If it makes you feel good..wear it!!

Fashion has always been fun for me…it’s fun for every female in my  family actually, and if you were to look in our wardrobes you would find every brand from Zimmerman to Zara, Camilla to Cotton On, Trent Nathan to Target…we are not fussy, just choosy!

Each of us have different styles, but we all enjoy how clothes can make you feel, and when you have somewhere special to go, preparing the outfit is half the fun.

And so it was last weekend as my twins  prepared to go the Black Opal Raceday.

There was much to consider…the clothes, the shoes, the bag, the jewellery, the hair, and the makeup. To some it is all completely trivial..and yes, in the scheme of things it IS SOOO trivial. But it is also fun…SOOO fun!! It’s part of the enjoyment of the day. getting ready, putting on something new, and heading out the door..feeling good.

My girls were not intending to enter Fashions in the Field, so the restrictions of Classical Racewear didn’t need to be followed..no need for gloves, or intricate headwear.  Their choice of what to wear was large. But their time frame to choose was not.

IMG_1278 2Weeks, and weeks in which to organise an outfit, but of course things were left to a couple days before, but time has never daunted us…when needed, we can pull together an outfit in the blink of an eye..at the last moment, and still look fabulous.

A mixture of new, and old pieces, borrowed from a sister, or found in an Op shop..all go together to create the perfect outfit.

Anyway, the girls looked beautiful, individual styles, both very different, but both true to themselves, with something about their ‘looks’ that was just them.

As I get older, what I wear of course has changed, (ummm ..had to!!, for numerous annoying reasons), but my attitude to fashion has changed also. Nowadays I try to only wear what I feel really good in…there’s no day where I just throw something on, and think it’ll do . Even if I’m at home for the day, I try to put on something that makes me feel good. ( Daggy gardening clothes can still make me feel good, but only if I’m out in the garden, actually getting stuff done…and I  always put on some earrings for a bit of bling!)

My wardrobe is very different nowadays than it was a couple years ago. I’m much more selective of what’s in there. If I haven’t worn it all season, it needs to go!! (Well except for a couple of things I just can’t throw out… Just keep telling myself my girls will think it’s great in 20 years time..)

When I’m buying something, I tend to look now for things that are either kind of classic, OR quite different. Opposites, but when teamed together usually they work. I could never go completely classic.. not my style.. but a good leather belt, or little black slip ons, will always go well with a ripped pair of jeans, or a hippy off the shoulder blouse.

People underestimate just how clothes can make you feel. It shouldn’t be a case of grabbing whatever out of the drawer and putting it on…it’s important to know what shape clothing looks good on you, what length, what colours. Generally if you put it on and think to yourself, “That looks pretty good”..then others will think so too.. And of course when you are looking fabulous heading off to the Races, or anywhere special…take a photo..just to prove how fabulous you look!!

What’s for Dinner?..

How do you get your kids to start cooking dinner?  I want them to, they say they want to learn how to, but how does it actually happen.

I think I’ve missed the boat with them, and I’m so disappointed in myself.

I have prepared (and I say this quite boastfully!), pretty amazing home cooked meals for them ever since they were babies, they are always very appreciative, and are all great eaters…no fussiness…but not great cooks yet!

One is pretty good at making cakes, bikkies etc, and can follow a recipe from scratch whilst I relax feet up on the couch (not actually!!)…but unless I am out of town for the night..no one offers to cook dinner! (Except husband, who manages occasionally on a weekend)…however he is excused, he works his butt off each day to earn the cash to buy the food, to make the dinners…he absolutely should not have to cook it as well! But as for the others….. I can’t think of any excuses really.

But there always seems to be one.

“I don’t know what to cook!”..me either.

“I haven’t got time!”…me neither.

“I’ve got an assignment due!”…me too.

“There’s nothing in the fridge!”…then go to the shop.

“I don’t know how!”…. then learn.

I wonder whether one day, they will eventually turn a page in a recipe book and a little Oven timer in their head will go “Ding!!” and they will say “Yes!..I am going to learn to cook that!”…. or whether all my recipe books will remain gathering floury dust on the shelf…never to be flicked through by any of them….surely not.

