December 01, 2014

Christmas wishlist - Sea Candy jewellery collection

I've got a lot of lovely friends on Instagram. Not just the random people I follow, but good ol' proper friends, who remember my birthday and are warm and kind and real.

One of them is Sadie. Firstly, she's the only person I've ever met named Sadie, and I adore her for it. She's Welsh, and moved from one cold country to another... New Zealand. She's is sassy and stylish, and I don't think a fabric print has ever been designed that she couldn't completely rock.

Sadie is a jewellery designer who actually handmakes her own pieces (instead of farming off to other skilled folk), and she does some incredible bespoke styles, so if you need something showstopping for a particular occasion, she's your gal.

The latest collection is called Sea Candy, which makes me giggle and think of mermaids illicitly eating the sailor's sweets. Love it. The signature piece of the collection is the Sea Candy necklace, each one is handbeaded, with over 14 hours of beading per necklace. (What the hey-ho? Who even has that kind of patience?) The Sea Candy collection also contains luxurious crystal quartz, candy coloured beads, shimmering seashells and high quality gemstones.

Shh by Sadie is stocked in selected boutiques in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, UK, Portugal and the USA. To see more of Sadie's unique designs, visit Prices range from $85 - $225.

*Not a sponsored post, nor are there any affliated links. I just adore Sadie's work and hope that some of it finds its way under your Christmas tree.

November 28, 2014

Christmas Wishlist - Bliss Inventive Daily Dream Creator

I wrote on Monday about 2015 diaries, and shared a few of my favourites. The thing is, I didn't share my ultimate favourite, because I haven't bought it yet although I'm madly in love with it. (Santa, it's on my wishlist, ok?*)

Meet the Bliss Inventive Daily Dream Creator. Isn't she beautiful?

This gorgeous planner is the brainchild of Nikki, a longtime online friend of mine, and founder of Bliss Inventive. She's just the sweetest and warmest soul, wrapped in a gorgeous exterior that can only be described as 'peacock-print'.

Now, here's why I am obsessing over this diary:
  • I recognise that a planner is simply a tool, not a solution. While I’m a HUGE fan of diarising, no planner is going to magically give me more time, make me more disciplined, or inject loads of energy into my life. I am the one who will use the planner as a tool to get more done.
  • I want a diary that gives me inspiration and productivity tools for both my professional and personal life.
  • I want something beautiful enough to leave out on the desk or kitchen table, and portable enough to take everywhere I go. I like a planner that I can lay flat, and not end up with a busted spine after a few months.
  • Granularity – I like to think in different ways at different times, so I need to see a day, a week and a month in one glance.
  • I always need some blank note pages that can get filled up with random plans and dreams, and I need quite a few of them
Now here's what the Daily Dream Creator contains:
  • Hardcover 2015 daily planner
  • Spiral bound
  • 2015 calendar at a glance
  • Monthly calendars with Australian holidays
  • 2015 dream brainstorming pages
  • Quarterly dream brainstorming pages
  • Monthly dream brainstorming pages
  • Daily scheduling pages

Is it just me, or does that cover everything I'm after? It probably covers everything you're after too. Nikki has thought of everything, and even includes astrology dates and individual inspirational quotes for every day, to really keep you chasing your dreams.

I adore this Daily Dream Creator, and can't wait to get my hot little hands on one.

How do you like to plan and achieve your dreams? Do you use a planner?

*Not sponsored, affliate-linked or anything financial. Just love a wonderful product by a beautiful soul. 

Don't forget, you can win a sweet little Christmas gift (a limited edition Glasshouse Candle) over here right now!

November 26, 2014

Christmas Wishlist Giveaway: Le Cabaret Glasshouse Candle for Christmas

Update: Giveaway now closed!

Congratulations Jennifer T!

I have emailed you, please contact me with your postal address within 7 days!

Remember how I shared my favourite scented candles recently? Well, this time I want to properly share, by actually giving one away!

(Confession: I can't really buy any more lovely candles until my candle cupboard has some room, so I'm actually being rather selfish...)

If you feel like a Christmas treat, follow the prompts below for your chance to win a Le Cabaret 350g (that's big) Glasshouse Candle!

Here's a little-known snippet about me, I've been trained in the art of detecting and appreciating fragrance by French perfumers as I used to manage a fragrance store in Brisbane. Unfortunately, I don't really have a nose for it, and can really only pick a handful of notes (usually my favourites, all tropical) from a scent. What a shame.

