Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Noosa nuptials
Although we left an overcast, drizzling rainy Noosa this morning, yesterday the Sunshine Coast really lived up to its name.
Our friends celebrated their wedding under a bright, sunny sky. Later we went back to a spectacular Sunshine Beach house for the reception. This was the venue. By night time it was lit almost completely by candle light.

All potential disasters were averted and the celebration went off without a hitch. This was the cake. I had three pieces.

This was a clever little ditty made by one of the other bridesmaids. It's a heart of words of significance for the bride and groom.  It's one of those things you see and think, 'damn, I wish I'd thought of that'.
 It was superbly executed and presented in a beautiful white frame.

...and this is the beautiful bride having a wonderful time at her wedding (purr-etty isn't she). She doesn't like this photo, but I love it.

I drank my body weight in Veuve last night, as did most people, and we all danced like crazies until midnight.
I'm off to have a little nanna nap now.
P.S. I'm having a brief blogging break for the next week or two.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tits and tans
Our visitors left at dawn's crack this morning for their mammoth drive north up the highway. I almost wish I was going with them. It's so good to get out of the city sometimes.
The focus is now on tomorrow's wedding. Today I shall be plucked, tanned (reluctantly), waxed and blow-dried within an inch of my life.
If tomorrow is anything like today, we should have spectacular weather. Add to this a beautiful beach house and stylish bride and groom, and ta've got a fabo wedding.
Now I just have two more close girlfriends to get up the aisle. One is close I think, but the other is still off kissing young soap opera stars, so there may be some delay there.
Can you believe Elizabeth Taylor is dead? I knew it was coming, but still...
Liz was a proper, real deal movie star, unlike some fly-by-nighters around today. Even her breasts (supposedly) and tan were real. Unheard of now.

She makes me think of natural beauty, unaltered beauty - the way she was born (well, close enough). Now we are so used to synthetic beauty, we just assume a beautiful woman has been tampered with, and usually with just cause. Now, I'm not a Nicole basher, I like her, but aesthetically speaking, when you compare Nicole in Dead Calm  to how she appears today, it becomes very evident how someone can be transformed if you throw enough cash at her.
I find it hard to keep up with all the personal maintenance the average woman in the street is expected to do now. Ironically, it seems that all the money people spend on grooming these days has some how cheapened the notion of beauty. Any flaw you may have can now be ironed out; bad teeth, tiny boobs, big nose, crows feet. None of it need be if you've got enough coin.
So now when I see a beautiful woman I automatically assume she's been made, not born.
I realise Liz may have had a nose job here and there, but essentially she always looked like herself. She was a natural beauty, something rare and wonderful.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Self sabotage and other Sunday pursuits
Today I baked lemon and blueberry muffins and some cheese and vegemite pinwheels, which are a type of savoury scone. They are both to put in the children's lunchboxes. It's much quicker and easier to put these things in the lunchboxes in the morning, and they take just as little time to toss out in the afternoon as a normal sandwich.
Of course, I had to sample both, which is where the self sabotage fits in. This is not my actual muffin, but a photo I 'borrowed' off the internet. Mine looked just as good, but my photos went missing when I was downloading them.
Did anyone see the story in today's Sunday Mail headed 'Women, be upfront'. It's talking about how women should tell their potential employers of their baby plans. This would be of great assistance to employers. I'm guessing this is because they are well aware the law forbids them from asking such questions, probably because it is a complete invasion of privacy, and absolutely none of their business. 
If however, you want to make getting that perfect job even more of a challenge, go ahead and tell them all about your reproductive hopes and dreams, and while you're at it, you may as well give them the heads up on how much stuff you intend pilfering from the stationery cupboard each year. 
We have guests arriving on Wednesday and staying for a couple of nights, which I'm looking forward to. With some last minute jobs still to do for the wedding next weekend, it's bound to be a busy week though.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Heading crosstown
Last night I met up with my old school friend Sophia, who is now a very talented architect. We went to the Crosstown Eating House at Woolloongabba, near all the antique shops.

