windscreen.









Wishing: that I'd do more things 'just because' rather than making plans to do them.

Enjoying: those unplanned moments where I can take a breath, look around and just be in the moment.




Waiting: for time to do its healing thing.

Liking: when a plan comes together at work.
Wondering: what destiny holds for me.




Loving: being a mother.




Pondering: the two sides to every story.

Considering: that I'm doing pretty well under the circumstances. If I do say so myself.
Watching: the sky. Those clouds are getting grey and heavy.
Hoping:
for silver linings.








Marvelling: at how quickly they grow up.

Needing: a virtual hug and a smile every now and then.



Smelling: my Scentsy warmer as it takes me to Havana Cabana.





Wearing: my trusty diving watch with the large second hand and the date.

Following: the much wanted pregnancies of good friends and the journeys of those who have just become mothers. I'm also hoping for those whose time is yet to come.



Noticing: that I'm getting stronger by the day. I reckon it's these fancy weight training gloves of mine with the hot pink power stripe.

Knowing: that all will be well.




Thinking: that the world is a funny place.

Feeling: that progress is being made.
Admiring: my parents.



Sorting: hundreds of baby photos.




Buying: some sugar snap peas on the way home from work. I love eating them with dip and rice crackers for lunch.

Getting: some allegedly toddler proof cardboard books in the post from The Book Depositary.
Bookmarking: websites that stock interesting fit and flare skirts. Review, Modcloth... any others you know of?




Disliking: the biscuits we get at work. That's why there's always a spare box of McVitie's Dark Chocolate Digestives under the table where the printer is. Don't tell anyone...

Opening: work emails. They seem endless.
Giggling: (still) at how nothing can get between Toddler SSG and his Coles rotisserie chicken. He pushed my arm away from the plate on which I was teasing a thigh for me and kept grabbing shreds of meat the moment they hit the plate. He ate at least a quarter of the chicken in one sitting.

Thanks for starting this, Nikki!

If you're joining in, please leave a comment here so that I can read your responses too.


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