Friday, May 30, 2008

Babycino, Per Favore!

Any toddler able to digest full cream milk and the occassional marshmallow is now a regular participant in the thriving cafe culture infesting a trendy suburb near you. It's almost a given that when Mum orders her tall double shot latte the next words to proudly cross her lips are "and a babycino for the little one" (and it's not just me, I saw it happen twice today in a cafe, um, when Charlotte and I were having our afternoon pick-me-ups). This is despite the fact that only half the froth gets eaten before they discover they can suck on sugar sticks, blow the remainder of the froth over the table like bubbles, and use the milk at the bottom as a deep-conditioning treatment on their hair. My daughter has perfected the art of piping up whenever she hears me order coffee "mommo (being her word for it) too Mummy! Thankyou lady!" (even when it's a man, no matter) and when she finishes drinking/playing with it she yells "Lady, take it away!". Which is slightly rude but it's funny, and as she's 2 and has the cutest little voice she gets away with it. But babycino's differ from cafe to cafe, and considring it's a near-daily event for us, here's a rundown on the good, the bad, and the frothy (local readers take note):

A good babycino is one that Goldilocks would choose: not too hot, not too cold, just right. It has lots of froth with a teeny bit of chocoloate or sprinkles, and the bottom is a nice healthy dose of calcium-rich milk. Preferably comes with an optional marshmallow and shot of chocolate (Mums perfer to know this in advance to yay or nay, lest they be left with a hyperactive tot for the rest of the afternoon). They come in an easy-to-handle cup and a teaspoon, accessorised with plenty of napkins (forget this part at your own peril, Starbucks).

Coffee chains like Gloria Jeans and Hudsons always have babycinos for free when you order a coffee, and you can usually add your choice of sprinkle. BUT they are too cheap to give you a marshamllow. For that, you need a trendy cafe currently decked out in neutrals and browns (a decade ago it was Meditteranean, and before that non-existent). Try and go when the business people are there at lunch, talking loudly on their phones and generally expecting everyone to kiss their laptops. This is a great time to let your toddler sing and talk loudly and generally run amuck, as their cute babble is far more appealing than listening to the balding man with too much aftershave talk to the whole cafe about "the overseas deal". A nice big marshamllow or two will keep everyone entertained for hours. Add a chocolate shot for extra impact. But be warned, these cafes usually charge $2 or so and may try to hurry you along. Order another round and invite all your friends with big three wheel mountain prams along if this happens.

Locally, Charlotte gives the award for best (free) babycino in a pleasant atmosphere to Fresh, a vegeterian cafe with awesome coffee, daggy-cool furniture and friendly staff. In Tassie a cafe like this is a rare find, so make the most of it! Melbourne drips with these so you guys are lucky. Cafe Cortile in the Block Arcade gets top marks for the whole country.

And lastly, here is the best tee ever for babycino-lovers (yes, yes, FrockYou sells them. A lot of them):

tee, $34.95, by Smirk

Thursday, May 29, 2008

America's Next Top Model Is Phat

This is self-proclaimed "phat" girl, Whitney, the winner of America's Next Top Model vol 47476547639103. *GASP* she is a size 12, sometimes 14. Like, totally normal sized. We don't have Austar so I can only ever see this awesome spectacle of a television programme when Channel 10 run repeats over the summer, but it's the best bit of brainless nonsense ever. Even though they resort to doing tasteless shoots with homeless people, and I'm not entirely sure that any of the winners ever really get to be a "top model", it's still entertaining viewing. Whether this was some sort of marketing ploy or Tyra Etc honestly believe it's time to make some changes to the fashion industry, check out the above pic for serious phwoar factor (in a non-lesbian, purely appreciative way). She looks like an (airbrushed), proper woman. Compared to say, this:


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stranded in the Middle East: Thanks, Royal Jordanian

Her backpack is welded to her torso and she has a doona made of money wallets. She once entered the Eurovision song contest and her favourite colour is infra-red. Our fave intrepid traveller Cat tells us about her unintentional extended holiday at Queen Alia Airport, Jordan...

You know how it is. You’re away overseas, having the time of your life on the trip of a lifetime and something, somewhere, somehow, goes wrong. You don’t anticipate something going wrong of course; you factor in steps to avoid it at all costs. If you’re anything like me you make 10 copies of all your documents, register with Smart Traveller, tell every soul that’s living and known to mankind where your going, how long you’ll be and what to expect, invest in the latest cutting edge technology money wallet that bulges out under your top and just screams “Yes I’m a feckin tourist!” and fix 6-digit coded padlocks to your luggage in case some muppet thinks “ooh that looks like a nice bag to stick 10 kilos of ecstasy in…” (or whatever the drug lingo is)…or actions to that effect. Ok maybe the 10 copies and six digit codes are a bit of a stretch but you get the picture. So I’m going to share something with you that you may or may not identify with; just remember none of us are immune but it could always be worse!

I had been in Jordan, a wickedly fun and gorgeous country in the Middle East and I was nearing the end of my visit. After seeing some awesome, awesome sites and having a brilliant old ham of a time, I was off to Turkey to meet up with my friend who’d been in Oman for 3 weeks. We planned to tear around as much of the country as we could in 10 days before, sniff, sigh, sniff, heading home. So the travel buddy’s and I said our goodbyes and left on our respected flights, to our respected destinations each and every one of us, no worries at all

Picking me up at 7 that morning, I had a smooth ride out of Amman with my transfer, who also acted as my interpreter. Pulling into Queen Alia Airport, I felt a bit of anticipation build knowing it would be a mere 4 hours til I met my friend at the airport in Istanbul. Two days previously I’d phoned the airline (which, for the record, was Royal Jordanian) to confirm my booking, “yes your seat is booked, please check in two hours prior to your flight…” blah blah blah. So I confess to some confusion when Mohammed (the interpreter, yes I know every man and his camel are called Mohammed in the Middle East so I’m not joking) turned to me, after a lengthy conversation with the chiseled Jordanian at check in and said “Cet there is slight problem with check in, take seat and I fix.” So, I did what the man said and took a seat. An hour later I was getting concerned. Mohammed came and sat down next to me and me, bored to snorts and starting to get a little irritated at the delay, asked what was wrong. He said they had overbooked the plane, and were trying to fit me on. “Well for f*@k’s sake a*!@hole,” I wanted to say, what’s the biggie? I confirmed, I even have a seat number, so what the feck’s the hold up? Where’s my goddamn seat gone? I started to think about my friend and the possibility that I may not get this flight because for all intents and purposes check in had now closed and there were about half a dozen of us standing there twittering in different languages that we needed, had to be on that plane. My friend did not have her phone on her and basically I had no way of contacting her to let her know that I wouldn’t be meeting her at Attaturk Airport in 4 hours. Bollocks!

I didn’t get my flight, and there was not another one to Istanbul until 4am the following morning. Fifteen hours I waited to fly out of Amman, fifteen hours. Admittedly they put us up at the airport hotel but we were all pretty raw. As it turned out they had let a corporate party, who turned up 10 minutes before us, take our seats and it took them 3 hours to tell us. I distinctly remember marching up to the chiseled Jordanian and his mates and bellowing the words “piss up in a brewery,” and “couldn’t organise,” with reckless abandon. In the end though, I made it to Istanbul. Exhausted but elated that I was finally there I found my friend in our hotel and there commenced our Turkish Christmas adventure. Its funny how when you’re faced with adversity, don’t speak the language, are on your own, its Christmas and you’re a million miles from family and friends, you cope because you have to. And hey, it wasn’t that bad. I mean, the hotel was really nice…

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Madison Mag: Brazilian Waxing is not for 14 year olds

There's a lot to get you fired in up the current, Green issue of Madison magazine: aside from the obvious hypocrisy of the fact that a glossy magazine is printed on the most anti-green commodity out there, paper, there's an article about tweens with personal shoppers, which also mentions Brazilian waxing. Disturbingly, this is printed under the "trend" section.