This is the downstairs bar.

Sophia had two lovely, pink lamb chops with lentil and fetta salad. I had some flatbread and spicy eggplant (I'd already had dinner). We were planning on splitting an Eton Mess for dessert (I'd already picked it out from their website menu), but as rotten luck would have it, they'd taken it off the menu...the day before!
Being the stoic girls we are, we dusted ourselves off, revisited the dessert menu, and had a chocolate fondant instead.
We had an interesting conversation.  Sophia, the career girl,  filled me in on the woes of having the fabulous job, but not the husband and offspring. Aah, that old balancing act. As Gloria Steinem said, 'I'm yet to hear a man ask how to balance a family and a career'
The wedding, for which I am a bridesmaid, is a mere eight days away. I've got a bit of junk in the trunk to dispose of between now and then. Oh dear. I have been watching my tres talented cousin over at If you have a look at the top left hand side of her blog, you'll see a little tag which says '21 days'.
Fiona is currently experimenting with the 21 Day Wonder Diet. I'm watching her closely. If you have a sister you may want to have a look at her latest post anyway.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy birthday Freddy!

This young lad turns 80 next week. This is my Dad in 1934, aged three years. That's where I get my hair. I often wonder what I would look like if I were a pioneering woman, with no beauty tools at hand. All I can say is, thank God I live in the age of hair products.
Dad ventured south on the weekend and we celebrated his birthday a little early.
We had a good old fashioned barbecue at our house. My husband resurrected our old barbecue for the occasion. I am not exaggerating when I say I have seen better barbecues tossed onto the footpath for the kerbside clean up. It did the trick though.
I whipped up this salad.
I used baby cos lettuce leaves, avocado, roast pumpkin, blue vein cheese and scattered some caramelised bacon and onion on top. The only dressing it needs is a splash of olive oil and some red wine vinegar.
Another week, and yet another birthday cake.

It was gluten free. My sister's husband can't do gluten, so it's just easier if everyone goes gluten free. Let me say, you certainly don't need gluten to make a good cake. This one is chocolate mud, and it was most excellent. I could have decorated it much more spectacularly, but I wanted that 'homemade' look, which I think I achieved don't you? That's my story anyway.
The next birthday cake, mine, will be outsourced.
I am currently writing an article about women returning to the workforce after having a few years off to raise children, so if you know anyone, please let me know.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A place for everything
Today I reorganised the pantry.  Look at that. Do you know what that makes me think?.....

It makes me think I really need a job.

I also fruited up. I found a fruit shop with a chop shop next door. I bought bags and bags of fruit and veg and the bill was only $60. I felt very smug.

I've noticed there are not a lot of good houses on television shows. There's not a lot to get inspired by, unless you're actually watching a 'house' show (with the exception of the English show Sixty Minute Makeover, which I think would have to be the worst home decorating show I've ever seen. And can someone please explain what's with the sixty minutes??).
Anyway, one house I do really love is Jay & Gloria's on Modern Family. It's not my style, but I love it. I don't usually go for 'earthy' colours, but it looks more glam with some chrome furniture and the odd bit of animal print.

After a security scare next door (the thief made off with half a carton of beer), we have been workshopping ideas to fence our yard and put a gate on the driveway. We did a bit of lurking around Ascot and came up with this....but not on quite a grand scale. Imagine this, but more low key.

I may be repeating myself here, but did I mention when we moved into Motherwell we gave the Genoa lounge suite to our friends across the road? They had the three seater recovered and have taken it back to Melbourne with them. They left the two singles with us, to eventually be done by the same upholsterer and sent down to them. I wonder if that will ever happen? In the case that it doesn't, I've been imagining what I'd do with them? I have a thousand different ideas in mind.

