Jul 31, 2018

A Sentence (Or Two) A Day, July 2018.

Today's post is inspired by Jo Tracey's Sentence A Day posts that she does on a monthly basis. Except you know me, I can't write just one sentence so it's two sentences (or more) a day from me!

  1. Master SSG got his swimming ribbon for being able to swim from the platform before rolling over and floating.  Proud mum moment.
  2. My new microwave was delivered, installed and the old one removed in less than half an hour.  Love your work, Appliances Online.
  3. Got to the airport in time. 
    It's very soothing sitting here typing as planes depart around me.  Reminds me, need to get cracking booking the next work trip.
  4. It's so good to be back home at mum and dad's.  So relaxed already because mum and dad have forcibly (in the nicest possible way) taken over all my adulting responsibilities.
  5. Mum's new car is arriving today and I'm going to help her learn how to drive it.  Wish us both luck!
  6. Well that was an epic buffet dinner. Dessert included chocolate fondue with the chocolate coming from the most elaborate chocolate fountain I have ever seen in a hotel restaurant.
  7. Continuing the sweet life theme, Levi's Donuts at the Fremantle Markets are the bomb dot com.  
  8. Sad to be flying home but also looking forward to being in my own bed tonight.
  9. Hectic first day back at work but it wasn't as bad as I feared it would be.
  10. A day of getting things done.  I also baked with beetroot for the very first time.
  11. Looks like I'm heading to Berlin for work stuff this October.  Can't wait.
  12. Great pace on my run this morning.  I think I will make the entire course of the Sydney City to Surf after all - it's only a month away.  Eeekkk.
  13. A productive and efficient day at work.  Perfect way to end the working week.
  14. Got my tyres replaced.  A nail went right through one.  The good news is that because the mechanics filled the tyres with nitrogen I don't have to check my tyre pressures for SIX WHOLE MONTHS!!!!! 
  15. A beautifully sunny but cold day. 
    Started at the Tramshed Farmers Market before spending the afternoon at the Bastille Day Festival in The Rocks.
  16. Oh that was a cold start to the day, the special snowflake signal went off in my car because it was 4C outside.
  17. Sun, glorious sun!!  The laundry even dried completely on the line.
  18. Hit the ground running at work today.  Fell in love with basil pesto dip at our work morning tea...
  19. I did it. 
    Got my eyes tested.  My prescription hasn't changed and my retinal scans were great!  Yipeee!!!!!  I'm so relieved I'm giving myself five sentences today.
  20. So sleep deprived today because I got calls at all hours from work last night / this morning.  Here's to extra shot skinny caps!
  21. A perfect Saturday.  Sun, run and baking.
  22. Family, cuddles and chocolate cake.  What's not to love?
  23. When I write the minutes for a meeting, expect them to be very short.  Also, I'll count you as having attended said meeting even if you missed ao long as I saw you at work at some point of the day.
  24. First day of term three!  Our holiday report starring Larry the Lion, the kinder class 'pet', was a huge hit.
  25. I think I've overtrained for the city to surf.  Tried to conserve the function in my ankles by hitting the bike rather than the treadmill at the gym today.
  26. Phew, that ankle survived the treadmill for a second consecutive day.
  27. The joys of having an old house include the electrics.  Fortunately, I have a legendary electrician who has found a solution to the short circuits that happen here every winter. 
  28. I love my new glasses!  I'm this close to giving my contact lenses a bit of a holiday.
  29. Finally!  Done with work but not before I have to call IT to fix my password.  Took a record 10 minutes to get me back on track.  Thank you, IT!
  30. So much learned and so much discussed.  A pretty full on day but one that makes me love what I do even more.
  31. Tuesday.  My day off.  What's not to like?

Jul 30, 2018

Life This Week 30/7/2018: Happy 120th, QVB!

