Feb 27, 2018

Autumn Is Inevitable.

Autumn was always going to happen.  As was the last weekend of the summer.

The rain's set in here in Sydney and it looks set to stay for a few days at least.  Though things generally still look good on paper with sunny days ahead bringing maximums in the mid-twenties, those mid-twenties feel cooler than they did a few weeks back.  It's taking longer for the mornings to warm up while the afternoons are cooling off more quickly.

There's already been a gradual shift to the great indoors.  Those early hours of my days off have been spent sipping mugs of tea and taking in a few pages of an absorbing read whereas in the spring summer I would have been pounding the sidewalk up and down the bays where I live.  My read of the moment is an instalment of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache crime series.  There's something about those simultaneously larger than life yet still rivers running deep residents of Three Pines and the seemingly senseless murders that seem to just happen there with alarming frequency.  Between you and me, my dodgy knee and twingy back are just a little excited about the change of pace in the mornings.

The wet weather of the weekend was perfect for baking with Master SSG.

His chef's hat is courtesy of Devondale who are currently running a promotion with Woolworths.  The purchase of any two Devondale products entitles you to a junior baker's gift set which contains this chef's hat with an adjustable crown, a set of measuring spoons (perfect to teach the practical applications of fractions with... home learning has begun for us and its subject matter is far-ranging....).

We made Fruit Cornflake Biscuits from this cookbook from the AWW.

via Google images

Sorry, it's the best image I could find online of the cover.

The ingredients looked promising on paper.  Both chopped dates and sultanas provided the fruit factor, brown sugar the golden sweetness as well as some tropical nuttiness courtesy of the desiccated coconut.

Master SSG put his heart and soul into crushing the cornflakes.

But sadly, the biscuits weren't the butter cake-like version of my childhood. 

I'm going to have to hunt a little harder for the recipe for more cakey cornflake biscuits but in the meantime, morning tea for school is pretty much done and dusted for the rest of the term.

This is the time of the year that steaming takeaway coffees are beginning to provide me with not just caffeine but also a little warmth for my cold hands.

We're starting to pull out track pants and jeans from our wardrobes and wearing them with socks and trainers.

I know I'm calling it early but I do believe I've discovered my beverage for autumn / winter 2018 thanks again to @wangirls (whom incidentally, also introduced me to my crime writer of the season).  There's no other way to describe T2's Singapore Breakfast tea than delicious.  A tribute to kaya toast, it's a mixture of black and green teas with added flavour and depth from coconut and pandan leaves.  It's wonderfully fragrant thanks to the coconut and pandan while also managing to translate this scent into a warming but also soothing brew.  I was afraid the tea would be all sweetness and overpowering scent more than anything else but the end result has been a joy to drink each morning. 

Taste.com have a strong collection of soup recipes and I made their pumpkin and chive soup for dinner on Saturday.  Except I didn't have chives so had to substitute parsley instead.  It's the simplest pumpkin soup I've made but it was also the most delicious.  All you need is pumpkin, potato, onion, garlic, chicken stock, sour cream, chives/parsley and seasoning.  I'm not a fan of nutmeg or anything too complicated in my pumpkin soup so this recipe is definitely going to get repeated frequently over the next few months.

With the change of season has come the need to look at my wardrobe with a fresh eye.  I've identified a few gaps but the question is, do I really need to fill them?

I think a couple of silk blouses would work well with what I have.  This Trenery version is around $180 AUD though.  Far too much for my workwear budget.  I have heard great things about the silk shirts from online giants Everlane and Grana.  Through my research, I've also discovered a couple of fabulous Australian fashion blogs that are very much on my wavelength in terms of style as well as being very informative in their reviews of clothing by Everlane and Grana.  I intend to discuss this all in more detail when I get around to placing my order.


A new leather biker jacket.  I get so tempted each autumn but the truth is, the jacket is like to spend more time looking timeless in my wardrobe than it would in real life on my shoulders.  I'm going to stop looking for now and wait for the next sale.

Unfortunately, I've already waited too long for this navy blue Mickey knit from Uniqlo.  Priced at $59 AUD, it's already sold out in my size online.  I'm gutted. It would've gone so well with the white skinnies I was intending to wear this autumn.  There's probably a law of fashion against the wearing of white denim in autumn but I choose not to recall it right now.

Are you excited that it's practically autumn?

Feb 26, 2018

Life This Week 26/2/2018: Taking Stock.

