Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fashion Smashion: Mary-Kate Olsen

I've always thought Mary-Kate looked more like a bag lady than celebrity fashion designer, but she's been redeeming herself lately...what a difference six months' makes! See if you can pick the before and after (it ain't hard)...

Perhaps someone told her that if she wanted to sell anything from her own label, Elizabeth and James, she'd better deck herself out in something (anything) that people would want to wear themselves.

I don't know about you, but the headband ensemble doesn't exactly scream "buy me!"

Sources: Perez Hilton and Instyle

Easy weekday italian

Yum yum, pig's (and, er, prawns') bums! Thought I'd share one of my fave weekday pasta meals from Delicious Magazine- Spaghetti with Garlic Butter, Bacon and Prawns.

So easy, so quick and very damn tasty. The best part? Being able to prep early - before arsenic hour hits and any thought of time in the kitchen is abandoned. You can then just throw everything together in less then 10 minutes once the little devils...oops, sorry...angels are in bed.

what you need
60g unsalted butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped basil, plus extra to serve
400g spaghetti (I use linguine but any kind of long noodle pasta will work)
1 tbs olive oil
4 bacon rashers, chopped
500g prawn meat, roughly chopped

what to do
  1. Mash butter, garlic, lemon and basil together in a bowl to combine well. Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling water to packet instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, deep frypan over medium heat. Cook bacon, stirring, for 4-5 mins until starting to crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel.
  4. Return pan to heat and melt half the butter. Add prawns and stir for 2-3 mins until just cooked.
  5. Drain pasta, then add to frypan with bacon and remaining butter.
  6. Toss, season and serve with extra basil.
  7. Enjoy! Preferably with a glass of chardonnay (not because it's a wine match...just because I like pretty much anything with chardonnay...)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some very exciting news...

A couple of months ago, my favourite online kid's boutique Baby's Got Style announced they were looking a panel of product reviewers. A pretty sweet deal, the reviewers would get sent clothes, write reviews of said clothes, and (the best part) get to keep them!

Of course, I found this hugely attractive as I spend more money on the girls' clothes than I do on my own (and don't mind a bit of writing, as you may have guessed) so I'd sent my "audition" off within half an hour.

Well, I am incredibly chuffed to tell you all that I've been selected as one of the panel of 12 and should get my first products for review fairly soon...I get as excited as a little girl when I think of the mailman coming bearing that initial parcel!

I'll let you know when the first review is set to be the meantime, check out their website but - be warned - you will not be able to resist opening your wallet...well, I never can.

Balancing the scales...

Thank you, Ted Casablanca, for attempting to balance the gender scales when it comes to putting Hollywood bodies under the microscope.

In his Awful Truth column, Casablanca writes:

Can someone explain to us how anytime a starlet gains a pound in this town, suddenly she's labeled fat or pregnant? Poor Britney's been the butt end of this back-and-forth throughout her whole damn tour. It's like the only two acceptable forms for the female bod are stick-thin or in the process of procreating. What friggin' century is this? If we gotta dish about Mischa Barton's cellulite and Jennifer Love-Hewitt's ass size ...then bring on the ├╝ber-fat men!

Check them out here.

Crabmommy, I heart you...

This morning I somehow (through a series of random clicks) landed on a blog called Crabmommy and was an instant fan...relevant, intelligent and pretty damn hilarious, she's now firmly on my list of fave blogs.

What made me giggle the most? Her "Cheapmommy Crafts" which feature tongue-in-cheek arts and crafts ideas, like the tampon dachshund (now nicknamed "Rags" thanks to one of my mamamia friends) above. Find out how to make your own here!

I can't look at these without cringing...

I suffer from an overload of empathy, if there is such a thing. It means that I hate seeing people in uncomfortable situations and can't watch movies where people make fools of themselves. So I'm actually having to peek at these photos of SJP and her hubby through the fingers covering my eyes.

He looks embarrassed, she looks ridiculously clingy and I have no idea what's really going on here. What's your take?