This is a super-romantic scent, heady and rich, and perfect for burning during an evening bath with a glass (or three) of champagne. It would make an amazing Christmas gift for the woman who really does have everything, and the beautifully-decorated jar will do double duty on the bathroom counter long after you've finished the candle!

What are you waiting for? All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post, telling me in 25 words or less:

What is your favourite fragrance family? Are you a fruity or a floral girl? Or perhaps you love the richness of oriental, gourmand or chypre fragrances?

Then follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition is open now and closes Sunday 7 December 2014 at 11.59pm AEST.

November 24, 2014

The 9 best 2015 diaries to get your life in order

It goes without saying that Mondays are a drag. We all love to bitch and moan about them, but we love a new year! Why? It's so weird, they are exactly the same thing (a fresh start), but a new year brings a grander scale of freshness.

Both bring such possibilities and hope, I don't know why we get our knickers in such a knot about Mondays. I think my big 2015 New Year resolution will be to view every Monday with the optimism and productivity that we approach a new year with. What's yours?

To that end, I'm excited to be shopping for a diary for 2015. I love the way a new diary has no failures in it, no unchecked to-do lists, no missed opportunities. These are a few favourites I've discovered in my search, they come in all shapes and sizes and range from discreet florals to eye-catching purple python print. With one of these diaries, you need never miss an appointment again.

Luxurious and glamorous, with playful gold polka dots. I'm not normally a 'gold' girl, but that's what a new year is for... to try a new you, see what else you might like. This one is brilliant too, it's a 17 month diary, and started in August 2014, so you can start using it now!

Draw attention to your big year ahead with this standout diary. It's made of mock-python in a shade that nature never came up with, and I just love it! I think I'd like to get this one monogrammed, for the ultimate in glamorous organisation.

This sweet hardback diary makes a nice gift if you have anyone to buy for soon. Recipients get their name on the front, you can include a message on the back and it comes in two sizes.

Got fashion running through your veins? This Christian Lacroix diary is wild as can be, featuring vibrant jungle prints from the designer.

Another blingy one, this time from kikki.K. This one comes with both weekly and monthly planners, and a sheet of sweet stickers to personalise your pages.

Another genius 17 month diary, this Lilly Pulitzer date book comes with weekly and monthly calendar pages, dates to remember, sticker pages, elastic enclosure and notes. 

This hardcover diary is filled with valuable health information for women of all ages, and more importantly, funds from the same of this diary supports the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia research programs to help provide a brighter future for women with breast cancer and their families.

Whatever your goals or intentions are for the New Year, making them happen will require a little bit of soul-searching and a whole lot of planning and the 2015 MNB Diary will help you do just that. I used the 2014 MNB Diary this year, and am thrilled to see that next year's version is even better.

This diary is a classic example of Cath Kidson's practical but pretty products. With week listings on the left and a whole page for notes on the right and a plastic cover with pocket and popper closure, it's ideal for anyone with complex social arrangements – or busy family members – to manage.

How do you like to tackle your new year resolutions, or even your Monday resolutions? Any Monday motivation tips to share?

October 27, 2014

Catherine from Coconut Tree Products, and her divine Coconut Body Butter

One of the perks of my (day) job is that I get the chance to hang out in Noosa, and chat with fabulous women. And pretty soon after starting there, I realised that most of the fabulous women on the Sunshine Coast end up visiting Noosa.

Serendipitous timing was in my favour when I met the incredibly lovely Catherine Reddaway of Coconut Tree Products. I was looking for generous local businesses who wanted to get behind what I was trying to do with the upcoming Active Nation Day event to be hosted in Noosa, and I wanted to work with small businesses who could benefit from exposure to lots of women who are passionate about treating their body better, and living their most positive and healthy life. 

Catherine visited my store, and she spent some time showing me her gorgeous new range of Coconut Tree Products, and then (bless her) offered to provide 30 samples of her delish-smelling  Body Butter for our Active Nation Day participants! I loved this idea, because as a regular promotional event attender, I get real sick of the 'gift bags' full of bits of paper inviting me to spend money to save it. Nope, I wanted to provide proper gift bags, you know, with gifts and all? Catherine's stock went up even further in my book when she gave our staff some testers too (ok, I left one for everyone else to share, and snaffled one all for myself*).

