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Sunday, 30 December 2012

10 ways to be a Bad Mummy at Christmas

Off we went to Coolangatta for the Christmas period. Because we are idiots for thinking that driving for 2 days there and then back, with 2 small boys would resemble something like relaxing. It's not. But you knew that.

Once ensconced in a holiday apartment, my sister Emma, her husband Brett and her boys Marley and Jordi came to visit. I was telling her that I was a bad mummy. She asked for examples. I gave her some. She suggested I had enough material for a blog post. Nice. I also told my Mum that Emma thought I would have enough material for a bad mummy blog post. She agreed. Next year Christmas will be with friends. Just saying.

Here we go:
1. I decided not to put up the Christmas tree at home because:
  • We weren’t going to be at home for Christmas
  • I couldn’t be bothered schlepping the massive box containing the Christmas tree, as well as all the other random boxes of decorations down 3 flights of stairs
  • I couldn’t face untangling the 3 sets of Christmas lights. I have done enough problem solving for the year
  • Charlie is at that “into everything” stage and I couldn’t face him destroying the tree at every opportunity
  • I couldn’t face then packing up the tree sometime in March to do it all over again 9 months later
All this by itself wasn’t too bad until Aiden told me one day, walking up to day-care that they had a tree and pointed out we didn’t have one at home. Bad mummy.

2. On the subject of day-care, they had a Christmas party. They always have a Christmas party. Last year I went, taking along Charlie who was maybe 6 weeks old. Hell on earth people. All the day-care kids plus a good portion of their parents plus sugary food does not a good afternoon make. Luckily this year (here comes the bad mummy bit) I was going to be in Melbourne for work! “Arran, could you go?” Arran forgot and got some grief from the Childcare Director when he went to pick up the boys that afternoon. Apparently Charlie had a good time. He got a tattoo that took 6 days to get off. Aiden was scared of the jumping castle.

3. I didn’t get any specific presents for Charlie from Santa. The second child is tricky, specially cause he is a boy. We have bought heaps of things for Aiden so Charlie doesn’t really need anything. He steals everything from Aiden! I did want to get him something anyway, but what? I forgot about it. Christmas eve rolled around before I remembered I had got him nothing. I re-labeled some of Aiden's train presents for Charlie. 

Beautiful Charlie
4. Since going on holidays I have forgotten to brush Aiden's teeth. We were 4 nights into our trip away before I remembered, even though I had bought him a new Diego toothbrush. And after that I didn't remember until we go home yesterday. Seriously. Bad Mummy. Though maybe the Daddy could have remembered?

5. There was no Santa photo because I couldn’t face standing in line with lots of screaming kids and because work was stupid busy and I was pooped. One of my friends asked if I had taken the boys to see Santa, and before I could even draw my guilty breath to answer, she said "Oh that's right, you aren't that kind of mummy".

6. Aiden wanted a fire truck from Santa, and I forgot. It was even written up on a board at daycare presumably for mummy's like me.  Luckily Aunty Laura and Aunty Luella got him a little one. It's probably not the kind he would have asked Santa for, if I had taken Aiden to see him.

7. I was going to buy a cheap Christmas tree from a $2 shop when we got to Coolangatta but couldn't be bothered. Emma helped me buy some decorations and we got fancy with the plastic plant in the holiday unit. It doesn't even remotely look like a Christmas tree. Have you seen anything sadder?

See! Charlie about to destroy the tree!

8. Aiden loves being with his cousins Marley and Jordi. It would be great if they could be together more often, but I like living in Sydney. Marley and Jordi are in Brisbane. Selfish mummy.

The Cousins - Aiden, Marley, Charlie and Jordi
9. I hate the piles of coloured plastic shit toys all over my house. There seems to be at least double the amount since Christmas. Even though we have a relatively large house there is nowhere near enough storage. There could never be enough storage. There is going to be a cull. Very. Soon.

10. Forgot to get Arran a wedding anniversary present. Or even a card. This is really in the bad wife category but I have presently run out of bad mummy stories. Hard to believe I know.