UPDATE: News has just broken that the pair are expecting twin girls via surrogate this (Australian) winter...perhaps that's the reason for the excess of affection?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Love a husband who shops...

Hubby came home from a work trip to Brisbane last night bearing gifts for the girls. He has excellent taste...expensive taste. He picked up this gorgeous dress (above) for Large Child and a cute little red cardigan from Purebaby for the Small One.

Wasn't til I read the label on Large Child's dress that I realised it was "Little Leona". Leona as in Edmiston. Nice. Must subliminally encourage purchases from the Collette Dinnigan L'Enfant range next....

Loving: The Fashion of Mad Men

I think I was born about 30 years too late. The fashion of Mad Men, set in the early 1960s, was made for my body. The cinched in waists, the skirts that flatter generous hips and's just all so womanly. If only real curves were still in vogue...

Mothers Day Wish List

I don't want for much. I have a beautiful family and pretty sweet life. But if someone really wanted to get me something for Mothers Day, this is what I'd want.

Bill Granger's Sweetcorn Fritters with Avocado Salsa for breakfast. Sadly, Bill's is in Sydney and I am in Canberra so someone (lovely husband, are you reading this?) would need to make it from the recipe in the Sydney Food cookbook I just happen to have on the bookshelf.

It's no secret I am obsessed with Italian food (well, all food, really...but let's focus for a minute). I would even make dinner on Mothers' Day if someone bought me this. Yummmmmmm.

I like the idea of having my girls close to my heart at all times. Each circle on the Kate necklace has a child's name and birth's just beautiful. Want. Want. Want.

There are few things I like better than sinking my teeth into a good crime novel. Mo Hayder is one of my favourites - her books are dark, gritty and suspenseful. If someone bought me this, however, they would also need to take care of both girls all day so I could read it.

But if I couldn't have any of that, I'd like my littlest girl to get over her bronchiolitis and feel better again; my big girl to continue to be the delight she's been the last few days; and my lovely husband to not have to go away for work for a while...we miss him when he's gone.

It's the simple things...

Australia's Next Top...Wild Pig?

So, 13 of Australia's hottest young things beat thousands of aspiring Heidi Klums to win spots on Australia's Next Top Model. They are tall, striking, willowy thin. Teenage girls around the country sigh longingly as they compare their ordinary bodies with a baker's dozen of superhuman ones.

So, what message does it send when one of Australia's leading fashion designers describes these girls in terms like "wild pig" or "blockhead"? What hope do young girls have of developing a healthy body image if these models - touted as the most beautiful we have to offer - are being told they're not beautiful enough?

For what I've seen of Alex Perry, I'm sure it was said with tongue firmly in cheek, but is that really an excuse? Shouldn't he be encouraging these girls (whose average age is around 18) with positive feedback? Can't he see how fragile self esteem is in young women?

Perhaps he can...but kindness just wouldn't make great tv, would it?

Monday, April 27, 2009

I covet...

Those of you who have been around since my first posts will know that I rediscovered sewing last winter. Sadly, since I've started blogging (and Sophia has stopped sleeping the day away), the time I spend sewing has been whittled away to nothing.

But that's all going to change, thanks to this book I discovered while flipping through a mag in our GP's waiting room (at least some good comes out of Sophia being sick!)

Amy Butler's fabrics are just stunning, and it looks like her patterns and projects are just as good. I can't wait to make this mini kaftan and bloomers for the girls...if I start now I may just be finished in time for summer!

Fashion Smashion: Questionable choices

Gotta say, not loving any of these looks...SJP looks like a cross between Batman and Shirley Temple, Mischa Barton is just a mess - not once but twice, and I just can't get excited about harem pants (even if Diane Kruger is gorgeous enough to pull them off.)

What say you - fab or faux pas?

Source: People

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How do you prefer your Christina?

Every time I see a photo of Christina Aguilera I wonder why she feels the need to hide her really quite gorgeous face under layers and layers of makeup. In the photo above she looks more like Donatella Versace than a woman in her twenties.

