Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting Frocked Up For Spring

I only realised today that apparently white shoes are a bit of a fashion faux pas, unless you are uber cool, which I'm not, which relegates them back to iffy status. However, my double strap white flats are damn awesome, so if I can't be uber cool, I'll just be, um....arts student indie? Too poor to afford shoe dye? At any rate, anything your Nanna did/had/wore will sell for a small fortune on ebay so IMO white shoes are, thus, cool again.

That has nothing to do with anything else, except it was my little lightbulb moment today. That, and that I should make the effort to go to the butcher to buy meat because supermarket meat is expensive and crap. Anyway, to today's topic: new stuff instore at FrockYou! I didn't do the whole company policy "wait two weeks and if your size doesn't sell out you can have it", I just accidentally drew on some stuff so was forced to keep it. I'm a bit chuffed that this Summer is going to be another boho luxe, maxi dress gladiator sandal loads of bangles and long necklaces kind of summer. Winter looks are always more polished, so I love, literally, letting my hair down and taking 2 mins to get dressed. S/S '08/09 has only just started to trickle instore, so here are my top picks of new lovely bits:

French Kitty Coconut Macaroon Dress ($64.95, XS-L) this is the one I drew on accidentally (ahem) becuase it's the perfect Summer little white dress (and not see through, bring on the pink knickers!) the print is little bluebirds and pink blossoms, and it just has that casual, sweet and a bit vintage air about it. Too bad I wont get to wear it for another good few months.....

Birds of a Feather Coquette Cocktail Top ($59.95, 8-12) not sure why it's a cocktail top, cos it's pretty lightweight and more casual, but it's totally adorable and very feminine AND you can wear it now with a cardi or layered up!

GRAB Tie Waist Dress ($49.95, S M L) This has been selling through the roof and is not even out yet! Pre sales have been massive so get in quick if you want one. Simple and effortless, the tshirt dress is back in a huge way this Summer (hurrah!) we're getting it in classic black but it also comes in lemon or purple.....

Nude Cactus Studded Flat ($139.95, 36-41) these are sooo comfy and a bit rock chic, which we all love! Studded detailing is another huge trend for the upcoming seasons, and you can wear these year round with denim or as a cool contrast to girly frocks!

Living Doll Jaffa Stripe Tee ($19.95, S M L) nothing says "I spend my summer in the French Riviera" more than a stripey tee (hey, we can all dream...!) and this one is such a great buy I might have to draw on it as well. The piped detail on the sleeves is really cool, yet the piece is still really classy. White capri pants optional.

Sunny Girl Grey Pocket Cardi ($39.95, S M L) it's all grey actually, not just the pockets. AND it doesn't have buttons. Wicked. Accesrise with a waist belt or a scarf, or go for the casual "loose" look (your clothes, not your reputation). I kept one for moi, and they have nearly sold out since Monday...

Sunny Girl Tiered Top ($34.95, 8-14) Get in the mood to party with this awesome (and cheap!!) structured top. Right on trend yet with a classic appeal, this top is honestly really striking and please don't buy all the size 8's because I want one for our next girl's night out.....

Little Frockers also have lots of new goodies to dribble over (or on). We've got some fab new labels coming on board over the coming months - Yunginz (kids footwear, a new Aussie label that are really well priced and well made), Sooki Baby (who don't have a huge range but what they do have is gorgeous, Charlotte has one of their winter coats and she wears it nonstop despite all and sundry wanting to touch it), Lucca P (girlswear with a boutique edge), and Baby Blend (organic tees from the USA, exclusive online in Aus to Frock You!). Plus Gabrial Saynte has been restocked (THE coolest kids tees ever, seriously, if/when I have a boy this is what he'll be wearing), the American Apparel Karate pants are back in stock (the amount we sell must mean that every child in Australia has a pair by now) and these little beauties:

Eco Peko are another new label to Frock You, selling gorgeous, practical organic tees and onesies. Each piece comes with some seeds to plant, encouraging kids to understand where food comes from and the importance of sustainability (I admit this won me over when they approached me!), and every bit of each garment is actually certified organic (in Aus every man and his dog can claim they are organic, becuase there are no strict guidelines, so always check out the company's background before paying organic prices...). The pieces are kimono style so you don't have to pull them over baby's head, and are available plain or embroidered (as pictured, $39.95) in sizes 0/3m, 3/6m and 6/12m. Beautiful clothes that don't cost the Earth, indeed!

Baobab is a firm fav of mine (and Charlotte's) for their simple design, quality garments and because I am a sucker for stripes! The girl's stripe dress is now available in pink for Spring ($48.95, sz 1-4) and the hoodies are also available in new colourways, including cool blue and grey for bubs ($48.95, 0/3m, 3/6m and 6/12m) - these are a winner for Spring as they are warm yet lightweight - for seriously cool tots only!

Am heading to the KidsInStyle show in Melbourne this weekend, and expect to pick up lots of lovely new bits and pieces to keep Little Frockers looking funky! Review of the show and sneaky peeks of new products to come next's a hard job but someone's gotta do it!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Things That Don't Piss Me Off, Vol 1.

As an antidote to the cynical, gen-Y saractic rants of mine that are ever so popular, it is nice to sit back and think about things that don't in fact, get one's goat. I had a rare 1o mins to myself today in which I did the following things that make up points 1 & 2:

1). Flip through your cd collection and bring out an oldie that you suddenly go "omg! like, i totally haven't listened to that for ages, man!" and pop it on at full volume. It's easy to sing along because you never forgot the words in the first place and you still get that tingly, inspiring feeling from the first few doesn't matter if it's a high school compilation (100% Hits 1996 was a winner, if I remember correctly) or something you found in your parent's record collection, just play it damn you! Today's record is what my brother and I affectionately refer to as "the tits", which not only sounds wonderfully weird when other people hear part of our conversation, but because this album, quite simply, is THE tits (fyi, this is a good thing. like the way my cleanser is the dogs bollocks of cleansers, if something is the tits, well I guess it's mildly anti-feminist but you know, it's good). It's better now than it was in 1997 because the whole Britpop thing died in it's Doc Martens about the same week Be Here Now was released, but in hindsight it's a rollickingly, in yer face, we're-doing-this-because-we-can epic that is so refreshingly positive (even if it is in a white-powder-induced kind of way). Doc Martens are back, and thus so is my teen years record collection. Madferit.