Making : full use of this weather.  Summer turning into autumn gives Sydney such a lively (for want of a better word) variety of weather and most of it takes place during long days of sun.  It's perfect for exploring the city and doing different things each weekend.  I took this photo at the Museum of Sydney.  It's the family craft room.  All that light and that view out onto some of the most historical streets of the city.  It makes for a very restful and inspiring space 'floating' above all the activity at ground level.

Cooking : the same old same old, week in week out.  It's what's working for us at the moment.

Drinking : T2's peppermint tea.  See above.

Reading: Louise Penny's crime fiction.  

via Amazon

'The Cruellest Month' is up next on my Kindle.  Three Pines, the Canadian village that Penny has set the Inspector Gamache novels is my literary happy place.  'Once found, Three Pines was never forgotten.  But it was only ever found by people lost.'  This quote from 'The Cruellest Month' sums up the mysterious charm of the everyday world that is Three Pines and its residents for me.

Trawling: through my wardrobe for dresses to wear to functions I've got in the next few months.  Confession time.  Some of the dresses that are hanging inside it are years old and have never been worn....

Wanting: more hours in a day.  More so than usual.  Adapting the relatively short school day and extra couple of hours needed to make sure you're on time for pick up especially has been more challenging than I had anticipated.

Looking: ahead to the April school holidays.  Following on from the above, I'm booking leave and thinking of things to do with Master SSG and any of his friends who may be coming over for playdates.

Deciding: that the 'everything' desk is much tidier now that I've put multilevel organizers on it and started storing excess books and craft supplies on a separate wheelie trolley.  Thanks for the tips, mum!

Wishing: that eye tests could just do themselves.  I have to book in for one and I'm dreading it.  Will a new pair of specs at the end of it be enough?

Enjoying: seeing new season's fashion appearing in stores and online.  I'm going to take my time deciding what I might like to buy because I already have so many nice things I need to make better use of.

Waiting: patiently for March 1.  The date I think it's okay to begin buying hot cross buns on.  What's your 'okay to buy' date?

Liking: these colourful 'rocking birds' I made at the Museum of Sydney craft table a few weekends back.

Wondering: what tomorrow will bring. In a genuinely curious, open minded, take whatever comes kind of way.

Loving: that a new season is just around the corner and with it will come the need to dress a little differently.

Pondering: the two sides to every story, the two perceptions of the same set of events.  It can sometimes defy your own logic to think that someone could even feel the exact opposite to you over an experience you both shared.  

It sounds immature and selfish to even observe this but there you have it.  

My challenges with this observation are finding constructive ways to acknowledge both points of view, to not cast one side as 'wrong' or the other as 'right' and to then take away something positive or at least constructive from the confrontation.

That's all very oblique but I'm sure you've faced situations like this in your own life.  I'm trying to do more than react to them and learn from them as well.

Listening: to SBS Chill via TuneIn Radio on my iPhone via my wireless Bluetooth MINISO speakers.

Considering: what I might buy with all these Adore Beauty discount codes I've received.  I can't fault their customer service, range of products and stock levels.  Which makes it so hard to resist.

Buying: white T-shirts.  From Uniqlo.

Watching: the clock.  

Hoping: my work parking pass works.  I can't bear the thought of what it would take to get a replacement.  I didn't even do anything to it.  I swiped in successfully with it one day and then couldn't get out with it that afternoon.

Marvelling: at the way young minds learn, think, apply and interpret.

Cringing: at how I dealt with that random woman who demanded to know why I didn't call her when she somehow managed to get a parcel delivered to a house (mine) that she last lived in three years ago.  Telling her I didn't know who she was let alone have her number to facilitate this somehow made things worse...

Needing: come up with the good one-liners when they're needed and not in hindsight.  See above.

Questioning: why there are two prices for children's haircuts at some hairdressers these days.  Did you know that you can expect to pay 25% more on weekends at some places?!?!

Smelling:  newly laundered bed linen.

Wearing: chino trousers for the first time in ages.  A girl needs a break from jeans every once in a while.

Noticing: that I suddenly have a full social calendar and it all has to do with Master SSG starting school.  I've suddenly become a lady who lunches on Thursdays which is when most of the functions take place.

Knowing: that you can't go wrong with a little black dress.

Thinking: about what to make for dinner.  Top of the list is oven baked fish and chips.

Admiring: people who have their household's dinners planned a week in advance.  Menu written out, shopping list made, recipes neatly compiled. I salute you.

Getting: used to sparkling water as an alternative to Coke Zero.

Bookmarking: Magic Words websites.  Don't know what I'm talking about?  You're probably not helping a five-year-old learn to read...

