Sunday, June 27, 2010

More cupcakes

I ventured off to another cupcake destination on Friday with a gorgeous group of girls I'm so lucky to work with.

After one of those weeks, we all needed a bit of chocolate and a chat. I look forward to our fortnightly lunches. It's a great chance to catch up, swap gossip, have a bit of a vent and share some delicious and healthy food. We usually opt for a cafe which serves the yummiest and healthiest lunches, but this week decided for a special sugary treat. So it was off to BabyCakes!

And it was so yummy! One of the best things about BabyCakes! is that the cupcakes are truly baby and so you don't feel quite as guilty eating three or even four of the tiny snacks. And the flavours - so many to choose from.

I went with peanut, mud, choc mint and marble. Yes I had four!

Anyway if you've ever in Sydney city, make a detour to BabyCakes! in Erskine Street. Totally worth it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

What is it with women and shoes?

I just had to share a photo of my new shoes! I'm totally in love with them.

One of my friends even described them as Sex and the City shoes, what a compliment!

Please excuse my handbag in the background, but it was a quick shot taken after I bought them to send to my sister and mum. And despite trying to take another few pics I can't get that great light back.

They're even more attractive because of the price, 50 per cent off.

I wore my new shoes today and felt like a million dollars.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An historic day for women and redheads

Like many Australians and political addicts I have spent a great deal of my day keeping an eye on the momentous events in Canberra.

I am excited and amazed that we now have our first female prime minister in Julia Gillard. A history making moment for all Australians and an event I hope to be able to tell my children and grandchildren about. And as a fellow red head it's a great day for rangas too!

The new Prime Minister's press conference was stirring stuff. She was eloquent, articulate, confident, intelligent and passionate. She demonstrated she has the ability to communicate with the ordinary person together with an ability to inspire. It was powerful stuff.

My dad actually reminded me of a prophetic statement I made six years ago. At that time I was working in politics including stints at Parliament House in Canberra. I had the pleasure of meeting Julia. I said then that Julia would be the first female Prime Minister of Australia. It's slowly dawning on me that this moment has finally arrived.

However there is a little part of me that is disappointed. Has the way in which this historic moment occurred taken away some of the shine? I've read the views of some commentators that because Julia is a woman we expect her to play nice whereas a man could get away with today's events. I do disagree. I truly believe I would feel this way if a male politician did the same thing.

I can already hear people say that's politics so deal with it. If you don't like the heat get out of the kitchen. Kevin did something similar to former Opposition Leader Kim Beazley and it will happen again. I'm not nieve, I have worked in politics and I follow it passionately. I understand it is tough and can be ruthless. But does it really have to be that way?

Most people watching the former PM's press conference would have found it hard not to be moved by the emotion he displayed. He was gutted and who could blame him. Whatever your politics or your thoughts about the man, you can't help but feel for him.

Please don't get misunderstand what I'm saying. I am so very proud as a woman and a citizen of this wonderful country that we finally have a female PM. We have broken through a barrier that I hope will inspire women, of all ages and from all backgrounds to achieve great things. I just feel a little sad and disappointed at the circumstances in which this occasion has all come about. I think my main concern is that we are living in a democracy and the steps to take this decision were made by a few.

With all that said, I wish the new PM the very best of luck with the enormous task she has ahead. The next few months will no doubt be a very interesting time. She deserves to be an inspiration to all women for a remarkable achievement.

Mama Mia has a great post all about Julia. Worth checking out.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saver or spender?

My hubby and I have a long list of projects and goals we want to complete over the next 12 months and like most things in life, they’re going to cost us money and lots of it.

My way of working out a budget often involves standing in the shower or sitting on the train and roughly calculating our income and then convincing myself we’ll spend way below it, thus saving lots of money and said goals become doable. Sometimes I get there, sometimes I don’t.

My hubby is the opposite; he works best with spreadsheets and figures. All reasons as to why I chose a career in journalism and writing instead of economics or science. My brain is just not wired that way. Plus I’m a Pisces and we’re known as the creative, dreamy ones. The one contradiction here is that I am a planner and organiser. I have to know what is happening, when and how I will deal with it.

So, back to the budget, I’m the spender and optimist and hubby is the saver and realist, veering a bit too close to pessimist for my liking. Actually a small clarification, I can save when I really really want something, like my 3 month European holiday and deposit for our first house. But generally, I’m pretty good at spending.

So to avoid tension, my hubby sat down and spent a number of hours (yes hours) on our household budget for the next 12 months. He did the hard yards, calculated our incoming and most of our outgoings. Sitting down and actually working out what you spend can be a huge shock. All the little things you don’t think about that can add up to significant savings, like a bought lunch, in my case a hot chocolate every day. So my little bit of advice here is if you have the patience and the courage to sit down and work out a budget, I really recommend it. But once you do it, you really need to stick to it. Otherwise you have wasted your time.

Ok, back to our budget. The verdict: our budget is good. It’s detailed, realistic and achievable. Hopefully.

As I mentioned we have a list of projects and goals – mostly household renovations like a new kitchen, new carpet and blinds. The biggest goal for me apart from the new kitchen and carpet is an overseas holiday. I’ve been overseas four times, twice with my husband and I love it. Our last overseas trip was our honeymoon two and a bit years ago in Malaysia and I’m super keen to travel overseas again. There’s something magical about jetting off with your passport in your hand for an overseas adventure. Totally worth all the scrimping and saving.

So for me, I pretty much just wanted to know we could safely spend money on an overseas holiday. And you’ll be pleased to know, I am thrilled with the answer! Holiday planning begins...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Have you seen The Circle?