Before we get started, a few points: you can always get great all-round mag reviews over at Girl with a Satchel. Madison has this month interested and infuriated me so I'll be focussing on a few particular points only. Editor Paula Joye does a great job of addressing the inherent contradiction of printing a "Green" issue by stating that Madison is a media outlet with a duty and responsibility to inform and inspire. Fair point, especially considering that knowledge is the first step to power, and if we're going to be green, we need to be informed. There's a cute spread with "celebs" spouting all sorts of obvious but still useful go-green info - the best comes from comedian Tim Ross: "I don't wash my clothes, and I have a doona made of John Butler".

So, all this greenery makes you start thinking about taking responsibility, being more careful with the precious resources we have, and feeling guilty about consumerism. I don't know whether it's intentional or not but the fashion pages* consequently annoy me (mainly, the fugly as all fug Armani handbag on page 133 which costs $14,000 - I'm hoping this is a misprint. Presumably if it costs this much it wasn't produced by 5 year-olds in Vietnam, but then it's most likely made of real animal. Green, planet-friendly and responsible? Not really. And man, it's ugly) and stories such as pg 92's "Are You Cooler than a Fourth-Grader?" are thus made all the more poignant.

I have a daughter and I love shopping for her. So, in some respects I can understand why the New York advertising exec mother (naturally) in this story likes to spoil her 9 year old - it's fun, and a type of expensive bonding experience. However, her daughter has a team of personal stylists and shoppers, at a going rate of $650 per day. They "make it easy" to find the perfect outfits for back-to-school, parties, and whatever else it is that 9 year olds do. Like play. No, not that. Apparently, personal care products for teens and tweens nowadays are worth $8.5 billion in the US. Ok, so I read all that, and just sort of scoff at how ridiculous Americans are (though the whole tween industry in Aus is projected tor each $10 billion next year), and how surely people have better things to spend money on, and how these kids are going to grow up totally bratty without backbone nor brain cell. THEN I read the most disturbing part of the article, beneath the bit about 12 year olds with more makeup then their teenage babysitters and Nair's Pretty hair removal line, aimed at 10-15 year olds: the website, apparently the number 1 website for girls aged 9-14, ran a feature on Brazilian waxing, stating that "nobody really likes hair in their private has a childlike appeal". Stop, stare, re-read. Oh. My. God. Thankfully, this line has since been deleted from the site, but the point is: somebody put it there in the first place. Somebody thinks private hair removal is appropriate for primary-school aged kids. None of my friends even shaved their legs until we were in year 7. And it was probably not until year 9 or 10 when you start wondering about giving those sideburns a trim before swimming in PE. No wonder girls these days (listen to me, it was only a decade ago I was 14, and thinking more about Clearasil rather than pubic waxing) have an alraming rate of eating disorders and low self-esteem. When you are a child, and you're told by that most influential force in your information-soaked life, that your child like looks are not good enough, that nobody who's anybody should look like or want to look like a child, what are you going to do? You're an impressionable pubescent already uncomfortable with your changing body and emotions, and to be told things like this, and think it's normal?! As you can see, it completely freaked me out. If our kids are taught to be embarrassed by normality, uncomfortable with themselves and always being told they can be better, what hope will the planet have when we put it in their hands? Ben Lee's enviro-quote on page 61 perhaps gives us a good starting point: "I am interested in creating social change in a positive way...". Social change is going to go hand-in-hand with the massive lifestyle and environmental changes we are slowly beginning to make. Is our culture and our society able to change, or have we become so self-absorbed with ourselves, our looks and our posessions that we won't be able to handle learning to take less, use less, and respect more?

Hats off to you, Madison, for creating an issue that encourages us to do that most dangerous and worthwhile of activities: to think.

*Yes they need fashion pages in a glossy magazine or it wouldn't sell. There's a great story on pg 138 "The Green Fashion House Effect", profiling eco-friendly designers such as Stella McCartney, but Madison falls a little short of practising what it preaches, on the surface. It's like the Green part of the issue (which is a good 2/3, thankfully) is just there for the sake of it, and then the rest can revert back to good old-fashioned selfish indulgence. Without meaning to sound harsh, this is honestly the feeling I get from this issue, and usually I quite enjoy Madison. How can you print pictures of the devastated Styx Forest, and then really give a stuff about the latest "it" eye shadow? In this instance then, Madison has done it's job of opening up one's eyes to the real issue at hand. 'Cos, you know, I love makeup and pretty sparkly things as much as the next female. The fact I don't care to read about them in this issue means the most important message has come through loud and clear.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Album Review: The Wombats - A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation

He has a passion for calligraphy and can speak Whale. His favourite holiday destination is Luxembourg and at night he turns green. At any rate, our resident stripey cardigan-wearing music buff Marky Mark (and the indie bunch) knows a thing or two about what a good album maketh. This week:

The wombat (Vombatus ursinus) is an Australian marsupial, known for its nocturnal feeding habits, peculiarly bony bottom and rare ability to defecate cubed nuggets, despite the seemingly contradictory possession of a standard, round anus. However, the Liverpudlian trio collectively titled The Wombats contain few similarities to these aforementioned herbivores. Instead of feeding at night, they play instruments. Instead of bony bottoms, they sing of prostitutes, postmen and Shakespeare. And, instead of defecating cubed brown crap, they freely release rounded golden gems of pop songs – as evidenced on their debut album A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation.

Album opener ‘Tales of Boys, Girls and Marsupials’ is a harmony-laden a cappella repetition of its very title. Following on is a scathing, poptastic condemnation of romantic comedies, ‘Kill the Director’ (Bridget Jones being the chief suspect, poor Sharon Maguire). ‘Moving to New York’, the album highlight, details a sleep-affected party freak who remedies his nocturnal tendencies by changing time-zones.

It then slows up for tunes such as ‘Party in a Forest (Where is Laura?)’ and ‘School Uniforms’, but the leaping springs again with the fun (yet rather blasphemous) ‘Lets’ Dance to Joy Division’ and ‘Backfire at the Disco’.

A British indie craze has swarmed our radios and magazines for the last few years, but few groups have actually stayed for more than 12 songs, let alone been any good in the first place. Judging by ‘A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation’, the Wombats may just be the exception.

(Ed note: my personal fave of the past year! Stupid band name, great songs. I challenge you to not dance along to it, or at least sing along loudly at the trafic lights with your window down without realising, then turing around in a valiant ffort to blame the hideous honking emanating from your throat on the truck in the next lane).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shop for Your Shape - Style vs Fashion

Trinny and Susannah left me in a quandry last Thursday night. For the past few days I have been wandering around trying to work out which of their ingenious 12 Body Shapes I fit into, in order to gain some basic rules about how to best shop for my figure. I couldn't quite work it out from the tv show, as I was distracted by the protesting pagans who *shock horror* were wearing incredibly unflattering headgear, so this morning in the shower I tried their little test to try and work it out: When the glass on the shower door is all fogged up, draw an outline of how you see your body shape. It will force you to note your problem areas and get an idea of what is where. I thought I was maybe a pear, though that was very distressing as T&S kept using the term "saddlebags". However after my little experiment and a quick glance through this article I discovered I am a Skittle. This means I am genreally slim and in proportion on the upper half, but the main problem area is thighs and short legs. 100% spot on. I should be looking for vertical stripes on the bottom, broad jacket labels and chunky heels. Excellent. Have a quick squiz through the above link to work out your shape!