Meanwhile, Teddy continues to enjoy his life in a one cat home (with two tiny mothers to fuss over him). I've found a mum at kindy who has trouble with cat hair on the floor too. She has a white floor and a black cat. We've talked about swapping and have agreed that neither of them would care so long as they still got fed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Beads, buttons, brooches, bows & bric-a-brac
Today I finally got around to sorting all my jewellery. We found a lot when we cleared the house out from various periods in time.
It was quite a task. Firstly, I spread everything out and sorted into piles (which are three dimensional lists); bangles, brooches, broken (this pile was huge).
I must stress to any would-be burglars that none of my jewellery is valuable it's all just costume jewellery.

These were some of Motherwell's pieces.

I have stored a lot of beads and whatnot on my mannequin. The effect is something like a ghetto pimp?

I wear almost none of my jewellery. I'm just not really that into it. These earrings are circa 1998, I wore them when I married my husband. They are quite small and I will probably wear them again one day. Sorry about the blurry photos, the box brownie is on its way out.

I received this little gold bee brooch for my 30th birthday.

This is one of my last remaining Quit brooches. They are so called because when I gave up smoking I made them by the dozens to keep my hands busy, then I seemed to have hundreds. Before long we had to force the front door open and wade through them like water weed.

Lastly, this is a box of jewellery that needs fixing. The jewellery, not the box.
 On the right hand side is a little cream bakerlite filligree style brooch (in a blue satin lined box). This is one of my favourites.

I am ploughing through my book from the library, Mad Men Unbuttoned. This is the real life man that Don Draper was based on. His name is Draper Daniels. Apparently he was a lot more wholesome than Don, but equally as legendary in the ad world.

I have some chicken drumsticks to turn now.
P.S. The Batchelorette party was fun. Now it is full steam ahead to the wedding!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wrapped in plastic
Our children have been very reluctant to go to bed of late. In the early evenings there is usually a lot of 'outside voices' inside, tears, toys being thrown, doors slamming....and the children can get very upset too (boom boom!).
It couldn't go on how it was, so for each night they go to bed without a fuss they get a star now. Every five stars can be exchanged for a reward of some kind. 
Today they wanted to go on a train into the city. They'd never been on a train before and we hadn't for at least a decade either.
We got on at Newmarket, so I think there was about five stops before the city. To get to the city and back cost us $23 (and Peaches was free)! You can't buy a return ticket anymore. I think it's a little queer to not be able to buy a return ticket on a transport system, but as I probably won't ride on a train for another ten years, I'll let that one slide.
Once we were in the city we had a little tour around a giant toyshop. Just as we were heading out, I saw a glass cabinet with some very fancy pants Barbies in it. On closer inspection, what did I see?

Don & Betty immortalised as little dolls and wrapped in plastic....and....there was Joanie too (although I don't think her proportions were in the same ratio as the real life character).

Now I have to go and prep for the Batchelorette party tonight. I don't have to be there for two and a half hours, but it takes a lot of time and effort to get this show on the road these days.
P.S. A word of advice. A couple of posts ago I mentioned I'm using a retinoid cream called Zorac. If you choose to do the same you may want to opt to have your brows plucked rather than waxed. I neglected to tell the waxer I was using a retinoid, and my thinning skin tore off when she ripped the wax off. What did it feel like? It felt like the tender skin around my eyes was being torn off my bones, that's what. Now in addition to my usual beauty woes I have to contend with two red welts where my thicker eyebrows used to be.
Wishing you a good night too....

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's pouring rain here at the moment, and a welcome change from the sticky heat of the last couple of weeks. There's nothing worse than your make-up sliding off your face as you try to apply it at eight in the morning.
I have been trying to get inspired by looking at various indoor/outdoor rooms. You've got to love a good indoor/outdoor room especially in our climate.
What do you think of these? How beautiful is this?

This is not a look to try on a budget, below.

Yes, this one is more outdoor than in.

I think I probably just like the lanterns in this one.

Love green and pink together.

I am still going through the last few boxes of chattels from the Baby family. I have just found this pile of magazines called The Woman's Home Encyclopaedia. I think they are from the 1910s, some may be earlier.