Does anyone else have any bad mummy/daddy/aunty/uncle/grandparent stories? Would make me feel better!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Frustrated Gardener

So what do you do when on a sunny Sunday morning, you have been given the morning off from participating in a Sydney Spring Cycle event (with the 3 boys out of the house) because you are sick? 
Arran, Charlie and Aiden off to Spring Cycle! Cuteness
The sensible person would curl up on the lounge, drink cups of tea and watch rubbish TV. Or perhaps a slightly less sensible, but social person would join a couple of girlfriends who invited you to go visit the Matt Blatt showroom at nearby Leichart and drink coffee. Or perhaps, if you had a small sadistic streak, you would put together around 30 pieces of Ikea furniture for an upcoming party at the house. Or if you were feeling domestic you might fold the mound of washing that is taking over your bedroom.

I didn't do any of these things. 

Even feeling pretty low with the onset of a sinus infection (that I finally succumbed to after the rest of the household has been sick for the past month or so), the thought of half a day to get some stuff done was too attractive. I went into a small frenzy.

Saturday was Charlie's first birthday party and I bought these amazing potted hydrangeas from Michael at Glebe General Store

They were so nice I got inspired and wondered how they would look in the ground. Well established hydrangea plants are dotted all around Glebe. I have written about them before, so I figured the climate must be ok for them here. I have a little strip of ground in the backyard which when we bought the house contained the start of a camellia hedge. Unfortunately they were a bit straggly and at different levels of growth. Not being much of a gardener and not liking camellia's that much meant my passion for saving them was on the low side. They got pulled out. I have had a bare patch there for a while now, cultivating weeds. I had planned to plant bamboo there to act as a screen, but we have been talking about having the whole back yard redone so I haven't done anything about that. 

Pretty inspiring, huh?
We have a little party coming up so I thought it would be nice to have some bright colour in the yard. I spent Saturday night thinking about planting hydrangeas in this spot and so given the opportunity off I went to Flower Power first thing on Sunday morning. 

How great do they look?

I have decided I must be a frustrated gardener. When given the choice I wouldn't choose to get into the garden. I don't get a buzz out of having my fingers in the earth or get some kind of Zen feeling from connecting with nature while pulling weeds. I don't want a big back yard with lots of grass and would be just as happy living in an apartment with a nice balcony. Who needs a big yard when you live in Sydney's inner city? The Sydney City Council have done an awesome job of upgrading and creating the parks in the "villages" that make up the Sydney council area. We have an amazing park,  Dr H J Foley Rest Park right across the road from our house and I walk around the Glebe Foreshore at least a couple of times a week. Love.

Of course I am incredibly grateful to have a nice outdoor space to enjoy and entertain in. Any amount of space at your house in the inner west should be treasured, however most days I'd much rather be doing something to the inside of the house. I think what gets me out into our lovely outdoor space is the need to make it, and keep it looking beautiful. I don't particularly like the process of gardening but I like the finished result. If the plants don't die. And I have learned that the best way to prevent plants dying is not for me to pay more attention to them, but to buy plants that suit being neglected.

Wish my hydrangeas luck! 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Travel. Alone.

Ready to fly
If you read my blog a bit you might know that I like to travel. Oh yes. And my new role is going to facilitate my love of travel. The business is quite spread out around Australia, there is a lot of change management work to be done, my role also covers asia-pacific so I'll be seeing a little of Asia, and the company head office is in the US. Apart from missing all the boys in the house, it's all good. And Arran loves having Aiden and Charlie to himself.

All the boys
This week I spent two days in Melbourne and one in Brisbane. I really would like to spend more time in Melbourne. It's a real contradiction. It's gentrified and gritty. It's traditional and edgy. It's polished and friendly. It has a different vibe to Sydney, which I think is big, brash and egotistic. And breathtakingly gob-smackingly beautiful. I think Melbourne lacks Sydney's beauty but I really like the city. And don't know it that well so I'm intrigued and curious.