2). People watching, provided it doesn't turn into stalking, is a brilliant and mostly free past time. I always seem to do it when my notebook is sitting in a most un-useful place, such as on my desk, but it's still interesting to watch people and wonder about them. What have they done today? Where are they going? Where in all hell did they get those fugly fug excuses for shoes (sorry)? Admittedly it's more interesting sitting in the window of a cafe in London or in a piazza in Venice, but sometimes we must make do with what we have. Today I noticed alot of people wearing their ipods on their sleeves in their best attempt to get mugged by gangs of shool kids.

3). Mashed potatoes are not the healthiest thing one could eat, nor are they great for thighs/waistlines or probably arteries, but after a chilly day they are the best thing ever to dig into at dinner. Especially with lots of butter, garlic salt and/or a dollop sour cream mixed in. Mmmmm.

4). Ugg boots. OMG I SAID IT. Around the house only (I take them off to answer the door ffs, such is my cringing love for my oversized fleece lined boots), my toes and ankles are toasty warm and feel loved. I bet they are sitting in there with cups of tea and a buttered piece of banana bread with a good book. Bliss.

Should positive things be a weekly list, a little slice (mmm, slice) of affirmation? Is it too much Dr-Phil-self-help wanky OTT mumbo jumbo? Let's face it, being sarcastic is more fun...but indulgence even more so.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things That Piss me Off Vol 3

Or is it 4? I don't know. Anyway, I hope none of you who read this are psychologists or anything, else I'm in trouble. Or people who wear tracksuits or leggings (omfg: yesterday = white leggings alert. I don't mean to be legging-racist but white leggings should leave the country. fast.), else I'm in real trouble. This week's rant:

1). It's shit on a pointy stick when you rely on emails for work and also your state of mind, and then poof! it just stops working. Like, ALL DAY. This is bollocks because it means when it comes back up again (my web guys are blaming the server people who are blaming George Bush who should blame his parents) I'll have 345786970 emails to sift through, and also because I am currently corresponding with e-people via hotmail. Sooo 2000. How embarrassment.

2). Don't pick me out from across the supermarket (yes I constantly have issues with supermarkets, if I didn't rely on food to be alive I wouldn't go near the dastardly places), make a beeline for the checkout line I'm standing in and then stand really close behind me and breathe on me and my food. OH MY GOD. It's foul and makes me thankful for handbag size bottles of Dettol waterless hand wash. Supermarkets are giant evil corporations who enjoy chopping down trees and bulldozing playgrounds to make their shops as big and unflatteringly-lit as possible - please stand a few, you know, centimetres away at least. Nobody will push in, and Australia is pretty sparsely populated. It's not likely Indonesia will invade your local Coles anytime soon so until personal space is at a premium, learn to embrace it. And also deodorant.

3). If you are a bogan and proud of it, please print it on a baggy tshirt to wear under your flanellette instead of shouting it at the top of your lungs. Your family or friends or whoever you are with can hear you when you are standing with them, people across the road cannot and do not want to. The whole city does not want to come to a standstill and listen to you and your Centrelink Q-troop talk about getting into your car which you haven't paid any parking for. Just get into it and go back to the government funded abyss from whence you came. Also, if your lady friends try purchasing shampoo and conditioner instead of mousse and hairspray next time they are stealing from Priceline, you'll notice a remarkable, more cleanly change in their appearance. God, I am such a snob. Thankfully.

4). At the other end of the scale, and I have already touched upon this subject: having a 4wd doesn't mean that traffic stops for you, that you do not have to indicate, and that you can pull out into the street without looking. Regardless of how many private school stickers you have on your back window, we're all still smirking.

5). Last but not least - is anyone else not looking forward to the Olympics? Aside from the fact that all sportspeople are as boring as batshit (poor batshit, it gets a hard run) and I don't want to watch 2 weeks of muscly morons running around a track or swimming up and down a pool and then getting out and claiming that they are happy to be there, that it was the crowd that did it, sport was the winner on the day etc etc, China has a lot to answer for. Culturally and historically it is a magnificent place, I wuld absolutely love to visit. Politically? Fuck. and I'm sorry about my French, but fucking hell. The press is heavily monitored (and government-controlled, so much so that at one point they had to claim Osama bin Laden was not real), the government tries to block as much of the Internet as possible (aside from their own sanctioned sites), a significant portion of the people live in abject poverty, it's polluted beyond all hell and Tibet???? Is anyone going to stand up at these Games and say something? If sportspeople are the "gods" they are made out to be, will they make a stand like a few brave souls in previous Games did? I hope so. I also think they won't, because their country's governments don't want to piss off China, and it's bad PR to be a sportsperson and have a personality. Or a brain. Imagine the difference that could be made. I hope Bono's going.

More on China in upcoming posts. It's not very patriotic I guess to not give much of a stuff about supporting our athletes, but it just seems like there is so much more important stuff going on. And anyway, in true Aussie spirit, unless they win and break world records, we won't really care anyway.

OOH, CYNICAL. Sorry. That feels better. Incidentally, did you see how China have made people with even-numbered numberplates drive one day, and odd the next? On your day "off" you have to use public transport - and for the first time in years they're seeing blue skies and unblocked highways. HOW SIMPLE, why don't all countries try it?! (Oh except here of course, because it's quicker to walk on your hands to your destination then use the bus system).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Baby Essentials Part 2: Feeding & Pooing

Part 2 of my Kids Corner @ blog: things wot help with feeding, and things wot help with what happens after feeding...

Dummies, Bottles & Bibs:

Whether you choose to use them or not, it’s fun looking at the multitude of styles available – department stores and supermarkets carry the usual ranges of Avent, Nuk, Tommee Tippee, Pur, but online you can pick up such gems as Dior Bottles (manufactured by Nuk) for $49 and Dummy soothers (“desirable for their packaging alone”) for $45, with bibs starting at $39 .

Dolce & Gabbana do feeding bottles for $80, and $60 will get you a sleek Armani bottle. You can pick up a matching 7-pack of emblazoned bibs for just $195.

Juciy Couture has a slightly debatable reputation but the 3 pack of bibs ($72) are presented as 3 cute cupcakes and the 3-pack dummies ($78) come in an adorable heart-shaped box.

Bling for Baby? Try the $60 Swarvoski-crystal encrusted dummies from Tiny Pink Crystals.