The Queen Victoria Building is 120 years young this month.  But between 1893 and 1898, this heritage listed, this 30m by 190m rectangular jewel of Romanesque Revival architecture has a very special place in my heart.  It was one of the first places I explored on my first trip to Sydney a very, very long time ago.  It was around 2005 if my memory serves me correctly.

The theme of this year's birthday celebrations is 'Memory Lock'. Comprising of a five metre high lock with a key suspended above it, the key symbolises 'the unlocking of magical moments' and the lock is 'the symbol of cherishing them forever', according to the QVB's official website.

 The key and lock were designed in conjunction with James Dive and Scoundrel Projects.

Visitors to the installation are able to attach a lock and a handwritten message to it in a reference to the padlocks of the Pont Des Arts in Paris.

I'm a bit of romantic when it comes to places and this project got me thinking about what the QVB means to me.

My first memories of it was the mass of people that I somehow melded with the moment I entered.  Coming from the quiet and wide open spaces of Perth, the crush of humanity was a bit overwhelming.  People were walking this way and that all around and sometimes practically on top of me.  With purpose and with speed.  There were people everywhere I turned, there were new things to see if I so happened to pause for breath, close my eyes and reopen them. Sydney was a blur of energy to me on that first trip.

I've mostly acclimatised in the years since I've moved here and the QVB is no longer just the slightly daunting old building I need to get to in order to get my supply of Haigh's dark chocolate peppermint frogs.


The QVB is Christmas.  That spectacular central tree dripping in crystal and the rose blanketed rotunda where Santa lives for the season.

The QVB is also an eclectic selection of shops whose windows always hold something to capture my imagination.

The QVB hosts the only Hobbyco store Master SSG visits.

He's grown up watching the electric model train in the front window and together we've seen the detailed seasonal changes the store makes to the display periodically.

The majestic beauty of the QVB (politely) demands that you dress up for afternoon tea with good friends or else a coffee at one of the cafes that overlook the central tiled walkway.

Happy Birthday. QVB!!  You're such a special part of the lives of many Sydneysiders and we all wish you a long life and good health (in your foundations and other essential structural components).

What does the QVB mean to you?

Jul 28, 2018

Life Lately. A Mascara Called Caution, Amongst Other Things.

I took the need to pick up my Mecca Beauty Loop gift box as a sign and an excuse to drop some clams on a tube of Hourglass' new mascara.  It's proper name is Extreme Lash Mascara but I choose to call it Caution because that's the word that caught my eye on the packaging.

The mascara retails for $42 AUD and comes in a weighty gold triangular shaped tube.  It has a fine wand that's stiff enough to coat your lashes fully from base to tip. Currently the only shade available is Ultra Black and there is no specific mention on the packaging about it being waterproof or not.
Image result for hourglass caution mascara
via Sephora 
That being said, the mascara lasted a whole day on me through a pretty hectic and long Friday.  I loved the length, definition and curl but a little volume for $42 and the mental energy required to find park at Westfield wouldn't have gone astray. While this is another high performance item from the Institute of Hourglass, I think my next dollars mascara purchase will be the even more provocatively titled Better Than Sex by Too Faced.

In further double entendre themed Mecca make up news, I can vouch for the staying power of Urban Decay's All Nighter make up setting spray too.  A deluxe sample was part of the gift box and it did an excellent job of keeping my makeup in place as my mind and body raced through life in general.  Which brings me to a slightly related thought.  Why can't there be an All Nighter + spray which would help you keep as firm a grip on the day as your makeup does to your skin?

I think someone at the gym knew I'd be struggling to find motivation to train with a sore right ankle and a stomach full of my mum's cooking.  I dug deep, held the post it note to my chest, took a selfie and then went hard on my exercise bike.

Diorama season has started at Kinder and a shoe box from home was required.

