Friday, July 29, 2011

Put it on your back

This month Lucky magazine is urging me to reconsider the backpack.

I remember back in the early 90s everyone was running around with teeny tiny little black leather backpacks perched on their spines. I didn't like them then and I have to confess it is going to take some convincing to get me to like them this time around.

But I do have my old suede backpack that I bought in Sumatra in 1992 (yikes!) and which has always housed my stack of travel photos and diaries. Don't know why I didn't ever move them to a more appropriate place, but I think I will now because I am going to get that backpack back into action.

Walking to the train and to work has made me realise that my bag is not comfortable enough or big enough to house all of the stuff I need for my day. I always take my lunch to work because I will not pay massive amounts of money to queue up for a limp sandwich when I can make my own at home! Hell, I'm already making three school and preschool lunches every morning so I might as well throw one more sandwich onto the pile. (Hummus, tomato, lettuce and sliced cucumber on multigrain bread is my current favourite. Chuck in a stick cheese, some yoghurt and an apple and presto - lunch!)

Anyway, I think my suede backpack is finally back into fashion! Who would have thought!

Not one to just believe one source I asked the Internet if indeed backpacks were back, and here is what it told me ...

Jude Law has one, and he's a stylish sort.

Baseball players with the Detroit Tigers for some inexplicable reason wear them. Not the look I am going for though.

Sarah Silverman attends the 'Super' Los Angeles Premiere at the Egyptian Theatre in March 21
with one on her back. Again, not the look for me.

OMG! It's getting worse - Deena Nicole Cortese filming on location for Jersey Shore has one!! This photo is not convincing me at all!

Admittedly, models did walk the runway at the General Idea Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, NYC.

And at the S'nob De Noblesse show at 'Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011 in Denmark.

So, backpacks - just for hiking? Or back fashionable again? I'm still sitting on the fence with this one but I am going to dust my one off for practical, not fashion reasons.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What a week! Working is hard... so belt up!

I am glad my working week is over! Oh my God! I have been moaning to Hubby all week about how hard it is to work outside of the house - the train, the walking, the sharing my space with others. I  have gone completely soft with my years of working from home. So I am absolutely exhausted now and wondering how every body does this all the time!!! My hat off to you all.


And, this is hard to say given that belts are so hot right now, but I don't think I know how to wear a belt properly!! There I have said it! Where on the region between the boobs and the crotch is the damned thing supposed to sit?? My waist is my largest area so right on the the waist makes me look bulbous where I don't want to look bulbous. But higher is naff and lower is a step too far back into the 80s. But I do like belts a LOT, but I never feel particularly comfortable or stylish wearing them. What I want to look like is these belt-tastic ladies below.

 This Anna Paquin rocking a small corset belt. Maybe a step too far for me but she looks hot.

This colour and this belt on Christie Brinkley are divine! How is it that she looks better now?

Heidi Klum in New York - this kind of belt wearing I could do because it avoids my waist. Must find a pink belt.

Actress April Bowlby wears a look that I think would work for me. A belt beneath layers - it adds interest to the waist without showing the full expanse of the middle.

Natalie Dormer at the Captain America premiere - silver and sexy.

English actress Summer Strallen wears a beautiful flower at her waist.

In the spirit of adventure I am going to spend some time perfecting my belt wearing. Hubby is in the US at the moment so I have charged him with the task of bring back these two belts from Anthropologie.

If you have belt wearing tips please pass them on ... my belt collection and I will thank you :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sara Paxton - style file

I recently saw the below photo of actress Sara Paxton at Comic-Con in San Diego and thought she looked like the kind of effortless beauty I would like to wake up looking like.

I mean, check her out!! Who wouldn't want to look this casual yet stylish, free and breezy, healthy and happy?!??

So I went on a search to see if she is always this aspirational, and I found that yes indeed she is. I think I might have to dye my hair blonde! ;)

Looking fabulous for Tommy Hilfiger's 'Prep World Pop Up House' event in LA. 

 Love this combination of mid length skirt, floaty blouse, and red/pink sandals.

Leather jacket, skinny black jeans, neutral t-shirt - all very standard until you add the fabulous leopard print boots!

I think I like the cut-outs on the shoulders. I've never been a big fan but she makes it look good.

Polished yet easy. I think I can recreate this look at home!

If I had to wear a jumpsuit this is the one I would wear. It's not too voluminous and not too 'formal'.