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I love to cook, which is why I slap myself with the wooden spoon for not sitting them up in their high chairs each night in front of the stove while I was preparing their dinners. As they grew , why did I not get them to chop stuff up, stir a bubbling pot, and measure out a cup of something…. ?  sounds so logical looking back at it. Guess I was busy, doing other stuff that mums do…. but I’ll always feel a little bit sad about it… (one of those should have…could have.. regretful moments.)

So.. it’s usually me doing the deciding, preparation, and cooking each night.

As littlies, they would be fed before their Dad got home from work. Nowadays, it’s them who are home late from work, arriving even after their Dad, so our dinners are served much later as we usually wait for us all to be together.

We don’t eat at the dining table that often, maybe a couple nights a week…but generally we are in front of the TV. It doesn’t concern me too much, we are still together, we still talk as we eat. We still pour each other a drink, or pass each other the bread.

Maybe once they move out of home, the whole love of cooking thing will kick in. I live in hope that I will get the call..”Mum, how do you cook that Lamb Pastie, Sausage Gnocchi, ….Stir Fry Chicken and Noodles…?”, and how amazing it would be to go to their house and have them cook dinner for me…. now that’s a delicious thought.

Trying to get back to it…

It has been ages since I have blogged about anything..and there are may reasons for my lack of words.

1:   I’m just kind of lazy..(not much more to say about that!..)

2:   I’m really not that interesting..(don’t worry, I have a pretty healthy self esteem, just not that many interesting things happen in my life)

3:  I get caught up in all the other stuff that goes on in our home. I am the “keeper of all knowledge, for 5 people!!”

4:  I have been studying online and have 2 units go..(once I’ve been on the laptop with that a couple hours each day, it’s kind of enough screen time.)

5:   I have difficulty in being the type blogger that easily gives details of all the weird stuff that goes in a family …I mean there are plenty of arguments, discussions, messes, and annoyances that go on, and I’m sure it would make really interesting reading, but I’m just not that comfortable in “hanging out the dirty laundry” so to speak. and I’m pretty sure my kids and husband would not be that appreciative.

6:  I don’t feel that entitled to write about worldwide events..yes, I have views on stuff like world politics, refugees, the environment, and social issues..but does anyway want to actually know what they are?…

Those reasons aside , I really love the writing aspect of a blog, and so I need to make some decisions of what it is I’m writing for. I think there will be times where there’s something specific I want to write about, but I also think I enjoy writing about just what’s happened that day….

Soooo…I think that’s what I’ll have a go at….just the daily stuff….. the normal things I do each day,  the things I find beautiful, and annoying. I may include links to other stuff I love as well, maybe a recipe or two that has worked really well, or something else that’s been created by myself or someone else in the family…I don’t want it to be too twee!! I’m not that sort of person, and it certainly isn’t “cutsie, sweetville, everythings beautiful” in our life, but I just don’t think I can go the edgy, ‘spill the beans’ on everyone kind of route. It would make for good reading …(cause it would be funny)…but NAH!!

So, everyday stuff it is…will see how that goes…but I am going to try really hard to write something every couple days…Write On!

…and a slip n slide on the back lawn

Lots of  online posting goes on at Christmas time… And it’s interesting when you look at them as a whole.

There are very few photos or comments about what gifts people actually received Christmas morning.. And yet the whole build up in the the weeks before can be solely about the buying of presents.

It’s the standard question leading up to the 25th…

“Have you finished your Christmas Shopping?”

This lead up , for me , means making sure each daughter has the same amount of presents, as well as calculating that each list is approximately of equal worth. It’s a lot to coordinate, but it’s just the way we do things. It’s also very organised , systematic, and not really a joyous, or merry process!!

Of course my children get too many presents…..I admit it…they get too much of everything!!!….but we love them, and love to see them excited and happy on Christmas morning. Never once have they not been thrilled to go along with the whole enchanted idea of all that goes along with Christmas….