10 points to T&S. I know they released their book about this like a year ago, but I hadn't read it or seen the show til last week, so forgive me. It did, however, make me think about all the "classic" fashion that has been gracing the pages of glossies lately. It seems a return to the failsafe world of tailoring, trench coats and polish is all the go. Which is great, but prompts this innate reaction: "Wonderful! Now I can finally get that wardrobe together where I can waltz in, pick any random pieces and throw them on, feeling confident that I look fabulous and prepared for any occassion, and I won't look back at pictures of myself and laugh......well where's the fun in that?" It's almost scary. I want to experiment with fashion, I want my own personal style, I don't want to look like a clone of every stylish woman the world over. When I'm in my 30's maybe I'll appreciate this a bit more, but at the moment it's about not only having fun, but creating memories - if clothes maketh the woman, and are such a fundamental expression of ourselves, they''re also a reflection of the times we are living in, the events we lived through. Looking back at baby pictures wouldn't be as funny if Mum's hair wasn't permed, her eyebrows overplucked and her eyeshadow a fetching shade of bright purple. Christmas bbq's throughout childhood wouldn't seem like they were from years ago if Dad didn't have a mullet, Uncles wore stubby shorts and Aunties had shoulder pads. School pics just would not be the same without scrunchies, face glitter and big fringes. Much in the way a particualr scent has personal meaning for everyone, so do clothes. Life would be as boring and affected as a magazine spread if everybody dressed beautifully, classically and stylishly all the time - it might be aesthetically pleasing but it would be as dull as K-Ho.

"Fashion fades, style is eternal" - so true. But so is "Beige fades, memories are eternal".

For those of us (read: all of us) on that never-ending quest to find a personal style that is both flattering and feel-good, here is a quick checklist of the very fundamental rules of shopping:

-Work out your body shape and go from there. If you have a big tummy, please don't wear crop tops. Big hips, don't go high-waisted. If Mischa Barton wore it, chuck it out.

-Invest in those classic pieces but keep it fun by adding trend-based items. Don't be afraid of mixing colours (whoever said blue and green shold never be seen, or put a ban on pink and red was a fascist). If you're unsure, try bold jewellery or bright shoes, and remember, if you look back and giggle, it was all worth it.

-Trends are trends, they come and go, so if you're watching your $ don't spend up big on them. That's what chain-stores are for. The general rule: if you remember it the first time around, don't go there again (which is scary and going to leave most of us nude, considering the current 90's reinvention means you have to be in primary school to think it's new).

-Make sure your underwear fits properly and is suitable for your outfit, ie don't wear bright red knickers under white pants. Please.

-Always try one thing you never thought you'd wear - you'll be pleasantly suprised!

-Just because it's designer doesn't mean it's great. If it looks fugly, the colour doesn't suit you and the material irritates you, then it's not worth it. Get a cheaper option you'll actually wear.

-Gradually, through trial and error (which in this case is downright fun) work out your own style and don't be afraid of it. If you love bright orange then bloody well wear bright orange! It doesn't matter of the glossies say it's "out" this week, or if young girls stare at you because somehow you have transferred their faux skin colour to your outfit. To end with a ghastly but true cliche: if you feel good, you look good.

And always remember, the best, most timeless accessory that transcends the ages while still evoking feel-good memories, is a smile!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Send a Random Postcard - Spread the Love!

If you work for a big company, every quarter or so you usually get a fun-filled magazine with a witty title which is basically a large propoganda pamphlet about how your caring multinational sponsors trees in the sub-sahara and donates a portion of profits to charities they have a hand in. Not to sound cynical or anything. But my partner was this morning browsing through the latest issue of PostJournal, the afore-described tome sent to all Aus Post employees (NO he is not a postman, nor does he sort letters into boxes), and found a little paragraph about a cool website called PostCrossing . The concept: you register your details, click the button to generate a random person from somewhere around the globe (also registered on the site, or it would just be creepy) and send them a postcard of where you live with a little happy message on it! FREE HUGS BY SNAIL MAIL folks. This is where it's at! Then, once you've sent one, someone will send you one (but you won't know when they do, it'll just arrive one glorious day), then you can send another, and so the circle of love continues. Randomness in letterboxes - I love it!

Tomorrow I'm sending a note of kindness to an animal loving geriatric nurse in Finland. I better not send a postcard with a Tasmanian Devil on it as they are all munted due to the awful cancer spreading through the species. Maybe a cuddly koala, or the local boganus flannelettia would please her. BUT SERIOUSLY, THIS IS SO FUN IT MAKES ME TYPE IN CAPS LOCK! In today's day and age where we are so anal about being organised and time-optimisation and lots of other wanky management-speak things, the element of surprise and good old fashioned faith in the kindness of a complete stranger makes this a worthwhile project. The site states that the reasoning behind PostCrossing is "there are lots of people who like to receive real mail. The element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world (many of which you'd probably never have heard of) can turn your mailbox into a box of surprises - and who wouldn't like that?". Exactly. If you're not so bold as to stand in your local mall holding a "Free Hugs" sign, this is the next best thing - send a kind word and smiley face to someone, somewhere, and watch the good karma spread!

Go to and register, then wait by the letterbox, and experience the simple joy of getting mail!

(ps if you've been getting those stupid postcards from Bigpond, don't forward them to Scandinavia or any other well-meaning part of the globe. They reflect badly on our country, broadband system and use of trees. Are you listening, Telstra? oh wait, I'm on hold. Still.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bargain Beauty Review: Lip Gloss

*beauty disclaimer: these are honest reviews and I don't get paid or free stuff to do them, or to induce any sort of bias. I have to pay for these goods the old-fashioned way! (However if you want to send me free stuff, please do. Especially expensive stuff)*

Just like one can never own too may shoes, bags, coats or tshirts, a girl should never be caught without her lippy. I am partial to a bit of shine (regardless of whether or not it is "in" this week; seriously unless you work on a glossy mag or something who would care if your lip colour is sooo yesterday afternoon or not. And if they did care, they're obviously not worth knowing. Does the colour suit you? Yes? Well then it's never going to be "in" or "out" is it? Why swap your perfectly tinted shade for pearlised coral with sparkles or whatever just because that's what is the latest on the runway? Sorry. Rambling.), so in this regard I am going to share with you what is quite simply THE BEST lip gloss ever. And it costs $6.95.

Remember Lip Smackers at school? And it became a sort of competition as to who could have the most? And you lined them up colour co-ordinated on your dressing table? (No? Oh.) Well this is a sort of grown up Lip Smacker. It's called VitaGloss and it's a lovely, lovely conditioning gloss (thanks to vitamin e and aloe) that has just the right amount of natural-looking tint AND it stays on for aaaages. It gives your pout that airbrushed magazine look and it will make handsome foreign princes propose to you. Well, maybe not quite, but it'll look damn good. You may know that I have an obsession with collecting lip glosses and lipsticks. If you didn't, well you do now. I've got everything from Chanel to Rimmel and this one is my day-to-day fave. I have one in ech handbag, a spare beside the bed and another in the bathroom. Once I went into Priceline and they had "Buy 2 get 1 free" and I bought all of them, lest I happen to run out one fateful day. It comes in six different flavours/colours (oh and it doesn't taste awful either); my preference is raspberry, which is a deep pinky colour. And not, in fact, red like a raspberry. But whatever. If you are blonde you might like kiwi (it's pink, not green) or strawberry; darker skin tones plum or melon; and cherry is great for adding some shine on a night out.

I hope you realise that if I was ever interviewed for a beauty section of a magazine and they asked me what my all time must-have beauty product is that I would alone take to a desert island and repopulate the earth with, it is this. I haven't told many people about it because the shops are always out of stock and I am afraid of not being able to buy it. *starts shaking* actually, it sucks. Don't buy it, it's chemical enhanced crap that tastes like a shoe. I'll soldier on using it though, for old times sake.

Bonne Bell is available at Priceline, Target, pharmacies and supermarkets.

Things that Piss Me Off Volume 1

I'm not an angry person. I'm polite to call centre staff and give way to pedestrians, I wait patiently in line at Coles and smile politely when old ducks stop me in the street to comment on my child. But sometimes I get peeved *incredible hulk moment*. Luckily I don't commit acts of violence, rather I steam silently and think about how I will word my anger in a blog.