Opening: my trusty AWW cookbooks.  I'm looking for failsafe biscuit recipes at the moment.

via Google images

Closing: the lid on my Costco sized tub of Vanish Gold with Napisan.  I managed to get some weird rust coloured stain on a favourite pair of white jeans but fortunately, this miracle worker has completely lifted the stain!

Feeling: excited and happy about mum and dad visiting us this March.

Hearing: the wind whistle outside.  I'm hoping this means my laundry will be dry as a bone when I collect it.

Celebrating: another solid week's running.  The paces haven't been great but I've kept at it each morning and it does me a world of good having had that time to myself each day.

Pretending: that my running is improving even though the stats tell a different story.  Oh well.

Embracing: the last of this summer's stone fruit.  Haven't the peaches been amazing this year?

Feb 23, 2018

David Mallett Haircare. Possible Parallels.

David Mallett is an Australian hairstylist who now resides in Paris where he has two salons including one at the Ritz.  Passionate about the art of hair from a very young age, Mallett is the go-to man for fashion houses such as Dior and Chanel.  Style icons such as Natalie Portman, Julianne More and Kate Winslet are just three of his numerous celebrity clients.

via The AFR
David Mallett at work.
Sydney Shop Girl is a fortysomething working mum (whatever that means) who calls suburban Sydney home.  Passionate about her hair, she's spent much of her adult, wage-earning life forcing it into cuts, colours and levels of straightness which are diametrically opposite to its natural stubborn state.

She is not the go-to woman that Chanel and Dior have on speed dial.  No-one 'fashion' has her on speed dial actually.  Rather, her most recent fashion 'moment' was picking up two pairs of sensible flats from the cobbler where she had their heels repaired and resoled.  The shoes were so 'sensible' the cobbler even made a point of mentioning this specifically when he retrieved the repaired shoes.

Sydney Shop Girl does not have any celebrity clients but she imagines that she climbs the same stairs and rides the same travelators as one or two 'Sydney Famous' style icons.  Literally following in their footsteps, she supposes.

She sometimes ponders the strange parallels in life she might share with said 'Sydney Famous' people but it's really all that it is.  Strange and truly parallel with no chance of their crossing.  Ever.

via The AFR
A promotional image for the David Mallett range.
It goes without saying that David Mallett and Sydney Shop Girl have never met.  While SSG has been to Paris once, she doesn't 'love' the city enough to visit it a second time.   Her hair and beauty budget also doesn't quite stretch to the approximately $425 AUD it would cost to have David cut her hair.

So, how have the paths of David Mallett and Sydney Shop Girl crossed?

I'm going to stop talking about myself in the indulgent third person and explain it all.

Behold the sleek, pared back packaging of David Mallet hair and behold also that famous Adore Beauty Tim Tam!

David Mallett's hair care range is available in Australia at Adore Beauty and I love it all!!!!  Both the products and Adore's customer service and appreciation.

What I bought:

  • David Mallett Shampoo #1 L'Hydratation $59 AUD (250ml)
  • David Mallett Conditioner #1 L' Hydratation $69 AUD (250ml)
  • David Mallett Hair Serum DM072 $79 AUD (50ml)

I also received a gift with purchase:
  • A travel sized David Mallett Mask #1 L'Hyrdatation ($99 AUD full size)
I can hear you gasping at those prices.

I will add to the shock and outrage by posting a photo comparing the size of the DM shampoo with my latest supermarket shampoo that cost $15 AUD.

The following is a blurb about the range from Adore Beauty's blog:

What are the four ingredients in David Mallett’s hair care range?

  • Keravis, a plant protein that helps to restructure and strengthen
  • Unsaturated Macadamia Nut Oil that hydrates and locks in nutrients
  • Japanese Nori Red Algae for elasticity, smoothness, and protection against the elements
  • Murray River Salt for a boost of calcium and magnesium, essential for hair

What makes David Mallett a unique hair range?

  • Concentrated formulas that do not weigh hair down
  • Haircare designed with sensitive scalps & allergies in mind
  • All products protect hair structure and prevent hair damage
  • No unnecessary chemicals - skin-friendly formulations only

via The AFR
Inside one of David's salons.
What I love about David Mallet's range is that it works for my hair.  At a price but it works.  The consistencies are generally thinner than what I would equate with products for drier hair but true to David's mission statement, this means that my hair isn't weighed down. There is minimal fragrance to the range which I'm also slowly getting used to.

Shampoo and conditioner #1
As a pair, the shampoo and conditioner work really well together.  They are both easy to disperse through the hair and then rinse out.  Results weren't overnight for me but over the first week of use, I did notice my hair look less brittle and feel much softer.  It has also been much easier to blow dry.

