Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Street Style: Got The Blues

Funny how a colour associated with being a bit blergh can actually be so uplifting. Or how it really does look fab with black, despite black-and-blue usually referring to an injury. Try blue in any shade from navy through to turquoise and just see if it doesn't make you smile...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Schedule Some Time Off

I sat down last night to write this blog post, but couldn't. I could not get my mind in the right frame, so to speak, to type out a few coherent paragraphs. After spending most of the day, every day, juggling emails and phone calls and paperwork and everything else it takes to run a small business day to day, along with parenting, household duties and attempting to have a social life; often by the end of a weekday I am burnt out. And it happens to everybody, in all walks of life - CEO, stay-at-home-parent, uni student - because our whole world is just constantly on the go, 24/7.

The other day I accidentally left my phone on it's charger and went out without it. And guess what? The world didn't end, nobody threatened to sue me because I hadn't returned their calls or texts, everybody I had arranged to meet throughout the day was at their designated place at the right time - even a lunch date we hadn't specifically arranged the logistics of, fell into place because we ran into each other anyway. Once I was over my initial shock of not being able to be contacted, I quite enjoyed myself. I wasn't trying to have a conversation with one person while texting another, and I was able to just enjoy being where I was and doing what I was doing, without being cyberally in a thousand places at once.

It may have been unscheduled time-out, but I finally understood the whole Scheduled Self-Maintenance thang everyone's been discussing lately. The idea is that you schedule in a day or a morning or 15mins a few times a week for just doing nothing. Just chillin', clearing your head and your space and, possibly, meditating with a notebook next to you. Ok, when I read that, I thought: nice for some. Some who don't have to work long hours to pay their bills or who don't have kids to chase after or who have a cleaning lady. I sneered a little bit at such an idealistic notion which no doubt would leave most of us feeling even more like a failure because on top of everything else we were meant to be doing and can't fit in, now we can't even fit in time off like we should.

But maybe it's not that hard. For example, right at this very minute, I'm typing this, listening to Mr discuss a new internet/phone plan, trying to make sure little Miss doesn't have a late afternoon nap and is occupied with something other than the telly, chatting to a friend on Facebook about her business idea, and trying to decide whether to start dinner soon or scrap that idea and get takeaways. There's at least 3 guilt-conscious things in that sentence right there (tv babysitter! non-organic, non-homecooked dinner! not communicating properly with one's partner/friends! Hmm, maybe it's 4.) Couldn't I just switch everything off, start and finish one thing at a time? Yes, but we're not conditioned to work like that. Multi-task or multi-fail!

So the only thing to do is be pro-active about it, and not in a skincare infomercial sense. Some people, all successful in their own right, work nonstop for 2 weeks, then have 2 weeks off. Others have one day a week of time-out. Even one morning a week can make a difference to your overall approach to pretty much everything, apparently. But how do you tell your work or school or family that you need to schedule this time in? For an awful lot of people, it's awfully difficult. It's a caring boss indeed who would work with you on scheduled self-maintenace - but a good boss will, 'cos a happy employee makes for happy employers. Not everyone is lucky enough to have family or close friends who are willing to look after your kids, nor is childcare an affordable option. Maybe, if you can't literally slot "time-out" into your diary, maybe just slot "slow-down" in there somewhere instead. Choose a "switch-off" time everyday to turn your computer and phone off, or stop with housework or those pesky daily duties, and then simply read, or play with your kids, or veg out in front of the telly.   

I used to work 7 days a week. It's only recently, and slowly, that I've trained myself not to turn my computer on over the weekend. And it's great. I actually read books, play in the park with my daughter, bake horribly sweet treats, even go shopping (for fun) while Daddy and Daughter spend some time together. Techincally a weekend is time-out anyway, but how many of us really use that time to switch off? Applying the same theory to week-days is another story, but I'm willing to give it a go. Are you?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The AWW Birthday Cake Book

It was my daughter's birthday last week, and naturally we poured over every edition of the Australian Women's Weekly Cookbook to find the perfect cake. It was a pirate themed party, but we wanted something a bit more interesting than a round cake with a pirate face on it.

Of course, it's easy to get distracted by little trips down memory lane when it comes to these cookbooks. Hands up who had a number cake? A robot? Dolly Varden? The teddy bear with chocolate bikky paws? The jelly pool (if you did I am very jealous, I always wanted that cake!)? It's just not an Aussie kid's birthday party without an AWW cake. And anyone can make them, even those who are *cough* cuisinely-challenged. Your kid will be as proud as punch no matter what your creation - though of course, it's preferable if it's dripping with lollies and smothered in colourful frosting (or butter cream, as the 80's edition suggested. Mmm, butter cream).