Working full-time I don’t get to spend many week days at home. On the occasional day I am at home, I now tune into The Circle, Channel Ten's morning show. And with today being the long weekend I’ve enjoyed another episode with these funny, friendly and intelligent women.

The four women – Denise Drysdale, Chrissie Swan, Yumi Stynes and Gorgi Coghlan – are great company for a couple of hours. They all bounce well off each other, with a lot of laughs, intelligent conversation and some serious and current subject matters.

The Circle also attracted more viewers than Kerri-Anne Kennerley last week, so looks like viewers are enjoying the show.

Anyway, if you’re at home on a week day, have a look and see what you think. I think The Circle is a great way to spend a couple of hours.

Books, books and more books

I read one of MamaMia’s posts last week and thought I’m not alone. Mia wrote about the pile of books next to her bed. I too have a pile of books next to my bed and it seems to be growing by the week.

I love reading, always have. My mum placed a lot of importance on reading from an early age. She would read to my sister and I and then encourage us to read on our own once we could. I remember coming home from school with the book club catalogue and selecting the books we wanted to buy that month. I don’t ever remember my mum saying no. As a result we would come home with our new books and we’d be in heaven.

Mum also kept many of her childhood favourites, including Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven novels and the timeless Little Women. I still have these classic titles in my bookshelf to this day. I could go on for pages about the books I treasure. My passion for reading and books is actually one of the many things my husband loves about me. He is determined that our little ones will have the opportunity to experience the same pleasure I received from reading.

Anyway, to the book collection beside my bed. For the record I am only able to read one book at a time. Part of the joy of reading for me is to commit to a book and its characters and stick with them for the journey.

Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts, I am determined to read this book before I see the movie. Thanks to the lovely Michelle for lending me this one. It’s my current book.

The girl who kicked the hornets' nest by Stieg Larsson. While the subject matter is very dark and violent I couldn’t stop reading the first two books in this trilogy. I’m really looking forward to reading the third book where I'm hoping the lead character, Lisbeth Salander, comes out on top.

Dreams of hope by Lily O’Connor. This is one from a handful my mother-in-law lent me. It’s a memoir of an Irish woman who emigrates to Australia in the 1950s. I really enjoy reading about real people and real lives.

Against all odds by Kevin Perkins. Another biography, this time about racing icon Gai Waterhouse. Another book from my mother-in-law.

The Strength of a Nation by Michael McKernan focuses on Australians at home and overseas during the war years 1939 to 1945. I love history and this period in time is particularly fascinating for me. The third book from my mother-in-law.

L.A.Noir by James Ellroy. I’m not sure if I will like this crime trilogy but my aunt tells me she loved it, so willing to give it a go.

Pearl in a Cage by Joy Dettman is set in the years between the mid 1920s and 1940s in rural Australia. I haven’t read any other books by the author, but looking forward to giving it a go.

And finally, Up the Duff by Kaz Cooke. With babies hopefully somewhere in the future, I figure I better find out what it all involves. But since it’s at the bottom of my pile of books, who knows when I will get there.

Finally, in addition to the books beside my bed, I have a collection of articles, reports and magazines on a variety of subject matters that I want to read. I really should finish reading what I have collected before continuing to add to the pile. I really should, but I know I won’t. So all book recommendations welcome.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A perfect combination - sisters and cupcakes

My little sister is in town from Brisbane tomorrow for work. I like to take her somewhere new when she's in town, so we're off to Cupcakes on Pitt for morning tea. Check out the enormous selection of yummy flavours on offer. Hmm, what to choose.

Don't forget to say I love you

I've had one of those weird days when you wonder what is up with the world. Is it me? Have I lost touch? Or is the world just not living up to my expectations today?

My day began with a walk to work past police tape, police cars, police officers and tv cameras. A 59-year-old man went to work as a security guard today and he won't make it home tonight or ever. Shot during an armed robbery outside my office building. I don't know him or his family but u can't help but wonder about his family and friends and feel immense sympathy for them. I cannot begin to imagine how this man's family, friends and colleagues feel this evening.

I always make a point of saying I love you to my loved ones before I say goodbye or good night. And it's because I fear a day like today could happen to someone I love. Life is short and it's important we tell our loved ones how much they mean to us at each and every opportunity.

I will be sure to tell my loved ones today how much I love them!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My sex and the city

Date and time organised, tickets booked and BFF enlisted. Destination? A date with the Sex and the City girls.

Admittedly the reviews to date haven’t been great, but I simply can’t resist the opportunity to spend a few precious hours with my best friend immersing ourselves in New York, high end fashion and catching up where we left the girls at the end of the first Sex and the City movie.

We’ve watched the girls experience the highs and lows of relationships and life. I think most fans of the show can all relate to one of the characters in some way. Or perhaps there is a little bit of the girls in all of us at some stage in our lives. For me, Charlotte is probably the character I identify with the most. For many different reasons, her conservative nature, desire to find her knight in shining armour and if I had her bank account, her wardrobe.

I love spending time with the women in my life. It’s wonderful to have family and friends to share the big moments in life and the little moments that make life what it is. I’m surrounded by women at all stages of life. Some women have husbands and children, others are recently married, many enjoying their careers and others are enjoying single life. As I have moved through life the amount of time spent together has ebbed and flowed, but when we get together it’s like it has always been, comfortable, relaxed, fun and there is always laughter.

Sex and the City reminds me of how special our female relationships are. I truly believe the special moments in life are made even more so because of who we spend them with. So no matter what you think of the latest movie, be sure to make time for the wonderful women in your life.

If you need a reason to see the movie, check out the Sex and the City 2 movie trailer


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