In 2003, she starred - sans makeup - in a Versace campaign shot by Steven Meisel (below). I think she looks beautiful - ethereal and lovely.

How do you like your Christina?

Source: Just Jared

Mother Guilt

Before I had children I didn't realise there was some unwritten rule that "good" mothers home cook every single meal their kids eat from the time they're old enough for solids. I didn't know I had to spend hours cooking, blending and freezing little cubes of pureed goodness for my baby.

I certainly didn't expect my first daughter to prefer commercial food to my painstakingly prepared cuisine. But she did.

I bought a handful of "baby and toddler meal" cookbooks and would spend eons preparing dishes I felt sure she would adore...only to have them to spat back at me sooner than you can say "drop cloth". With much guilt I'd resort once again to the old faithful jars.

Each Mothers' Group I would turn up, ready-meal in my carry all, only to be confronted by other mums sporting wonderfully delicious-looking home concoctions...and that guilt would grow. I persisted in trying new recipes, to absolutely no avail...I had failed.

Eventually, I realised it didn't make a scrap of difference. At nearly three, Olivia is thriving and in good health, and still eats a McCain Healthy Choice meal sooner than my creations (there's no accounting for taste). So, with Sophia, I'm just not going to put myself though the torture.

I have a cupboard full of Rafferty's Garden products (pictured above) which Sophia and I agree are yummy. They're shelf stable, are made of completely natural ingredients, and come in enough varieties for neither of us to get bored in a hurry.

So, I'm done with Mother Guilt when it comes to food...I'm letting Rafferty do the hard work for me (he's doing a far better job than I ever could!)

What gives you Mother Guilt?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

"One day I will win an Oscar. I'm already winning it. I just have to find the platform to show it." Bai Ling shares her delusions with Movieline.


I don't think this needs any words...

Post baby-bodies...the pressure to slim down fast

So, you’ve had a baby a few months ago. You’ve experienced nearly 10 months of pregnancy, seen your mid-section stretch to gazillion times its normal size, endured intense pain (whichever way you gave birth), and been a teensy bit freaked out as your body metamorphosed into a dairy.

You’re probably just emerging from that post-baby haze of sleepless nights and frequent feeding and are now a world expert on baby settling routines. So, why don’t you fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans yet, hey? Why isn’t your stomach as flat as an ironing board? Why aren’t you running a fecking triathlon? All the celebrity mums are…

Why didn't you start training and dieting two weeks' after your baby was born, like Jessica Alba did? Or work out four times a week to lose your weight super-fast, like Gwen Stefani? Oh, that's right. You have a baby to look after. And are minus a nanny to look after her while you're spending hours at the gym. Not to mention you have to do the housework, find some time for your husband and other children, and maybe (just maybe) spend half an hour sitting down before you fall down.

Or, why didn't the extra kilos just melt off, like they did for Angelina and Naomi Watts, from breastfeeding and running after the kids? Really, there are no excuses for why you're still carrying a muffin top.

I know this has been blogged about countless times before, but magazines persist with these features, and they piss me off EVERY SINGLE TIME! New mums are dealing with enough complex emotions without being confronted by magazines shouting “Best Star Bodies After Baby!” as if it’s some kind of competition who can slim down the fastest.

I know some women are lucky enough to have breastfeeding take care of their post-baby weight (I was with my first but with my second I'm firmly still in muffin top territory nine months' later) but they're in the minority. Can't we give ourselves, our bodies, and our babies a break and take some time to get back to "normal"?

Thank goodness for Salma Hayek, whose honesty I admire. She said "It takes you nine months to get it, and nine months to lose it. There are shortcuts, but it's not good for the baby." Amen, sister.

Source: Instyle

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fashion Smashion: Fergie

I have no words. It's that bad.

Source: Just Jared

It's that time of year again...

That's right - it's Delicious magazine's annual Italian issue! Woo hoo! I adore Italian food. It's my absolute favourite cuisine, and a magazine exclusively devoted to it is my idea of heaven.