After spending all day in an office on Monday I was busting to go for a walk on Melbourne's streets. Staying in the centre of the city, I checked into my hotel and headed to see what I could see, and decide where to have dinner. The streets were bustling with tourists, people heading home from work, and friends meeting up for an early dinner. 
One of Melbourne's many laneways
I walked around for half an hour before stumbling across my favourite lane-way. I never know it's name or exactly how to find it, but I somehow always end there when I'm on footIt was full of people catching up, having a bite to eat or a glass of wine. I walked a little longer but returned there to one of my favourite places for dinner. 

I settled myself into a bench seat with my back against the wall (a great people watching position), ordered a small plate of pasta and a small greek salad, a glass of red and settled in with a glossy magazine. Perfection when a usual working week meal is provided by "lite and easy", and eaten at toddler o'clock.

I wandered back to my hotel for a little social media indulgence and then off to sleep at 9.30pm with no interruption till morning from Charlie screaming for no apparent reason.  Bliss.

Melbourne skyline
Tuesday night I was in Brisbane and stayed with Mum and Dad. Mum wanted to know what I did the previous night. She was horrified that I was walking around the city alone and had dinner alone. In a restaurant.

When I first started travelling for work I found travelling alone a little tougher. I guess I was younger and less sure of myself, a little less confident. My very first business trip was to London, business class. My manager kindly let me fly in on Saturday morning so I had the weekend to see the city and shop. It was tough to leave that hotel room and get about that city by myself. There was a lot of self-talk going on about what a great opportunity I was given and that I needed to stop being stupid and just get out there!

The more I have travelled by myself, the less I have had to encourage myself to explore. Now if I'm travelling for work and a kind work colleague wants to look after me, or organise my personal time, I feel a little resentful that I'm not left to explore alone for at least some of the time!

I knew that I had become very comfortable travelling alone when Charlie and I did a trip to Guangzhou, China when he was 4 months old. I was having dinner with 7 Chinese people, of which only one could speak a little (basically no) English and I knew no Mandarin. My translator was not joining me until the next day. And it was ok. We were all having a lovely night with lovely food.  I felt safe and confident. 

Compare this to my first business trip to London, when I spent a weekend in Antwerp, Belgium. I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to communicate with anyone there, which was a completely ridiculous worry. Belgians speak very good English along with 2 or 3 other languages. I was fine. I even discovered I can mostly read French in restaurants and work out what I would like to eat. It was a good lesson.

So a 45 minute walk on Melbourne's bustling streets and a lovely meal alone was fine. Nice. Perfect.

I think travelling and eating alone in a strange city and/or country is an acquired skill. What do you think? Have you ever travelled alone and found it hard to "get out there"?


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Day 7: Time to go home..

Holidays are great. They are great when you are thinking about going on holidays, planning the holiday, booking the holiday and going on the holiday. They are even good when it's time to go home. Yep. You heard right. We had a great holiday in Fiji. I'm sure you are all sick of hearing about it. But it's always nice to go home. 

After a hellish flight where every baby and toddler on board screamed and cried at some point, it was nice to land in Sydney and arrive home to "the yellow house", as Aiden calls it. To sleep in our own bed. To have a proper place for our things. To be able to visit our favourite coffee shop and grab a coffee.  Small pleasures of our own home and our own city.

My favourite kind of holiday is by the beach but it's nice to be back in the bustling urban inner west of Glebe where you say hello rather than "Bula" and where the pace is a little faster and energetic. It's nice to eat a 'normal' amount of food and not have to fight the hungry hoards at the breakfast buffet. It's nice to have shops close by, so convenient, so easy. 

I like being back in our Terrace house which has a history and a place in time and I like getting dressed each day in my new clothes to go off to my new job. I like driving over the Sydney Harbour Bridge each day, over the most beautiful harbour in the world. 

And as the holiday fades I will turn to looking forward to the next break, my good friend Jacqui's wedding in Palm Cove in October, where I will also get to see lovely school friend Ann and her new baby Jasper.