There will come a time soon when Santa won’t come to them anymore…and the gift lists in my head won’t be as long!!! … but there are still a couple more Chrismas’s to come yet where the Santa pillowcases shall lie waiting to be filled on Christmas Eve, and discovered magically the next morning…

The present opening is a fun time, but the best part of the day is probably the afternoon, once the lunch has been cooked, eaten, and cleared away…and it’s time to sit back for a bit.

Only then does it feel that “All is calm, all is quiet..”

It’s then that the real Chrismas starts to happen..

This year we are at my parents, the girls Nanny and Poppy, and Christmas is made up of….. (Can be sung to Partrige in a Pear Tree… If you are clever!!)

“piles of wrapping paper,

fridges full of food ,

eskies full of ice,

music playing  loudly,

bathrooms full of girls stuff,

Laden washing lines ….

new electronic equipment ,

a jigsaw being done,

tables set then cleared

dishwasher working overtime,

Glasses of champagne

And a Slip n Slide on the back lawn…

Anyway… It all goes together to make Christmas….same, same, but always good….. and as I said to start with , have a look at the online posts… They don’t show the endless gifts that people received , but more likely the people they are with, and the things they are doing together…..

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All by myself….

Families are great…I love them!!! They are our reason for being…as mums and dads we live for them, we do stuff for them, we cater to them, we try and organise stuff they will enjoy…holidays, food, clean clothes, etc, etc.. As a parent , your head is constantly full of plans, ideas, timetables, scheduling, so the family will work as a unit, and everybody will get done, and have what they need, when they need it..and mostly it works pretty well. There will always be the occasional lost item, the occasional hiccup in routine, the occasional thing that just didn’t go to plan…but generally the mums and dads of this world have it sussed…all organised , and things work well..

But people….we all know that the way a family functions is not due to just good luck!! No…it is all down to the excellent ‘filing systems‘ that are within the head of every parent.. They are like the secretary at a school..they know everything and everyone..and if they decide to have a day off…that school is going to be quite rudderless for the day.

There will be no one to answer the questions like

  • “Where is the….?”,
  • “What time do I have to ….?”
  • “Can you ….?”
  • “How do I ….?”

As parents we are totally used to answering all the questions, everyday, no matter how many there are, or how tricky they are…we just shuffle through the filing system and voila..out comes the answer, (not always the right one…but at least it’s an answer).

Our minds are full of everyone else’s  business…there isn’t that much room in there for our own thoughts, or that much time to do the stuff we actually just choose to do, rather than have to do.

I had a day and a half totally all to myself last week. I stayed by myself, went walking by myself, cooked for myself, went to the beach by myself.img_5471

There was absolutely no one else to do anything for, to organise stuff for, to find things for,  or even to talk to, it was really weird…but really great !!!

My whole day and night was totally mine…I didn’t have to do anything to suit anyone else, or even consult anyone else. It was fantastic!

However, not for a minute would I want to do it all the time .! I was very aware of how little I had talked.. at home I’m talking all the time, even if it’s just to the dogs…they are excellent conversationists! But by the end of my day spent  by myself, the silence was kind of deafening ….

True…the fact that I had time to think my own thoughts for a few hours was really refreshing…. but for now, I’m happy with everyone else’s crazy thoughts taking up space in my head..any more than a day by myself and I’d probably run out of things to think!!

 

 

 

Old friends..

I am heading away this weekend for a catch up with friends I went to Teachers College with, back in the 80’s…more than 30 years ago.

When we first met up in 1983, we were 18 years old, (younger than my daughters are now), and now most of us are 52. We were straight out of High School..with no thought of Gap Years, or travelling through Europe. It was HSC, Christmas Holidays, then off to University, or for us, Armidale Teachers College.

We were kids from country, and coastal towns throughout NSW mostly, and for 3 years we had a fantastic time…socialising, studying, socialising, socialising, and more socialising!!!

For the first year we all lived on campus, most of us at Smith House, but many also scattered throughout the campuses at UNE. How great was that time!!

We were independent, yet still kind of protected within the group environment that campus living provided. We were fed 5 days a week, in a dining room which was always noisy, with big tables, lines of kids, and food that sustained us, but probably didn’t delight us…but generally we weren’t complaining .

