Aug 31, 2016

Art in the Everyday #1.

Title: 'Butterfly'.  
Medium: paper, feathers, cotton wool and bedazzler embellishments.
Artist: Preschooler SSG.
Location: a wall of my office at work.

Title: 'So It's Not Spring Just Yet'
Background: I genuinely thought that Tuesday was the last day of winter and that today was the first of September.... 
Technicque: so I gave myself some extra time in the morning to wind my watches a day forward.... Technique revised: then I checked my computer at work and had to start winding them all back.

Title: 'Somewhere On the Healthy Food Continuum... Somewhere.'
Medium: cheese flavoured chemical compounds (powdered) on rice crackers (thin) wrapped in printed foil (noisy).
Accompanying works: a can of Coke Zero at 4pm towards the tail end of a crazy day.

Title: 'Mirage... Or Not?'
Subject: 100ml bottles of Nuxe's original Huile Prodigieuse on the shelf at Priceline during GWP time.  These bottles of HP are as rare as hen's teeth at Pricelines right now.  None available online, sold out at the most Pricelines in the city but finally found at Top Ryde.
Extension of work beyond the current piece: I bought two bottles ... plus a couple of tubes of half priced Maybelline mascara.

Aug 30, 2016

Spring Has Nearly Sprung. 'Bad Moms'.

And just like that, we’ve had our last day of winter.  Can you believe it?  Spring has nearly sprung.

Spring excitement was everywhere around me today.  Or maybe it was that infectious enthusiasm of mine making it look that way.

Artichokes artfully arranged.

Elegant eggplants.

Cheap children’s Croc-offs.

Doesn’t the change of season put that bounce in your step as well as give you an inexplicable urge to alliterate?

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing my address written in French on a parcel..... 

Especially when it's a parcel full of beautiful things from the marvellous Mai Tai.

All will be revealed in later posts...

And I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of unwrapping new makeup that’s guaranteed to make me not look tired (providing the lighting and phone camera filters are just so...).

I'm looking forward to giving these Photoshop in a tube miracle workers from Hourglass a go tomorrow.  I love the fact that the tinted moisturiser is called Illusion.  No beating around the bush there.  I just hope it lives up to its name and gives me what it so boldly promises.

Aunty duty went very smoothly this morning.  My nephew slept like a (textbook) baby while I sipped at a mug of super strong tea and comfort read some Tori Spelling circa the early days of trying to fit it all in with four children while life keeps giving you curve balls that make it challenging to live in the manner you were born into.

If you struggle whilst attempting to fit it all in as you get hit by life's curve balls, may I suggest watching Bad Moms sometime soon?  I had the pleasure of taking a few hours out of the busyness of today to catch an afternoon session with a good friend who also happens to be a wise and inspiring mum.

'Bad Moms' is a lot of raucous, gross out fun but the film and its characters make many valid points about being a mother in this current age.  The relentless pressure we and the women around us seem to place on mothers.  This vision of mothers being perfect and conforming perfectly to whatever 'tribe' it is that they align themselves to.  That tension that sometimes arise between those who work outside the home and those who do not.  The observation that often when there are many of us at very close quarters to each other, competition and pettiness triumph over solidarity within the sisterhood.

Have you seen 'Bad Moms'?  Did you enjoy it?  Did the end credits make you tear up just a little?

Aug 28, 2016

Lovin' Life 28/8/2016: Book Week. Other Things Related to Food.

Even Harry Potter needs to use the lift every once in a while.

And even Harry Potter's wand can't make those lifts come any faster.

It was Preschooler SSG's first Book Week this year.  Celebrations at his preschool were spread over the whole week to accomodate the fact that most of the children don't attend all five days of the working week.  Instead of the parade primary schools put on, a few preschoolers presented briefly each day about their favourite book while dressed in a costume. There was a Nemo, an Elsa, a tiger who came to tea, a dinosaur and many others.

Preschooler SSG's favourite book was actually a new favourite from the library.  It's about a crab who taps away in the ocean while counting things.  Apparently, it was well received by his classmates.  The trials of a crab in the ocean as told by a three year old dressed as Harry Potter.  Don't worry, there really wasn't any clever unifying theory or obscure literary detail linking the two.  It was just the will of a three year old and the luck of the draw for his mother when she went costume shopping.  We  might have to get our visions a tad more unified for Book Week 2017.

It was a big day in the pool for my little wizard.  He got his first swimming ribbon for going underwater for a full five seconds.

We celebrated with a little trip to chocolate frog and freckle central aka Haigh's...

I promised one milk chocolate frog for the swimming ribbon but we somehow managed to come home with a bag of them plus 4 chocolate button samples from our friendly sales assistant at the register.

Speaking of chocolate, I believe the battle for best tasting dark chocolate with sea salt has  been settled.  In Aldi's favour rather than Lindt's.  Aldi's Moser Roth version tastes like a grown up salted caramel.  You get the saltiness but not the jaw aching sugar rush that accompanies the salted caramel filled chocolate that's currently on the market.  The Aldi chocolate is incredibly addictive but fortunately comes in individually wrapped bars.

It was jaffles for dinner at our place tonight.  In a controversial move, I made mine without cheese or processed meat.  Both rounds!  I had some leftover chicken and vegetables that worked really well with a dash of sriracha.

Are you a dark chocolate with sea salt fan?  Which is your favourite?

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?


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