I quickly ran out of this addictive butter, and then I went to Organika and snapped up some more, it was THAT amazing. I've always loved the scent of coconut oil, but have struggled to find a moisturiser that wasn't too heavy and greasy, the Coconut Tree Products butter was perfect. I have had this product for a while now, but I finally finished my second small tub and realised I liked it that much that I wanted to review it for you all. (Because you know, I'm such a professional beauty product reviewer and all. Pffft.)

The Coconut Tree Products Body Butter is so thick and moisturising, really leaving my (often sun-damaged) skin feeling soft and nourished, without leaving a greasy residue. It smells amazing, so amazing that you really can't believe it's not a cocktail, and you're not relaxing on a breezy tropical beach. I love the smell of coconut but sometimes when in a product the scent can be too strong or artificial.

Since I can tend to say amazing quite a few times in a row when I'm talking about something I love (go on, ask me about how awesome The Lion King show was the other night...), I decided that this blog post would be better with some input from Catherine herself, the woman behind my new favourite product line. So I asked Catherine some nosy little questions, let's hear from her on how this brilliant brand began.

What do you do? What do you make? I have developed and am in the process of building a new natural coconut body and hair brand called Coconut Tree Products.

Why and how did you make your first product? Having fair skin that is always dry, especially in winter, I have tried endless products of all kinds seeking a body moisturiser that actually works.. A local naturopath suggested coconut oil and I was hooked. It was the only product that went close. It is such a beautiful natural moisturiser on its own but I believed that it could be improved and boosted with other natural ingredients to provide more protection and hydration, and to make it easier to use. So, with the help of professional formulators I developed our first product, the Coconut Body Butter which was the beginning of our launch range.

Who was your key support during the fledgling stage of Coconut Tree Products?
My father who is my business partner and has great insights from his life as an entrepreneur and successful businessman.

How do you manage your time so well? It’s something I struggle with every day! Like most women, juggling work, home, kids, after school activities and finding time for exercise is a challenge!. I try to organise myself for the day, the night before and just set a few key priorities for the day than a long to do list. I do think stress impacts on productivity so for me it’s important to get the main priorities ticked off and schedule time to exercise.

How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors? Our vision is to offer an alternative to toxic products with simple natural, nurturing, effective body and hair products that are fun and fresh and importantly, affordable. We hope to make them accessible for everybody.

If you could have given yourself a piece of knowledge or advice when you started what would that be? Have a distribution plan even before the products are developed.

Which opportunities should you have followed?
I hope I haven’t missed any yet, it's only early days though!

How do you conquer any moments of doubt that threaten to stop your great ideas? What pushes you through?I remind myself that I started this for the right reasons. I totally believe in the potential of the brand and am passionate about the products and believe that people will love using them and want them as part of their lives. I hope that for some people, this range may inspire them to be more aware of what goes on their bodies and on those of their families and friends.

Righto, time for some fun stuff.

What is your 'uniform'? What do you wear more often than anything else?
Comfort is key. Anything remotely not comfortable stays in the cupboard and the comfy gear gets all the outings. If I don’t have to meet people I tend to spend the day in jeans, tshirts, shorts or active gear and runners – always on the off chance I’ll get time to squeeze in a walk or gym session.

What is your favourite thing to wear to make you happy?
Anything simple, stylish and comfortable. Not too much pattern, my black! No more high heels!
(I'd like to make a small note here. Catherine has purchased some really cute activewear from me, and yes, it was impossible to get this sunny and bubbly blonde to try anything coloured. Sigh. K x)
Thanks so much for taking the time to share a little of your Coconut Tree story with me, Catherine. Nothing is more amazing than watching people take small steps to achieving big things!

If you'd love to try Catherine's beautiful range (there's even a yummy-smelling range for kids) for yourself, head to Coconut Tree Products for a comprehensive list of stockists, or jump over to their Facebook page to go into their monthly draw to win a divine product pack!

*As usual, review is all my own opinions. I purchased product myself after receiving a small sample. I would (and will) continue to purchase this lovely product, and have started trying more of this gorgeous range. 

October 01, 2014

Giveaway winners - and yes, giving really IS as nice as receiving!

The lucky winners of the two Flamingo Park cushions from gorgeous Melbourne homewares store and interior design gurus Design Art House are...

Elisha R


Kim M!

Congratulations to you both, I've emailed you - please reply with your postal address and phone number, and I'll make sure these pretties start winging their way to you ASAP!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered, it's super-fun to get to share and giveaway products that I personally love, and it's lovely to support businesses who support bloggers!