That said, the awesome looking pirate ship in the current edition got the thumbs down from Charlotte - because the black icing looked "yukky". Even though I explained we could always just do chocolate icing, she was firm. No, no, no! As the only other option in the books were ye olde round piratey face, I turned to Taste for inspiration - and her eyes lit up when she saw this:

Chocloate! Lollies! Chocolate coins! Lollies! Chocolate! It was to be a treasure chest and nothing else. Thankfully, it was a massive hit at the party, despite having to field requests for the exact lollies and size coin each guest wanted. And I'm not neccessarily referring to the 4-year-old's, either. Equally thankfully, the recipe was basically a rectangle packet mix so it wasn't too taxing on the parental unit, either.

What was your favourite birthday cake creation? Mine was an icecream Dolly Varden when I was about 7. Sure my birthday is in the middle of winter, but at least it wasn't in danger of melting. Why in the world people loved the idea of a cake that looked like a toilet roll dolly (remember those?!) still evades me. And why in the world people needed a frilly cover for their toilet rolls in the first place is equally as mystifying. Tea cosies in all their knitted glory are making a comeback - perhaps the toilet roll dolly will be the next uber cool craft activity?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Deer Ruby, You Rock

Alot of cool things come out of Bondi. Apparently, even Bondi Rescue has cred. But one of our bestselling labels also hails from the sandy suburb - Deer Ruby. Some new pieces have just arrived instore, all painstakingly made with love (and a dash of sterling silver).

The new arrivals are very Nicole Richie - beads, charms, they type of pieces you can layer and layer or simply take apart and wear one element at a time. The bold reds and oranges look great against winter darks, while the cute cream beaded cluster bracelet will look awesome with a floaty summer maxi. Be warned though - we regularly sell out of Deer Ruby so if you don't want to wait for restocks, get in quick smart!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Street Style

First of all, apologies for lack of posting at the end of last week - my little girl's birthday celebrations took precedence! Sometimes, life is just a heck of a lot more important. And fun!

What's also fun is prints. Patterns, colour, clashing. Try it, whether it be subtle or totally in-your-face.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Arrivals: Motel

It';s always an exciting day when new season Motel arrives. Despite there being a difference in seasons - as a UK label, we're currently getting the Spring stock just as we hurl ourselves into the depths of winter. But no matter, most of these pieces are easily layered and thus wearable year-round!

(Unless you live in QLD or somewhere perpetually warm. Then, you;re in luck. But can QLD'ers stop posting on Facebook/Twitter about how chilly it is when it gets down to, you know, 18? Not cold! Cool, but pleasant. Though of course, even Tassie winters are wamer than what the Poms get. So perhaps we should all shut our traps about being chilly and just enjoy seasonal changes. Enough rambling.)

Here are the lovely pieces you can pick up (and yes there are more to come in a 2nd drop!). Lots of soft dark chambray; a gorgeously sooooft grey sweat (which is a must-have in some form or another in your wardrobe this season; and of course the pretty floral prints we all know and love!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Common Sense, Please!

You've probably read/seen/heard about the shitstorm in a teacup that is the reaction to Mia Freedman's blog post about Gainers - obese people who purposely gain weight, sometimes for monetary gain. "Fat Activists" accused her of "fat-bashing", and of course those bastions of quality journalism, Today Tonight and ACA got on board, giving Mia a hell of a time. Aside from being instantly inflamed at the unfairness of it all (and the shoddy, shoddy excuse for a 'story' it made), it made me wonder - why such a strong reaction? Anyone with an ounce of reason would think something along the lines of: beautiful people come in all shapes and sizes - large, small, short, tall, pear-shaped, stick-thin. But in the same way anorexia is acknowledged as being dangerously, life-threatening unhealthy; why was there such an outcry when somebody (or a group of people) pursue an equally dangerous, life-threatening lifestyle? Why shouldn't people be allowed to point out that it's quite obviously so far above and beyond any reasonable interpretation of a healthy body image? Let's just look at it: being, for example, 345kg, and aiming to gain at least another 300kg (yes, 300kg) is not something anybody should celebrate. We shouldn't be name-calling, we should be calling a doctor.

I'm sorry if this offends you. It's none of my business if you're a size 18 or a size 8 - as long as you posess the powers of reasonable thought, I'd be willing to bet you're not outraged by any comments here. There's a difference between anti-'fat' and anti-'morbidly-obese-creating-your-own-death-sentence'. Let's get some perspective here, people!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get Out Your Maps Of Tassie

And follow along with this mildly amusing YouTube vidoe that's been doing the rounds on Facebook recently. The thing about mixing Facebook and Tassie, however, is that every single person feels the need to upload it to the news feed...and share it with everybody else who's already seen it from someone else's feed. Even 3 degrees of separation is a bit of an exaggeration in the world of Tasmanian Facebook. Anyway, for those of you considering perhaps visiting, or perhaps smirking at, the Apple Isle, give this a watch. But not while eating dinner.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lazy, But Informative: Sale Information

Finally, all the midseason markdowns have been finalised! It took several days and many Facebook procrastinations, but they're all done, and there are some absolute doozies. And because I'm quite over looking at them, what I'm going to do is give you a taste of what went out in tonight's member newslettter - all the best buys and biggest markdowns, conveniently in a few little captioned pictures:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Waste Some Time Trying Makeup Online!