Personally, using a bottle emblazoned with a designer logo would make me feel like I should pouf my hair up, add shoulder pads to my outfit and be filmed with a slightly blurred, Days of Our Lives-esque lens, so I’m more partial to these funky options from Nordic Kids:

Matching bottles and bibs are about $15 and blankets go for $50.

Babysmiles make hilarious dummy options, like this little Piggy for about $14 - great for gifts!

You can even go for green options with your bottles: Ecochild stocks GreentoGrow BPA-free plastic bottles for $16.95 and Natural Pacifiers for $9.95.


Babies poo alot. It’s ok, it’s healthy, and even if you screw your nose up and dry barf at other people’s little stinkybums, trust me when I say it’s (mostly) not so bad when it’s your own bub. The debate is totally and utterly endless when it comes to Disposable versus Cloth nappies (actual waste or water waste? Convenience or recycling? And so on…) but once you’ve worked out which option suits you, it’s time to go shopping!


Wrap little bums in some French designer nappies with these beautiful cloth options by Sweet Lili ($49 each) in chic plain colour options:

Couture by CushieTushies ($35 each) with options including denim, Kimono (silk brocade), and white minky, these are for stylish tots who know how to make an underwear as outerwear statement.

Nature’s Child make organic all-in-ones right here in Aus for $39.95:

or try Ecobots for environmentally friendly disposables (68% biodegradable) and about $25 a pack. Buy online at Neco.

Huggies (about $42 for a box of 108 newborn size) continue to be Australia’s most popular nappy, and with good reason – they honestly work! They’re on special at either Coles or Woolies almost every week, so the cost-per-nappy isn’t too hard on the hip pocket when you can buy in bulk.


Baby Beehinds All-in-one cloth Nappies ($25 each):
These come in a gorgeous array of bold, bright colours and are quick and easy:

Nurture Nappies provide organic cotton, bamboo and hemp cloth options from around $20 .

If you’re crafty, try making your own – find instructions at OzCloth Nappies, and awesome fabrics and patterns at Nappies Covered.

Sooooo many mothers swear by the big supermarket’s house brand disposable nappies: You’ll Love Coles are about $14 a pack and very similar to Huggies, and Woolworth’s Select start at around $13 .

Next week: bunny rugs & wraps (pink Dior!), and baby skincare (gotta start 'em young).....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

They finally did it: Tarting up Enid Blyton

Yesterday Charlotte and I were spending a casual Saturday book browsing (man I love kids books, they're so fun!) and I wandered past the teenage section where I used to beg Mum every week for a new Enid Blyton or Baby Sitters Club or SVH book. I thought I'd look up my beloved Blyton boarding school books, and do you know what I found? The innocent and girly fun of midnight feasts and school hats and playing jokes on the French teacher were no doubt still within the pages, but the covers have gone all Bratz-style. Yeah I can understand they want to make it modern to compete with hannah montana and all that shit, but these were classic book about boarding school were uniforms were awesome and hard work was rewarded and the girls were wholesome and lovely and English! They don't have collagen lips and glittery hair clips and boobs! I am so gutted. Thank goodness I still have my original collection to pass down to Charlotte. They even glitzed up the Adventures of the Wishing Chair and the Faraway Tree!! I mean these are books so innocent they have characters called Dick and Fanny. They might not have the franchise capacity of Harry Potter but dammit, they were truly original, imagination-stimulating stories. I KNOW the content doesn't shange, but it's sorta slanted by the cover, like when you see the fillum-of-the-book and then re-read the book and you can't help but imagine the characters as they were on film, rather than using your own grey matter to think about it.

If the new covers mean a new generation of young girls (or boys, who am I to judge) pick them up and read, then fine. Go ahead. It's just not the same. It's probably futile, but hands off the Famous Five. Don't turn them into popstars or anything please. Rant over.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Film Review: The Dark Knight

I have to eat my hat. Pity, cos it has little beads on it and I might choke. Our resident film buff Renee A reckons Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight is worthy of the hype - and I'm truly glad the rave reviews aren't just posthumous pandering.....

I know the world has gone kind of Heath Ledger crazy of late and I’m sure I’m not the only one to have thought this is only because the Joker was his final complete performance. In fact, I think Kat mentioned somewhere in a previous post the annoyance of the hype about Mr Ledger. However, having just seen The Dark Knight, I can say with absolute conviction that the hype is deserved. Ledger creates a complicated and nuanced character without ever entering over-the-top land. His attention to detail – the mannerisms, the way he speaks, the hysterical laugh – makes for a terrifying performance. Right, now I’ve gotten that out of the way I can move on, because as brilliant as the Joker is, he is by no means the only good thing about this movie.
In 2005, Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige) threw Batman Begins from left field. Nearly a decade earlier, the fourth in the movie franchise (Batman & Robin) appeared to have ended Batman’s run; and on a ridiculous note. So to have this mythic, achingly beautiful origin story appear, completely free of cheese, was a joyous surprise. With The Dark Knight, Nolan has again created a cheddar-free zone, but has amped up the action and replaced Katie Holmes with Maggie Gyllenhaal as Bruce Wayne’s love interest Rachel Dawes. Where Batman Begins dealt with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) overcoming his fears and becoming Batman, this film deals with him becoming comfortable with Batman’s place within Gotham City and becoming willing to lose his ego and do what is needed. The strength in Nolan’s Batman films lies in his focus on the people within the story and the struggle of good people against the increasingly more prevalent bad guys.

What I most love about this film is that it weaves action sequences into the story (really well choreographed ones, might I add) without sacrificing character development and without resorting to buckets of blood and gore. Nothing turns me off a film faster than blood and guts (hence my aversion to horror movies or crime shows of any kind). Sure, there’s a lot of implied violence, especially when the Joker pops into the scene, but usually the camera cuts away before the Joker, ah, cuts away...(sorry).

I mentioned the strength of Ledger’s performance before. But the other performances are not to be sneezed at (I love that saying. Why would you sneeze at a bad performance? It makes no sense. But I digress). Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal have much straighter dramatic roles than Ledger, but all give strong performances. Eckhart in particular is interesting to watch; his character Harvey Dent beginning the film as an absolute good guy and finishing up as, well, a not so good guy.