Until then, here are a last few pics to remind me of fun in the sun!
Aiden and Arran ready for a boat ride
Water baby Charlie
Aiden lounging....

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Day 6: I have a theory

Yep. I have a theory and I need your help. My theory is that we all have a holiday wardrobe. Do you have one? Some items that hide in the back of the cupboard or in the bottom drawer just waiting for a summer holiday by the sea? They are items of clothing you wouldn't dare wear to many other places or events...well maybe a fancy dress party. I have been observing these clothes on the other guests at the resort we are staying in, as I wear my own version.

There is a little bit of excitement in an upcoming holiday when I get to pull these pieces out of my cupboard and pack them in the suitcase. They are usually the first things to go in, because I certainly don't wear them on a regular basis. Do you know the kind of clothes I mean? Things like brightly coloured floral dresses, shirts, shorts and sarongs - kinda Hawaiian style. They are items like long board shorts and fluro rashies and swimsuits. Big island style hats and sandals and thongs that get worn once a year, because they are so daggy, but oh so practical for the sand and water.

Here is my go-to summer holiday top. I don't know what possessed me to buy it. It has parrots on it, with sequins. Hideous. Except when you are on a summer holiday by the beach. Then it's just right. Well it's OK. Isn't it?

 Here is another summer holiday favourite. I bought it on a road trip between Sydney and Brisbane at Byron Bay, when I was pregnant with Aiden. It's Lisa Ho. It wasn't cheap. It's kinda island-y, not particularly flattering (style or colour), but great to wear on a hot day and can be dressed up to wear for dinner.
Here's a couple of the resort guests I took photos of, "paparazzi" style.  I'm not much of a "pap" photographer as my camera was back in my room or in my bag when I saw the BEST examples of holiday wardrobe wear.

First up, a very good example of holiday board shorts. Check out these floral babies at the pool, nicely coordinated with a red hat.

A Hawaiian shirt with a twist. Guitars and tiki/islander designs teamed with a 3 day growth. Good choice for lunch.

 And a classic Hawaiian holiday shirt as a swimsuit cover up. I know this because this girl arrived with 3 or 4 other bikini clad friends for lunch and was told to cover up before they were let in.

Do you have a holiday wardrobe? What's your favourite piece?

Friday, 17 August 2012

Day 4 and 5: The island life

We have settled into a nice routine and got the hang of life on an island. Palm tree lined sand, turquoise blue ocean and "Bulu!" wherever we go. 
One of the blogs I like to follow,  Little Cottage, Big Life written by the lovely Claudia, who I met at a recent blogger conference, does something called "Wordless Wednesday". Every Wednesday she only posts photos on her blog. I like it. I like it a lot. So in that spirit (I'm stealing her idea with pride) this blog is mainly photos of our holiday so far. Enjoy!

The Jetty
End of a perfect day
Arran and "Mini-me" Charlie
Ah...palm trees
Charlie practicing his modelling pose
"I can wear your sunnies Daddy!"
The beach....
Cheeky Charlie
I love tunnels
Cool dude!


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Day 3: Take a break

Holiday toes
I'm writing over at my other blog today. You can check out the post here

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Day 2: Escaping the routine. With routine.

So the thing about holidays, is escaping the day-to-day go to work routine. What I like best is not being woken up by an alarm. I'm not a morning person and I think the normal work day is better suited to those who spring out of bed before the sun is even up. My perfect work day would be getting up around 8am, eating breakfast slowly while reviewing the coming days events and then getting to work around 10. Lunch would be around 2 and I would work through till around 7.30-8pm, have dinner around 9 and then potter about till 12 or 1am before hopping into bed with a good book.

My reality is somewhat different. Charlie wakes us up anywhere from 3am to 5am. I feed him and then hone my settling skills in the hope he will go back to sleep without screaming the house down for an hour. My alarm wakes me at 6.30am and after a couple of "snoozes" I stagger bleary-eyed from bed desparately wishing I didn't have to get up yet. Wishing does not help anyone. I then run around like a completely mad woman getting everyone dressed, fed and out the door by 7.45am. After that its relaxing to go to work.

