Fashionista ~ Career Woman ~ Op Shopper ~ Online Shopping Addict ~ Bargain Hunter ~ Child Rearer ~ Book Reader ~ Social Commentator

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Macaroons et Petits Fours

At work we have a tradition. Whoevers birthday it is, has to bring in a cake or some other source of food to share with the work group for morning tea. It's a little strange having to buy a cake for yourself on your own birthday, but it works. People are too unreliable to buy for someone else!

These delicious macaroons and petit fours were from Croissant D'Or, a French patisserie in Canberra. The best part is, guess how much all of this cost me? A whole $12, with a voucher pre-purchased on Living Social. The macaroons alone are usually $2.40 each, so it was definitely a bargain. We enjoyed them with Quinche (green) tea from T2.

As birthdays are all about eating (and calories don't count), at lunchtime I enjoyed Canberra's best laksa at Asian Noodle House:

Mmmm delicious! Overall a nice day, but I probably would have preferred to take the day off work. I wasn't particularly productive, it doesn't feel right working on your birthday!

In shopping news, I have decided to buy a pair of wedges for summer... only problem is, I can't find the perfect pair. What do you think of these?

Bub didn't have an afternoon sleep at daycare today, and boy did we pay for it this evening. She was in one of those inconsolable, irrational, just totally overtired moods. On the plus side, she's already asleep so I have time to contemplate the stillness of the night...

Every year, on my birthday,
I think about how glad I am
that I was born,
how thankful I am
for all I have in life.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Present for Me (And a Deal for You)

I have been doing more ebay shopping, and the latest is *another* pair of leather loafers. Unfortunately the purple pair I bought before are a bit big, but these fit perfectly:

My Dorothy Perkins order also arrived, and I'm thrilled with it! I only wish I had bought more... I can't really justify another order just yet, unless they further reduce sale items maybe ;-)

The start to this week has been uneventful. I am flat out trying to get tasks finished at work before my trip to Perth this weekend. I don't want to come back to icky work, I'd prefer to have it all done and dusted. In addition, tomorrow is my birthday and since I don't want to work particularly hard on my birthday, I have had incentive to be diligent. Tomorrow, the *birthday* post is likely to be all about food- one of my favourite things is eating (junk food) and tomorrow I shall be indulging to my heart's content.

We had a lovely weekend, which has energised me. Bub had a playdate and they were so cute together - here they are picking weeds and grass to create a pile of, well, weeds and grass, which they called a "house":

Add to this cuteness a delicious brunch enjoyed in the sun at Dee's Cafe in Yarralumla, and we have all the elements to create a warm fuzzy feeling:

You got it, they know how to poach their eggs, all gooey and delicious. Nothing annoys me more than hard boiled "poached" eggs.

Because I have absolutely no trouble self indulging, I bought my self an early birthday present today. It's the gift that keeps on giving (and no, I'm not talking about the flu). It's a super cheap subscription to Vogue magazine - $39 for 12 months. That's $3.25 per magazine, which sure beats the shelf price of $8.50 an issue. If you ever pay that again, you could have gotten 2.4615 magazines for the price of that one with this deal!

Nothing like a treating yourself but being thrifty at the same time... Get Yours Here if you desire :-)

I have been spending *a lot* of money on group buy sites lately, reviews and information to come in a separate post!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Meet me in the Garden

It certainly feels like spring! And it will be officially, soon. Take it from me, it’s not a good idea to leave a packet of dates sitting on the windowsill in your kitchen. All through winter this worked fine, but come (almost) spring and hello ant infestation! There certainly seem to be more bugs around, which is the only drawback about spring.
Some lovely photos taken in our garden, which make me smile:
The first cherry blossom
Some other white flowers – anyone know what these are called?
Male Australian King Parrot
Female Australian King Parrot
Crimson rosella

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's tantrum time!

Today was one of those totally out of character days for Bub. Granted she has been sick, and is probably still tired and not feeling great. But seriously, today’s behaviour was something out of a horror movie where the pretty little girl morphs into the devil’s spawn. Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.
First stop was Bunnings to pick up some things for the house. It was crowded, we couldn’t find what we needed and then they had sold out of almost everything we needed. Bub insisted on pushing one of the little children’s trolleys without any help. It was as if she was in some type of bizarre bumper car game where the aim is to hit as many people as possible, whilst running away and going way too fast. Said trolley had to be pried from her little hands, resulting in a loud, throwing herself all over the floor tantrum. 
 Really unhelpful, annoying little bumper car

Next stop was the supermarket. Tantrum number one was about the lolly aisle. Tantrum number two was about whether or not she could open her chocolate milk drink before I had paid for it.
Then we went to the butcher. “Don’t touch the meat”. She pokes her fingers into a packet of meat, making holes in the plastic.
The day didn’t improve when we got home. Crying, screaming, tantrums, NO I DON’T WANT TO, YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND, kicking, hitting etc….
*Deep breaths* It’s over now, and tomorrow will (or had better) be a better day.
In happier news, the sun has been shining and it’s lovely and warm… it certainly smells like spring! Tomorrow I will post some photos of the lovely flowers in our garden, and the birds that have come to visit. Canberra certainly has an abundance of colourful birdlife!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Fashion Fruitbowl

It's was all about fruit on the catwalks for SS 2011.