Here are my top six - I tried to narrow it down to five but couldn't -picks (I'll be cooking at least one this weekend):
  1. Baked gnocchi with prawns
  2. Pancetta and taleggio pennoni
  3. Vitello Tonnato
  4. Creamy mascarpone lasagne
  5. Baci Gelato with hazelnut and white chocolate slab
  6. No-churn amaretti ice cream with amaretto almonds
I'll let you know how they turn out!

It's gonna be a long winter...

So, not long ago I visited our GP to be told the rather cheery news that Sophia has bronchiolitis. Oh joy. Winter bugs have come calling early...

When it comes to our kids' health, we haven't had a whole lot of luck. Liv clocked up an average of an illness per month from the time she was 6 months old until around 18 months, including a week in hospital for pneumonia (that's the poor, sick little possum with her Dad above). Clearly we have some "dodgy lung" gene in there somewhere.

Having to watch your kids suffer with sickness, and nurse them through many a sleepless night, isn't something you really think about when you decide to have children. For me, reality struck when Olivia was two days old. She was in her crib next to my hospital bed when she started to make strange, choking noises...and I suddenly realised this little person was my responsibility and I had absolutely no idea what to do. None. And I was petrified.

That first fear never really goes away. With every new illness it rears its head - it becomes more manageable as you go along, but always lurks beneath the surface. Because there is nothing more terrifying that the thought of losing your children.

Having been through an horrendous first year of illness with Liv, and then seeing Sophia nearly not make it, I feel like a bit of an old hand. If Sophia had been my first child I would be FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW...but Liv's bad run at least served to give me some confidence in my abilities as a mother and carer - but that doesn't mean it's ever easy.

And, in the dark hours before the dawn, when you're holding your sick little baby all the experience in the World means nothing...because you're just a mum wanting to take the pain away.

To end this post, I want to share a few things that have helped me make it through some pretty awful times, and hope that you rarely (if ever) need to call on them:
  1. Baby Love by Robyn Barker - the bible for Australian mums...if you haven't got a copy, get one. Now.
  2. When Your Child is Ill by Dr Richard Valman - practical advice for parents with sick kids.
  3. The Caring for Kids course run by St John Ambulance - it's a short course which teaches you how to deal with medical emergencies and administer first aid to kids - and it gave me so much more confidence that I'd know what to do if something bad happened.
  4. Health Direct - 24 hour reassurance when you're just not sure what to do.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can someone please stage an invervention?

What will it take for Lindsay Lohan's mother to admit that her daughter has a problem? I'm not going to accuse her of being a devotee of the cocaine meal-replacement program but, whatever the cause, she has some serious weight management issues.

Seriously, the poor girl has wasted away to nothing - can someone please give her some help (or at least a hamburger?!)

Porn for New Mums

Don't know if you're familiar with the "Porn for Women" series. If you're not, they're cute little books which feature some pretty good looking men spouting slogans designed to make women incredulously the one above.

Well, the newest book in the series, "Porn for New Mums" has just hit the shelves and seems to be right on the money when it comes to the things most mums with young bubs would love to hear from their partner.
For example: "Damn, you look hot in those sweatpants!"; “Remember, tonight’s my feeding – don’t wake up!” and "Sure, your girlfriends can drop their babies off here while you girls go to the pub. The more the merrier."

Right now, I'd love to hear "Honey, why don't you spend the day in bed with that new book of yours...I'll just bring the baby in when she needs a feed." Ah, heaven.

Mums, what would you most have liked to hear from your partner when your baby was young?

Enormous...or just pregnant?

So, I was scanning the Entertainment section of as I do fairly regularly, and see this charming tagline "A pregnant Nicole Richie snapped looking enormous."

I'm not sure what offends me most about that little snippet. The fact that, clearly, she isn't anywhere NEAR enormous (see photo below) or that they could be so rude to label a four or five months' pregnant woman in that way.

She isn't fat, she's having a baby, you cretins! Rant over.