Speaking of... have you checked out Design Art House's Pinterest boards? So much well-curated inspiration, just as Pinterest should be! (Although they seem to be missing the Ryan Gosling board that I tend to favour on so many Pinners sites. Interesting.)

September 30, 2014

Celebrating International Coffee Day (or every morning)

Such good intentions.

I honestly had such good intentions yesterday of writing a post about International Coffee Day and how this little drink has become such a ritual in my life.

But then I went and sidetracked myself with a few errands and a few coffees at a couple of my favourite Sunshine Coast cafes, and then a four-shot mocha at Bare slayed me.



Meh, it's a blog. It's one missed blog post about a day that rolls around every year. Let's keep things in perspective.

Don't forget to head back a couple of posts and get your entries in  to go into the draw to win one of two lovely fancy Flamingo Park cushions very kindly gifted from Design Art House - entry numbers are low, so your chances are high!

Head to the giveaway HERE!

September 25, 2014

Homemade Creamy Chicken Ravioli - it's easier than you'd think!

Pasta is my happy place.

Yes, I know that lots and lots of women say this, but it truly, rooly is. My husband works away often, and when I'm cooking for one, 99 percent of the time, I make myself pasta. It's filling and full of carbohydrates which I need to eat regularly to function. Don't believe me? Keep bread, potatoes and pasta away from me for a week, and I'm a mess.

For convenience, most often I use bought dried pasta, but I occasionally make my own pasta, as it's incredibly easy and quite therapeutic. One of these days I'll actually make enough to freeze and then I'll be super-organised-housewife of the year.

This is a pasta and sauce recipe which I adapted from a whole lot of others, so I can assure you that you can't go wrong with pasta and filling... just throw in whatever you like!

Basic Pasta Dough
serves 3-4 (Or two, if you're hungry people. I won't judge your portion size.)
200g white flour (I prefer to use 00 pasta flour)
pinch of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil

Sift together the flour and salt onto a work surface and make a well in the centre with your fingers. Pour the eggs and oil into the well, then using the fingers of one hand, gradually mix the flour into the liquid.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured bench until it is completely smooth. Wrap in clingwrap and leave it to rest for 30 minutes (if it's hot where you are, pop it in the fridge on the top shelf). If you're filling the pasta (ravioli, tortellini, etc), then jump on down to the filling and sauce recipe below. If not, then roll the pasta out through a pasta machine a few times, starting with the widest setting and finishing with a finer setting. How thin you like your pasta rolled out is completely personal preference, the Italians won't chase you down and shake their rolling pins at you.

Yes, I have a pretty red pasta machine. My husband is awesome like that.

Creamy Chicken Ravioli

1 quantity Basic Pasta Dough
115g cooked chicken breast, coarsely chopped
55g cooked spinach
55g prosciutto, coarsely chopped
handful of basil leaves, torn roughly
1/2 cup grated parmesan (NOT the powder stuff, although that has a special place in my kitchen)
pinch of nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
flour for dusting
300ml cream (regular, pouring, whatever floats your boat)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
115g sliced mushrooms (I like Swiss Browns because they look cute)
salt and pepper

Place the chicken, spinach, prosciutto and half the basil  into a food processor and pulse until completely chopped and blended. Transfer to a bowl, stir in 2 tablespoons of the cheese, the nutmeg and half the egg. Season with salt and pepper.

Tasty layered ingredients, then...

... whiz bang - it's all green and mushed!

Divide the pasta dough in half. Roll one piece out using your pasta machine or rolling pin (go muscles!), cover with a damp tea towel and roll out the other piece of dough to approximately the same size. I often use a ravioli press, but today I decided on cookie cutters because I wanted round ravioli. Place small mounds of filling, about 1 teaspoon each, in rows 4 cm apart on a sheet of dough. Brush between the mounds with the remaining egg. Lift the second sheet of dough on top of the first, and press down firmly between the pockets of filling, pushing out as many air bubbles as you can. Use your cookie cutter or a pizza wheel to cut the ravioli into individual pieces.

Your ravioli does not, I repeat, does NOT need to look round and even.
This is not MasterChef, people. This is dinnertime.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the ravioli in batches, return to the boil and cook for five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel, then transfer to a warmed dish.