1). When you are parked in the front of the petrol queue, with a number of cars behind you who have filled up, paid, and are waiting to get on with their day, please do not decide to leave your vehicle, pop into the shop and do your weekly grocery run. Note I said please this time but next time I will kick your stupidly inappropriate and remarkably clean 4WD right where it hurts and honk my horn in such a way as to offend your finely-tuned upper-class sensibilities.

2). Leggings are not pants. You may wear them to the gym, or for any form of exercise, or are heavily pregnant and unable to fit into anything else. If you and your friends are all 15, slim and thus with a wide choice of trousering options available, you do not need to become little miss Lohan's. If you do wish to wear leggings, please wear some form of frock, skirt or even shorts over the top. DO NOT wear a cropped hoodie or short tee or "oversized" shirt that when belted comes up past your pubic bone. IT MEANS I CAN SEE YOUR BUM and so can everyone else. IT IS NOT FLATTERING and yuo do not look hip, alternative, or any of those otehr things kids these days want to be. I remember leggings when we (or our Mums, courtesy of Kmart) matched them with scrunched down socks, boots or sneakers, and a big tshirt or jumper with a complementary floral scrunchie. Generally you could buy these as sets, and even if we now look back and cringe, at least our bits were hidden. As you were probably still gestating or facing the rigours of testicular boot camp*, you may claim ignorance of these 90's horrors. But in the eyes of the law, IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE. It's true, ask your Legal Studies teacher.

3). Just because you work in a shop, and I shop there, does not mean I want to tell you my life story. I sincerely appreciate a friendly smile and "Hello"; on a good day you can even stretch it so far as a "How are you?" or comment on the weather, but that's where it stops. You don't care how may day has been and I can't really tell you in a few sentences, as any more in depth than "oh, ok thanks" requires me to tell you about all the people in my life that I have dealt with today. This is confusing as well as boring for you, and you'll probably end up charging me for extra bananas, which will mean I will have to trek back into the shop with my tattered receipt, claim that I did not purchase the aforementioned bananas, even though I can't prove it, and pray that they offer me a refund. What alot of bother for absolutely no point at all. Say what needs to be said in a nice manner and smile and we'll both leave happy. And don't even think about telling me about your day. I DON'T CARE.

4). Speaking of shops, some supermarkets or large shopping centres have designated spots for the disabled, eldery and mothers with babies and kids. This is very considerate and makes the trek from the shop back to the car laden with bags alot quicker. However, to park in these spots you generally need to fall into one of the categories of shoppers they are intended for. And just because you fall into one, doesn't mean you fall into ALL of them. So when I'm circling the carpark at peak hour with a cranky toddler, dreading facing the maze of trolleys and tot temptations while simply trying to purchase consumables, I do not appreciate a fully mobile, high-heeled twat whose ovaries have dried up casually sauntering towards her sportscar with really amusing numberplates overloaded with one, yes count them, ONE bag. You can park ANYWHERE with ease you sourfaced bint but no, why should you go out of your way for anyone else? All those mothers with babies, and frail elderly people could do with the exercise, and frankly, those in wheelchairs can just roll towards the door, on wheels all the way, so why would they need a close spot? You have a shiny car and an expensive purse so you deserve it! Of course you do!

5). And in something completely unrelated, but very simple, it shits me no end when people can't spell. I can't type, but at least I can spell. Your is not the same as 'you are' and now is not the same as 'know' and so if you are representing a company, it's offputting and unprofessional when you make these simple errors. It makes me think that you, too, are a bit simple and I will not give you my money. YOUR SIMPLE. YOU'RE SIMPLE. If you can circle the correct option, I'll give you a sticker; good yuppy, good girl!

*I think this was on Family Guy. It made me titter.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Socks & Sandals: Hiking the Kokoda

By our resident travelling trollop Cat W:

It started out innocently enough. Here I was, hiking one of the world’s hardest, hottest and, to many Aussies, most historically significant walking tracks in the world, and the only thing I could think about was how exciting it was going to be to get out of my damp, manky hiking gear, wash the mud off in the drink (re freezing, fast-enough flowing-river-that-if-you-put-a-foot-wrong-you-would-be-swept-into-oblivion), don the skins to ease my aching legs and slip my feet into a somewhat dry pair of socks smelling suspiciously like they’d been waved too close over a camp fire the night before desperately trying to dry and…my sandals! Yes my friends, I fell in love, on Kokoda, with a look that goes against everything I’d ever been taught to avoid in fashion - the humble socks and sandals combo.

Now, most people (or maybe just me..?) associate that look with tall, bearded men in mid thigh length shorts, driving to a Sunday morning service at the local uniting (or anglican, whatever your preference) in the family van. Never in a million years did I think I would be soon following the (trend?) and opting for the comfort and warmth that socks hitched to the knees in sandals can bring. It’s true!

I should apologise to Kat and anybody else who knows me who’s reading this if, by some chance, you’re offended that you’ve been associating with someone who extols the virtues of S&S (ooh that sounds a little bit dirty) and you choose never to look at this site again. Oh well, not my problem!

So it was that when I was packing, because I was carrying, I had to keep shoes and clothing to a bare minimum, so I packed only my hiking boots, for walking (obviously) and sandals, for creek crossing. But the higher we walked, the cooler it started getting at night. So I took to throwing on a pair of socks over my skins in the evenings (pulled all the way up of course, none of this ruched to the ankle business), and could not believe the level of comfort I was being afforded. Heaven on a stick! Things started getting tricky, however, when the need to visit the WC arose. There was no way known I was putting damp hiking boots over my dry socks, a precious commodity in a place where it rained every feckin day, so sandals it was to be. I was about to have my eyes opened in a way I’d never thought possible…

So when a little hundred metre wander to the WC was called for, out came the sandals to help make the journey. It was the start of a love/love relationship. Black, with a strap over the toes and one around the ankle, they found their niche with my socks and eventually we did everything together in the evenings – ate dinner, socialised, walked between huts; became a talking point when everyone realised we weren’t to be parted and yes I am a weirdo for wearing, somewhat ecstatically, something I’d never wear in a blue fit at home. I was warm and comfy, and basically I was not me without them. Don’t laugh…

I wasn’t alone. One of my fellow hikers, Mark, was in love with his too, but that’s worse cos he’s a man and that’s just tragic. Or is it..?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Film Review: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

By guest reviewer, film-wench Renee A:

Usually I like watching movies about criminals about as much as I like listening to Celine Dion warble. But the criminal in question for this film is long dead and has a mythos surrounding him that made the concept seem mildly more interesting to me. Also, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (honestly, who thinks up these ridiculous titles? It takes longer to read the title than to watch the film!) has Brad Pitt in it. And let’s face it – Brad Pitt is hot (when not nanced up for such wastes of time as Troy and Legends of the Fall). He also, on occasion, acts rather well. I was further enticed by the trailer and by the fact that Andrew Dominik’s previous film (Chopper) had gotten some decent reviews. So, why not, I said to myself. (Yes, I often overanalyse whether or not I want to watch a film almost to the point of sucking the fun out of it. I can’t help it. I will make a promise that for all future reviews I won’t spend half the time justifying my decision to watch, and thus review, the movie in question). So, on to the review.

To say I enjoyed watching this film would be a lie. I found it impossible to connect to the characters, their actions or find anything to like in any of the events of the film. However, I suspect that this wasn’t really the point.

TAOJJBTCRF examines Jesse’s final descent into madness and shows the uneasy relationships he has with the members of his gang. I will give the movie a point or two for how well this is done – the acting is superb, particularly Pitt, Casey Affleck (as Robert Ford) and Sam Rockwell (as Ford’s brother), whose near hysterical retelling of family anecdotes at the dinner table while expecting Jesse to kill him at any moment was almost painful to watch. In fact, most of the characters looked as though they would happily jump off the screen and hide under my blanket at any moment, the threat (imagined and real) of Jesse is so great.