Stella McCartney, Moschino Cheap n Chic, not sure & Prada

The chain stores in the UK and US are on top of it:
Made by me on Polyvore.com

I have to admit, I am liking this trend but I think that the pieces will date quickly - so I wouldn't spend too much on a 'fruit' piece. Those flats are pretty darn cute though... (Charlotte Olympia Tutti Frutti leather and suede flats)

I found these super cute beaded fruit flats from Belle Bijoux:

A bit of a bargain at $30, reduced from $149... I don't think they would last long (loose some beads and they're done) and I probably wouldn't get much wear out of them (too blingy) but they *would* look mega cute with jeans.... The $20 postage fee puts me off, that's a little excessive for shipping within Australia!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Favourite Beauty Products

Here are some of my favs.

Favourite cleanser:
ASAP daily facial cleanser with AHA. I started using this product on my beautician's recommendation. At first I wasn't convinced, and at $45 for a bottle this stuff doesn't appear to be cheap. However, a little bit goes a long way so it actually works out to be a bargain. It's a glycolic facial cleanser so has active ingredients to break down dead skin cells etc. The best thing about it is that it's strong enough to use as your primary makeup removal product (but I'd recommend cleansing twice if you're also removing makeup). It's 100% Aussie owned and made, which warms my patriotic little heart!

Favourite face moisturiser:
Natio Daily Protection Face Moisturiser SPF 15. This has quite an interesting and strong smell, so it wouldn't be for everyone. I like the smell, the feel and the way my skin responds - no break outs. It also has SPF 15 which is a prerequisite for me.

Best body moisturiser:
Palmers Cocoa Butter. This stuff is cheap and smells delicious. I buy huge pump bottles and slather it on after a shower. It's a bargain product that does an excellent job.

Favourite haircare product:

Delva Solarcare Leave in Moisturiser. Nothing comes close to this product - it leaves hair looking and feeling shiny, healthy and soft. Other products claim to do it, but this is the only product I'd rave about.

Favourite hair styling product:
Fudge Urban Instant Smoothie. Now this one isn't a miracle worker, and I don't like it's coconut smell all that much... but it does de-frizz my hair on a daily basis without making it look and feel oily. I have yet to find another product that de-frizzes without making my hair into an oil slick.

Best eyeliner:
Lancome Le Stylo Eyeliner Pen. I'm not sure if you can get this in Australia, I bought mine overseas (x3, and I keep buying). It glides on easily and stays on well. Plus you can use the back of it for smudging, which is handy.

 Favourite eyeshadow:

Dior. Yep, I think Dior's eyeshadows are the best. Better than Mac. They glide on beautifully, stay on well and look stunning.

Most versatile and useful makeup product:
MAC pigment in copper sparkle. This one is great because I use it as a very vibrant eyeshadow, and it's also useful as a bronzer to highlight the cheekbones (and it makes you look more tanned).
Favourite blush:
Bloom cosmetics in Rosebud. This has gold undertones, and really suits my complexion. I have heard many girls rave about Nars Orgasm blush and this is apparently a very similar, cheaper product.
My current foundation:
Revlon Colorstay Active (this is discontinued, so when I finish my current bottle I'll have to try a new foundation). I like a foundation that goes on easily with my fingertips if I don't have a brush or sponge handy.

So, those are my must have beauty items at the moment :-) Is there anything I'm missing out on? 

I have not yet found an amazing:
-Body exfoliate scrub
-Face mask
-Lipcare product (and before you suggest Lucas Pawpaw ointment, I don't like lip glosses that I have to spread with my fingers!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Real VS Unreal Australians

Australia is going semi-mad, or Canberra at least. Yesterday we hosted the ‘Real Australians Convoy of No Confidence’. About 180 trucks came to Canberra from around Australia to protest and demand an election. Although there was some media hype about how it would affect the traffic, there were no delays- in fact, traffic was lighter than usual as people stayed home or carpooled/biked/walked.