Within our rooms, we all had a kettle, maybe a toaster, or even more special,  a toasted sandwich maker ..a Breville.!! We had posters on our walls, and maybe a Cassette Tape Deck/Radio. We watched TV in the common rooms, used the shared laundry, and managed to negotiate the shared unisex bathrooms, occasionally dodging the cold water thrown over the less than private door!!

We had talent shows, dances, and managed to make very little money go a very long way at the pubs around Armidale. It was the time of free University study, so whilst having to pay for our board on campus , our studies were free and we left College, with what was then a Diploma of Teaching (Infants, Primary)..and more importantly no financial debt to the Government that would hang around for years…lucky us.!! We were some of the last years to have that privilege.

After completing our study we all went our different ways. At that time many of us headed north to Queensland, and the Northern territory, and as young people do, kind of drifted away from each other, creating new lives wherever we settled.

This was the time before mobile phones, so keeping in regular touch meant either writing letters, or ringing on the landline, and as we moved about , most of us didn’t even know each others new addresses, let alone phone numbers. So basically we lost touch…to be expected , but sad just the same…

That is until the “miraculousness” of things like Facebook…where gradually we got on board, and managed to lurk around, snooping out lost friends, and seeing what they had grown up into…before very hesitantly making contact once again.

Some….yes, we probably needed to leave in the past..but how joyous is it to meet up once again with some true friends…ones that knew you while you were still young, and yet  becoming the adult you are now… That is a very special time in our life, and the ones who were there are special also!

These people were there when you made some really bad ‘youthful’ decisions, they probably either tried stopping you, or were there cheering you on…but guaranteed they were there to pick you up afterwards…or at least pat you on the back, and hold your hair back!

This weekend I am meeting up with some of these people once again. 30 years have gone past… we are now older than many of our lecturers were back then , older than our parents were back then, and we even have children older than we were back then…but the really odd thing is that when we talk to each other, (as we have been doing in preparation for this reunion), the 30 years drop away, and we are, as we were back then, good friends just wanting to have a laugh and have fun…. Some friendships are able to withstand a 30 year gap, and a weekend away finds us picking up where we left off back in 1985…The Champagne is on ice girls…see you soon!!…I’ll recognise you by the teal taffeta dress!!

 

 

Keeping it fun….

I’ve already written about how important the small things in life are… it’s the little things that make the days enjoyable and keep you smiling.

It might be a single flower in the garden ..( the less you have, the more you treasure them, and being no gardener ..I treasure each bloom!), or the way your weirdo dogs both look at you,  the ‘fun moments’ can make you smile.

My daughter Chloe and I have an ongoing “fun moment”….

One day more than a year ago, my husband and younger daughter returned from a Saturday morning Garage Sale Hunt, with a number of strange objects. Old boxing gloves, which I didn’t like… some coloured glassware, which I did like… and a very odd little statuette of an old Chinese Man, ..which I really didn’t like!!

Who buys stuff like that?..(well…obviously my husband and daughter..)

Anyway, instead of being thrown out immediately, the boxing gloves got to hang around for another year before finally being thrown out..the glassware was cleaned, and displayed with other beautiful coloured glass we had collected….but the little  old Chinese man has made Chloe and myself smile many times.

We developed this game , ( I can’t even remember why?), where we take turns in putting the little statue in different places that the other person will discover . There’s no time limit, it may take days or weeks for him to be discovered, and he has spent time in bathroom cupboards, under pillows, in undies drawers, or perched high on shelves surveying the scene around him.  The last week has found him sitting, swinging silently in a hanging brass bowl in Chloe’s bedroom, his little hand waving, waving, his eyes only just peeping out above the rim….patiently waiting, waiting to be discovered and smiled at again.

It was only today that I knew that Chloe had rescued him from his ‘home for the last week’, and given him a new home. I seriously hope he hasn’t been there for long, ( I have been away for a couple of days, and hate to think of him being uncomfortable in his abode of late….standing bravely between the Golden Syrup and the chilled bottle of water, in the shelf on the fridge door!!

Seriously it is the most interesting thing I’ve seen in our fridge for weeks….. but once again he served his purpose and made me smile when I discovered him there.