So I sent in this shoe box from my new pair of oxblood Sara suede heels from Trenery.  They were my first purchase from the brand and I think I'll be back soon for a closer look at the rest of the range.  I got them on sale and they're surprisingly comfortable for the heel height.  I wore them to the car on Friday with a pair of Bonds sockettes.  I even walked in them to school and back before I had to face facts.  I can't do a work day in heels no matter how great they make my legs outfit look so I switched back to my pair of black ballet flats.

Guess where I'm going in 62 days?  Hint.  It's not an American city.

As surprised as I am?  I'm going to Berlin!!!!!!!!!!!!

via audit.com.au

My tickets are booked as is my hotel. I'll be stopping over in Doha where I expect I'll have to prised off this staircase in Hamad Airport so that I can board my connecting flight.

In the meantime, I have work. Lots of it.  Thankfully, my new specs have arrived so they're easing the pain a bit.  

Be well.

Jul 26, 2018

Lovin' Life 26/7/2018: Doona Covers and California Rolls.

Today's Lovin' Life is dedicated to the life changing YouTube video.  It's one minute and fifty three seconds of sheer brilliance.

If you've ever struggled with trying to put a new doona cover over a doona that's any size larger than a single, the California roll technique will change your life.  It's so easy yet somehow so counterintuitive to me that I have to rewatch the video every month or so as a refresher.

How do you change your doona cover?  Will you be switching to the California roll way?

Jul 23, 2018

Life This Week 23/7/2018: Show Us Your Snaps (and Screenshots) #6.

The week in snaps and screenshots looked a little like this...

It's less than a month until Sydney's City to Surf and training is going well in that I'm injury free and still looking forward to hitting the pavement at the crack of dawn even if it is in fleece and ski gloves.  I'm just not entirely sure if what I think is Heartbreak Hill is the actual Heartbreak Hill of the race.  My hill still causes me heartbreak each and every time I attempt it so perhaps that's confirmation.  All will be revealed on race day that also happens to be my birthday.

It looks like I will be doing a fair bit of shopping at Coles for the next 6 weeks.  Eager to emulate the success of Woolworths' various collectable toy promotions, you can now collect 20 miniatures of some of Coles' top selling groceries.  The minis will be offered for every $30 spent but it is a bit contradictory to be giving out all this free plastic with one hand when you've taken away free plastic bags with the other....

I'm eagerly awaiting the new iPhone releases in September this year because I have to replace my current phone. The forward facing camera has severe and terminal shakes which makes every photo it takes look otherworldly.  I swore that I'd never again be the fangirl who logs her order the moment the online option becomes available but I'm going to be that girl this year.  Aside from the new handset itself, I'm also curious about the new iPhone emojis and memojis (emojis you can create of yourself).

Refinery 29 recently wrote about the new additions in this article.  I was fascinated to learn about the process behind creating each emoji.  The attention to detail and the ability of each icon to perfectly encapsulate what it represents is phenomenal. As much care is taken as with the creation of other software and hardware, there can often be 30 versions of a single emoji before the final one is created.  With regards to the memoji, rather than base the creative process on your gender, apparently you will be able to start with a blank face that you create into how you feel you look rather than what the program might tell you you should look like based on your gender.  Interesting concept.

It's tax time which means having to face the vaguely organized files of 'stuff' I've collected over the last financial year into better organized files for my accountant.  There's paper and file clips all over the floor at the moment,.

Did you know that Bic's 'multi-click' (my name for them) pens now come with a fluro highlighter option?  The only thing is you lose the green pen with that particular version.  Come to think of it, I've never run out of green or even red when using those pens.

The July 2018 issue will be the last for Donna Hay's eponymous magazine.  I will miss it terribly but am also excited to see what new projects Donna will now undertake.

I have many happy memories of cooking along with the magazine and also admiring the more fashion and lifestyle focused pages which often included items from Donna's own collection.  I felt that I got to know a bit about Donna as a person through her magazine.  The location shoots took me elegantly all over the country and the world from the comfort of my sofa.

Fun fact.  Master SSG's favourite fine motor skill task as a toddler was attempting to tear the covers off my Donna Hay magazine collection.  It actually ended up being a surprise party game at his first birthday party.