Photo credit: some random news site who really won't care that I have used their photo.
 While the ‘Real Australians’ hooted their horns (I heard them when I went outside of the office building to get my morning coffee), the ‘Unreal Australians’ engaged in a counter protest. The ‘Unreal Australians’ were all on bikes:
Photo credit: The Riot Act
So while some people protested, the rest of us got on with our boring little lives. My day at work was particularly busy.

In other news, I have been awarded the Versatile Blogger award by Em from Vintage Sweetheart. Thanks Em – my first blog award, and a cute idea. I haven’t been blogging properly for very long (only a few weeks) and only have 5 followers so far- but hey, I started with NONE!

 The way this award works is as follows...

After accepting the Versatile Blogger Award, the blogger must:

1. Thank the person who gave the award and link back to them in your post.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

Seven things about me:

1. I'm always super busy: working fulltime, whilst studying and looking after a 3 year old.
2. I have been living in Canberra since January, and I have concluded that it is more a town than a city.
3. I love travelling and have in my life been to almost every continent.
4. I'd love to travel to China, Japan and South Korea. And somewhere I can relax by the pool sipping cocktails (Bali or Thailand would work!)
5. I love op shopping, online shopping and general bargain hunting.
6. We may be getting a kitten soon!
7. I am a real sweet tooth, and cannot resist chocolate and lollies.

15 recently discovered blogs that I'm passing the award to:

1. Cool by Association
2. My Life in the Country
3. Motherhood Career Fashion
4. My Life Less Ordinary
5. Rose Petals in the Rain
6. Skylark and Son
7. Suitcase Full of Dreams
8. Sydney Shop Girl
9. The Secret Lives of Op Shops
10. Tune into Radio Carly
11. Rambling-e
12. The Cat Hag

I don't have 15 favourite blogs yet!!!
Let me just say, if anyone doesn't want to continue this I would totally understand- for seasoned bloggers, I'm sure there are plenty of these things floating around which might get annoying and clog up a blog. But I thought I'd give it a shot, because at the very least this is a list of my favourite blogs at the moment and a shout out to those bloggers :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Things I like about Canberra

Daddy got Bub (who is coughing, argh... just waiting for it to wake her up tonight) ready for her ballet lesson this morning. He came in asking me if 'that's all she needs'. All I can say is, at least he makes an effort... and he's so cute. The leotard was on back to front, her stockings had been put on over the leotard, and she was missing her ballet shoes.

I am feeling very uninspired at the moment, by everything. Being in Canberra still gets me down, as all of my friends and family are all the way in Perth. I am going back to visit in 2 weeks time, but it seems like 2 weeks too long! 2 weeks of work to get through until then...

I have made some friends here through work but more often than not, it seems that everyone goes to their respective 'real homes' in Sydney or Melbourne every weekend, and hardly anyone is left in Canberra. Obviously that's not possible with Perth - by the time you factor in airport waiting time etc, it's a 5-7 hour travel time each way. Not to mention the $600 (if you book early) pricetag on Qantas' direct flight.

Instead of complaining, I have decided to make a list of things I like about Canberra...

Things I like about Canberra:

1* The abundance of government jobs, which offer such excellent conditions and work-life balance. This is after all what brought me here in the first place.
2* The lack of traffic on my way to work. I live in the Southside, I wouldn't be saying the same if I lived in the North and had to brave Northbourne Ave peak hour traffic every day.
3* The days where it's biting cold, but then the sun comes out and it's not so bad.
4*Good quality fresh fruit most of the time.
5* Hot chocolates at Max Brenner
6* Being able to drive to work and park, for free!
7* Sunsets over the lake.
8* The beautiful colours of leaves in Autumn.
9* Laksa at Asian noodle house.
10* The fact that it's only an hour flight to Melbourne, my favourite Aussie shopping city.
11* Aldi bargains and chocolate. We don't have it in Perth.
12* The abundant bird life here, especially the male fairy wren which is just so pretty

Friday, August 19, 2011

Topshop is closer to opening in Oz - locations announced

Two years ago, we had confirmation that Topshop would be coming to Australia. Now we even know where the bricks and mortar locations will be!

The all-new Topshop will be located in Melbourne’s Jam Factory complex and will encompass 1,300 square meters and will also offer the menswear label Topman.

The iconic Gowings building on the corner of George and Market Street will house Topshop, which is certainly a sartorial step-up from its previous tenant, Supre.