So holidays are not about doing any of that, although a pattern is starting to emerge. Breakfast is in the buffet type restaurant, and as we learned this morning, it's best to get there before 8.30 when every other person and their screaming darling children staying at the resort, descend on the Restaurant. That's around 500 people. Give or take. Did I mention I'm not a morning person? I don't want to fight other people to get my breakfast. 

After breakfast its off to the pool, and then back to the room so Charlie can have a sleep and Aiden can commence his "Can we go to the pool? Can we go to the pool?" mantra. Then lunch, then pool, then sleeps for Charlie and Aiden. Then pool, then dinner, then baths, then bed. Lucky there is a nice view here. 
View from dinner

Obligatory cocktail shot!

Dark and stormy

Tomorrow we might break with routine and go to the beach or the playground. Mixing it up.

Do you like routine? Or would you prefer each day to be different and take it as it comes?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Day 1: It's not that far to Fiji.....

So a 3.5 hour plane trip isn't too long. This was one of the deciding factors in choosing a holiday destination. The no 1 criteria was that it had to be warm. Last year we were well and truly sick of Sydney's winter and ended up just going away for the weekend. You can read about it here. Not good. This year we were going to go on a real winter break. To somewhere warm where there would be swimming and cocktails. After much thinking, reviewing, googling and indecision, we arrived at Fiji as the chosen destination, which is only 3.5 hours on a plane. Sweet.

After about 10 hours door-to-door we arrived at the Shangri-la resort. Hmmmm...

Two very tired and hot boys. Two very tired and hot parents. 

We started our day at 5am in Sydney, where it was dark and cold. A short ride in a "family friendly" taxi and we arrived at the international airport where island time had already started in the Virgin check-in line and Aiden was really just getting warmed up with his rant about wanting to go on the moving walkways and escalators. Once through customs we all had our own agenda. Me to secure as many current fashion and interior design mags as possible. Arran to secure a new pair of sunglasses (because he is obsessed with sunglasses. I don't know why) and Aiden to maximise the number of moving walkways and escalators he could drag us on before boarding the plane. At 8am we boarded the plane along with two main groups of people - happy islander type people and Aussies with small children, a slightly less happy group.

The flight over was a little manic. Small plane. Small children. Big Islanders. I'll let you think about that. Luckily the Virgin staff were unwaveringly happy, helpful and patient. Landing at Nadi airport in Fiji we disembarked to hot and humid weather and lots of "Bula!" Yes! A bit of waiting around in the airport and then an hour's trip to the hotel. Some fresh Mango juice and some more waiting around and we make it to our room. Even though the pool was officially closed (it was after 6pm Fiji time) we all got into our swimmers and had a dip. Nice. 

Back to our room to get changed for dinner. The day fell apart from here. Aiden wanted to go to bed, Charlie didn't know which was was up and the dinner venue was not great. It was a buffet. I'm not that fond of buffet's. It was VERY crowded with Australian's on holiday who had obviously never eaten before. It was VERY noisy, not just with general people noise but with lots of clanging and dropping of things. And it took a little too long to get medication wine. It was fair to say our little family was over traveling and just needed to be in bed. Which we did very quickly once dinner was finished. 

The sun came up and this is our view.....

What's your favourite holiday destination? Do you like to be by the beach? Do you like a winter's break in the snow?

Friday, 10 August 2012

I get a Stylist. Part 2

Continued from I get a Stylist. Part 1

I don't cry. I hold it together. We go to another store. One of Australia’s well know chain type fashion stores. Ok, Country Road. Where they won’t let us have more than 5 things in the change room at once and then keep putting garments we have put aside to try on next, back on the racks.  Is it any wonder bricks and mortar retail stores are struggling? They also have the added bonus that any garment with a retail value of more than $150 has a security wire and alarm on it. How classy is that? I ended up spending a lot in this store but even if I just wanted to try on one item, the security wire might turn me off going to the effort of getting undressed and trying it on. One of the dresses I tried on, I had to leave the change room and wander across the store and behind the counter so they could take the security wire and alarm off. Classy. Another customer was trying on her garment with the same security device and her alarm went off before she even tried it on, annoying all the customers in the change room. They need to revise their security and customer service strategy.