And lastly, heaters.  Or rather, the lack thereof.  With the sudden cold snap, electric heaters have sold out at most department stores in Sydney.  I was luck to get the second last convector heater for the spare bedroom at my local Harris Scarfe store.  It was the first time I'd visited Harris Scarfe, actually.  I like the store layout and the prices.  Will definitely add them to my radar the next time I need something for the house.

Have you ever used up the coloured pens in a Bic 'click pen' before the black and blue inks?

Will you miss Donna Hay's magazine?

Jul 21, 2018

Saturday. 'A Simple Favour' - Darcey Bell.

Winter weekends in Sydney are pretty special at the moment.

Sure the nights are freezing (by Australian standards) and some of us need to dress as if we were hitting the snow when we go running in the morning on suburban streets but once you get past all of that, this is what you're blessed with.  The bluest skies and sun against the bare branches.

Winter makes me feel as if I've earned myself a Saturday bacon and egg roll at the farmer's market.  Instagram is flooded with photos of people breakfasting in Italy at the moment but to me, this view was just as magnificent because it was accompanied by that aforementioned bacon and egg roll, an excellent coffee and the prospect of a whole day of freedom to follow.

I know I should have bought my fruit and veg while I was there

but I'm low key obsessed with Coles' Little Shop at the moment.

I'm making slow progress. 

Even if I don't get to collect all 30 minis, I will consider it all worthwhile if I at least get the TimTams and the bananas.

In other news from the world of adulting, I finally did it.  Got that eye test and retinal scan.  I don't know what I was so scared about (actually I do but none of it eventuated) but I got the all clear.  Even better, I got to choose new frames straight after my appointment. I'm going for statement specs in case you hadn't already noticed.

My reading world has been a bit lacklustre recently.  Novels I had high hopes for but have taken ages to finish.  I've begun to like the main characters of one series (Stephens and Mephisto of Elly Griffiths' other 'non Dr Ruth' series) so hopefully this bodes well for me to download a few for my next series of long haul flights in ... 69 days.

But then my Facebook feed came to the rescue.

Image result for a simple favor
via YouTube
Did you know that Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively have a new film coming out?  I saw the very slick trailer on my feed one morning, clicked and then found myself down a rabbit hole googling the novel upon which the film is based.
via Walmart.com
'A Simple Favour' is a domestic noir novel by Darcey Bell.  It tells the story of 'mommy blogger' Stephanie and how her quiet life as a young widow in suburban Connecticut finds colour and brilliance when Emily befriends her.  Emily is the glamorous mother of Stephanie's son's best friend.  Stephanie and Emily become good friends but one day Emily goes missing and Stephanie finds her life unravelling.

The unravelling is both good and bad in Stephanie's eyes.  The fall out from Emily's disappearance proves to be excellent blog fodder and helps Stephanie galvanise the support of her loyal readers as she shares details about how she and Emily's husband Sean are coping with the boys in the wake of the drama.  And then there's the initially unresolved sexual tension that smoulders between Stephanie and Sean....

Opinion on 'A Simple Favour' is divided for both critics and readers alike. Common themes in the negative reviews are that the novel is poorly written and the plot twists so predictable you don't even have to google for spoilers as you read. Those who enjoyed the novel praised the suspense factor and creative use of narrative structure.  The story is told in part through Stephanie's #soblessed blog posts which provide an ironic foil to what's actually going on in Stephanie's mind and life.

I'm turning pages compulsively and have a foot in both camps.  Bell's writing isn't as polished as other authors in this genre but she can plot twist with the best of them.  I'm also a fan of both Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.  The film's trailer has me intrigued as well.  Both factors have influenced / biased my feelings toward 'A Simple Favour' the novel.

Are you collecting Coles' Little Shop minis?  Which ones are you hoping to find?

Have you read 'A Simple Favour'?


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