Meanwhile, pour the cream into a frying pan, add the garlic and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms and half the remaining cheese. Season to taste and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil, then pour the sauce over the ravioli. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan, garnish with extra basil if you're fancy - I'm not - and serve to ravenous people.

Serve with wine. Wait, what am I saying? Serve every home-cooked dinner with wine.

Do you make homemade pasta? Or are you of the opinion that it's more hassle than it's worth? Can I change your mind?

September 23, 2014

Giveaway - welcome Summer with beautiful Flamingo Park cushions!

My goodness, what a response. Yesterday's slightly soapboxy post on how I feel about #comfywomfy really drew a lovely crowd. Thank you. All I wanted was to get you nice people talking about it, and it seemed that I did. So thank you.

To say thank you for your support, and to welcome the nice new folk reading this blog, I'm joining forces* with the very excellent folk at Design Art House to give away two of these super-fancy Flamingo Park cushions.

I mean, talk about body image. Flamingos are tall, gangly, a shade of pink usually only seen on the pouts of  Hollywood starlets, and they have such knobbly knees. So damn knobbly. Those poor birds. Fortunately, they're pretty on-trend right now, and just imagine how Summery you'll feel, mojito in hand, reclining on one of these pretties!

Would you like one these fancy cushions? Yes? 

The very generous folk at Design Art House aren't just an online store for homewares (although they are a very good one of those), they are also passionate Interior Designers with an eye for discovering exactly what their client wants. If you kinda know the look you want, but have no clue on how to actually achieve that in the space you have... these are the people you need.

As I've shared on Instagram recently, I'm always on the lookout for real statement homewares. You know what I'm talking about - that piece that gives you maximum appeal and bang for your buck. Cushions are one of my very favourite ways to change up a room. Either on a sofa or stacked in piles on the floor to entice guests to get really comfortable, cushions are a cheap and cheerful way to mix it up. Design Art House have some excellent cushionage, I can assure you. And wait until you see their Pinterest boards!

So eclectic and fabulous!

If you'd like to win one of two fancy Flamingo Park cushions from Design Art House, then do your Rafflecopter thing below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Design Art House have given me these cushions to give away, no strings attached. Just enjoy their loveliness!

September 22, 2014

Why #comfywomfy is the best hashtag I've seen all year

There is talk floating around this here interwebs of #comfywomfy. It's a hashtag created by the indomitable Mrs Woog after she was horrified by a recent callout by a 'journalist' asking online for unattractive photos of Samantha Armytage. Personally, I think Ms Armytage is one of the loveliest ladies on the box lately. But that doesn't matter. If she was a complete cow, it still wouldn't make it ok for a media commentator to publicly put a call out for 'sam armytage looking scruffy/too casual/not sexy/bad for asap please — OK to go back and send older pics'. I am not even joking. She did that. And it's not ok.

I have a wonderful job. There are parts of managing a women's activewear store that suck, but in essence, I really do have a wonderful job. (As a sidenote, if you know of any job that doesn't have parts that suck, lemme know, my resume is ready to go.)

I get the opportunity to talk to women of ALL ages, sizes and fitness levels, and I see their body confidence issues close-up. Really close-up. Behind that fitting room curtain, away from the neon technical fabrics and floral print tights, I talk to women about the parts of their body they are most comfortable with, and the parts that make them so, so sad.

I also meet lots of women who are kind-of a big deal. And they have hang-ups too.

A stunning Home and Away actress* was visiting Noosa for a friend's wedding during Summer, and fell in love with our gorgeous Noosa National Park. (Why wouldn't you?) She wanted to go for a run through the National Park but hadn't packed any workout gear, so popped into my store to pick up something. She was dressed beautifully in a maxidress and sandals and was completely makeup-free, with her quite-famous locks scraped back into a ponytail, and she looked like a regular woman, albeit a very pretty and petite one.

I recognised her immediately, but ignored who she was and focussed on what she wanted. This incredibly attractive size 6-8 woman was asking for running tights that would suck in her stomach and butt, conceal her muffin top, and be breathable because she sweats a lot behind her knees. All this she told me in a very hushed voice in the fitting room, and it was real. I could tell her a thousand times that my husband thinks she's gorgeous, and that women the world over would kill for her petite figure, but it was real. When she looked in the mirror, she only saw the parts of her body that she didn't like. 