But things finally came together in this store. My stylist finally understood my body and what would look good on it, and the store had lots of variety of things to try on. Of course if I was one size in one garment I was a different size in another.  This is complete INSANTITY!

I bought the bulk of my new work wardrobe from Country Road. Here is the tally (and to illustrate the insane sizing issues):
  • 1 jacket - size 12
  • 3 skirts – 2 size “small”, 1 size 14.
  • 5 dresses –2 size "large", 2 size 14 and 1 size 16
  • 2 tops – 1 "extra large" and 1 "medium"
  • 1 pair of pants - size 10
  • 1 pair of jeans (didn’t need any but they really were good. Bloody stylist) – they are size 8. Apparently this is a vanity size. The last time I wore a size 8 pear of jeans was in grade 11 when I weighed 55 kgs. Women who are actually a size 8 are not buying their jeans in this store. 

2 dresses I would never have tried on, plus some cool coordinates

Bright and funky dresses

Colourful top

So what’s the wrap?
The good...
  • I ended up with lots of clothes. Probably too many. I’m wondering if I should take some back. 5 dresses seems like overkill. Nah, I'm not taking them back. I like 'em!
  • The experience was like shopping with a really good friend or your Mum. You know? Someone who tells it like it is and makes you try on things you wouldn’t normally try. One of the dresses she got me to try on I would have NEVER tried on myself. It was really nice but with a high neck I didn’t think it would be great on me. It did look great. I got 2; one in black and one in blue. I wore the blue one on a recent work trip to Melbourne and it was perfect. It didn't crush, was super comfy and I felt great in it.
  • I got clothes in lots of colours. I pretty much always end up buying black, and this trip I only got 3 black items and LOTS of colour! I also usually end up with lots of pants (in black) and no tops. The dresses seemed a good compromise on tops, and they make getting dressed in the morning easy.
  • Despite all my complaining the Stylist came good.  She was focused on getting clothes that were good value. She moved with 'pace' and knew the shopping centre well.
  • I'm pretty happy that my new wardrobe is easy-care, needs no ironing, is funky, cool, stylish, travels well (either on my body or in my suitcase), fits my body perfectly and makes me look AMAZING, whenever I put it on. Of course my dry-cleaner will be seeing a little more of me than she has in the past!
  • I have been inspired to buy some extra pieces to go with what I already have. I've been back to Country Road and bought some pants and a belt. I got a cute graphic jacket from Dotti and spent a lot of money invested in some basic black ballet flats from Net-a-Porter. I think I will buy some additional pairs of jeans from Country Road in different colours because finding flattering jeans is nearly as hard as finding flattering swimwear.
Beautiful packaging
Beautifully made...

The bad....
  • I really expected that someone who works with clothes and different bodies all the time might be better and quicker at choosing clothes. Maybe that's unrealistic. Maybe I have watched too many TV makeover shows. Maybe if you are getting paid $150 an hour you need to step it up. Just saying.
  • The whole sizing situation is ridiculous. While I think most of us expect to be different sizes from store to store, it would be nice to at least be close to the same size, in the one store. I get that the shape and style of clothes make a difference to how a garment will fit your body but to have bought clothes ranging from size 8 to size 16, and size small to extra large seems a little nuts.

What do you think? Does the sizing of clothes drive you crazy?

Monday, 30 July 2012

I get a Stylist. Part 1

Don’t you just dream about being made over? You know, someone to come along and make you the most fabulous version of yourself! There are countless reality type TV shows devoted to the notion that most of us have no idea about fashion and what looks good on us, so that we need an “expert” to come along and show us the way. Fix us with new clothes, hair and make-up. My expectations are somewhat lower then that. I just dream of going shopping and coming home with more than just a pair of black work pants, that still need to be shortened. Sigh.