Dread the thought of going out barefaced, but need to try some new makeup colours? Never fear, Topshop is here! This nifty new site lets you upload a piccy of yourself and then click and play with perhaps a red lip, smoky eye; golden eyes or bold pink lippy? If you can't be bothered using your own photo and are hellbent om some serious timewasting, use one of the model photos already uploaded and go for broke! Here's "me" aka model doing the Rosa Lips look:

A fab little Monday morning procrastination tool!

Monday Street Style: Black!

There's no escaping it, especially as we hurttle towards winter. No doubt it's a staple colour in your wardrobe, so here are some ways to make it un-boring (stripes, spots, florals) and mega-chic (red lips, killer boots):

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why I Can't Watch Round The Twist

"Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers." Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary.

That's a bit dramatic really; but I read that passage just after switching offmy computer, awash in a wave of nostalgia after browsing this post by Jenna Templeton, on Aussie tv shows of the 80's & 90's - Mr Squiggle and Amazing and Superted and Recovery and of course, my very very favourite, Round the Twist. Gen Y: we've wrapped ourselves in a comforting handstitched blanket of reminiscence, turning back to the simpler days of our childhoods to hide from the fast-paced, techonolgy-saturated new millenium. Or, just because we're finally having to grow up and get real jobs and have kids and take out mortgages, and that's just plain scary. How did the days of Great Spaghetti Pig-Outs slip by so quickly?

Rehashing all things 80's and vintage clothes and old-school cutesy images are the height of alternative-cool. We're cocooning ourselves, clinging to those more innocent days - indeed, it's not so different to the old-timers talking about the "good old days", who we once rolled our eyes and smirked at. But should we be trying so hard to bring back the past, or should those hazy fond memories be shelved safely away in the backs of our minds? If we bring them out to the light of day again, won't our idyllic illusions be shattered, or at least distorted?

Because let's face it - no doubt the storylines are now a bit too simple, the special effects are a bit too crappy, the whole package just doesn't do it anymore. That's a horribly cynical thing to say, but I once YouTubed some 60's kid's tv shows my Mum was reminiscing about, and all she said was a quizzical "oh? I don't remember it quite like that." And suddenly, what was once so brilliant became distinctly less glossy. (er, sorry Mum.) A friend suggested I flick over to 7Two and watch re-runs of Full House, but I can't. Bob Saget does not belong in 2010.

I bought my brother a box set of the entire Round the Twist series for Christmas. He still has it in the plastic wrapping, not quite able to watch it just in case Wunderpants don't seem as funny as when we were 8. Perhaps that's how we should keep it. Safe and protected, but always there to gaze upon.

After all, Peter Andre is the result of what happens when things from the early 90's are brought to light again. Think about that!

(PS - thanks for a brilliant post Jenna! I remember one year the Logies had some kind of kid-show mashup song for the Best Children's Programme Category..all I can think of is the bit that went "...Ship to Shore! Amazing! Who could ask for more?!")

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Markdowns! 'Cos it's cool to be pov

It's never been so cool as right now to admit you have no money. In an obvious backlash to the noughties bling-filled days of excess, suddenly it's all about being thrifty. I've had so many conversations with people lately who love to tell me about their low bank balance, spendthrift ways and need for a second casual job. These are people who used to not blink about dropping $300 on a top. They are ubertrendy people though, so maybe they're making it up just to keep up with the hipsters. Who knows? Anyway, if you actually are cool to the bone and have but a few spare $$$, you're in luck - shopping, especially online, has never been so cheap! With many stores offering 30% off and upwards (and not for a day or two like we do, but for at least a week; check NSO for all the latest codes), labels doing mega clearouts at warehouse sales and online (good news for those of us not in Syd or Melb) and department stores going more nuts than usual with offers, the shopaholics within us all can breathe a little easier...and pay the power bill on time.

So, we thought we might as well join in the fun, and from today will be marking down manically across the store (with the exception of the items we hold year-round)! One Teaspoon has been done - I'm talking all swimwear at $49, clothing from $25 - Dolly Rockers is now at 50% off (prices from just $15 for amazing handmade, statement necklaces!) and French Kitty is priced to clear, with everything from $25 - $34. American Apparel is also reduced to clear and all under $29! There's not much left in previous season Blue Juice (first Winter onwards will stay full price as it's AWESOME and our best selling range!) but if you hurry you'll pick up an absolute steal, with most of it $69 and under!

Stay tuned for more throughout the week...!