Food and me: a complicated relationship

I recently read an article which claimed eating disorders are affecting children at an increasingly young age - even a five year old kids are apparently not immune. Early Onset Eating Disorder (EOED) is commonly linked to teenage girls was now becoming increasingly prevalent in Australian girls, and boys, aged 10 to 12 and even younger. An incredibly sad and worrying read, it caused me to reflect on my somewhat complicated relationship with food.

You may have noticed that I'm rather fond of my it, eating it, looking at pictures of it. Unfortunately, this devotion has led to my body being somewhat than what I consider ideal. It's as if all the things I shouldn't eat migrate and live on my thighs and arse so that they can give me a good talking to every time I look in the mirror.

At this point in my life I'm ok with being a little bit overweight. Yes, I'd like to lose five or eight kilos but it's not something that keeps me awake at night...but that wasn't always the case.

I was one of those lean, no-hipped kids who spent their entire life running around at 100kmh and had no time to put on weight. I actually have a vivid memory of a shop assistant saying to me, when I was around eight years' old, that all the food I ate would catch up with me one day. Damn her for being right.

At about 16, the amount of exercise I did dramatically decreased and the weight started to creep on. By the time I went to university, thanks to dedicated pubbing, I'd probably put on five the end of my first year, that had increased to 11. Surrounded by gorgeous, thin friends, my self esteem plummeted.

During that first year I started throwing up when I'd eaten too much. That soon became the norm after EVERY meal. When that seemed to be keeping my weight stable, I started taking laxatives as first, just a few, but eventually a small handful at a time. For about three years this was my shameful secret.

I eventually clawed my way out from the clutches of wasn't easy and it wasn't without relapses. But even though I am probably weigh much the same today as I was at my heaviest university weight, I'm ok with it.

To me, the fact that I CAN eat that almond croissant without thinking of the calorie content or enjoy duck confit without surreptitiously disappearing to the Ladies' Room immediately after means that my mind is in good shape (even if my butt isn't).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh Drew, how could you?

After all your good work on the Grey Gardens publicity tour you show up in public looking like this. I hope, at least, that it was some really good acid.

Another mega-quick meal

Whoever is doing Sunrice's product development and marketing deserves a bloody great gold star, as far as I'm concerned. A few years ago they were just another rice supplier (granted, the largest in Australia) and now look at them! They've revolutionised the market with their 90 second rice and are branching out into ready-meals.

But I digress...the point of this post is to share this great 2-minute green curry with you all...I saw it on the shelf the other day and thought I'd give it a run. I'm usually slightly wary about shelf-stable meals containing meat but, I have to tell you, it wasn't bad at all. Actually, it was quite good!

They have a red curry version, too, so I'm going to nip out and get a few for the pantry...fantastic for when there's just me and the little ones at home and I can't be arsed whipping up some gourmet feast.

A question of size...

The whole size conversion thing between here, the US and the UK really confuses me. Not so much the math - according to this site you start with the American size and add 2 for the UK and 4 for Australia.

What really spins my head around are the sizes women claim to be. Kim Kardashian, pictured above, recently took to her blog to shout down a feature that linked her with plus-size clothing. She said "For the record, I am a size 2, not 2XL."

Jennifer Love-Hewitt endured a similar media storm when photos of her cavorting in a bikini, complete with curves, were splashed across the web. Her response? "A size 2 is not fat!"

Really? They're both an Australian size 6? I know a handful of size 6 women and they're all tiny, naturally petite women...and none of them look like Kim or Jennifer.

Don't get me wrong, I think they are both absolutely stunning and would be more than happy to look like either of them in a bikini...but, even taking into account the fact they're on the shortish side (157cm) I'd peg them for Australian size 10s.

So, I call "bollocks". Which leads me to ask the question - why claim an unrealistic size? Why not say "hey, I'm a size 6 (Aus10) and proud of it!" It kinda takes the weight (groan) out of their indignant denials if the common response is "Size 2? Yeah, right."

And meanwhile, millions of teenage girls around the World once again feel inadequate.