I do love a girl that wears yellow - it's hard to pretend you don't care when you are wearing yellow. Also I have a certain fondness for puffy-sleeved jumpers like this one that I have never quite been able to explain.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


For a couple of years now I have been stockpiling secondhand furniture and bits and pieces for the as yet unbuilt holiday house. On the weekend I found some very nice pieces to add to my growing collection at a second hand shop in Maitland. I can't remember the name of the address, sorry. I just made Hubby screech to a halt as we were driving through. Cue groans about how many pieces of 'junk' we already have. I've learnt to ignore him.. hee hee.

I love this box and this key. I am planning on sticking a sheet of glass over it and turning it into a cunning work of art, and using the lid in the same way. Have to find another key now.

I didn't buy any of these dishes but I love the look of them all together in their snowy white glory.

I bought four of these old school chairs. We already have dining table chairs so these will be occasional chairs to put in a bathroom or bedroom. I'll have to do a bit of work on them and may paint them. Is that sacrilegious?

I also bought this owl brooch which I put onto an old chain to let it dangle.

That's all I was allowed to buy, but as you can see from this shot it was hard to leave with just those items. The search for a gorgeous bookcase continues.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Foot fabulousness

I want these Balenciaga sandals soooo much!!


They are on the feet of Stephanie from Anywho. I can't find them anywhere on the Web, which is probably a good thing because I'm sure they would cost more than I should be spending on sandals.. no matter how pretty they are. *sigh*

In other news, I have been cooking and freezing like a mad woman this week in preparation for my return to work next week. It's been three years since I had to work for more than a day a week outside of my house, so I am thinking that I am going to have to discover some time saving strategies if I want to feed the children, make sure they leave the house with all of the paraphernalia they need for school every day, and generally keep my life in some sort of order.

I made a double batch of Donna Hay's blueberry muffins this morning because they are so easy to slip into the school lunch box for everyone, they are delicious, and because they have berries in them I overlook the sugar and oil content and fool myself they are healthy :) This time I have some almost squashy raspberries sitting in the back of the fridge so I added them as well for a bit of colour pop. It makes me feel happy to have eight of these little beauties sitting in the freezer.

Too-Easy Blueberry Muffins
by Donna Hay

Serves 12
Ingredients2½ cups (375g) self-raising flour,
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup (125ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g fresh or frozen blueberries
granulated sugar, for sprinkling

MethodPreheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Place the oil, egg, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the blueberries and mix to combine. Spoon mixture into a muffin tin lined with paper patty cases. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Pop these into the lunch box (or briefcase) of someone you love

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A home among the gum trees

Two years ago we bought 250 acres of beautiful land in the New South Wales town of Oberon. It's not a very trendy town. It's not boutique-y and arty like towns in the Blue Mountains, and it doesn't have a gourmet reputation like nearby Orange.

It is a farming and logging community full of country people driving into town at the end of a hard days work to have a quiet beer at one of the local pubs. It is also surrounded by beautiful National Parks. We didn't want arty, we wanted land and a river. We wanted acres and acres of our own land so that we could plant trees and grow an orchard. And we wanted a river running through it so that hubby could fish and the girls could swim. We got both of those - more than 1km of river frontage on the gorgeous Fish River and lots of lovely land for our orchard.

(These photos are were take on our property. Isn't the autumn light beautiful!)

But we didn't get a house!! We only bought the land and decided to camp on it whenever we visited taking our time to consider the house options. Well the camping thing is getting old very quickly. We don;t really look forward to the almost three hour drive up there just to end up in a tent. And it's VERY cold in Oberon so winter camping is completely out of the picture.

I have spoken to architects and builders about designs and budgets and time lines, etc. The designs have been fabulous, the budgets eye watering and the time lines unacceptable. So I am now looking to prefabs. Obviously prefabs have come a long way in the past decades. They are no longer fibro boxes that scream cheap and ugly. The number of good designs is quite overwhelming.

We are not interested in putting some sort of imitation country cottage on the property - I am keen to go quite modern but hubby is yet to be convinced.

Here a couple that have made it to my shortlist, or my wish list !

Like most things in life a decision is going to come down to price and ease. Got to say though I'm pretty happy with the standard of prefabs out there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's off to work I go...

I am officially back in the ranks of the employed. I left my last job (reluctantly after 13 years of faithful service) on Friday and, after a couple of days of panic where I applied for every job out there, I am back in the saddle. Or more appropriately, back at a desk. I start as a sub editor on a well know national magazine in two weeks so I have no time to loose to get some relaxing in!! Hurry and relax!!

The job is only three days because with three children, one still not at school, it is horrifying to think of working a full week!! I mean, I know there are nannies and long daycare centres out there, but that is still a lot of work to get done in one week.