A heavy sense of dread permeates the film, helped by the slow pace and limited colour palette. The moments of actual violence happen sparingly, but the impact of each incident is heightened by the expectation that yet more violence could happen at any moment.

The film was incredibly unsettling and it left me with the unpleasant feeling that I needed to go and scrub my soul clean afterwards. However, it was mesmerising enough to keep me watching even as I was repulsed by it, so I suppose I shall say that I think it is worth watching. Even if it is just to see that Brad Pitt can still act.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rainbow Twanger

This rather tittilating clip is from a British kid's TV show, Rainbow, which ran from the 1972-1992. Watch it and consider the following options:

a) things were so innocent back then *sigh*

b) I must be really perverted to be thinking what I am

c) the producers are having a right good snigger behind the scenes

d) Poms have some really strange slang words


The answer is e) this sketch is a jolly good joke - it was made in 1979 for the Thames TV staff Christmas tape; and it wasn't aired until 1997 on Channel 4's TV Offal, when it then started doing the rounds of emails, YouTube and next time you and your mates indulge in a bit too much Fruity Lexia, can I suggest a rollicking rendition of "The Plucking Song", playing with each other's balls and rounding the evening off with a friendly round of banging. Jolly good fun!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cate is Great...and so are you

Giving birth makes your body bleed, leak, weep, stretch and contort in ways you never imagined possible. Who, I ask you, WHO in their right mind would rock up to a glamour-infested film festival in the south of France roughly one month after, cool as a cucumber and calm as an, erm, really chilled out cucumber? CATE. COS SHE IS AWESOME.

She does set rather high standards though. I sure as hell couldn't be bothered discussing the future of the country with K-Rudd a few days after popping one out. Should we mere mortals aspire to be like Cate though? Those who could get away with that Armani gown are few and far between, but should we be churning out kids, back in shape, at work and glowing as ever within days? Or should we be cocooning ourselves indoors, in our comfiest clothes, gratefully accepting the help of family and friends, just taking time out, because when it comes down to it, we simply can't do it all? Are we even allowed to think that? And even if we could do everything, would you want to? Something as precious as the first time your newborn smiles is worth so much more than showing off your toned post-baby body, surely. Not saying that Cate is a negligent Mum. I reckon she is one of those rare Superwomen, who we should all admire, but not aspire to. Quite frankly, she rocks. But my daughter thinks I rock too, even though my hair looks funny sometimes and the house is messy and my shoes don't always match my bag. In her eyes, I am a very cool cucumber, and that means more to me than what today's societal standards and glossy mags dictate!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gratuitous Self-Promotion Time!

*cue Award Night instrumental music* Firstly, I'd like to thank you guys for voting FrockYou as a Finalist in the 2008 SHOP Awards for Best Online Store! We couldn't have done it without you, or our parents, or God...well we could have, but the results might have been different. And who is God anyway? *cue instrumental music to quickly usher
/force us offstage while still dribbing shite*

It's been a long day. I'm stuffed. And Trinny and Susannah are on later and I love them. So in order to get out of writing anything that makes me think too hard or for too long, let me take you through something I know pretty well: the best bits of the Frock! Ladies first, and Little Frockers after (note, no pics because it will make the post half a kilometre long and your eyes probably won't want to wander that far)...

The Coat: Blue Juice Mabel Saintley Mayland Girl Coat $129.95 To be honest I just Googled "Mabel Saintley" because I thought the title of this lovely silver trench-style coat was a bit weird. She was a burlesque dancer, fyi. I like this one ALOT because it's light and flirty and lined with polka dots! It has a really feminine shape (hence being named after a burlesque dancer I'm guessing) which is accentuated with the waist sash and a double row of buttons, and is a sweet shade of silver-grey. Versatile and affordable!

The Tee: GRAB Basic Long-sleeved Tops $29.95 in grey, black or white, these are awesome in so many ways - they keep their shape after washing, and are really light but still warm, and thus great for layering. Or, follow the fashion pack and wear a plain top with a cool scarf (of which we have some more in store but not on the site yet..keep your eyes peeled...) and denim, whether it be ripped, skinny or flared!

The Cardi: French Kitty Peaches Cardi $69.95 You have to be a pink lover (the colour, not the pop singer) to like this one but the ribbon detail across the front and back is so cute! Coco Chanel once said "a girl can never have too many cardi's"...well she didn't but she probably thought it sometimes.

The Frock: Mejikuhibiniu Grey/Black Sleeve Dress $90 we've got a cool new independent label in store, all the way from Melbourne, and they simply create gorgeous and really unique frocks that make people go, "Ooh where'd you get that, I LOVE it dah-ling!" and you go, "it's from this great new label Mejikuhibiniu" at which point they look confused as they try to spell it out in their heads, and then you go, "and I got it from FrockYou" and then they stare at you for a second, assume you've been rude and totter away to find a frock with less letters in it's name.

The Bag: Chip Chop Keep It Surreal Tote $89 in keeping with the "let's confuse the general public" theme, Chip Chop have brought out some new limited edition black denim totes with trademark eye-catching slogans. Quick sticks 'cos there aren't many of them around!

The Skirt: Vicious Threads Fortuna Skirt $189 this is a rock chic skirt if ever there was one: black silk/cotton with a studded waistband, oh la la! Featured in this month's ShopTilYouDrop, it's feminine yet tough and just so goddam cool!

Little Frockers: The Tee: Deadly Girl Couture Calvin Whine $39.95 these are imported from the USA and the quality is fantastic - and the cheeky slogans right up our alley! Honestly, dressing kids in proper designer gear borders on the insane considering they grow out of them in a number of months (longer than Posh keeps any of her gear, but anyway) so stick it to 'em! Make a statement!

The Hat: Monster Baby Winter Castro Cap $25 Speaking of labels sticking it to 'em, you can't go past Monster Baby for some real 'tood. From I Hate Barby to F*****g Bad Day to 6pm Bitchin' Hour, they have a tee to delightfully offend all sensibilites. BUt my current fav from their winter range is the Winter Castro Cap - it's black, lined with warm ribbing and has a skull on it. It's COOL.

The Pants: American Apparel Karate Pants $22 simply the comfiest pants your bub will wear, ever, and just layer some BabyLegs underneath for extra warmth!

The Frock: Ej Sikke Lej Purple Denim Dress $79 imported from Denmark, this one is so funky even Lila Grace Moss would deign to wear it. It's got a cute little owl keyring bit and it looks cooler then a Danish winter with tights and boots!

The Shoes: Smelly Welly Gumboots $39.95 if your feet pong, at least try to mask the whiffiness with these cute wellies! In 4 flavours/colours, they even come with antibacterial spray to keep them smelling yummy - and trust me, they do smell, it's no gimmick, the storeroom now smells like a lolly shop.

There's alos heaps and HEAPS of brand new stock overflowing from every crevice, so check back regualrly to snap it up! New stuff is added every day for your viewing/buying pleasure...enjoy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SJP Gets back to Nature

My friends and I have convinced ourselves it wouldn't be a total cliche to have a girl's night out to see the Sex and the City movie next month (even though there will be 4 of us, with great shoes). I just hope I don't get stuck sitting behind someone who decides to replicate Sarh Jessica Parker's premiere outfit - gorgeous pale green dress by Alexander McQueen, headpiece by Allen's Garden Centre:

Was it some sort of play on Candace Bushnell? Or have giant brooches been replaced with giant, erm, bushes (Without meaning to sound coarse)? Kirstin Davis looked beautiful as ever in a vintage red frock, Kim Cattrall also shone in red but here looks like she's getting hives from SJP's accessories, and Cynthia Nixon's classic black looks good albeit boring. And it's hard to focus on her face.