The bar was set high with Batman Begins. I’m not entirely sure if The Dark Knight has succeeded in reaching it (it will require a second and third viewing to be certain), but I’d say it is pretty damn close. 4 out of 5 crazy Joker giggles.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Celebrity Baby Fat

What hope in hell do regualr women have when celeb after celeb bemoans the "loss" (even if it is temporary) of their figures when pregnant? I mean, what did they expect was going to happen? They would have toned abs and the baby would slot comfortably beside or around it? I have the current issue of FAMOUS (because there's some lovely FrockYou editorial in there) and in this one flimsy issue we have: Jessica Alba "never felt less sexy" and "wanted to get rid of all the weight" (it's called giving birth love, you'll drop 4kgs or so immediately); J-Lo "I'm Fat and Ugly" - she's "depressed" that after 5 months her baby weight from her twins hasn't shifted, even though she was "doing well" initially, losing 18kg after 4 weeks thanks to rigourous exercising. WTF?! I guess if you can swan around in ball gowns days after the birth, you also have time to commmit to a strict exercise regimen immediately after handing your babies over to a team of nannies. Ashlee Simpson, who I'm not sure why is famous, is "freaking out" over her expanding body, has a personal trainer to make sure she gains no more than 16kg, and is "frumpy" and miserable. Even K-Ho, apparently expecting her 2nd, is worried about the timing a pregnancy could have on her "career" (wasn't Dawson's Creek axed like 10 years ago? and I don't imagine the Cruises take a calculator to the supermarket to stay within budget) and the fact she would have to lose the baby weight again. OMG. Now obviously, all this is just tabloid gossip but some of it is direct quotes and I've read about it elsewhere. It's disgusting - not the weight, but the pressure to act like you can give birth, jump up and squeeze into a fabulous, up to the minute outfit, and look exactly the same as you did before. No matter about feeding, settling, or you know, parenting. Of course women gain weight when they have babies, how else are you meant to have them? Do Hollywood think you can just go choose one like you can your next handbag or Oscars frock? And of course, we can point and laugh at the celebrity zoo, but unfortuantely what these people say and do and look like impacts us. Suddenly, 'normal' women are expected to shed any excess kilos immediately, always look trim and trendy, as well as keeping up a career and being a doting mother. Celebs might have teams of hired help but most people don't. Why should we have to try to live up to that? Who gives a stuff if you have extra flab on your belly after you've had a baby? Aren't you more concerned about watching your baby grow, loving it, hugging it, feeding it and watching it react to you? It would be really refreshing if Nicole or Angelina or somebody would have their baby and stand up and say "look at me and my new figure. I don't have time to work out and I don't want to, because I want to spend time with my child. I'm looking after myself and the weight will come off when it's ready, or when I'm chasing a rampant toddler about the place. If you don't like it, lump it (lol)".

I'm all for the adage "if you look good you feel good" but it also works in reverse - a proud new mum whose face shows happiness, contentment, lack of sleep, joy, bewilderment, and a thousand other emotions is incredibly fetching. And real.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Save or Splurge? Part 1: Baby Clothing Essentials

Head on over to the most awesome online shopping directory website in the universe, NeverShoppedOut...and check out my Kid's Corner blog!

Is it better to be economical and stick to department store old faithfuls when choosing basics for your bub, or is it ok to splurge because having a newborn is such a special time that deserves a bit of designer treatment? Join us on a choose your own price point adventure as we give you the rundown on the everyday essentials your little one needs, and some things they don’t but are hard for style-conscious Mums to resist:

Rompers, singlets, socks and hats:
As cute as little outfits are, the honest truth is that until they are out of 000’s and well into 00’s you spend more time changing them from one spit/vomit/wee-covered outfit to the next, so simple items such as rompers are in high rotation. However, the choice out there is massive, whether you go fro Baby Dior or Baby Bonds:


Thanks to the wonders of online shopping, designer gear for your bub is but a click away….

At the luxurious end of the scale, you can buy high end designer threads from Babye and Children’s Salon (shipping calculated per parcel, but they ship all over the world). Pick up some cute Armani socks for $35, or a hat for $50; a Dior romper for $80, or a gift set (muslin wrap, mittens and hat) for $165. Dolce & Gabbana do sleeveless bodysuits for around $43, or you could go for a Missoni romper, bib and hat set for $175. If husband perhaps hasn’t won a pro Tennis tournament for awhile, you may have to budget slightly and go for Ralph Lauren – hat and bootie sets are around $50, or grab a 3 piece bodysuit set for just $50 (on sale).

If you are or want to be a C-grade British celeb try the Juicy Couture singlet 3-pack for about $100 (just like Jordan, the “glamorous” logo will match your pink velour tracksuit).
Alternately, Nordstrom in the USA have Burberry 4-piece bodysuit, small blanket, hat and socks set for US$122. Please don’t add bling to your Burberry, a la Chav.

Locally, the very gorgeous Petit Bateau range is available from Fragile with a two-pack of very cute wrap rompers going for $53.

Even if you are reading and clicking purely for curiosity’s sake, I am convinced every little princess needs these:
for about $90. Too cute! Sigh.


Baby Bonds: Almost a right of passage for Aussie kids, Bonds romper suits are less than $15, come in simple colours, wash well and are super comfy. If you’ve got a winter baby, layering an outfit over the top of these suits is a great idea for extra warmth. Their singlets are an essential layering piece all year round, come in heaps of colours and are about $4 a pop. Buy Bonds from most department stores, or online at Zodee or Oneontheway .

Target have an awesome range of singlets and basic rompers, including an organic range, starting at $3. In my personal experience, the sizing on these is fantastic (roomy but not too big), they last wash after wash and are true blue value for money. You’ll need to brave the crowds because you can’t buy online (yet) but it’s worth it!

Purebaby make thoughtfully designed and reasonably priced garments from 100% organic cotton. This romper is $24.95 and sweet little singlet is $14.95. Gaia also make simple organic options, with singlets at $15 and suits $19.95.

American Apparel also offer eco-conscious buys, in a massive range of colours, from about $20.