And there's more- a host of online retailers have announced that they are opening dedicated Aussie websites. ASOS is the latest to make this announcement - I just hope their prices are as good as the UK webbie. Amazon will apparently be shipping here within the next year or two as well.
The problem with Asos is returns. I had a nightmare experience getting my money back from them when they sent me an incorrect item - it took just under six months! But that warrants a post of its own, and it's likely that one day when I'm wanting to rant about customer service in general I will tell you all about it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bargain Acquisitions 101 and a Lovely Prize

Today is shaping up to be a good day. It started off badly because I woke up with a splitting headache which I feared would turn into a migraine. I have only had a migraine once in my life, and like this headache, it was due to going off the pill (ie, a hormonal thing). I lay there for an hour, then dragged myself out of bed and downed 2 Panedine with some milk. It has taken about 3 hours of resting, but the headache is just a dull ache now instead of the full blown migraine I was afraid was coming on. So, I am home from work, Bub is at daycare and the day is mine. I *could* go into work now but that option is not particularly appealing. This morning Bub was having a meltdown, and Daddy dealt with it. I was snuggled in my warm bed (albeit in pain and wishing I wasn't awake).

Things are going well on the 'acquiring lovely/beautiful/useful things' front. First of all, I won the giveaway in Sydney Shop Girl's blog! The parcel arrived yesterday, and it's a lovely skincare set from La Clinica (with a cute Kikki K shopping list thrown in for good measure - this will come in handy):

Thank you so much SSG, I can't wait to trial the products!!! :-)

Some Ebay purchases also arrived this morning, and I'm thrilled with them. This gorgeous pearl and dove necklace was $3.50 and these brand new, leather Diana Ferrari loafers were $23:

Bargain acquisitions 100%. Now the reason I probably woke with the headache (apart from going off the pill), is that I was up until 2am+ last night. The reason? Online shopping, duh. I spent about $80 AUD on the Dorothy Perkins website, and acquired the following:

And for good measure, I threw a few extra items into my shopping basket (included in the $80AUD):

For those who are unfamiliar with Dorothy Perkins, it's a UK high street chain and it tends to be pretty good quality. At the moment, they have a large sale section and then an additional 20% off the marked prices is taken off at checkout. They ship to Australia at a flat rate of 10.50 pounds (approx $16). Run, don't walk fellow bargain chasers!

You will also notice that my blog layout has undergone some changes-- ahhh to have the day off work ;-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cupcakes for RSPCA

Monday was cupcake day for the RSPCA. I didn't bake but lots of others at work did. I had to take some photos of the gorgeous contributions. Of course I bought some! Lots of fun for a good cause:

I went to the ballet last night, to see Don Quixote at Canberra Theatre. It was a show by the Dancers Company, the region touring group of the Australian Ballet. Ballet is my favourite type of dance. It's so graceful and beautiful...

This morning is not going well. (1) I have a headache (2) the fire at our fireplace went out this morning and I am the only one who will be home this evening/tonight, so I have to get it started again (which I'm useless at) (3) Bub was being difficult, wouldn't get dressed and then on the way to daycare she (a) jumped in a muddy puddle and splashed my stockings and dry clean only skirt and (b) wiped her nose on the sleeve of my coat. Let's hope things get better, I need a coffee!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fash and Treasure

Yesterday I went to Fash and Treasure, a 2nd hand, local designer and vintage market held monthly in Canberra. I’ve got to admit, it used to be better when it was held every 3 months instead of monthly. This is the 1st time I’ve been since it started being every month and it was ½ the size of when it was less often, maybe even smaller. It had hardly any independent fashion and jewellery designers selling their wares, which was disappointing. What it didn’t lack were heaps of vintage stalls with stunning clothing. Unfortunately, although beautiful, the cheapest vintage dresses were around $40. I saw vintage cardigans for $145, and other similarly annoying prices. I don’t like wearing vintage that has cost a bomb, it doesn’t feel right. I prefer the bargain hunt and thrill of wearing a cheap but amazing dress. These ‘hand picked’ thrift shops are so overpriced in Australia. In the US (or LA where I was anyway), they are more expensive than traditional op shops but still pretty reasonable.
I did manage to score an amazing coat, that wasn’t vintage or 2nd hand. It was a sample, brand new with tags. The brand is Uttam, which is a funky London streetwear label which I really like. To find such a cheap and gorgeous coat in Canberra, well… I feel lucky:

Uttam coat, $50. Love the embroidery and fabrics used!
Feeling inspired to find some real vintage bargains, I headed to my local op shops. As usual, I was sorely disappointed. I did manage to find a cute little tray to store things on for a measly 30c! Shabby chic, eat your heart out:

I can’t wait to go back to Perth and go op shopping at my favourite haunts there- I have said before and will say again that Perth op shops are so much cheaper and have SO MUCH better stock than Canberra ones. I could do a weekend op shopping trip to Sydney- what are the op shops like there?
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