I've read interviews with Sarah Jessica Parker where she has admitted she knows little about fashion really, just has great stylists. Peter Griffin said "she has a face like a foot" which is a bit harsh (ok he's fictional but still) but it gives me the shites when people assume that SJP is Carrie. She isn't. She's a nice lady who has obiously sacked her stylist-of-the-moment. Carrie is also not the Elizabeth Bennett of our age, as claimed by various commentators. Elizabeth Bennett would have had two pairs of shoes, tops; was a virgin until she married Mr D'Arcy (unless I missed the inside scoop in the Oct 1815 edition of Women's Weekly); and Ms Austen certainly had enough wit to pen a story without littering it with blatant product placement....oh, who am I kidding. I'll go see the film, buy new shoes and feel nostalgic for awhile that we won't see these four ladies light up the screen together again. It'll also probably make me want to blog about what an awful, awful overstyled and underwritten mess Cashmere Mafia was.....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Film Review: Atonement

By guest reviewer Renee A (the loveliest film-buff wench on the planet):

Despite the recent rush for promoting this movie on DVD in time for Mother’s Day (yes Blockbuster, I mean you), the sort of commercial bullshit that usually puts me off wanting to see a movie, I was rather looking forward to seeing this fillum. I hadn’t read the book, but the trailer and the people involved convinced me it was necessary to check it out. I felt some trepidation towards the inclusion of Keira Knightley in the cast – she has in the past given me the irritations, possibly due to the tendency of her omnipresent pout to take over any scene she’s in. But, while the pout was in full force for this film, I found that she was perfect for the role (probably because looking pouty worked for the character), and had fantastic chemistry with James McAvoy, a point that was crucial.

Without giving away too much of the plot, Atonement is about a love affair between Cecilia (Knightley) and Robbie (McAvoy)*, which is interrupted when Cecilia’s younger sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan) lets her childish imagination run away with her and dobs on Robbie for something he didn’t do. He gets sent to gaol, then to war.

The cinematography is stunning (with some beautiful symbolism that will be studied in Year 12 English for years to come) and a score that blends and weaves its way organically into each scene. The use of different points of view and jumps in time are done refreshingly well – if used badly these techniques can be clumsy, irritating and pretentious. In the hands of director Joe Wright they serve only to deepen the impact of the story.

Atonement is in turns passionate, beautiful, heartbreaking, depressing and hopeful. A day later I’m still feeling emotionally raw from the ending, which in my book is a good thing. And finally: bonus points for the best use of a naughty word I’ve ever seen – I dare you not to gasp when you realise what Briony is about to read in Robbie’s note.

I give it four out of five pouty Keira lips.

*Might I just take this opportunity to point out that their sex scene was the best I’ve seen in a movie for a long time. This is due to three main reasons: it was executed well, the chemistry between Knightley and McAvoy was spot on and the scene itself was so integral to the story, not, as with far too many movies these days, added for the extra interest a famous actress getting her kit off will garner.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Beauty Review: Scrub Away Those Monday Blues

Disclaimer: I don't get paid to review beauty products on this blog, or get freebies to entice favourable reviews. My hard-earned cash is forked over the old-fashioned way and everything written below is 100% honest!

Hey that title almost rhymes. We could add a bit of acoustic strumming and some tuneful Dylan-esque lyrics (Bob Dylan, not 90210 Dylan. That could be a different story altogether) and knock the Idol-poppers off the charts. But I digress (as usual. Oh, there I go again. Sorry). Sometimes, Mondays suck. It's a whole 5 days, approximately 45 working hours and 4 sleeps til the weekend. But instead of slugging your way wearily through the week, try approaching it freshly scrubbed and squeaky clean - *adopts sci-fi voice* exfoliate-exfoliate-exfoliate those dead skin cells and let your skin make you happy!

I love a good scrub. A Beautician got me onto them years ago, and now I'm a daily buffer. Experts will disagree on how often to scrub, but really, it's up to you (as all things are, if you think about it). My skin falls in the yuk-category of combination/oily. Thus, I find daily exfoliation a really good way to keep it smooth and soft, and spotty bits at bay. There's heaps out there to choose from, and for the past few years I have been rightly obsessed with L'oreal's Pure Zone Exfoliating Gel Cleanser (about $12 from supermarkets, pharmacies and Priceline). It's fantastic if you're 15 to early 20's, but I have recently upgraded to the next stage of skincare (I'm still in my early 20's! I am! I am!) and swapped L'oreal for SK-II cleansing oil (it's the dog's bollocks of cleansers man, not one particle of makeup can cling helplessly to my skin when this baby has it's way with them. Exterminate, indeed!) but still like a daily scrub to get rid of the dead cells and make me feel nice. I found this and give it 5 massive gold stars for awesomeness:

The Body Shop Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator $19.95. It's got wild-harvested seaweed from Ireland and jojoba microbeads, and it works! Cleanse your skin first and massage a teeny tiny amount of scrub all over your face and neck. Seaweed is magnificent on the skin and this formula feels nice and grainy like an exfoliant should but lathers up nicely to give you a good gentle clean. Use it in the shower for a thorough rinse-off, and voila! Soft and smooth skin that tingles nicely in a non-erotic way!
I should add another disclaimer to this post: I did work at the Body Shop a few years ago, so am favourably inclined towards their products - especially their skincare (love vitamin e! and the vitamin C serum is divine for those of you 20+...) - but it's honestly the natural, community traded ingredients that I'd rather put on my skin instead of truckloads of chemicals that keeps me going back.
Tip: If you use a body exfoliating scrub (this is not for facial scrubs), use it on dry skin before you step into the shower, lather it up a bit and rinse off for completely and utterly divine softness!

Friday, May 9, 2008

All Mothers should wear Evening Gowns

J-Lo has been awarded "Celebrity Mum Of the Year" by New York's 'Mingling Moms" association, for...wait for BIRTH in a HOSPITAL *gasp* I KNOW, I couldn't believe it either. Seriously, I couldn't. I have no doubt she loves her gorgeous little twins Max & Emme (cute names!) more than anything etc etc, but, well, I gave birth in a hospital too (as opposed to a plush celeb retreat), in fact I was also born in one, so why don't I qualify for an award?

This is not an attack on J-Lo. Her perfume actually isn't too bad and I think she's pretty, albeit a bit talentless but she has a good healthy bum and doesn't do anything overly offensive. It's this Mingling Moms crowd I have issues with. For one thing, they also gave an award to Lindsay Lohan's mother/manager, Dina who is renowned for making up the details of her own showbiz 'career'. Good start. Her bit of parenting advice, aside from "always, always make sure your daughter wears leggings, has well-publicised stints in rehab and a stalling career" was "be honest and to stay morally correct. And listen to your mother." Obviously ol' Li-Lo only ever sees her mother in a manager-capacity (which, by the way, is only ever why Dina is out at nightclubs with her daughter, she claims. To supervise. Yeah.), thus rendering Dina Do-Gooder's advice invalid and unapplicable. Dina had Lindsay and a younger sibling (Ali, who is appearing soon in a reality tv show with her mother) enrolled in a modelling agency at the age of 3. She reckons this is "living the American dream". Well thank fuck I'm an Aussie.

(In case you can't tell, Dina is the shy withdrawn natural blonde trying to wrestle her award away from that normal person to the left.)

Is that what these Mingling Moms aspire to? Fame, money and questionable reputations? DO they want to be just like a celebrity, any celebrity will do really, that badly? FAMOUS mag (yes, that bastion of investigative journalism) reports that "he organisation decided to reward to 38-year-old Jennifer after it was revealed she had given birth at a hospital in Long Island, New York and is intending to raise the twins in the local neighbourhood". Well I'll be. Not only did she give birth in a regular hospital, but she's going to raise the kids on 'the block' too? In a small overpriced apartment where they can hear the neighbours frying eggs for dinner, or in a luxurious mansion where she can waft around in elegant ball gowns and see the local neighbourhood safely off in the distance behind a smoggy haze of nostalgia, but conveniently near enough that their postcodes might almost be similar, and she can thus claim residency? (C'mon, who didn't snigger at this shoot days after the Lopez twins were born):

The Mingling Moms President (can somebody tell me why Yanks have "presidents" of everything?) said the awards were to recongise 'moms' who had inspired their superstar children and helped them in their career. Please don't tell me that Max & Emme have a "career" already? I guess childhood stardom is part of Dina's American Dream.....poor little buggers.