The onesies would look so cute with those Dior shoes (what did you say? Living vicariously? Oh, shoosh.....)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Classic Book Review: Perfume

His PIN number is made up of heiroglyphics and he once bred an Oompa Loompa in year 9 science. Here's Marky's C's review of a classic novel:

On page 4 of Perfume, Paris is described as possessing the foulest of stenches – a vulgar olfactory concoction of ‘manure, urine, rat droppings, mouldering wood, spoiled cabbage, stale dust and chamber pots’, to be precise. Yet, the most surprising aspect of this rather unappealing depiction of pre-Robespierrian France is that it was not even written by an Englishman. Apparently, and for this we may rejoice, France is the fecal point of Europe for writers of all languages, and the French fare little better (indeed, how else could they be presented but as traditional, self-centred, smelly, cannibalistic, surrendering pigs?). In Patrick Suskind’s 1985 classic, France emerges as the most putrid, vile and uninhabitable sewer of the entire northern hemisphere (yes, even ahead of Wales). To make matters worse, Suskind even frees a scent-obsessed virgin murderer into its pure countryside. The result is an intense delight of fragrant bliss.

Although it is a ‘story of a murderer’, the procession of murders does not actually occur until the book nears its conclusion. Instead, the majority of the novel is dedicated to a biography of the troglodyte protagonist, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, through his peculiar and torturous childhood, his time in the great perfumery of Giuseppe Baldini and his lustful cupidity for all things fragrant. Though the detail is rich and the world truly alive, Suskind allows for a degree of creative license, particularly in the death of Baldini and the woefully pathetic manhunt for Grenouille that somehow misses the giant, dumb and slow killer. Regardless, the character of Jean-Baptiste dominates the reader’s interest, and all other elements of the novel decay into seemingly unimportant fragments. Yet the series of murders feel rushed after the elongated introduction and, at times, Grenouille is the most frustrating of antiheroes – fluctuating between intricate modes of thinking and outright brutish stupidity. Nevertheless, any book that concludes with a rural mass orgy followed by self-sacrifice to savage cannibalism deserves a read, and the fact that the whole story (including its deep descriptions of the contemptible and vile France in which it is set), is no less than perfect, warrants it a place on anybody’s bookshelf. The phrasing is exceptional, utilizing original wordplay on the most forgotten of our senses, and the translation allows it to run smoothly and effectively into English. If you’ve never smelt an 18th century Frenchman, read Perfume.

Friday, July 11, 2008


ps - should also add that I came by the clip below on MamaMia :)

Tim Gunn's Guide to Polygamist Style

Have you ever seen Big Love on SBS? It's a fantastic show, and quite eye-opening. However, weird americans and their ways always make for a good giggle. Here's a clip from the US Project Runway - the images ae actually from a rather nasty case where authorities raided a polygamist ranch in Texas (where else) and took children and mothers into custody, but putting all that aside, the PrarieCouture is rather amusing, as is Tim Gunn's suggestions for makeovers.....ballet flats and patent belts might not go down too well with these ferocious looking ladies, methinks.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Celebrity Baby Names

Fame and money can't earn or buy you common sense. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban named their baby girl Sunday Rose. I can't picture the poor little bub without imagining a steaming leg of lamb, surrounded by sizzling potatoes and drizzled with hot gravy. Sunday is sorta cool on it's own, and Rose is one of those very sweet little girl names, but together? The little tike is going to have a lifetime of forced grins and "no, I said Rose" and probably cop a lot of muted snickering from call centre workers. Still, from all PR reports the whole troop of Urban-Kidmans are doing well, which is the most important thing.

Nicole Richie called her little girl Harlow, which is also cool and a bit glam, but sounds like "harlot". It's lucky little Suri Cruise is so famous already, so she won't have to explain herself ,or her father, all the time. Shiloh? Cute kid (as you'd imagine)...but Silo? Matthew McConaughey and partner welcomed Levi Alves into the world this week. New name for a jean style. Tori Spelling and hubby named their second child, a baby girl, Stella Doreen. Doreen. It's not even retro cool. Seriously, don't parents think of these things before naming their offspring? And shouldn't nurses or whoever writes the names on the birth cards perhaps take responsibility and say, "Are you sure?" Britney's sister Jamie Lynn called her daughter Maddie Briann, which is cute, but you can just see legions of Centrelink queue-workers dropping Eppinee-Rae for Briann. Briann Shania Dakota Doreen, perhaps.

According to Jagger is a poopular new baby name, after great lips Mick himself. What if the kids decides he likes J-Lo instead? I'm not saying the world should be full of Sarahs and James' and Emilys and Michaels. Variety is the spice of life. Celeb baby names, however, are more like the fruit loops.

Pic from Celebrity Gossip .

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tasmania: Explore the Possibilities

I know that's the current slogan for tourism on our minge-shaped island, and some smart cookie who must've moved here from the mainland (did you know Taswegians call the big island "the mainland", and mainlanders think that's really weird?) who thought of it won the Tourism Office's We're-too-slack-to-come-up-with-something-ourselves award; but to me it is a bit like saying "you have to shut your eyes and imagine it's better than is possible". It says "possibilities" not "actualities". Not that there is anything wrong with this fair island, aside from the fact that six degrees of separation is a way of life, french tourists come here to live in trees in the deep south where most locals have never been, the most famous bit of fauna has a horrible disfiguring cancer, summer bushfires are usually started by bored teenagers from Gagebrook, waste from a pointless pulp mill will soon be pumped into the already disgusting northern water source and ancient forest gets cut up into tiny pieces and shipped to Japan. If you've ever wandered around Salamanca on a lazy weekend or managed to get a clear day at Cradle Mountain or spent hot summer days (yes, they do happen) cooling off in the Cataract Gorge, you might realise there's more to Tasmania than two heads and daggy souvenier tea towels. Drive-holidays will tell you we also have an abundance of natural lavender and/or honey products, timber products, fudge, wine, trees on the tourist trail, possibly a fox or two and we're all also descended from chain gangs. The same one, apparently.

I got thinking about this island I actualy don't mind calling home, after seeing other parts of the world and appreciating the sometimes clear air and ble skies and the fact it only takes 10 mins from the most outer suburbs to get to the CBD. I also read a hilarious article in Frankie (YES a review is coming, I'm just taking my sweet time reading the actual mag first) by Justin Hazelwood, who grew up in Burnie ("a cross between Summer Bay and Chernobyl") where he talk about the unifying effect of isolation. It's a corker of an article. Yes Tasmanians are the butt of all jokes, but in a weird way it sort of brings us together with a type of "ruffian pride". He writes: "In the high school of Australia, Tasmania lurks down by the bins, watching beautiful Melbourne and Sydney laugh and frolic, hoping even weird kid Adelaide will sit next to it at lunchtime". And to be honest, on the world stage Australia gets similar jibes thrown at it: "the cool kids hanging behind the gym - London, New York, Berlin. And where's Australia? With New Zealand, playing Squatter in the library...again". A favourite joke among Poms (who by the way generally don't realise we call them that, so to really confuse sunburnt backpackers please call them by this moniker) when going through customs to get into Aus, is: "Do you have a criminal record?" "No, I didn't realise I still needed one". So essentially, Tasmania is a microcosm of our fair country. Stand up and be proud of it (as long as no-one is watching). Hazelwood's article concludes: "You can take the man out of Tasmania, but then it's just 'Tasia', which sounds like a small Asian electronics company." He's also written a bewdy of a state anthem:

Australians please let us rejoin/For it is one degree/With oldies loyal and health in turmoil/Our shops are shut by three/Our land is ground into nature's chips/Forestry's stripped us bare/It's a mystery gays were allowed to stay/Advance Tasmania where?