They contain the usual guff that you find in women's magazines today; celebrity gossip, recipes, fashion, gardening, etc. However, they actually seem a little more interesting and sophisticated in a way to me. It made me realise how articles in modern day women's mags focus on the self; they're all me, me, me. It's 'inward looking' as my husband would say.
The Woman's Home Encyclopaedia is defininately more 'outward looking' you could say. It's more instructional; this is how you do this, that's how you do that, etc.
There are a lot of articles on women from other cultures, prominent women, there's articles on sport like tennis and golf, how to keep unusual animals as pets, how to be the perfect hostess, how to fix things and do things for yourself.
Now you can outsource everything from child raising to dog walking, but back then it was mostly all done in-house.
It's fascinating to see the radical difference in how we live in the space of 100 years.
I found this interesting article on the Paris Zoo. When visiting, you could hitch a ride on a buggy pulled by an ostrich.

I was real-estalking this morning and found the Jondaryan Homestead is for sale, if anyone's interested in a tree change. It's quite the set up!

Now I'm off to find an outfit to wear to the Bride's batchelorette party tomorrow night.
P.S. My watermelon pink frock arrived and it's even better than I thought, apart from a couple of tiny cigarette burns which aren't obvious - I'd say that's fairly typical for a frock from 1960, if Betty Draper is anything to go by.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spots & stripes
I was fortunate enough to be a pimply teenager. I say fortunate because my skin required a lot of work, and I formed good daily habits which I still have today.
This is how particular I am with my skin. When I was house sharing with my bestie when we were 19, she was under instructions that if ever I came home late and went to bed fully clothed, she was to pop in with a bowl of water and wash my make up off, which she actually did once - god bless her.
I had my first facial at 13 with a giant of a German woman called Barbara. She used Dr Eckstein which I think you can still buy. My mother took me to the chemist and I got my first lot of skincare that same year. It was Juvena. It made the world of difference and there began my love affair with all things cosmetika.
You name it, I've tried it, but it has been many moons since I handed money over fist at a department store counter. Skincare now involves a lot more precision, research, secret sourcing and less giant pots with shiny gold lids.
I thought I might share some of my favourite finds with you, in case you're interested. 
My favourite foundation is this one.
It's Givenchy Subli'Mine Sculpt Light with an SPF 20. Don't thank me, thank Nigella, that's who recommended it. It looks a bit pastey when it first goes on, then it seems to change to match your skin. Weird but good stuff.
I also use this under it.

It's Laura Mercier's foundation primer, which is like gap filler for your face, and it helps the make up to stay on longer. Clarin's good old Beauty Flash is good too.
In the past year I have discovered tinted moisturizers, although I've always known about them, now I wear one every day. I like this one.

It's the md formulations one, and Laura Mercier makes an excellent one too.
Hold onto your hats, this is the big one. Zorac is by prescription only and I think it is actually meant to treat sun spots, but it's also used cosmetically to even out skin tone and get rid of sun damage. V good. But you have to wear loads and loads of sun block during the day, and a hat....and carry a beach umbrella over you if you've got a spare hand. There are a few of these products and they go by different names. I can't help saying Zorac with a Darth Vader voice.

I also mix my own night treatment by breaking open a vitaman E oil capsule, plus an evening primrose oil capsule and a vitamin A oil capsule, then mixing it with a another powder capsule called Ascorbyl Palmitate (which is hard to find in stores, but available on-line). You mix it to a fine paste and massage it into your face. You can leave it on for a few hours or over night. You'll wake up looking like a five year old. It can really only be used for a week or two at a time and only two or three times a year.
See how devoted I am to the cause....mixing my own potions.
At the moment I am in that magical time of life where I am now fighting spots and wrinkles (spots & stripes) at the same time. I'm glad I didn't know that was coming!
In my late teens I also took up sun bathing as a hobby, and would dowse myself with oil. Then I'd lie in the midday sun, turning occasionally, like a rotisserie chicken. Apparently, sun damage doesn't really rear its head until after the age of fifty. I'm expecting tears, even though by then I would have spent the past thirty years making amends.
Now I've shown you my great discoveries, I'd be super interested to hear any of yours. Do tell....