I asked her name and introduced myself (it's a non-negotiable in my store, if I'm going to be pushing your bits and boobs into activewear, I need to introduce myself or buy you a drink first), listened and returned with a few styles. She tried them on, and ended up with the ones I was most reluctant to give her - the super-sucky-in ones that I love and wear because I am an overweight woman (according to my doctor. blah blah whatever). She bought three pairs of them. We chatted a lot, I mentioned that it was a thrill to meet her and that I was so happy that she was as personable in real life and I'd hoped, and she asked about good wine bars in the area. Clearly, she could see a kindred spirit in me. And as she was finishing and leaving my store, she actually said 'Thanks for not asking for a photo, I look horrendous today, I couldn't bear to see myself in the mags like this'. 

I was so sad for her. Here was a gorgeous woman on holidays, relaxed and planning her days of sunshine and wine, and she had to be concerned that sneaky naughty people might say 'Oh, look how she's let herself go'.

Just last week, I styled two very well-known healthy lifestyle advocates* who have a massive social media following. They were visiting the Sunshine Coast for a holiday and were picking up some activewear to wear at a massive Lorna Jane event to be held in Melbourne later in the month. They were itsy-bitsy tiny women with bouncy blonde locks, yet there was still talk of body parts and lines they'd like to hide. Fortunately, both had amazingly positive attitudes and were in no way unhappy and over-critical about their bodies, but I can imagine that it's taken a lot of hard work to get to that point, it certainly would for me.

And Mrs Woog. That arse-kicking blogger I mentioned earlier? You can read her here. She visited my store a few months ago, and was exactly how I'd imagined. Strong-willed, excitable and straight-talking. She also had a lovely shape. (Curvy is an excellent shape.)

Mrs Woog allowed me to bully her to try on tights (huffy-puffy pants in her lingo) that would stay up and stay firm during all her workouts (which she bitches about... which I like... because I struggle so much to find the enjoyment in exercise). I eventually had to tell her a straight-out lie to get her to try on a particular style, fibbing as I passed them to her that they were a larger size than they actually were. She flounced (the only word possible) out of the change room, showed us all (there were a bunch of very-famous-quite-awesome bloggers instore) her butt and announced that they would do as they sucked in some wobbles and smoothed out some bumps. 

My point is that women feel bad enough already about themselves and notice imperfections to the nth degree. Even (maybe especially) the successful, strong ones who are admired by other women. 

Yes, I have moles, big pores, ungroomed eyebrows and root regrowth. But it was a lovely afternoon spent with my husband and who gives a shit what I look like?

So why in the hell would we allow anyone to draw negative attention to how we look on work days, on holidays, on days off, on any day? Who are these people creating an actual career from this? And by boycotting and ignoring their tweets, posts and articles, can we make it stop?

We all have the right to choose how to present ourselves everyday. And we have the right to leave the house makeup-free in baggy pants and thongs if we so choose.

Blogging in a dressing gown in the middle of the day on a messy desk.
Real life. My imperfect life.

Are you ok with having to present your best self all day, every day, and being judged on it? I'm not.

Stand up for comfort, and share your #comfywomfy pics on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. (Another great hashtag I've seen floating around is #myimperfectlife - ideal for those regular non-fancy moments we snap photos of.)

*Name-dropping is so passe. I emailed those mentioned and asked for permission before I used their names. Some didn't get back to me... and that's ok. It doesn't reflect on their opinions, I probably just filtered into their spam box. I can seem a little like a Nigerian prince in my emails at times.

Also, stay tuned for tomorrow's lovely giveaway. There will be flamingos, so you can get excited now.

If you enjoyed this, you may like to read Wine Tours, the KP and Trainee Mama way.

September 19, 2014

Weekend Reading

1. Dangling from bags, necklaces, and wrists; when you start seeing tassels, you know Summer is on the way!

2. Contemplating blush pink homewares right now. I mean, if the cool kids at Resident GP are loving it, it must be awesome.

3. Could you, would you ever wear a Canadian Tuxedo? Firstly, I would and I do. Secondly, I'd like to look less lumberjack and more Courtney Kerr when I do.

4. Someday we'll find it, the Rainbow Connection! Or we'll find the perfect rainbow smoothie recipes... even better!

5. Did your mother ever make you a birthday cake from the Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book? If not, do you feel like you kinda missed out?

6. Vanessa of Style and Shenanigans often introduces me to fabulosity and fun stuff throughh her blog. But this time, she's introduced me to the best way to snap up Kate Spade and Michael Kors this side of the Pacific. Nicely done, Vanessa.