It should be our new tourism slogan - this is what we are, it sucks a bit but it's not too bad. Is it better then where you're from, hmmm? Actualities, not possibilities.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Home-style cooking is not just for Nannas

I don't mean to stereotype with that title, insinuating that all Nannas wear frillly aprons over floral frocks and are constantly placing freshly baked pies on their windowsills - I know a good few Nannas for whom cooking means placing a takeaway lasagna on a dinner plate. I just mean that thanks to tv chefs and magazines such as Frankie, baking (as well as sewing, but I'm shit at that so refuse to acknowledge it) has become uber-cool. Either that, or my friends and I are truly getting old/growing up - whichever way you want to look at it. This morning over coffee we discussed a) the chore of doing the groceries b) that we all have shopping lists c) shared recipes that are awesomeness in a dish and are thus are satisfying for husbands after a long hard day at work d) the best places to buy in bulk so you don't have to run to the supermarket every other day (like I do. I have more petrol vouchers than you've had hot dinners). I mean JESUS. But it gets better, after coffee we trotted off to Myer, not to look at shoes like we used to but straight upstairs to the Homewares department. At any rate, whether we are getting old before our time or simply exploring that side of our femininity that previous generations picketed so hard against (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, no?) there's no doubt that hearty home cooked dinners are hipper than the latest It-bag, and that the yummy smell of baking wafting through the house is more awesome then any perfume even J-Lo could concoct.

Thus, here is a yummy winter casserole-thingy, tried and tested this very evening (with success, especially with my 2 year old). I did have to make a few alterations because Coles were inexplicably out of both garlic and zucchini, but it's a relatively healthy veggie and protein intake:
Mediterranean Chicken Bake*

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Ingredients** (serves 6)
1 tbs olive oil
6 small (about 600g) chicken drumsticks
6 (about 1.5kg) chicken thigh cutlets
1kg chat (small coliban) potatoes, halved
2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
95g (1/2 cup) kalamata olives
2 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat the oil in a 3L (12-cup capacity) flameproof, ovenproof baking dish over medium heat. Add the chicken drumsticks and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the chicken thigh cutlets.

Add the potato to the dish and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat. Add the chicken to the potato in the dish and top with tomato, olives and garlic. Sprinkle with rosemary. Pour over the wine. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and potato is tender. Serve immediately.

**I'm a bit of a chicken-racist in that I only eat the white breastmeat, but you can slice up some fillets instead of the thighs/cutlets and it works very nicely. Plus, use less normal potato and subsitute with a bit of sweet potato/carrot/zucchini, and chuck in some bacon and onion before the potato for a bit more flavour, and 1/2 cup chicken stock works instead of white wine if you live in Tassie and can't get grog at the supermarket. Oh, and if you use a much as this recipe suggests you'd be feeding 6 very fat people. I made less than 1/3 and we have leftovers for tommorow.

I have a post coming up about the always delicious Frankie magazine, but this month they published a very simple scone recipe that Charlotte and I tried on the last stuck-indoors rainy afternoon. If you don't mind little floury footprints, handpronts and streaks all over your kitchen, baking is what all the cool kids do after playgroup. Frankie picked the brain of Victoria's CWA president for this recipe, so you know it's hearty:


2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk, more as needed
A pinch of salt

Sift flour and salt together - if you dont have a sifter, just stir it around a bit. Admire the little holes that salt makes in flour. Make a well in the middle of the flour, and mix in the milk and cream with a knife (get a grownup to do it if you're prone to stabbing). Stir it til it's all mixed in. Turn the dough onto a floured board or benchtop and knead it gently - don't let it get too sticky. Pat it out to about 2cm thick and cut out squares or diamonds with a scone cutter or knife (I alwasy thought scones were round, so being the true rebel that I am made neat circles with a glass. Hmph.) Bake in a fairly hot overn for 10-15mins, then leave to cool.

Serve with jam and whipped cream, or butter, or Nutella, or whatever you please....add caster sugar, dates or sulatnas for a sweet scone, or cheese, herbs, mustard or curry powder for savoury. Savoury not too crash hot with jam.

For obvious reasons cooking might not catch on with the model set backstage, but that doesn't make it uncool. It's therapeutic and last night Gordon Ramsay was on telly swearing at some butchers as usual, but he inspired me to google for some recipes. **Which admittedly is where I found the Chicken Bake. Cooking: F*** Yeah!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Newspaper Hats at Chanel

This pic is from the latest Chanel Couture show. Looks impressive, but the first thing I noticed was the person in the audience with a triangular hat made out of what appears to be newspaper. You know, like those ones you carefully folded as a kid and then pretended to be sailors or whatever? And then once I noticed him or her, I couldn't concentrate on anything else, let along Lagerfeld's Tubular theme for the show. I just see a triangular hat, big shoulders and a splash of pink. And a triangular hat. Made from newspaper. It's taking being Green a bit too far, perhaps:

Pic coutrtesy of

Do Americans understand Foxy Morons?