I’ll make sure he goes somewhere warm to recover….

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A 70’s girl..(The decade, not the age!!)

Whilst doing a spot of early Christmas shopping this afternoon, I was thrilled to come across gorgeous little bottles of ‘4711 Eau de Cologne’… Tiny, perfectly designed little bottles with the beautiful gold and blue (teal??..more of an 80’s colour!!) label. This bottle has a gold and red cap…..so so perfect.

Surely for every girl of the 70’s this was the one scent we all had… I don’t think I knew of any others till I was much older and started to take notice of such things. Today I actually don’t wear any perfumes, but couldn’t resist this afternoon buying 3 little bottles for my daughters…they were just too cute! (The perfume …not my daughters….although yes they are very cute also!)

“4711 “…written in the lovely font they used , is an Eau de Cologne. I don’t even know what that actually means..but in my mind I think of it as being a perfume you can be quite liberal in splashing on yourself..Not so precious as a Chanel no 5….so there can be more of the splashing, less of the dabbing.

Describing the scent of 4711, is quite tricky… it’s not floral or spice driven…kind of a women’s perfume combined with a great men’s aftershave!…odd. But it brings to mind summer, and showers after a day at the beach. (I think there was an episode of Seinfeld when Kramer invented a perfume that smelt of the beach…well 4711 isn’t that scent !)

img_5403 Anyway… I will give each of my daughters a little bottle  when I get home… they can either use it..or just sit it on the shelf. Either way, I shall enjoy the scent of it, or the gorgeous look of it…..they don’t make em like that anymore, but I’ll be happy to have it around again… happy splashing!!

 

Naturally Talented…

Sometimes people just blow you away with how quietly talented they are, and just how lovely the ‘creations’ that result from this talent can be.

You meet them, you become friends, then you discover (without them telling you)..that they are madly talented in some amazing way.

I have a friend who is incredibly smart, and should be writing  amazing best sellers, another who if she so chose, could run a multi million dollar company with her organising skills,  another  who would give Jamie Oliver a run for his money, another who could style anyone into a ‘Kardashian like celebrity’…..and yet they all go about their lives quietly, raising their families, sometimes working outside the home, ALWAYS working in the home, and being part of our community.

I also have a friend who is putting her wonderful talent out into the world…thank goodness !

Samorn is a beautiful mum, of two equally beautiful daughters. As well as being totally devoted to them….she also creates the most gorgeous fabrics through the use of Natural Dyes.

Flowers, leaves, fruit, vegetables (much of it in a decomposing  state), rusty nails,  buckets….soaking, sun, wind, and rain….silks and linens….all of these things are the starting points for her beautiful creations.

To quote Samorn , (who was quoting Arthur Ashe)….

“Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can…”

Her beautiful creations are proof that beautiful things don’t have to be complicated, you don’t need heaps of materials to get started. Think simply, think naturally, use what’s around you…and the results can be outstandingly lovely.

My family are always rolling their eyes at me when I drag another fallen tree branch into the house to use as decoration, ….

“OH MY GOD MUM..did you seriously drag that down the street…how embarrassing?!?”

I admit it….I love a windy day…fallen branches are like treasure to me!!…. When a tree was recently cut down in our front yard, I had to stop myself from  telling the tree guys …..”Just leave those branches ..I’ll keep them all!!”…I’m still regretting not keeping enough to fill the fireplace during summer!

I’ll come back from a walk with a handful of Gum leaves that I’ve picked up from the ground..but once placed in just the right spot in the house ….these simple things can look ‘as good‘ if not better than any bunch of flowers bought in shop…( Although I will never say no to the occasional bought flowers !)  Unless they are Gerberas..then sorry ..but I’m saying no to them!….I’m not a fan..

Start thinking of using some Natural stuff in your home.. stuff you find in the environment close to your house… you may not be as gorgeously talented as Samorn, but hey..anyone can drag a branch inside….hang a scarf or a candle in a glass jar on it …and voila…Naturally talented!!!

You can check out the beautiful creations of my friend Samorn on her Instagram page… Samorn_saxinay

                                    Images retrieved from Samorn_saxinay with her permission.