To all the everyday mums out there who love your children for who they are, snotty noses and pooey nappies and messy bedrooms and all, you guys are the ones who deserve the awards. You don't need to waft around in a poufy ballgown to be a superstar to us. Aaaaw :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Soul Shopping

Australia Post give alot of people the shits but on the whole, I get very excited when I open the letterbox and find a parcel hapharzardly squashed in there, or see the red delivery van pull up out the front, or find parcels left in odd places like the recycling bin when I get home. There's a song on one of those afternoon kids shows "what's that sounds? Here comes that mail; what's it gonna be? Who can tell!" and it's more annoying than Tom Cruise let loose in a furniture store BUT I always hum it when the mail comes. Erm, yes, that is true. Why? Is it some deep-rooted need to feel like someone, somewhere must like me because they send me stuff? A stamped, self-addressed popularity contest (the red van never stops next door, so ner!)? Is it some innate need to capture the magic of unwrapping Chrsitmas presents every day? Well, possibly all of the above but mainly cos I buy alot online. A LOT. It's fun, cheap (mostly) and really, there's a whole wide (web) world out there waiting to be shopped! *Women agree and giggle excitedly, men roll their eyes and click away to * This week for example, I've had parcels from as far afield as Argentina, Tenerife (thanks, etsy) and London. Everything from skirts and frocks to baby clothes to ribbons and material, plus some gorgeous original prints that, as my partner said, are "completely pointless" but, as I said, "so pretty!". As tonight's post has to be short and sweet because I'm suffering serious sleep deprivation/work overload, here is a quick rundown of some of the sites I've frequented lately:

Topshop *OH MY GOD JUST NOTICED THE SALE SECTION IS BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!* but last week I picked up a cute stripey dress for about $30; shipping is about $17 and generally takes a week. Check out the Maternity section too, for lasses with a bump, I stocked up when we were in London and it's about the only cool maternity label I can find!

Etsy a gorgeously girly print from Munieca and a very sweet, inspiring print from shelbyhealey . Shipping is usually ony a few dollars worldwide for small items such as jewellery and prints, and you buy direct from the artist so the service is top-notch!

Ribbons from Ribbons Galore - a seriously huge catalogue, cheap and fast post without the hassle or staff of Spotlight. Gorgeous!

Les Corbeaux dress and skirt from LaLa Orange in Perth, WA - great discounts on designer labels from the boutique - I think the items on the site are leftovers from their shop but there are some good bargains. I got a brilliant, simple and classic black dress and skirt for $60! Shipping took about 3 days and (I think) was $7.50 via Express.

Fabric from RedRepot in the USA - such a cute and HUGE selection and shipping was $12. Get crafty!

plus don't forget ebay - often rich ladies have "wardrobe cleanouts" to make room for the new Rolls Royce or something so you can often pick up a few brand new designer items at teeny tiny prices. Am a sucker for Alannah Hill cardis and you can find them for $60-$80 easily!

See, online shopping might not be good for the wallet but it's good for the soul. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Classic Album of the Week Review: Revolver, The Beatles (1966)

Each fortnight we'll bring you a review of a "Classic" album, in an ongoing effort to erase the PussyCat Dolls of this world.....

From guest reviewer: freelance music writer, Marcus C

Revolver fires 12 bullets straight at your ears, and, in Yellow Submarine, one empty shell. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict that this review will end with five stars, as Revolver is flawless from the opening count in of Taxman to the closing psychedelic drones of Tomorrow Never Knows.

Revolver is notable in that it truly marks the point at which The Beatles put a bold full stop after their pop wonders about boyish promiscuity and put a capital letter at inwardness (aided of course by the inversive aural stimulation of acid.) And never is this better demonstrated than in Lennon’s three colossal pillars of I’m Only Sleeping, She Said She Said and Tomorrow Never Knows. The first sets down Lennon’s lethargy in a haunting concoction of blissful melody and backward guitars, all set in the unorthodox waverings of E flat minor. He then recites the conversation of She Said She Said like the naughty boy at the headmaster’s desk – ‘She said “You don’t understand what I said!” I said “No, no, no!”’ But when the Freudian childishness is best made cathartic by acid wonders is Tomorrow Never Knows. Life, according to the ‘Book of the Dead’ lyrics, is ‘sh-yee-ining’; Lennon’s voice inspired with the wonder of a toddler on Christmas morning.

The Lennon obsession is not to shadow the contribution of the others, however. In Eleanor Rigby and For No One, McCartney produces a craftmanship yet unplagued by frog choruses and cringeworthy ‘be bup a lula’s’. In ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’, he makes a clumsy attempt at netting the hallucinogenic zeitgeist, too. But it works. As for George, Taxman, ‘I Want To Tell You’ and ‘Love You To’ would be standouts on any prior Beatles record. They’re still seminal, but John and Paul, as always, dwarf him. And then there’s Ringo. The drumming on She Said She Said serves as a swift punch in the bollocks to the many Ringo nay-sayers of the world, but the Yellow Submarine vocals are really a punch in the face of good taste.

All in all, though, Yellow Submarine cannot steal anything from the five stars Revolver deserves. It was great in 1966, and it’s even better now. If you don’t own it, buy it. After Heather, Macca needs the money.

Buy Revolver from , Sanity online, or JBHiFi .

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Scotsman who Swears? Feck off

I like Gordon Ramsay. I like the way he tells it like it is, gives struggling/ignorant/arrogant restauranters a kick up the arse, and I honestly can't see what the fuss is over *shock* a Glaswegian who uses four-letter words alot. At least he doesn't shoot up and stab people, which is just as acceptable as swearing in Scotland's largest city (can I back that up with facts? No, but we used to live in Edinburgh so therefore I know it to be true. The Bugghers all swear it is). Yeah, it's not appropriate for kids to watch, but isn't that why the show comes with an M rating and language warning? WHY CAN'T YOU SWITCH THE TV OFF IF YOU FIND IT OFFENSIVE? Or even to another channel, you must have at least 4 others to choose from. The other shows might be useless, mindless dribble but at least the word "shit" doesn't come into it.

There is a Senate Enquiry into swearing on telly. Sure, decent standards need to be upheld (aren't these regulations already in place?) but at what point does one's own responsibility come into it? Why must society always blame somebody else (preferably a Pom)? What happened to free speech? I mean, I could sit here and write so many swear words that Billy Connoly would blush, but if I prefaced this post with a language warning you could hardly be shocked by it, and you, as a reasonably thinking member of society, therefore have the choice to keep reading (which you would anyway because we all love a bit of scandal or a touch of taboo) or simply click away to another site. Ever watched an episode of Today Tonight or A Current Affair? (Be honest, I can't see you nodding) almost every night without fail there is a story about somone blaming somebody else for something that's happened to them. We want to completely absolve ourselves of responsibilty. Why? Is it because we are being conditioned to expect perfection at every turn? That we will be shunned as bad parents/spouses/friends/employees if we make a mistake? "Oh, but it wasn't my fault, if the government had done this-and-that it wouldn't of happened". "Oh, my kid only swears becuase he saw Gordon Ramsay do it." Bullshit. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, I say. Chuck it hard enough to knock some common sense into those intent on playing the blame game. Feckin' eejits.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake is a Tart