As cringe-worthy as it is, Kath & Kim has become engrained in our national culture because there are so many truths in it. Don't tell me you haven't watched it and seen a bit of your mum/sister/daggy uncle/neighbour or heaven forbid, yourself, reflected in it. How then, will it sit with the Yankees? Obviously they wouldn't understand the original, considering a fifth of them can't even locate their own country on a map (thanks, Boston Legal), or name a country beginning with U (thanks, Chaser), so the chances of them "getting" the Aus version are pretty slim. As slim, say, as Selma Blair ,who plays the "chubby" American Kim:

I'm not completely convinced that ye olde muffin top will be making an appearance in this series. And, gosh Kath looks SO wacko, man. Gumnut earrings? I think not. Ok, in all fairness most Americans probably wouldn't wear gumnut earrings, but series (serieses? series'?) like Kath & Kim work in societies that, in the mainstream, can laugh at themselves. Unlike, for example, Americans, who generally project an image of being so self conscious about being "perfect" that regardless of how poor/deranged/in the shit a character in movies/tv shows are meant to be, they still have new outfits each scene, they're above-average looking at least, and everything turns out ok in the end. The US version of The Office is, at best, horrific. Britons have enough self-deprecating irony and dry sense of humour to make it work. Americans, apparently, do not. At least the stars are prepared for the inevitable onslaught. Says Blair: "Some people are really protective and horrified that we're doing it in the United States. It's a case of, 'How could you? Oh my god, you might ruin it'. But what's to ruin? You're still going to have your great show in Australia - we're just paying homage to it. Nothing takes away from the original." Fair call, but I guess the general question in Oz is: why? Why do they want to adapt something so Osstralian and try and mould it to fit their own culture? I guess it was over in the States where Ugg boots first became fashionable, rather than simply comfy slippers as originally intended.

The writers of the US Office needed to rework the show so the jokes were obvious. Perhaps they considered some hilarious pie throwing incidents. It's so far from the UK Office that you have to wonder why they bothered anyway. And can you imagine an American Sharon? Nope. And thus it is clear: if Americans can't appreciate the humour of the original, then why develop another?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Things That Piss Me Off Volume 3

What better way to end the week then with a good old-fashioned rant - cleanse the soul, get it out of your system and prepare for a nice, relaxing no particular order:

1). Katie Holmes pisses me off, well not so much her personally, but her "brand", or "image", if you will. I do feel sorry for her because she always looks so...careful. You can't really fault her style, except for the fact it doesn't look like it's hers and she always looks very choreographed. It pisses me off that I even think about these things, because really,who cares and why does it matter, but I guess if you look into it it's a mildly interesting study on the effects of fame. Dawson's Creek used to piss me off too but I can't help thinking I'd rather hang out with pre-Tom K-Ho - wouldn't you? Of course, when it is suitable PR, Katie is BFF with Posh, and anyone in their right mind would rather hang out with the Beckhams, because they quite simply rock, despite the fact they can't sing, act or play soccer (apparently). Posh is awesomeness on a stick (or more accurately, a stick of awesomeness) and Katie should perhaps ask Tom if she can please be allowed to go visit the Spice household more often, and thus alleviate the chronically miserable look she sports every time she's Papped:

(pic: JustJared)

2). Tracksuits. Are. Evil. Soaked. In. Polar. Fleece. I know they're comfy and I know they are mildly practical if you are working out or taking some light exercise, but there are an awful lot of people who stop at Coles/the bank/school activities/go shopping/go out for dinner wearing them. TOO MANY people. I shall have to ask K-Rudd to start taxing them. Especially fat people who wear them and are obviously not on their way to or from the gym. It raises the bar in my personal pissoff-ometer because it just screams "I don't care" or worse, "I think I look good because I matched my lippy to my tracksuit". If you're going to bother with makeup then please bother with a nice pair of jeans and a top. At least. It also screams "I have to do much important stuff like the washing and unload the dishwasher and make lunches that I don't have time to dress up". Without meaning to sound completely lazy/snobby, it's not that important (are you reading this Mum?). Leave the bed unmade and dress yourself up a little, just see if it makes you feel better about yourself and makes your husband/partner look at you a bit differently. I wish that going out was a bit more of a special event, like in Europe, and everyone wore hats. A baseball cap to match your tracksuit doesn't count. Nor does wearing jeans with actual running shoes - you don't run in jeans so why pair them with buggery ugly Nikes? (this has been a celeb trend of late and very disturbing, so when I finish writing letters to Trinny and Susannah there'll be more on this).

3). The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger's last film, is being released soon and "by all reports his performance is amazing". Maybe it is, but I bet your bollocks it's just the press circuit cashing in on his untimely death. If he was still alive would it be lauded? Will he be given a post-carking it Oscar just so they can really stir up some cash? It makes me mildly ill because it's such blatant exploitation. I KNOW I should be less naive but really...blergh. See the movie if you would've seen it anyway and be your own judge, please.

4). This has been lightly touched upon before, but I cannot tell you how annoying/rude/violence-inducing it is when somebody WHO IS STILL IN THEIR CAR parks over 2 parking spots and then just sits there twiddling their thumbs. Particularly when there are no other parking spots within a hundred mile radius and your car isn't a Hummer and therefore will fit nicely into a regular park. This doesn't mean that people with Hummers thus have permission to park in 2 spots, it just means that if they have a Hummer they probably also have a gun, a rug made out of a real bear and a sister-wife and thus do not respond positively to polite yet firm notes under their windscreen wipers.

5). I send and receive hundreds of emails every day. I thus have alot of practice in e-etiquette (ie not typing your whole email in caps lock, using punctuation, including the odd ! or :) to add some tone) but apparently there are may poor sods out there who find emailing as scary as your Nanna finds the answering machine. You know, she rings and hears the machine, hangs up, practices or jots down what she needs to say, and then rings back to leave a concise yet slightly bewildered message. Countless people have sent what are very blunt emails, with minimal punctuation, and upon speaking to them in person I find they are in fact very lovely and friendly. Their conversations are littered with ! and :) so why can't they include one or two in their emails? Note for customers: if you use the words "please", "thankyou" and try to make you email as friendly as possible, you will get better service (I'm not talking exclusively about FrockYou here, trust me). Rude people generate curt responses - if you type that way presumably you read that way so precious :) shall not be sent your way. Of course there is the other end of the scale where people send a thousand cyber hugs and kisses and so many smiley's they have probably breached the yellow Happy Face copyright, but at least you get the point that they are happy people who probably brush their teeth regularly and don't think they and their issue is THE most important thing on the planet. Or in cyber-space. Smiley faces make your inbox prettier!