Hair serum DM072
I was a bit sceptical at first.  How could a serum so thin (and unfragranced) possibly work on this jaded woman's brittle tresses? But again, it did and it still does. I apply it to towel dried hair and then blow dry when I've sufficiently motivated myself to plug in my Parlux and switch it on. This can take several hours  (the switching on of the Parlux, not the actual 'blow dry' which is a five-minute job max) to happen and I've stopped using heat protectant spray while trialling the serum.

My blow dried hair with just the DM072 serum actually looks shiny where it ended up looking a bit fried in the balyaged bits when I used my regular styling product.  I've also noticed that my serumed hair 'holds' its shape better and still looks okay two days out.

Mask #1
Not my favourite product in the range, I'm glad I was using a free sample of it.  I'm going to keep looking and trying other brands.  I just didn't get that miracle turnaround you can feel the moment you rinse the mask from your hair that I have found with other brands.

Additional notes

My fireplace is predictably worlds away from the quirky chic of the one in David's Parisian salon..

I've been using the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse after blow drying my hair and it's working well with the DM range, adding a bit of shine and yes fragrance to my hair.


Yes.  That's right.  Coconut oil spray from the cooking oil aisle of the supermarket.  It's been a $5 find I've used for all sorts of hair related dramas recently.  I'm currently using it as a bit of a mask.  I spray it on my hair in the morning, tie it up and then wash it out at night.  It also works on flyaways which I have less of since becoming David Mallett's latest fan in Sydney.

Final thoughts
I'm hooked and will probably repurchase the shampoo, conditioner and serum.  Adore Beauty is also my most favourite online hair and beauty shopping destination at the moment so I'll be buying again through them.

Have you paid a ridiculous amount for haircare?  Was it worth it or did it leave you bitterly disappointed?

Have you had your hair styled / resurrected by David Mallett himself?

PS -humble apologies for all the typos.  Duly corrected my spelling of David Mallett's name. X

Feb 22, 2018

Lovin' Life 22/2/2018: Alphabetical Sydney.


'Alphabetical Sydney' is a lovingly illustrated picture book that celebrates the unique and lovable diversity of Sydney from A-Z. Written by Hillary Bell with illustrations by Antonia Pesenti, inspiration for the book came to the pair when they returned to Sydney from abroad with young families.  'Alphabetical Sydney' is a whimsical guide to Sydney seen through the eyes of children and the young at heart.

The Museum of Sydney on the corner of Bridge and Phillip Streets in the city is currently hosting a Creative Lab featuring activities and installations inspired by the book.

Admission is free with your general admission ticket to the museum ($12 AUD adults, $8 children over 5).

There's also compact but excellent gift corner in the foyer of the museum.

These wooden toys inspired by icons of Sydney life were my favourite finds.

I was just thinking that this toy candy jar would look lovely on my desk....

The 'Alphabetical Sydney' Creative Lab is on the first floor of the museum.

Just look for the icecream van and don't forget to press the red button on its door.

For a child who is usually first attracted to movement, crowds, brightness and constant activity Master SSG surprised me with his interest in every aspect of the room.  The lights were low (sorry for the white balance on my photos), the only sound to be heard was from the audio of the book being narrated and there was a distinct absence of anything that might be remotely climbable...

The wall of magnetic letters fascinated him as he set about creating letter patterns and later his name.

Large desks in the centre of the room were fully stocked with coloured pencils, glue and paper.  Each child entering the museum was issued with an activity pack to complete in the lab.

Master SSG's bat that we made from the kit got hung upside down by a mini peg amongst all the other bats resting in their crafty nocturnal habitat.

He then took a short break from the craft to dress up and hide in the book corner.

Before asking me to draw on his tag that we hung on the 'Where do you come from?' wall.  People from all over the world had already contributed their drawings.  I saw the Eiffel Tower and croissants drawn by a visitor from Paris and someone from India very artfully drew an elephant.  I'll 'fess up.  Sitting down at a table with pencils and paper on a hot summers day in the airconditioned comfort of the museum was actually very enjoyable even for me.

There was also a wall of 'phones' through which you could hear soundscapes themed to match the wall mural.

The final activity in the lab was to fold paper boats to float in the 'water' of Taronga Zoo Wharf.

The Taronga Zoo illustration was my favourite image of the day.  It holds many happy memories of our own ferry rides to and from the zoo.  The postcard version was available at the museum's store and even looking at it now as I type brings a smile to my face.

Have you read 'Alphabetical Sydney' or been to the lab at the museum? 

What was your favourite image?


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