I often get the feeling that the “fashion” industry fails most women. While I get that you can’t be all things to all people, it would be nice to find a fashion label that is genuinely concerned about not just selling the latest neon T-shirt but also ensuring that their fit is consistent across their range, and each season.

I really like fashion. I have a huge stack of fashion magazines that show testament to this passion. Unfortunately it is mostly fantasy. Apart from what is seemingly random purchases, its rare that I can translate by passion and desired design aesthetic into something that a) actually fits my body, and b) makes me feel good, off the rack. And I don’t think I’m alone here. 

I don’t have the perfect body. Who does? I’m short. I have big boobs. I have good great legs and narrow hips. I have a thick waist and carry my fat in the middle. Classic apple. I try to keep healthy with Pilates, yoga and walking but I am what I am. I like food. I like wine.

I have learnt the kind of garments that usually look ok on me, and those that look hideous. I know what colours wash me out (camel, cream, neutral, bone…I swear the next sales assistant that brings me a garment in these colours will be punched in the nose!) but I still struggle to find the kind of clothes I desperately want to wear when the occasion requires it. It seems that the universe is determined to only produce garments that look hideous on me.

So with a new job start date looming I decided I needed help. Surely a Stylist would know:
·      EXACTLY what would look amazing on me
·      EXACTLY what size I would be in each brand available in the Australian market (as well as any secret cool online stores)
·      EXACTLY what colours would suit me, and
·      Be able to translate my need for a working wardrobe that is easy-care, needs no ironing, is funky, cool, stylish, travels well (either on my body or in my suitcase), fits my body perfectly and makes me look AMAZING, whenever I put it on.


Meet stylist at 9.30am. She talks about her hair and her hairdresser and her friends hairdresser for around 20 minutes. Like I give a fuck about any of her and her friends hairdressers. We are here to talk about me. ME!! The person who is paying. We then talk about me and my need to look fabulous instantly (after getting two small boys to day-care) for around 5 minutes, while trying to get across how funky, cool, not-too-dressy, but dressy enough, effortlessly cool and professional I need to look. And I definitely don’t want any suits. Any matchy-matchy buttoned up, corporatey style suits. You know!!!!? And I need shoes. I pretty much hate all the shoes on the market at the moment. WHEN. WILL. THE. PORN. STAR. TREND. END? Any shoes that more classic either don’t fit or are seemingly made of some sort of material made to withstand a nuclear holocaust. So hard.

Off we go.  We start at a shoe shop near where we were having coffee. I tried on classic healed pumps in black and nude. They didn’t fit. Size 36 too small. Size 36 and a half too big. How is that possible? Next: three shops I thought represented how funky, cool, not-too-dressy, but dressy enough, effortlessly cool and professional want to look, which is great. Except I have visited these stores quite recently and tried on everything I thought was a good colour and would suit my body and would fit. And they didn’t suit, fit or look good. But that’s OK because I’m with a professional stylist. And they would have all the secrets. Wouldn’t they?

Well no. She was quite keen that I try on some jeans in the first store we visited. I didn’t specify I wanted jeans. I have jeans. I can’t wear jeans to work. WHY AM I TRYING ON JEANS!! Jeans are ok. Not fabulous. They have a 2cm fly zip and cost $300 and do nothing for my muffin top. Next.

Stylist: What about this top?
Me: I love that but when I tried it on last week it looked like a tent. These pleats separate and made me look like a whale!
Stylist: Oh
Me: (in my head) Why doesn’t she know this!!!!