I hope it rains this weekend because I want to go stomping in mud puddles, have a hot shower and then curl up with a hot chocolate. Now that I've vented my week's anger, I feel calm, settled and ready to give money to those people who stand on street corners with collection cans and rolls of stickers. Well, if I can find a park nearby and they're not wearing tracksuits, that is.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Independence Day is not just for Yankees

Wenchliness aside for the time being, Cat W takes us on an important historical, emotional and ultimately fulfilling journey:

With Independence Day in the United States fast approaching, I would like to share an event with you that commemorates an independence of a different kind for all Australians. Independence Day in the US is a commemoration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in which they declared independence from Great Britain. Phew. That’s a lot of declarations and independences in one paragraph, but how else do you say it? On July 21, 1942, several thousand Japanese forces under General Tomitaro Horii landed at Gona, on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Over the next four months they were to fight a brutal war against the Aussies and Papua New Guineans for what, they hoped, would give them free access to the capital, Port Moresby, and ultimately, this wide brown land of ours. Of course, they didn’t bank on the strength, courage and endurance of our troops and of course, they were out fought while trying to take Port Moresby. Their eventual withdrawal, completed on the 16th of November, 1942, helped to ensure that Australia would be free from the scourge of invasion from the East, and able to develop as the country that we know it today.

A couple of months ago I had the privilege of walking the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. Stretching 96 kilometres over the spine of the Owen Stanley Ranges, it was the scene of much of the fighting that took place in the grab for Port Moresby. It holds a special place in the hearts of many Australians, who these days have relatives who fought and died in PNG, but also because of what it represents to us. In 1942, we were still finding our feet on the world’s stage, and trying to cement our place within its context. We had fought, for Great Britain, in Gallipoli, now here we were again, fighting an enemy that was much closer to our shores and who represented a very, very real danger not only to our borders but also our national identity.

Kokoda was tough. Words cannot describe how difficult it was. But to put it into perspective, those of us walking it were not fighting an often unseen enemy, hiding in that thick jungle and waiting to take us out. We battled heat, altitude, head colds, constant rain, sore feet, muscles and shoulders, and engaged in a never ending battle of wills with ourselves. We did not carry up to and over 50 kilos of weaponry and supplies. We slept at night, ate 3 times a day, applied our insect repellant, swallowed our malaria tablets and did not even consider taking a drink of water that wasn’t treated with purifiers. Our troops had none of those things. Poorly trained, supplied, equipped and dressed in the ridiculous khaki army uniform, a hangover from the Middle East where there, they blended in but stuck out like sore thumbs in the jungles of PNG, they overcame an enormous and viciously cruel Japanese force with a tenacity that is beyond me.

Memorials are dotted all along the track in remembrance of those soldiers and of course, the remarkable Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, without whose help the Australian forces would probably have floundered. But by far the most extraordinary is the memorial at Isurava, situated within a day of Kokoda Village. For four days here, the undermanned but incredibly proud and brave 39th Battalion, under Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Honner, stood resolute against 6000 crack Japanese combat troops, inflicting large losses and throwing the Japanese timetable for crossing Kokoda off track, giving time for Australian reinforcements to be brought up. Today, four large marble pillars at Isurava represent the characteristics most reminiscent of the Australian soldiers on Kokoda – Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice.

And so I saw in Anzac day at Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby, a mere hour and a half from our shores, and paid a silent tribute to those young Aussie boys and men who gave so much for the freedom we are able to enjoy today. In quiet contemplation, I leave you with the ode –
They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sneaky Peaky Summer Preview: Part 1

Winter is awesome. It rains occassionally and then everything smells clean, you can snuggle into the couch in your pjs and watch dvds, sip hot choccies while reading magazines, and layer up in lush knits...mmm.....but there is something to be said for Summer. Aside from, y'know, it's WARM, and you can throw on a sweet frock and slip on comfy flats and just go. It's daylight for longer and you feel more like being healthy and eating fruit. We all know how frustrating it is when, in the murky depths of freezing Julys, the stores start getting in their spring and summer lines. It's stupid, becuase when summer actually comes around these items will be marked down to make way for next winter. But anyway. Due to the MASSIVE response to our mega awesome stocktake sale, we don't have much winter gear left, and thus are jumping on the bandwagon - herein may I present a preview of Summer 08/09: "hippie vintage rock chic" (and if you fit into bikinis, you're in for some real treats)...

First up, the eternally cool One Teaspoon. Remisicient of chilled out Glastonbury styles minus the mud, piss and beer, this range is actually really wearable and a good mix of trend-based pieces and fabulously unique pieces. And the swimwear willl blow your socks off, which is handy, because swimming in socks isn't really recommended.

Obviously a bit too much geek chic-ery going on, and don't stare too long at the bikini model's rib cage or you'll get freaked out, but this range will be stellar and I reckon one of their best yet!

Blue Juice is one of those labels that once you realise just how awesome and well-priced it is, you get completely hooked, and become one of the savage pack of Frockers who pounce on the website at the mere mention of new stock, teeth bared and claws at the ready...(in other words, hot new pieces sell out fast so keep your eyes peeled). This summer they're mixing african tribal colours with middle eastern flavours, and as usual covering everything from party frocks to casual tees to workwear that is anything but boring - they've even done a few knits and jackets which means you can justify buying them in winter! And I have dibs on one of the white Grecian dresses. MINE, I tell you, MINE!

Summer calls for a bright new bag, and if you dn't want to shell out thousands for the latest IT-bag, or even hundreds for your arm-attire because you'd rather buy icy cool daiquiris, then Fanciulla have got you covered. For less somewhere between $50-$120 they've got some fabulously versatile and good lookin' bags, in pretty colours as well as your staple black, tan and white. They've also thoughtfully added "travel partners", not in the form of good looking backpackers, but cabin bags, satchels with loads of pockets and small makeup/jewellery cases!

Birds of a Feather don't do monthly injections year-round like most labels, but it's always worth the wait. This summer, they've called their range "Pretty Things, Peculiar Places" which is enchanting enough, but the range of whimsical frocks, girly tops and cute shorts and skirts is not only wearable but so darn cute! If you can get past the slightly odd see-through shots, you'll see a gorgeous range in simple colours - it'll bring out your girly side!

For those of you who haven't fallen for French Kitty's feminine, youthful and vintage-inspired pieces, check out their summer range of togs for serious woooah factor:

Best taken on a yacht in the Mediterannean. Frocks, tops and shorts work best in a sprawling villa in the French countryside:

Sigh. Must get to the shops and stock up on self-tanning moisturiser. Considering it won't get properly warm here until, erm, late November, it should be plenty of time to get the faux-glow a-workin'.
Part 2 including kidswear, soon!