My daughter has only ever had one Happy Meal, and I plan to keep it that way. Not because the mcNuggets were mcburnt, or the "healthy options" side and drink were questionable, but because the toy she got was a Strawberry Shortcake figurine. Not the cute and sweet SS of my day (FYI I was born in the 80's, even though that saying might make you think I've lived through a few World Wars) but a mini-skirted, boufed-up little hottie with some awful Pucci-ripoff print on her frock. And half a cardi. To compare:

Admitedly 2008 Shortcake still has a sensible sun hat, but where are the cute pigtails? The indie striped tights and the frilly knickerbockers that would whip any vintage junkie into a frenzy? Where is the goddamn pink cat?! HMMM? I guess new Strawberry would have a lapdog in a deisgner bag. Bratz would not be amused by her cute ballet shoes (oh my god, hooooow pedestrian, and self-respecting 8 year old has pointed stilettto boots) but let's just not even go there. Or let's. We went to a birthday party last week, for an 8 year old, and while I had a grand time in Diva picking out sparkly accessories for the gift, I was astonished when the birthday girl opened present after present of Bratz accessories. I was completely lost. And even more dumbfounded when the girls decided to name each of the adults in the room after one of the characters. I, apparently, am Jasmine. I didn't know whether to be offended, embarrassed or amused. I decided to be none of the above and thanked my lucky stars for an innocent, late-80's childhood where the most sinister and badly-dressed character was Tex from SuperTed.

It's not just ol' Strawberry that has had a makeover though. It was heart-wrenching to discover that the Sweet Valley High books have been revamped. No longer are Jessica and Elizabeth "perfect size 6's" (AU10) who wear brandless yet creative outfits - now they are an even more perfect sz 4 and as Sarah Weinman of says, "the bid for modernity now has Elizabeth blogging, her boyfriend Todd joking about the ESPN highlight reel, Jessica hunting for Roberto Cavalli dresses, and rich bitch Lila fishing in her Louis Vuitton backpack for a pot of Sephora lip gloss." Bah. Where are sweet Liz's wholesome barrettes and Jessica's flippant overpart? Is Winston Egbert now completely cool a la geek chic? If my daughter ever reads this new SVH in say, ten years hence, she'll just laugh at the blatant mid-noughties dagginness of it all. The whole point of the originals was that they had no specific timeframe: every teenage girl could delightedly imagine her own Dairi Burger, cheerleader competitions and apparently gargantuan local mall. Are they going to "revamp" the books every time a trend changes? I still have most of my SVH and Sweet Valley Twins books, and I'll guard them with my life. I did however, sell the majority of the BabySitter's Club set that I owned. A complete set, mind you. A few more years and I could have gotten a small fortune for those. There are still a few classics on my bookshelf in my room at mum's house - but God help you and your spawn, Ann M. Martin, if you ever "modernise" those enterprising and creative 13 year olds from Stoneybrook. Much in the same way we can never, ever let the Stone Roses reform and ruin the memories of what is simply the most brilliant debut album ever and a not-quite-so-brilliant-but-better-then-most followup; so must we never "cool-ise" the innocence of those characters who taught us so much in about matching outfits, stereotypes and milkshakes.

Any marketer out there with their eye on the Enid Blyton boarding school books: piss off. Quickly. I will thump you heartily with my tuck-box and delight in bludgeoning you with my lacrosse stick if you touch so much as a hair on the pretty little heads of the Twins from St Clare's.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Not more than just Frocks: Logies 2008

If one of these 3 men don't win the gold Logie, I'm never watching the 30-minute red carpet arrival special ever again:

(all images from photo gallery). I did however just see the Mr. G extravaganza, which I enjoyed almost as much as the mystified look on Suzie Wilk's face. Or whatever her name is. See, I wanted to write somehting about Logies fashion; but after spending half an hour gawking at the "celebs" on the red carpet I'm either going to have to make up names and credentials, or just not outfit-analyse. And that wouldn't be fun. I don't watch much telly, and most of what I do watch is aimed at the 0-5 age group. (Because I have a 2 year old, not becuase I'm some sort of deranged perve). Anyhoo, on with the show:
Ok, I know who this is, and not only is Catriona a lovely name, but that's a damn lovely frock. Sorta got the very now "superhero" elegant half lady-cape thing going on too.Top marks.
This is the Natalie chick from So You Think You Can dance, yes? Love the yellow colour, and the simple and classy shape of the dress. Hair looks nice, even if her skin colour in this pic makes me think she was aiming for some sort of citrus-fruit basket theme.

The only pic I could find of this gorgeous pink number! These two I sometimes see on telly on weekend mornings, what they are called is beyond me. Awesome outfit, love the arm bling. Does he look a bit like a creepy Ace Ventura?I actually really like this one too. A quick Google reveals mixed feelings from the public but I like the way it stands out. Mermaid-y looks are fitting for swimmers (see, I know who she is!). These next ones however.....

As much as I love etsy, I don't think it's the place to buy outfits for black-tie events.
It's fake-tan Barbie! No offense (oh, who am I kidding) but that is a totally minging colour. I don't care if she, too, has a lady-cape, it still doesn't save it.

Now, what's wrong here? For such a talented and usually-attractive lady, this is a touch...ick. Why does she need a scarf that looks like it's holding her head on? Fringe isn't quite working either, love. Pity.

I don't know who this is but her boobs are trying to make a run for it in different directions (don't stare too long, or you'll be convinced they've each got their own little determined face), and the ruching reminds me of a ribcage. And are those massive earrings on the side of her head, or some sort of hair accessory also trying to bolt?
Had to put this in, becuase anyone who looks as fabulous as Rhonda at that age deserves a gold star (not a Logie, a star. They are better). I couldn't find a pic of Kerri-Anne but she also looked smashing in a vibrant citrus yellow (well, it looked that colour on our telly), except for what resembled a tinfoil necklace that possibly one of her grandkids made at Kinder. Shelley Craft's glitsy, draped number also looked gorgeous, as did Lavinia Nixon's frock in a beautiful shade of blue - her hair though was a bit too retro, as if when playing a fun after-dinner game of "Guess which year this Logies outfit is from" you'd say 1987, just because the hair looked a bit...fluffy? big? A bit something anyway. Still, it was more interesting than Westlife.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Losing my blog-ginity

It's shameful the way I can sit here decked out to the nines in pjs and uggs, twisting and turning the English language into something so obscene as the above title. But we can do that these days. Anyone can be part of the bloggerati, anybody can publish their thoughts however random, trivial, interesting or just plain stupid they might be. So here I am, shamelessly jumping onbaord the bandwagon in the hope that one day I can get paid to sit in Starbucks with my laptop and mega grande decaf soy chai lattecino and effortlessly tap away at my witty musings, imagining a voiceover narrating it Carrie-style. Well, ok, there are a few things wrong with this; namely that where I live we don't have Starbucks (and it's not Italy), I don't own a laptop, I dislike floral brooches, and I prefer fullcream cappuccinos with lots of sugar not quite mixed-in, so that I can eat the bubbles off and have tasty crunchy sweet bits amongst the froth.

Yes, this blog is part of our website, eboutique FrockYou , and sometimes (once a week, tops) I will be publishing honest accounts of new stock, sales and indulging in glorious self-promotion. I also swear sometimes, so if horriffic and useless words like "shit" and "bollocks" piss you off, well then, shut your eyes. BUT if you'd like to read about books, magazines ,fillums, nostalgic trips down memory lane, celebs, other websites, tv, new products, parenting, babies and much more, then please leave your eyes open. And peeled for anything you'd like to see me write about (email with suggestions.) Nice people will get nice things written about them, bad people will have lots of four-letter words tagged to them, and possibly dog poo in their letterbox. The bit to the right ------------------------> has updates on the latest books and magazines and music that I or one of the other lovely Frockers are currently digging, and we also have a bunch of links you might like.

Well, that didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I wanted to write more, but am feeling a bit deflated right now. Perhaps we'll get more out of it next time.....

Until then,
Kat xxx