7. Planning your 2015 calendar purchase already? Well, you'll need to if you've got your eye on the most designer-y of designer calendars. The Stendig 2015 Calendar has hit selected stores already, and will be sold out well before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. Get yours here.

8. Check out how one of my favourite friends stepped out of her Spanx comfort zone on her blog recently, and send her some love.

9. I'm betting that this blogger's view on having a birth photographer will be doing the rounds of the internet for years. Beautifully written, Jo. Just beautiful.

10. With talk in our house this week revolving around how to do the US best when we head over in 2015 for a friend's big birthday celebrations, I'm loving Kate Spade's greatest road trip suggestions. Now to plan the perfect drivetime playlist.

What about you? Discovered anything amazing cruising the internet lately? 

September 16, 2014

Happy First Anniversary, home!

Do you celebrate house anniversaries?

I think I will be pretty thrilled to sit back with a glass of wine tonight and celebrate one year of being in this home. It's the first house I've ever owned (BB owned property before we met), and it has become more of a home and sanctuary than I'd ever imagined.

Twelve months ago I got pretty damn excited on Instagram!
(Also, that blue fish art on the wall was gone within a week. We're not really fish folk.)

It's not enormous, and it's not tiny. It has three bedrooms, a roomy study, two bathrooms and a lovely big laundry. It has a large kitchen opening onto a dining room, a cosy media room, and every window in the house is covered with white timber plantation shutters. It has polished concrete floors which have become my favourite flooring ever, and it has a random purple wall in the guest room (which Anna might have to paint next time she visits).

It has a clean pool (thanks husband), roomy pool surrounds perfect for laying on beach towels or banana lounges, and enough palms and lush vegetation to make me feel like we could be living in a slightly more tropical climate than we do.

It has a double garage filled with BB's toys, and a walk-in wardrobe filled with mine. As the weather warms up and I potter a little in the garden, the small garden shed is kinda my zone too. The afore-mentioned banana lounges are stored in there, along with entertaining gear - plenty of folding chairs, pool toys and floating drinks coolers for the pool. My pruning stuff is in there too, I would like to spend a little time every single weekend in the garden this Spring and Summer, it really does make me happy to be productive.

Ok, so I also like to be outside supervising the gardening process too.

I've sat on the floor of almost every single room. I've laughed and cried and drunkenly-debated on the kitchen floor with one of my all-time favourite people, and I've laid on the carpet playing with Ned and one of my other besties.

That's how you do a housewarming, folks. 

This kid has started walking and messing up my house.
Fortunately he's that cute that I'll always forgive him.

BB and I spend our evenings together relaxing, and planning both small and large projects, and we've never communicated better. As a security-loving Cancerian, I can tell you now that there's nothing more comforting than home-ownership. If only I'd known the peace it would bring me, we would've done it years ago.

To my husband BB, Happy First Anniversary in our warm and welcoming home, and thank you for all the sacrifices you make so your wife can fill our home with pineapples. I promise I'll stop now. (That doesn't mean I'll reject pineapple gifts, people.)


September 15, 2014

New Lou - my gorgeous new Louenhide Switch

Here's a quick post, purely to show off my new Louenhide Switch bag. And no, it's not coral.

The very very generous folk at Louenhide discovered that I absolutely love my current Louenhide bags (I have quite a few), and offered me a new bag of my choice. Cue hair-pulling, heartrate-rising stress.

I'm in love with my Baby Switch, but my Barrel and Poppet bags are brilliant too. I seriously mulled this over for too long and confused the issue, so ended up being a greedy-guts and asked for a lovely big Switch - I've not actually seen this bag at my local Louenhide stockists, and was curious. 

And how I managed to get past the coral, navy and toffee options to choose something way out of my comfort zone is beyond me,  I definitely can't explain it. Hello Spearmint, you're so fresh and sassy.


They're all so me!

I took this bag out for its first proper spin today, and while I'll review its practicality later in the week, can I just say that I am such a huge fan. The colour, the strap length, the size... all perfect.

Piper stripe shift dress, Louenhide Switch bag (gifted, and thank you very much),

Dear Louenhide,

Please continue to make excellent accessories. I am thrilled that you are branching into clothes as well, and can't wait to share news and images of your gorgeous SS14 garment collection here. 

Thank you for giving me this bag, I promise to cherish it and tell everyone that I love it, just as I have with my previous Louenhides. 

Your loyal fan,