My last job was for a large internet company so the dress rules were non existent. I know of people (and by people I mean programming engineers!) who came to work in their pajamas. I didn't go quite that far into the casual side of the wardrobe, but I did turn up 99% of the time in jeans and not too much exciting on top. Plus I worked from home two days a week and .. well, need I say more.

That will have to change because a quick glimspe at the gear adorning the backs of the people in my new office tells me that I have to step it up a notch. High heels even! I think I will be spending the next two weeks shopping :)

I am also going to continue looking for some freelance work based on a (brilliant!) idea I have. More on that if I can pull it off. My problem is staying motivated so I have to keep the ball rolling and just maintain the focus. That's not me at all!

We are off to the Hunter Valley tomorrow for five days of winery fun with friends. Have a good weekend :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seeing spots

I love stripes. I have lots of stripes in my wardrobe. But now I may have overdosed a little on the stripes so my thoughts are turning to the anti-stripes - spots!! Spots really are the cuter cousin of stripes. They are more playful and some how seem fresher to me.

I know I am not the first person to notice spots are having a fashion moment, but I want to bring you my favourite spotty splendour.

I don't know American actress Kristen Anderson-Lopez (apparently she is the voice of kanga in the new Winnie the Pooh movie. Don't even start me on the Disney-fication of Pooh!), but I do know she looks lovely in this spotty dress with waist cincher. I am going to look for a dress just like this so that I can recreate this look in summer. I also need to find a gorgeous belt like this one!

German actresses Nadine Warmuth and Jessica Schwarz look spotty-licious at the Rena Lange Show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin Spring/Summer 2012 at the Brandenburg Gate.

The always gorgeous Sophie Ellis-Bextor looks completely cute in this polka dot romper while singing at the Cornbury Music Festival in England. How perfect is this?!? She has been spotted before wearing this fabulous number to the 2011 Brit Awards.

Olivia Palermo knows how to spot a trend. Boom tish!

I have a pair of spotty boots that I wear when I need to keep my feet dry. I'm not sure where they came from but my mother-in-law in the US bought them for my eldest daughter, but mistakenly bought an adult size. Lucky for me my feet were that adult size.

 I also have these red spotty shoes that I wear with jeans all summer.

But what I really need is
Silk top from Boden and spotty Kate Spade bag from Nordstrom.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dreaming of greener pastures

We recently renovated out 75 year old wooden cottage, turning it into a double storey wooden cottage with more space and less 70s decor. The reno was very successful and we LOVE our new house with it's spare bedroom, home office, even floors, absolutely no Mission Brown paint, and lack of damp on the ceiling.

However, we ran out of oomph when it came to tackling the hideous backyard. It has the most awful reddish brown tiles surrounding a kidney shaped pool and was obviously the height of landscaping design in the early 80s, but is not my idea of a tranquil oasis.

The time has come to beat it into shape, and in my usual style I have begun to obsess about the design and details, turning endlessly to the Internet to inspire me. The Internet is like catnip to obsessives like myself who have to get all of the details about things .. I can't help it!

We need to replace the pool because it is starting to pull away from the surrounding paving and is just plain ugly. So pool obsessing has been high on my list. And I am haunted by the idea of having a sunken outdoor lounge room near the pool which is enclosed on three sides. I saw one once on a gardening show and I can't remember much more about it other than I loved it and aspire to one day have one. Of course it will be fully pimped with designer lounges and maybe even a fire pit and outdoor kitchen! Well, a person can dream.

We are on a large block so there's quite a lot of space to play with. It's my next project, and I love having a project :)

If I could walk out of my back door into something like this I'd be very happy - who wouldn't!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Looking at Laura Linney

Actress Laura Linney is 47 this year. She's one of those funny actresses that is always great whenever you see her, but she's not really going to sell a movie to me. Even though I like her... I suppose she doesn't play the Hollywood publicity game.

I have never really thought about her style ether but I saw this photo of her recently at the 2011 Cosmopolitan Magazine Practice Safe Sun Awards and thought that this gorgeous lavender dress against her fair skin is the perfect advertisement against getting a suntan! I wish her hair was softer, but when I'm 47 I hope I can carry this look off as successfully.

She seems to have found a silhouette that suits her .. the fitted, structured short dress that I happen to love on myself.

However, when her clothes get a bit 'sacky' she starts to look droopy and larger. Not so good. I mean why would you want to do the below to yourself when you could look like the gorgeous photos above??!

Fitted good, sack bad. Please take note Laura.

(* All photos come from Getty Images.)