Next shop…

Stylist: What about this?
Me: (purusing the camel/flesh coloured top) That colour doesn’t look good on me.
Stylist: Oh. What about this? Holding up a high necked knitted orange sweater top (Trinny & Susannah would never have suggested this for me!)
Me: I have big boobs. I need something that is lower in the neck, that shows some of my skin. And I don’t like knitted things. Makes my bulky boobs look bulkier.
Stylist: Oh. What about this? (showing me a skirt and jacket suit)
Me: ummm I don’t really want a suit (we talked about this)
Stylist: Just try it on and see how it looks
Me: (I try it on because she is a professional stylist and I am a 157cm apple shaped 39 year old mother of 2 who may have no idea what suits her). The skirt won’t do up in a size 14 and the jacket doesn’t fit even fit my arms because it is a size 10. Stylist says don’t worry about the size. She just wants to get an idea of the look. Seriously. I look like I might cry.
Stylist: Don’t be despondent. We will find something.
Me: Wondering if I should just go home and cry.........

Do I cry? Do I throw a hissy in the middle of Saba? Part 2 coming soon

Does this resemble your shopping experience?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Playing Tourist in My Own City

Oh it's been a while. I know. Complete slackness really...sometimes you have to leave your home time to get inspired, which is what I did a few weeks ago. I had a flight credit that needed to be used so off I went to see one of my favourite people Jacqui Simpson, who moved to Auckland about 7 years ago. For love. I haven't seen her in 5 years. Again, complete slackness.

We had a lovely time. There was champagne cocktails, which we both regretted the next morning. And red wine. Ditto. There was luxuriating at a day spa (mmmmm....relaxing) and girly shopping to try on things that were a stupid amount of money, and we both needed new boots. Of course. Then cocktails and a girly dinner at one of Auckland's hot restaurants Soul Bar followed by a drink we seriously didn't need in a very trashy bar-come-nightclub where some dancing was undertaken, surrounded by 18 year old males who really should invest in some regular showers and deodorant.

I got back to Sydney on Sunday night after 3 days away (Aiden and Charlie were SOO excited to see me) and Monday was the most beautiful Sydney winters day. I decided that if Tuesday looked to be the same I was going off to Bondi. Being unemployed and all. It's pretty nice to play tourist in your home town, when the weather is so gorgeous.

Most Sydneysiders detest Bondi Beach, preferring any of Sydney's other amazing beaches which are less crowded with tourists. Not me. I love Bondi Beach and the surrounding shops, bars and cafes. All the different people that visit, work and live at Bondi. If we decide to go to the beach, that's where we go. In summer we take Aiden there for a swim. We go late in the afternoon and then have fish and chips at Mongers. In winter, often on Sunday night we head out for an early dinner at The Italian, which I first visited during a work function at Bondi.

I had a really nice day playing tourist. I started with coffee and scrambled eggs at Trio Cafe. I sat outside in the winter sun and watched the world go by.

Campbell Parade
Then I wandered down and sat on the sand at Bondi Beach. This beach has the best people watching. While I was there taking a few shots, these two came down to the beach in front of me and started doing some yoga type stretching as well as some dance moves and acrobatics. I put on my zoom lens and indulged in some pap-style shots of Bondi's beautiful people!

I walked back to the car, along the beach and these two jogged past me about half way along. Such an obscene display of health and fitness!

Winter's day at Bondi Beach
Surfing with your mates, Bondi Beach
Out for a stroll...
Multi-million dollar properties
After Bondi I drove around to Coogee where I discovered a couple of Ocean Baths. These are dotted alongside many of Sydney's beaches and most have been around for generations. I'm a bit fascinated with them. On doing some research, there are apparently over 100 Ocean baths in NSW and there are 4 in Coogee!! If you would like to read more about Sydney's ocean's baths there is a good article here The day I went to Coogee I only found 2, my favourite being McIvers Baths, also known as the Coogee Women's Baths (Beach Street, Coogee). It's a women's and children only pool, the only one left in Australia. It's really beautiful and quite private and sheltered, which would explain the couple of topless women taking in the winter sun. Here is a short blog post about this pool.

Picture postcard taken from the change rooms
Honesty system entry fee. Flash sign!

Book swap going on in the change rooms.  Nice
 After checking out the pools I walked from the North end of Coogee beach around towards Maroubra for a km or so, and then back to the car. I slept well that night!